Birds of a feather photograph well together — or at least that’s how it appears, when the National Audubon Society announced the winners of its 2016 Photography Awards Thursday. The Grand Prize-winning photo by professional photographer Bonnie Block shows two top-of-the-foodchain predators — a bald eagle and a great blue heron — squaring off as they vie for a fish in Seabeck, Washington.
That impressive shot was from one of five photographers who were chosen out of 1,700 competitors who submitted nearly 7,000 photos of birds in the wild. Submissions came from all 50 states and the District of Columbia in addition to six Canadian provinces.
The categories were “Grand Prize,” “Professional,” “Amateur,” “Fine Art,” and “Youth” (ages 13-17). For the photographers, professional and amateur, the stakes were pretty high — the winning photographs are published in “Audubon” magazine, “Nature’s Best Photography” magazine, and will be displayed in the 2016 Nature’s Best Photography Exhibition at none other than the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. The cash prizes were also significant — as the Grand Prize winner, Block wins a $5,000 prize, while the Professional, Amateur, and Fine Art winners each receive $2,500. The Youth recipient receives five days, all expenses paid, at Maine’s Hog Island Audubon Camp in July. The student winner will be treated to photography sessions, accompanied by their parent or guardian at the camp.