Jeni has been interested in photography since her teenage years but only picked up a camera in the last few years to capture her love of nature. She taps into her childlike curiosity of the outdoors to capture the beauty of our physical world that may otherwise go unnoticed. Jeni started seeing these details during her routine runs through the local forest preserve and decided to slow down and acknowledge the splendor around her. She now practices natural area conservation in her own backyard as well as volunteering with her local arboretum and serving on The Nature Foundation of Will County board of directors. Photography provides a form of mindfulness and expression of wonder for Jeni that is light years away from her everyday life. When not behind the lens, Jeni leads a dynamic non-profit focused on creating a world without abuse, cares for a variety of animals in and outside her home and enjoys cozy movie nights with her family.
I’ve been inspired by spending time in nature and the healing force it has on my soul. In seeking tranquility within the forest, prairies, and wetlands, I created a process rooted in discovery. I observe nature for what is curious, mysterious, or may otherwise go unnoticed. I often stand silently and take in my surroundings until a subject reveals itself. This makes every outing an adventure in repose. I use macro focus to highlight tiny intricate details; and through this I uncover the extraordinary in the everyday.
Image 1: Save Some for Bee – This image was intended to be of the Monarch Butterfly nectering on a native echinacea flower. When I downloaded the image, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I also captured a leaf cutter bee flying toward the bloom hoping to get their chance at the pollen. The image of two native pollinators vying for the same native flower affirms my belief that every little action counts toward restoring our environment to support conservation.
Image 2: Stained Glass Wings – This image of sunlight streaming through the wings of a Halloween Pennant Dragonfly highlights my admiration for the biodiversity of Illinois Prairies. I once thought they were just fields of tall grass, but through many hours of walking and working in prairies, I have learned how wonderful and vital they are. On this walk I was looking for wildflowers, but these dragonflies were simply everywhere like fairies dancing alongside me. I wanted to capture this image of their intricate wing patterns that are so beautiful and delicate, like stained glass.
Image 3: From the Surface of the Sun – The smoke from the Canadian Wildfires has had an incredible effect on the look of our sunsets. I have been seeking them out frequently to capture the deep colors and clarity of the sun’s shape. In this photo I also captured an airplane seemingly flying out from within the sun itself. The image shows how tiny the airplane is compared to the sun as you can only make it out when you blow the image up. This reminds me how small we all are in this vast universe.