Clockwise from top left: A great southern white butterfly. A painted lady butterfly sips nectar from a purple cone flower. A painted lady
butterfly. A long-legged fly, with large eyes and a metallic cast color, rests on the leaf of a pink camellia as another zips past in the back-ground.
Opposite: Zebra longwing butterflies on a blossom at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher’s butterfly pavilion.
The experimentation eventually led to macro photography. He
played around with attaching lenses from an old Bolex 16mm
movie camera to his digital SLR, which allowed him to get close to
“I got hooked on the macro,” he says. “After work I’d grab a
couple of cameras and lenses and head to the Arboretum. Just to
relax, exploring it with my camera. When I started experimenting
with my macro setups, the only thing I could find was flowers.
I was satisfied, but I wanted more. The ‘more’ was the insects. If
I could find a bug on a flower, that was gold. It sort of fed upon
itself. It became a new challenge. It’s fun to take ordinary objects
and create interesting photos.”
Allen suddenly found himself with even more time to explore the
new hobby when Southeastern Camera’s owner abruptly closed the
store in March. He still goes to the Arboretum almost daily, but now
has the freedom to go at different times of the day. He’s also been to
Airlie Gardens a few times, has discovered city parks “I didn’t know
existed,” and been to Fort Fisher on the hunt for fiddler crabs.
“It’s a great way to get outside and enjoy nature,” he says. “If it’s
an animal, I’ll probably go after it and take a picture.”
WBM august 2018