Licata named Prime Hook People’s Choice winner

Licata named Prime Hook People’s Choice winner


Delaware State News

Delaware State News

PRIME HOOK — Steve Licata of Rehoboth Beach has been chosen as the People’s Choice winner in the annual Prime Hook U.S. Wildlife Refuge Nature Photography Contest.

The annual photography show sponsored by The Friends of Prime Hook opened on Oct. 16 with a reception and awards ceremony. Visitors to the show had the chance to pick their favorite photo and cast a ballot for the People’s Choice selection. Those 170 votes were counted after the show ended on December 11 and Mr. Licata’s portrait of two crows was chosen as the People’s Choice winner.

It is called “Corvid Conversation” and shows what appears to be an animated discussion between two crows. Corvid is a term referring to the crow family, which is why Mr. Licata chose that title.

Mr. Licata and his wife Clara both entered this year’s competition. He said he is drawn to pictures of birds interacting with each other, finding that a more interesting subject than a standard still life.

“I’m pleased and surprised because there were a lot of really great photos,” he said.

He said was intrigued by the image of the two fish crows. He and Ms. Licata moved to this area in 2020 and became much more involved in their photography when COVID shut down so many other activities. He credits much of their growth to the help and support of members of the Coastal Camera Club.

“That helped us really develop our skills. They are pretty inspirational./ It’s been a big learning curve for us,” he said. “You really start noticing more things.”

He is fond of a series of four photos he took of a pair of bald eagles squawking at each other before the female eagle finally turns and shows her tail to her noisy counterpart.

“That’s the stuff I like best. Seeing them engaged with each other and not just posing,” he said.

Jill Steiner of Milton was the second- and third-highest vote getter. Her ghost crab closeup was the second-highest vote getter while her snowy owl received the third most votes.

“The snowy owl was a lifer for me, and the ghost crab was successfully fighting off two large seagulls. I’m inspired by the abundance of wildlife we are fortunate to live amongst and I thoroughly enjoy “the hunt,” she said.

Mr. Licata said he enjoys being able to share photography with his wife, making it a shared passion for them both. Mr. Licata finds it fun and relaxing and advises anyone who likes photography to always carry their camera with them.

He still regrets not having his camera with him when a hawk landed five feet from him one morning. Having a camera also allows him to capture the occasional bit of whimsy like his recent photo when he went for his morning Starbucks’ fix in Rehoboth Beach. He turned away for a moment and a squirrel was at the cup and trying to take a sip.

The photo, which he shared with the coffee shop, even shows the writing on the cup touting “that first sip feeling.”

Mr. Licata feels that for such a small area, Delaware has an abundance of nature photography opportunities because of local migration routes and the large number of parks and refuges in the area.

He advises new photographers to just get out and start taking photographs. “It’s not going to happen overnight. Just get out and see things. See what you see,” he said. “Get whatever camera you have and start taking shots, even if it’s a cellphone.”

Edward Crawford of Lewes won Best in Show in the annual contest. Mr. Crawford’s photo of a kingfisher with a tiny fish was honored during October 16 opening reception for the contest. It was among 171 photos submitted by 36 photographers.

Here is a list of the other winners from this year’s contest:

Best in Show – Ed Crawford

Native Birds

1. Deb Felmey

2. Deb Felmey

3. Eric Klees

Honorable Mention – Deb Felmey

Beauty of Prime Hook

1. Carol Dandrade

2. Matthew Trucks

3. Debra Edwards

Honorable Mention – Steve Licata, Clara Licata

Native Plants and Flowers

1. Matthew Trucks

2. Sharon Denny

3. Matthew Trucks

Native Wildlife (non-birds)

1. Sharon Denny

2. Matthew Trucks

3. Marian Dowling

Honorable Mention – Matthew Trucks

Delmarva Scenery

1. Bea Hickey

2. Matthew Trucks

3. Bill Robinson

Honorable Mention – Matthew Trucks

Senior Student

1. Weston Williams

2. Weston Williams

3. Weston Williams

Honorable Mention – Weston Williams, Weston Williams

Junior Student

1. Wyatt Humphreys

2. Wyatt Humphreys

3. Wyatt Humphreys

Honorable Mention – Wyatt Humphreys, Wyatt Humphreys

For more information on the contest or The Friends of Prime Hook, visit