Mass Audubon Chooses Winners Of 2016 Photo Contest

Release Date:
January 3, 2017

LINCOLN, MA—Picture this: More than 4,000 images were entered this year in Mass Audubon’s annual statewide photo contest, Picture This: Your Great Outdoors. So Alex Shure had every reason to be proud—and delighted—to learn he had been named 2016 Grand Prize Winner for his photograph of a harbor seal placidly regarding him beneath the waters of Massachusetts Bay.

Shure, a photographer/videographer who often shoots under water, was diving off Rockport at a depth of about 20 feet when the harbor seal approached. “I was in an area where you can see a lot of seals, but they can be skittish,” the 32-year-old Melrose resident said. “This one was very curious and just started interacting with me above a carpet of yellow, undulating kelp.”

A memorable moment and, as it turned out, a winning one. For his remarkable image, Grand Prize Winner Shure was awarded a $250 gift card to redeem at a Mass Audubon shop or a wildlife sanctuary, and he and his photograph will be featured in Mass Audubon’s member newsletter.

Shure has also photographed and dived in the Bahamas and other destinations, but his heart remains in the Bay State—although not always in Massachusetts Bay.  Two favorite places, in fact, are Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries. “My wife and I love visiting Drumlin Farm in Lincoln,” he said. “And Ipswich River in Topsfield is another.”

In the seven years that Picture This: Your Great Outdoors has been engaging hundreds of photographers of all ages and abilities, the contest has catalogued a remarkable pictorial record of Massachusetts’ natural beauty, its rich biodiversity of plants and animals, and the people who cherish them.

The 2016 contest included two age levels, 18 and Older or Under 18, and six subject categories: Birds, Mammals, Other Wildlife, Plants and Fungi, Landscapes, and People in Nature. Eleven other category winners were awarded $100 gift cards, and eight honorable mentions won gift cards worth $50.


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