Allen Sklar

by Dana Kester-McCabe

During the summer Allen Sklar can be found running a business renting bikes for people to ride on Ocean City's Boardwalk. For a good part of the rest of the year you will find him on Assateague fishing and taking magnificent photographs of the island's wildlife.

Photography began for him with something that was at the same time a loss and a gift. The parents of a friend who died in Vietnam gave him his late friend's camera. Allen worked as a photographer on his college newspaper. After school he followed the Grateful Dead for five years and sold pictures of them to magazines.

Allen may attribute much of his photographic success to luck. But, time is Allen's most valuable resource: the time it takes to know your equipment and especially to know your subject. Since going digital he has studied how to make his equipment get the effects he is looking for. He also spends a great deal of time just watching how birds and other subjects behave, such as the birds of Assateague with special attention to the eagles.

Snowy owls spent a good part of this past winter in the Mid Atlantic region. Allen's background in biology served him well in documenting the visit of these amazing white birds with black spots and piecing yellow eyes. Allen also got to photograph the work of scientists studying them.

Though he also does commercial photography, he takes pictures for the love of it. Allen's passion for photography is only matched by his love of fishing. He describes releasing a red drum back into the surf as a deeply spiritual experience.

Allen himself is featured on the cover this year's Maryland DNR Fishing Guide. The picture taken by his friend and fellow fisherman Mac Simpson, shows Allen releasing a 50 inch red drum into the surf on Assateague. Allen has his work for sale at the Framing Gallery in West Ocean City and through his online gallery: