In Their Own Words

The NANPA Foundation is nearing the end of its crowdfunding campaign to raise money to support an annual High School Student Scholarship Program through 2019 and the students still need quite a bit of support. Can you help us?

The program has had a profound impact on most, if not all, of the 105 alumni that have been through the program between 1995 and 2016. It’s a life-changing experience. Those aren’t our words…they are the words used by many of the students in describing their experience in the program.

The program is an immersive, week-long outdoor education opportunity at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont that mixes classroom and field-based instruction. Each student picks an ecological topic related to the Smoky Mountains as his/her photographic focus for the week and chooses his/her ten best images to tell a story about nature and the park that is presented at the closing reception.

It’s about photography. It’s about nature. And it’s about:

“I think my “a-ha” moment would probably be during one of the critique session we had in the evenings, where each person chose 3-4 photos that they thought were the best from the day of shooting and then each was projected anonymously. We would then proceed to critique each other’s work. This was a unique opportunity to see what you experienced that day through someone else’s eyes, showing you angles that you wouldn’t necessarily take and how that angle changes the meaning of that subject completely. This inspired me to look at things differently on the following day, experimenting with new things. By doing this, this really showed me how one subject can be approached in so many different ways, making photography a thousand times more exciting than it was before.” – Alice Sun, 2016 program participant

© Alice Sun

© Alice Sun

“I learned so many new things during this program. I already knew about the relationship between aperture and shutter speed during the camp, but whenever we were out, we might be asked what our shutter speed was. What was our ISO at? What was our aperture at? I think that the questions really helped us stop and think about our subject more and what we were trying to create in our pictures. I also learned more about using a tripod and working with different shutter speeds on long exposures to try and vary the blur in the texture of the fast-moving mountain streams. I think the questions really have impacted me because while birding I will constantly check my camera settings and try to be more aware and ready if a bird like a sparrow pops up onto a bush.” – Patrick Maurice, 2016 program participant

Patrick Maurice

Patrick Maurice

“Prior to the program, although nature photography was an important part of my life, I saw it as more of a hobby rather than a career. However, through my experience with the program, I have been introduced to a whole community of photographers and like-minded people that are successful just by doing what they love. Learning about their experiences and making meaningful connections with them has shown me what my future could possibly be, inspiring me to follow a similar path and solidifying my passion for wildlife and photography.” – Alice Sun, 2016 program participant

© Alice Sun

© Alice Sun

Show your support for tomorrow’s nature photography leaders by giving to the NANPA Foundation’s High School Student Program campaign.

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