Don Dunbar Sweeps Statewide Wildlife Photography Contest

Sharing one of his pieces that placed in first at the Maine Sportsman’s Show - Coyotes Fighting - is Don Dunbar. Dunbar, an Eastport native, received numerous awards at the statewide event in March. (Submitted photo)

By Lura Jackson


Eastern Washington County is an area of phenomenal natural beauty, owed in part to its unique geological heritage and its large expanses of wilderness that foster the habitats of a variety of species. The county’s rugged appeal combined with its tendency to invigorate the blooming of creative energy during the long winters yields a significant number of talented artists in the area. One such artist is Don Dunbar, a photographer whose ability to capture perfectly framed moments in time has earned him statewide renown. At this year’s State of Maine Sportsman’s Show at the end of March, Dunbar’s ten entries were met with eight ribbons and six first-place standings.

Dunbar was born in Eastport originally, returning to the area in third grade after his family had lived in Southern Maine for a time. After graduating from Shead, he attended Eastern Maine Vocational Technical Institute in Bangor before joining the Army. With his service completed, he lived and worked as a CAD draftsman in Southern Maine, returning to the Eastport area once again in 1990. He now lives in Perry with his wife, Kathleen.

It was when Dunbar returned to Washington County that he became inspired to pursue photography as a hobby, knowing it would pair well with his appreciation of the outdoors. “I have always had a love of nature,” Dunbar shared. “I grew up spending as much time outside as I could, hunting, fishing, or hiking.” His time outside presented many opportunities that he recognized would make a good picture, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that he began capturing the scenes he encountered. “Now I love trying to capture the beauty of what I see and sharing it with others.”

Taking the quality of photographs that Dunbar is adept at isn’t simply a matter of being in the right place at the right time during a jaunt into the woods. He explains that he is accustomed to spending up to ten hours in a blind waiting for the perfect shot. The effort is nearly always worthwhile, resulting in a view of wildlife that many of us are not fortunate to see up close or in person.

In 2015, Dunbar adopted photography as his full-time job when he opened his own gallery, Eastern Maine Images, in Eastport. He now sells his pieces from his gallery as well as from the Olde Boston Shoe Store in Calais, and he updates his website at every month with the newest additions, which can be purchased online.

The response from customers and visitors is always enthusiastic, and Dunbar loves seeing how people receive his work. A comment posted recently in his online guestbook by Barbara Reynolds reads: “For the past 18 months, I’ve checked your website at the beginning of each month to see your portfolio from the previous month. I think your work is exquisite – the lighting, the composition and subjects in pose continually amaze me. I’ve checked out other photographers’ sites who specialize in nature photography and, in my opinion, yours are the best. Thank you for your dedication to capture the image and your willingness to share your treasures with us.”

“It makes me very happy to know others enjoy seeing my photography,” Dunbar beamed.

Those interested in seeing Dunbar’s work and meeting him in person can visit his gallery at 28 Water Street when it opens for the season on May 19th. His pieces are available now at the Olde Boston Shoe Store in Calais, and the online gallery at has albums going back to 2009.