Two kids running in the snow. We all need nature—and nature needs you. Together, we can protect the wildlife and wild lands of Massachusetts for generations to come. Make a tax-deductible donation today.
Two kids running in the snow. We all need nature—and nature needs you. Together, we can protect the wildlife and wild lands of Massachusetts for generations to come. Make a tax-deductible donation today.
A Great Egret balancing on a log jetting out of marshy waters, its wings in the air. One foot outstreatched to another log.
One of the many shots in the series of Great Egrets by Kimberly Robbins

How to Take the Winning Photo Contest Picture—Advice From 2022 Winner

August 31, 2023

An Osprey flying back to its nest with a fish clutched in its talons, a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth hovering over a vibrant flower, a ray of sunlight filtering through a quiet forest—nature is a picturesque muse without even trying. However, capturing the ideal moment on “film” is easier said than done. 

Each year, Mass Audubon welcomes photographers with all levels of experience to enter their best nature and wildlife moments in the Picture This Photo Contest. Kimberly Robbins, the 2022 Grand Prize Winner, shares her experience with how she captured her winning photo, a Great Egret looking perfectly paused in a balancing pose. 

Great Egret wings outstretched balance on log
Great Egret © Kimberly Robbins

To Plan or Not to Plan 

“I really just like to hike, walk, and serendipitously take pictures of what I see. Whatever presents itself, presents itself,” says Robbins. In early 2022, Robbins was wandering Cape Cod when she came across an area with egrets and herons balancing on logs.  

Taking the Perfect Photo Without Disturbing Wildlife  

“I got to this spot and every time the wind would blow or a plane would fly over, I moved so that the birds wouldn’t hear me. And I started taking the shots.” 

In her photo, the egrets’ wings are partially outstretched, and it looks like a bird doing a dynamic dance. In actuality, the bird briefly slipped as it moved from branch to branch. But, because Robbins was ready with her camera and taking a series of photos, she suspended this graceful moment in time in a single picture.  

Anyone Can Take a Winning Photo   

Robbins bought her first professional camera during the 2020 pandemic and slowly introduced herself to photography. All it took was an interest in, respect for the natural world, and some basic photography pointers.  

About the Photo Contest  

The Mass Audubon Picture This: Photo Contest closes September 30. There are two divisions: 18 and over and under 18. Photographers can enter up to 10 total photos in the following categories: birds, mammals, other animals, plants and fungi, landscapes, and people in nature. A winner is chosen for each category in both divisions and one grand prize winner.     

Submit Your Photos Today