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2020 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Fan Favorite Winner to Be Chosen on Facebook

Red Morph Eastern Screech Owl by Zaphir Shamma

Red Morph Eastern Screech Owl by Zaphir Shamma

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has announced the winners of the 2020 Natural Resources Photo Contest, with the grand prize going to Zaphir Shamma of Gunpowder for his striking photo of an eastern screech owl nestled in a tree cavity.

This year’s grand prize package includes $500, a Maryland State Parks Passport, a subscription to Maryland Natural Resource magazine, and five copies of the 2021 calendar with the winning image displayed on the cover.

About 2,500 photos were submitted by 475 photographers in this year’s contest. In addition to the overall grand prize winner, the judges selected first through third place winners in four seasonal categories—winter, spring, summer, and fall.

Still to be determined is the “Fan Favorite,” which will be chosen by popular opinion on the department’s Facebook page. Followers are encouraged to “Like” and “Share” their pick when the photos are posted the first weekend of October, with votes taken through October 12.

Here are the winners of the 17th annual Maryland Natural Resources Photo Contest:

Grand Prize: Red Morph Eastern Screech Owl by Zaphir Shamma of Gunpowder


First place: Sunrays Over the King and Queen Seat by Matthew Settle of Bel Air

Second place: Blue Heron’s Buffet by Joey Melvin of Georgetown, Del.

Third place: Winter Company by Frank Tiralla of Cockeysville


First place: Red Morph Eastern Screech Owl by Zaphir Shamma 

Second place: Fox on Table by Zaphir Shamma 

Third place: Mud Turtle by Charles White of Owings


First place: Flyfishing on the Susquehanna by Mark Rutt of Darlington

Second place: Dance of the Yellow Jacket by Heather Rees of Rising Sun

Third place: Least Terns Feeding by Mitch Adolph of Lutherville-Timonium


First place: Blackwater Sunrise by Wayne Zussman of Grasonville

Second place: Kilgore by Eric Larson of Bel Air

Third place: Kiteboarder at Assateague by Kevin Moore of Perry Hall

Red Morph Eastern Screech Owl by Zaphir Shamma

The first place winners will receive a park passport, a magazine subscription, and five copies of the 2021 calendar. Second place winners will receive a one-year magazine subscription and five copies of the calendar. Third place and fan-favorite winners will receive a complimentary copy of the calendar. Every winner and the “Fan Favorite” will have their images published in the calendar.