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Gaithersburg Man Wins Top Prize in DNR Photo Contest

Record Number of Photos Submitted

Winning Photo: Female Red-Winged Blackbird by Santosh Shanmuga

Winning Photo: Female Red-Winged Blackbird by Santosh Shanmuga

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the winners of its 12th annual photo contest, with Santosh Shanmuga of Gaithersburg, Maryland claiming top honors for his serene Female Red-Winged Blackbird taken at Swan Harbor Farm in Harford County. The winning images will appear in the winter edition of the agency’s seasonal magazine as well as its 2016 calendar.

“I’m so excited, and very grateful for this opportunity,” Shanmuga said. “I hope people look at these photos and take the time to get outside─it really is so amazing out there!”

As the grand prize winner, Shanmuga will receive $500, a 2016 Maryland State Park & Trail Passport, a lifetime subscription to the magazine and five copies of the 2016 calendar, all of which can be purchased on

In total, approximately 200 people entered more than 1,100 photographs for consideration this year─a new record.

Photo contest judges selected one additional photo from each category, and DNR Facebook followers are encouraged to “LIKE” their favorite by the end of September. The photo with the most likes will also be featured in the calendar.

“The beauty and diversity of our state makes it hard to take a bad picture, but I must say, these photographers knocked it out of the park,” DNR Secretary Mark Belton said. “From birds to blossoms, the photographs celebrate our state’s extraordinary outdoors. Congratulations to all photographers on their amazing works of art.”

First place category winners will each receive a 2016 park passport, a two-year magazine subscription and five copies of the calendar. Second place photographers will receive a one-year subscription and calendars. Honorable mentions will receive a complimentary calendar.

Additional first place winners
Glorious Mushrooms by Annette Conniff (Flora)
Busy Busy Bee by Stefan Kaben (Insects)
After the Ice Storm by Jennifer Solpietro (Nature in Action)
Hay Bale Stretch by Nick Becker (Great Outdoors)
Fishing Bay Jetty by JH Soares (Scenic Landscapes)
Call of the Wild by Marie-Ann D’Aloia (Wildlife)

Second place winners
Bald Eagle with Rockfish by Stephen Hayes (Birds)
Unfurling by Nick Becker (Flora)
Monarch Caterpillar by Laurie Brice (Insects)
Pines Trees in Snow by Addison Likins (Nature in Action)
Sunrise Hunt by Michael Parsons (Great Outdoors)
The Best Farm by Tammy Walla (Scenic Landscapes)
Snapper from the Deep by Robert Geary (Wildlife)

Honorable mentions
Tundra Swans by Mitch Adolph (Birds)
Milkweed by Tim Ray (Flora)
Pollen Faced by Cindy Ellis (Insects)
Bmore Ivy by Erika Sneeringer (Nature in Action)
Crossing Water by James Corbett (Great Outdoors)
Point Lookout by Andy Padden (Scenic Landscapes)
Sleepy Raccoon by Melissa McCeney (Wildlife)