"Picture This:" 2019 Photo Contest Winners Announced
Michael P. O'Connor
LINCOLN, MA—Michael Snow regularly stops by Mass Audubon’s Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield—where he lives—to take a walk and unwind after work. And he always has his photo equipment with him.
That camera-carrying habit stood him in good stead when he was able to snap a photograph of a Green Heron with a struggling bullfrog in its bill. The dramatic image was judged the Grand Prize Winner in Mass Audubon’s Picture This: Your Great Outdoors 2019 photo contest.
The annual statewide photography competition—now a decade old—has become a popular, friendly competition for shutterbugs of all ages and abilities, who forge their own connections with nature through a camera lens.
How popular? More than 4,500 images were submitted by 814 photographers this year.
Snow, a 59-year-old co-owner of a home improvement business, is a Mass Audubon member for whom photography is a serious hobby. And he has entered the Picture This: contest in the past—just not with such an exciting result.
His winning image reveals the heron’s lovely coloration—velvet-green back, rich brown body, orange-yellow legs and eye—with its crest raised as it snares its hapless prey. “I knew it was a nice picture, but you really never know,” Snow said. "So winning the contest is really quite an honor, actually.”
Picture This participants could enter in 18-and-Older or Under-18 age groups and submit photos in six subject categories: People in Nature, Birds, Mammals, Other Animals, Landscapes, and Plants and Fungi. Contestants were allowed to submit up to 10 images.
Photographs could have been taken any time prior to or during the 2019 contest period, but must have been shot in Massachusetts or at Mass Audubon’s Wildwood Camp in Rindge, NH.
Snow, whose photo was entered in the Birds category, has been awarded a $250 gift card for his Grand Prize winning photograph.
Eleven other category winners receive $100 gift cards, and eight honorable mentions are awarded $50 gift cards. Additional honorable mentions may be chosen at the discretion of the judges. All gift cards are to be redeemed at a Mass Audubon shop or wildlife sanctuary.
For his part, Snow said being introduced to the natural world has made his photography even more enjoyable.
“I never spent time outside; I wasn’t into nature that much,” he acknowledged. “But I took up photography about nine years ago, and when I first got a picture of a bird, I had to go home to find out what it was.
“Now I know more,” Snow added, “but it’s still mostly about enjoying the wildlife sanctuary.”
The Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest is one of the many ways in which Mass Audubon, the state’s largest nature conservation nonprofit, encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to connect with nature.
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 160,000 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.