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Dean's "Compromised Sunset" is an ode to a dormant geyser at Yellowstone National Park. The sunset was marred by wildfire smoke.

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For Dahlia Dean, Photography is Medicine That Soothes the Soul

Dahlia Dean is an award-winning amateur photographer. She’s also a dedicated healthcare worker, taking care of hospice patients in her own home. Her vital work is rewarding, she says, but the emotional stress can be daunting. “Six years ago, my daughters gave me a camera for Christmas. ‘Go out, see the beauty of the world and nature,’ they said.” With her new Sony Alpha 6000 in hand, she heeded her daughters’ advice, and began taking “Mother Nature” landscape photos. She found the activity relaxed her and created a feeling of beauty that she couldn’t find anywhere else. 

Soon she was photographing her travels through national parks, seeking out places with rocky roads, quiet forests, cool streams and towering mountains. It was during one of these trips that she made her way to Fairbanks, Alaska–where the cover photo for this issue, “Night Walk in the Woods,” was captured. Dahlia says the photo was taken on a peaceful, snow-covered farmstead where the elk were walking along with the visitors. For her, it was a magical experience that she wanted to capture–in that moment, all the natural elements felt sublime and complete, she says. 

Dahlia’s interests have grown to include human subjects, the people around her. Not posed, perfect shots, but people as they are, in natural situations. Last year, a photo she took of a 90-year-old patient of hers was so inspiring that it won recognition from The Woodlands Photography Club, of which Dahlia has been a member since 2017. 

Her current camera is a Nikon D850 Digital SLR, a very heavy camera. “But I’m strong. I can handle it!” she says. Today’s cameras are extremely complex, she says, and it’s a challenge to keep up with the ever-evolving features offered by Photoshop, Lightroom and other post-production software. Dahlia loves to find new ways to capture a moment and convey the surrounding environment. “I do find the world is more colorful than the eye can see, and photography enables us to take in that unique view.”

Dahlia says she would like to continue to find authentic ways to photograph human subjects, but her first love is capturing the compelling beauty of nature. “The nature for me is like a church. I can be devoted to it and meditate in the beauty surrounding me.” In contrast to the suffering she witnesses in her work as a hospice caregiver, her photography provides the creative outlet and the balance that feed her soul. “Photography for me is like medicine for happiness.”

  • Dean's "Grand Prismatic Hot Spring, Yellowstone"
  • Dahlia Dean behind the lense
  • Dean's "Compromised Sunset" is an ode to a dormant geyser at Yellowstone National Park. The sunset was marred by wildfire smoke.