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 is the largest nature-based conservation organization in New England. Founded in 1896 by two women who fought for the protection of birds, Mass Audubon carries on their legacy by focusing on the greatest challenges facing the environment today: the loss of biodiversity, inequitable access to nature, and climate change. With the help of our 140,000 members and supporters, we protect wildlife, conserve and restore resilient land, advocate for impactful environmental policies, offer nationally recognized education programs for adults and children, and provide endless opportunities to experience the outdoors at our wildlife sanctuaries. Explore, find inspiration, and take action at www.massaudubon.org.