Story & photos by Jiayu Su
Being a member of the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) for over three years now, I have lots of takeaways. The first time I got to know NANPA was as a student at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, which has a fantastic photography program and faculty. Because of its unique location, I have had many opportunities to visit Yellowstone National Park, which is only 70 miiles away. I remember how I enjoyed hiking around the park and just photographing the beauty of the Earth. Whenever I was there, I had a deeper understanding of why we need to do something to support and preserve nature. It is a part of our lives or, in other words, we all know we cannot live without it.
After receiving the 2016 Janie Moore Greene Scholarship Grant from the NANPA Foundation, I finished my associate degree in photography. Then, I transferred to the University of Prince Edward Island, Canada, to continue my bachelor’s degree in Journalism. Living on an island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence is so different from where I used to live in Wyoming. There are no big mountains or wild open deserts. However, I am very close to the ocean, which brings me other views of the photography world. Furthermore, Prince Edward Island is well known for its beautiful landscapes and unique lighthouses. I am so grateful to live in such pretty place, and I have many opportunities to capture these and other places in my “eyes of the world.”
Early this year, I was delighted to be part of the NANPA Summit College Photography Scholarship Program. With 11 other talented photographers, we explored the beauty of Clark County Wetlands Park in Las Vegas and created an informational video about it to share around the world. One of the most important takeaways, articulated by Jody Walker, was “we all need an ah-ha moment.” “An ah-ha moment” is crucial for photographers because we sometimes get stuck in a rut that we do not know what to photograph. We lose our creativity and stop creating images. We need to develop a perspective that’s always curious about everything in the world around us, no matter if it’s just a little butterfly or an epic sunset. We need to enjoy them all.