Cary Student Wins International Photography Contest

Cary, NC – Everyone knows nature is beautiful but it takes special skill to capture that beauty and preserve it for others. That’s exactly what Cary resident Julia Gong did with her winning photograph in the 2016 Jamestown Audubon Nature Photography Contest.


Art All Around Us

Gong won in the Youth Plants category in the Audubon contest, which also had categories for landscapes and wildlife/animals, with her photo and said she has been interested in nature photography for a long time.

“I like capturing little things and finding extraordinary sights in everyday life,” Gong said.

In fact, Gong said she has always had a passion for nature as long as she could remember.

“I’ve always enjoyed nature and explored the forest and wooded areas and picked flowers and looked at leaves,” Gong said.

Gong’s winning photograph, “Shadows Amidst the Blaze,” shows the shadow of a tiger lily’s stamen through its brightly-colored petals.


“Normally photos like this are close up and show the pollen on the stamen so to go unconventional, I needed a different angle or lighting,” she said. “When taking a photo, I usually ask my myself if a photo looks unique.”

Gong said her approach to photography is less technical and she doesn’t focus on lens and aperture when deciding on what to take.

“I really go for the gut feeling,” she said. “A good photo depends on how long you want to look at it.”

For her winning photograph, Gong received $100 and her photo will be in the Jamestown Audubon Nature Center for the Monarch Butterfly Festival on Saturday, August 27, 2016.


How to Think About Nature

With Gong ready to go to college soon, she said she is building off of her interest in nature to find a career path.

“I’ve always enjoyed biology and I’m looking to go into that,” she said.


Gong said she is also interested in computer science and wants to combine the two. As such, she is currently working at an internship where she is developing a program to detect skin lesions.

As for photography, Gong is planning to keep it in her life.

“I want to keep it as a hobby,” she said. “It can be a pressure reliever when things are stressful.”


Story by Michael Papich. Photos by Julia Gong.