Story and Photography by Jorel Cuomo
When I attended NANPA’s High School Scholarship Program (NHSSP) in 2004 in Portland, my eyes opened to exploring wildlife photography as a medium. I greatly benefited from the one-on-one instruction and support of fellow photographers, both peers and mentors. Before attending this program, I never knew all this support existed; I felt that I was exploring nature and my camera by myself. Being a scholarship winner gave me the opportunity to harness my potential. Being surrounding by world-class photographers that shared their knowledge and experience opened my eyes to the possibilities that awaited me in our magnificent world.
The intensive workshop improved my photographic skills, knowledge and daily workflow. The hands-on experience increased my love of photography and helped me understand what it takes to be a nature photographer. NANPA helped me realize there are other nature photographers out there that share a similar passion, and has since been fantastic in helping me network and motivate me to continue my lifelong passion.
I have become quite fascinated with Asia over the past year. Some of my most memorable moments have been photographing rhinos in Nepal, tigers in India, leopards in Sri Lanka, and orangutans in Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo). I find the excitement of traveling and photographing wildlife to be the most rewarding thing I can do with my life.
Traveling the world has given me insight into the natural world and its diminishing habitats. I am greatly affected by where our planet is headed and would like to focus my attention on protecting natural areas through photography. I hope that by creating images that evoke emotions about the beauty and importance of nature, I can help others feel this connection and take action to conserve critical habitats and wildlife for future generations.
To give this same type of experience to other high school students, please make a donation to NANPA Foundation’s High School Scholarship Fund by December 4th. Visit our campaign page to make an online donation. If you prefer to make a gift by check, make it payable to NANPA Foundation with “High School Program” in the memo line and mail it to NANPA Foundation, 6382 Charleston Rd., Alma, IL 62807.