I was raised exploring the fields and forests of Pennsylvania. Whether fishing for sunfish at my Grandpa's farm pond, hunting for morels with my Pappy or camping and canoeing in Rickett's Glen State Park, I was learning to quietly observe the world around me. My parents have always encouraged my interest in the natural world.
My father gave me my first 35mm - the Olympus Infinity Jr. - when I was fifteen. Though it wasn't until twenty-two years later when my mother bought me a Fuji FinePix J10, that my interest in nature photography awakened. My husband, son and I began to explore the fields and forests around our home, visiting nature preserves and state parks. I was gifted a Nikon CoolPix by my parents and soon after, a D3100.
When I was thirty-seven-years-old, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was during treatment (2009-2010), my relationship with the natural world became crucial. Everything - from a slight breeze to a violent thunderstorm - appeared magnified. I began to notice seemingly meaningless or minute interactions between plants and insects, animals and habitats.
I look closely at everything. When I make a picture I wish to record the moment, not simply make an image that pleases the eye but rather to recall the scent of the earth below me or the bird song heard above me.
I seek to discover how the subject of my photo connects to its surroundings; my pictures isolate the thing while quietly extolling its relationship to the universe.
Now in remission, I feel transformed. It sounds cliché, but my world was altered. My family celebrates my recovery every day...and my mom continues to enthusiastically support my love of nature as well as my healthy Nikon habit!
I carry my D3100 and a D7200, using only my original kit lenses, a AF Nikkor 70-300mm and my favorite lens for close-ups in fields and forests, the AF-S Nikkor Micro 40mm. Hand-held, natural light...just me and my subjects.
Allen resides in Pennsylvania with her artist-husband Michael Allen, and their thirteen-year-old son, Benjamin.