Mass Audubon Announces Winners of Annual Statewide Photo Contest
Michael P. O'Connor
LINCOLN, MA—In the six years that Mass Audubon’s Picture This: Your Great Outdoors statewide photo contest has been attracting photographers of all ages and abilities, judges have looked at thousands of images that reveal the Bay State’s natural beauty and rich diversity of animals and plants.
And deliberations for this year’s competition may have been the toughest. But after viewing—and reviewing—all the photographs sent in during the contest’s April 1-September 30 submission period, the judging panel ruled that Steve Flint of Foxborough is the 2015 Grand Prize Winner.
Flint’s image of a short-tailed weasel gazing directly at him was taken at Mass Audubon’s Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Norfolk. The photo both charmed and impressed the judges, and will remind all who see it that nature in all its wildness can be found close to home.
“I have entered the contest before, but to win it is a real thrill,” said Flint, who works in information technology at Wheaton College in Wheaton. He said one of the chief attractions of nature photography is the sense of the unexpected, which his photo surely represented.
“I was with some other photographers at Stony Brook when one of them spotted the weasel on a stone wall,” recounted Flint, 54. “I immediately started running down the path, with my equipment bouncing like crazy, to where I thought the weasel might end up.
“It saw me and started heading back toward my friend, and then stopped and went into an opening in the wall,” he added. “Then it stuck its head back out and stared right at me for about three seconds. I didn’t hesitate. I knew it was a special shot.”
Flint is a longtime Mass Audubon member who visits other wildlife sanctuaries (almost always with a camera), including Ipswich River River in Topsfield, Daniel Webster in Marshfield, and Broadmoor in Natick.
As Grand Prize Winner, Flint will be awarded a $250 gift card, to be redeemed at a Mass Audubon shop or wildlife sanctuary. His grand prize photograph will also be featured in Connections, Mass Audubon’s member newsletter.
The 2015 contest included two age levels, 18 and Older or Under 18, and seven subject categories: People in Nature, Birds, Mammals, Other Animals, Plants and Fungi, Landscapes, and Travel.
Contestants who took first prize honors in the individual categories will be awarded $100 gift cards they can redeem at a Mass Audubon shop or a wildlife sanctuary. At least six honorable mentions will win $50 gift cards, also to be redeemed at a Mass Audubon shop or a wildlife sanctuary. Additional honorable mentions may be awarded at the discretion of the judges.
Mass Audubon protects more than 38,000 acres of land throughout Massachusetts, saving birds and other wildlife, and making nature accessible to all. As Massachusetts' largest nature conservation nonprofit, we welcome more than a half million visitors a year to our wildlife sanctuaries and 20 nature centers. From inspiring hilltop views to breathtaking coastal landscapes, serene woods, and working farms, we believe in protecting our state's natural treasures for wildlife and for all people's vision shared in 1896 by our founders, two extraordinary Boston women.
Today, Mass Audubon is a nationally recognized environmental education leader, offering thousands of camp, school, and adult programs that get over 225,000 kids and adults outdoors every year. With more than 135,000 members and supporters, we advocate on Beacon Hill and beyond, and conduct conservation research to preserve the natural heritage of our beautiful state for today's and future generations. We welcome you to explore a nearby sanctuary, find inspiration, and get involved. Learn how at www.massaudubon.org.