Image of Snapping Turtle Wins "Picture This:" Photo Contest
Michael P. O'Connor
LINCOLN, MA.—An image of a prehistoric-looking snapping turtle as it climbs over a small log is the Grand Prize Winner in Mass Audubon’s 2020 Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest.
The popular annual photography competition again attracted thousands of images taken by hundreds of photographers of all ages and backgrounds.
Patrick Randall took the photograph as the turtle moved through woods just behind his yard in Lancaster earlier this year. It was eligible for Grand Prize honors as the winner in the contest’s Other Animals (18-and-older) category.
“My wife saw it out a window, and the kids and I all went out to see it,” recalled Randall, a 34-year-old research analyst now living in North Scituate, R.I. “It just sat there. I’m not sure where the turtle was going.”
Beyond the chance to observe a remarkable creature in its natural habitat, his wife alerted him for another reason, Randall noted. “Reptiles and amphibians are my main subject matter,” he acknowledged. “In fact, I’m trying to collect a photographic record of every species in Massachusetts.”
Photography has been a serious avocation since he began about a decade ago. And Randall is not a stranger to either Mass Audubon—he’s a member—or to the Picture This contest: He’s won twice previously in the Other Wildlife category, two years ago for his Yellow-spotted Salamander and in 2015 for his Smooth Green Snake.
And the snapper? “Well, I didn’t think it would win, but I really liked it a lot,” said Randall, who counts Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary—home of Mass Audubon’s sea turtle rescue and diamondback terrapin restoration programs, fittingly enough—as among his favorite destinations.
In addition to the photo contest’s 18-and-older group, there was an Under-18 option for younger competitors. Additional subject matter categories included People in Nature, Birds, Mammals, Landscapes, and Plants and Fungi. Contestants could submit up to 10 images.
Photographs had to have been shot in Massachusetts or at Mass Audubon’s Wildwood Camp in Rindge, NH, but could have been taken any time prior to or during the 2020 contest period.
For his Grand Prize-winning photo, Randall will be awarded a $250 gift card, in addition to being featured in Mass Audubon’s member newsletter, Explore. Eleven winners will receive $100 gift cards, and seven Honorable Mentions will receive $50 gift cards.
Gift cards are to be redeemed at a Mass Audubon shop or wildlife sanctuary.
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.