The Chesapeake in Pictures

Beaver in icy Rappahannock Edward Episcopo 1171x593

Edward Episcopo captured this photo of a beaver popping its head through the ice on the Rappahannock River on a chilly 20 degree evening.

Edward Episcopo

For close to 20 years now, thousands of photographers have shared with us what makes the Chesapeake region so special. Here are just a few of their views of the watershed.

For nearly 20 years, thousands of people across the region have shared their love of the Chesapeake region through photos. In fact, since 2005, more than 15,000 photos have been submitted to our annual Save the Bay Photo Contest. Fifteen thousand photos of rivers, birds, crabs, oysters, dogs, kids, sunsets, beavers, trees, bees, frogs, and so much more—all capturing what it means to call this extraordinary place home.

“There’s beauty in photos . . . and nostalgia,” says CBF’s Senior Creative Project Manager Jen Wallace who has been managing the photo contest since its inception. “[Photos] connect people to the Bay and to each other, as all art does.”

Now three weeks into this much-loved contest, we took a look back at just a few of the stunning photos that have been submitted over the years and the artists who captured them.

Take a look, get inspired, then submit your own images to our photo contest before the March 29 deadline!

Moments like these “keep me heading out the door with my camera”

In 2018, Edward Episcopo’s shot of a curious beaver (pictured above) captured the second-place spot of our Save the Bay Photo Contest. “I decided to take a walk along the Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg that evening,” describes Episcopo of his chance beaver encounter. “It was 20 degrees, and the river had more ice on it than I had ever seen. The only open water was in the larger rapids. I was standing on a boulder at the edge of the river about to head back to the car, when I noticed something floating downstream . . . It drifted toward the shore and then ducked under the ice. I could tell at that point that it was a beaver. I was concerned that it would get stuck under the ice and drown. A minute or two later, I heard the sound of ice breaking about fifty feet to my right. The beaver found a weak spot in the ice and jammed his head through. He was sitting there as if he weren’t sure what to do next. I took six shots adjusting the shutter speed each time to reduce noise and get a better-quality image. After I got what appeared to be a couple of decent images, I turned slowly and walked back to the car. I wanted to avoid spooking the beaver and sending it back under the ice. But he just calmly watched me as I walked away. It’s the chance for that sort of experience that keeps me heading out the door with my camera.”

A field of sunflowers stands against a vibrant blue sky.

Photographer Erin Trone took this photo on a bluebird kind of day at the Meadowbrooke Gourds Sunflower Festival in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Erin Trone

Weavings of the watershed

“My daughter and I were there to pick flowers, go to the festival and buy gourds,” says Erin Trone of capturing the above late September photo at the Meadowbrooke Gourds Sunflower Festival in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. “It just happened to be one of those beautiful bluebird sky days, which was just lovely against the field, and I snapped a couple photos of it.” A Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, resident, Trone is well aware of the weavings of the watershed and how connected we all are to the Bay. “I grew up in Richmond, Virginia, not too far from the Chesapeake. My dad is an avid fisherman, and as a kid, he would take my brother and me to the Bay (Poquoson, Gloucester, Buckroe Beach) to play and swim for the day while he fished offshore. Afterwards he would get a bushel of blue crabs and put them on ice in a cooler in the back of his jeep. When we got home, we would clean them and steam them. They are precious memories I have of summer and family, and the Bay is such an important part of that. I want my kids to have those memories, too . . . We live in Harrisburg now, but it’s still part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and I try to teach my kids about stormwater and the Susquehanna and the incredible trout streams (Yellow Breeches, Letort) here that are all connected to the Bay.”

A barn sits at the top of a hill, planted in strips, a moody cloudy sky above.

Kevin Moore’s first-place winning photo in our 2010 Save the Bay Photo Contest is also his favorite. “It’s not the typical ‘Chesapeake Bay’ image,” he says.

Kevin Moore

Sparking curiosity and appreciation

Kevin Moore holds the distinct honor of being the winningest entrant of our Save the Bay Photo Contest, winning in 2010, 2013, 2018, and 2019. But of all his photos, his 2010 “Waves,” which captures a barn in autumn framed by undulating clouds and planting strips, might just be his favorite. “It’s not the typical ‘Chesapeake Bay’ image,” he says of the photo pictured above. Moore hopes “people recognize what a unique and precious resource the Chesapeake Bay is. I love to travel up and down the East Coast, but I’m constantly struck by what a rich and diverse ecosystem we have right here in our backyard. I think sharing our images allows me and the other photographers to emphasize the beauty and significance of this natural treasure with others. It's a way to spark appreciation, curiosity, and maybe even activism for the protection and preservation of this vital ecosystem. I love that like-minded people might enjoy and connect with our photographs.” At the end of the day, Moore says “the Chesapeake Bay is more than just a waterway; it connects all of us though our history, our culture and our community, and yet its rich enough to have a special meaning for everyone. It’s an important part of my life.”

Photographer Barbara Saffir captured this stunning image of a bee on a tree frog sitting on a blade of grass with a katydid underneath.

Barbara Saffir

“I held my breath the whole time in amazement”

Virginia resident Barbara Saffir captured this stunning image at Neabsco Regional Park, just south of the nation's capital. “Many wildlife photographers in the Washington, D.C. region caught ‘green treefrog fever’ the summer of 2019,” she says. “I spent hours trying to find the superbly camouflaged [creatures] with sticky feet at three separate parks. One day, I was hunting these cute critters on a boardwalk, and I was thrilled to catch one on the opposite side of a blade with my favorite bug ever—a handsome meadow katydid. If that was not fantastic enough, I was astonished when a bee landed on the frog’s back. I thought it would only stay there a nanosecond, and I figured it was trying to sting the frog, but it just hung out for several seconds and then buzzed off. The frog never moved, and the katydid never took her foot off the frog the whole time. I don’t really know how long the bee stayed because it felt like I held my breath the whole time in amazement.”

Emmy Nicklin

Emmy Nicklin

Director of Digital Marketing and Communications, CBF

[email protected]


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