Pam Dudding Contributing writer
Passions often brings out the best in people, especially when it is birthed in their hearts.
Aliana Ponton, 24, discovered her love for photography when she received her first Nikon camera at age 11.
“My passion started when I got my first camera. I was always an outdoor girl and when I started taking photography with that little Nikon, it showed me how much closer I could get with nature, wildlife and people,” she shared.
Her favorite subjects are still wildlife, nature and landscape.
“I absolutely love photography,” Ponton exclaimed. “The excitement for me is getting close to my subject and understanding their behavior. I spend hours observing and photographing. Some of the simplest things go unnoticed.”
She is currently observing and photographing a family of Bald Eagles and watching their nestling grow into an adult and sharing it with others on social media.
Ponton recalled that her biggest influence was Sharon Myers, saying, “She is an amazing woman and photographer. She showed me a lot about editing, getting the right angle and much more.”
With her passion for nature and landscape, Ponton discovered a photo contest on social media called the Around the World Challenge.
“I had to enter it, so I choose my photo of Joe’s Trees on Route 42 to submit. There were around 344 entries from all over the world such as Ireland, Switzerland, Africa and many other places,” Ponton noted.
She won the “Honorable Mention” award and was recognized on their social media site. Many have tagged into her site to observe her level of expertise in photography.
“I was not awarded a prize, but I received recognition, which was just as great,” Ponton said.
Ponton also shoots professionally. She has done photoshoots for birthdays, senior graduation pictures, maternity, and other special occasions. Her reasonable charges vary depending on the requests of her clients.
“I’m a mother of two beautiful babies. I went to Craig County Public Schools and I have been raised in this wonderful community my whole life,” she added.
She is also a “derby girl” who has participated in the Craig County Derbies as well as taken part in the annual “Hooked on Fishing” events.
“My family is absolutely amazing. They have always supported me,” Ponton said. “My mom, Melanie Ponton, has always been right by my side and so has my grandparents, Cathy Williams and Jimmy Williams. They are the reason I am who I am. They taught me to be strong, smart, independent and passionate for the things I love.”