"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 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.