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.
Please visit http://www.massaudubon.org/picturethis for the complete list of winners and honorable mentions and to view their impressive photographs.
Mass Audubon protects 36,500 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–a 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 125,000 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 massaudubon.org.