On July 2, the National Audubon Society, in association with Nature’s Best Photography, hosted their annual Audubon Photography Awards. Out of the 8,000 photo submissions, 4 winners and 3 honorable mentions were selected–and first-time submitter Scott Suriano of Baltimore was one of them.
Suriano was awarded the Honorable Mention photo from the ‘Amateur’ category (meaning only that he is not a professional photographer). His winning photo, featuring a wood duck in the snow, was taken in Gwynns Falls.
“On the first day of Spring, I was very surprised to wake up to an unseasonably heavy snow storm,” he said of the photo. “I chose to take advantage of the situation, as I knew that the wood ducks had returned to a nearby pond for the mating season.”
(Like most of the bird species in the winning photos, wood ducks are protected by the century-old Migratory Bird Treaty Act [MBTA], which protects select species of North American birds and is in jeopardy under the current administration.)
A police detective by day, Suriano, 51, has always had a penchant for photography.
“I concentrate mostly on wildlife photography, as I love the challenges this genre of photography presents,” he says. “I’ve found that it takes a combination of skill, technical know-how, artistry and lots of luck to get that one good shot in the field.”
Despite his experience, however, Suriano was not expecting to receive the recognition he did in his first year submitting to the Awards.
“I am blown away,” he says. “When I entered my submissions, I was just hoping that one of my images would be selected for the Top 100. I never imagined that my image would be chosen as the Amateur Honorable Mention.”
He did, in fact, have photos in the Top 100 — three additional images featuring a barred owl, a roseate spoonbill and a cooper’s hawk in pursuit of a barred owl.
“My plan is to continue seeking out unique opportunities and take advantage of some of the fantastic wildlife in the region,” he says. “To me, the best photographs convey some type of emotion. But probably the best advice I can offer is to have fun!”
To view more of Suriano’s work, check out his website.