Susan McLean, Writer and Photographer

Susan is an award-winning writer, photographer and native Delawarean. She loves to photograph the area’s wildlife and her work can be found at The Gallery on Savannah, the Lewes gallery she co-owns with photographer Kim Johnson. 

How did you get into photography? It’s actually been something that I always liked doing, but the only course I’ve ever taken in photography was a camera club that I was a part of in eighth grade. Prior to doing photography full time I worked in banking for about nine years. I had kids and decided to spend a year of just being a stay-at-home mom. I loved it but felt like I needed something just for me. My husband at the time suggested I start a blog about parenting. I was intimidated by the idea at first but decided to embrace the chaos, messiness and reality of parenting. The blog, No Domestic Diva, became very popular and has over 500,000 followers. It was through my blog that brands like Sony discovered me and liked the composition of the photos I took and posted on my blog. That was really the first time that I started shooting and playing around with a camera’s manual settings. When we moved to Lewes seven years ago, my kids didn’t know anyone so I decided to take a year off so I could go on all the field trips and do the extracurricular stuff with the kids. But when they were in school, I started walking on the beach every day, taking pictures and posting them on my personal Facebook and Instagram pages. I got a really great response from people, and I really enjoyed doing it, so I decided to completely switch gears. I’ve always been the type of person who follows their passion, and it hasn’t led me astray so far.

“I love to photograph the horses at Assateague Island, where you are required to stay a minimum of 40 feet away when shooting.”

What do you love to photograph? My passions are definitely landscape and wildlife. I don’t want to encroach on wildlife and disturb them in their natural habitat, so I often use a telephoto lens. I love to photograph the horses at Assateague Island, where you are required to stay a minimum of 40 feet away when shooting, especially when a colt is just born. I also love photographing the ospreys that we have around here; I have a goal this year of getting a photo of one hitting the water with its talons out.

Everyone loves to snap sunrise photos at Herring Point in Cape Henlopen State Park. Where do you like to shoot that is less well-known or off the beaten path? I love the marshes and estuaries. I love brackish waters because they support all different kinds of life. There are a couple spots in Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge that are great. I love Burton Island, which is located behind the Indian River inlet. Sometimes I desaturate my photos, because I think people aren’t going to believe that the pinks and oranges were really that vibrant. Photography has allowed me to explore so many different places and it has helped me transition through a couple of difficult situations over the years. It’s something I’m grateful I had the guts to get into.

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