John’s love for photography and nature began when he was a child. The more he explored the more he could see God reveal himself in creation. That interest slowly developed into a passion to learn all that he could. He attended as many seminars, workshops and classes as possible and read anything that he could get his hands on about nature and photography. Practicing what he learned, John became a self-taught naturalist and professional photographer. As he became more knowledgeable and developed his special technique, John started John Dykstra Photography, a portrait photography studio. He found that the best way for him to expand his photography knowledge was to join a local camera club, which he did some 40 years ago. That was a catalyst for where he is today.
During his camera club years John found it a great help to rub shoulders with others that share the same interest that he had. He was vice president and president of the then Woodland Photo Club and now the River City Camera Club in Grand Rapids, Michigan. During his years in camera club and SWMCCC (Southwest Michigan Council of Camera Clubs) he won many awards and was one of their top photographers. John was a competitor in the initial “Art Prize” competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan as well as the 2012 “Artwalk” competition in Grand Haven, Michigan where his photograph “Fish Lake in the Fall” won 1st place and “most votes” (people’s choice) awards in the 2012 competition. His image “A Taste of Magnificent Michigan” repeated as 1st place as well as “most votes” in the 2013 competition. Another of his photographs won 1st place in the 2010 “Great Lakes Forever” photography contest and the “People’s Choice” award in the Outdoor Photographer Magazines “The Colors of Nature” 2011 contest.
Often he is asked to judge competitions and lead workshops, seminars and field trips. John has traveled and photographed the United States extensively and has lead photography tours to the Pacific Northwest, Southern Arizona, South Florida, Indiana, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Isle Royale National Park and West Michigan. John and one of his photography friends have been presenters for the PSA (Photo Society of America) at their annual convention in Portland, Oregon and at their West Yellowstone convention. In 2014 John was selected as an artist in the National Parks Service “Artist In-Residence” program at Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. John also has several sight/sound presentations that have been widely shown in the West Michigan area.
John has recently retired from his portrait studio (of nearly 40 years) to devote more time to his passion for God’s creation, photographing, instructing and sharing nature with others. John and Lake Effect Gallery (Carrie Rogers-O’Neal) have recently connected to offer his beautiful nature photography from small to very large sizes as home and office decorating options. John is offering special Feeder Bird Photography Sessions at his outdoor nature studio.