A coyote cruising through the forest preserve brush won October’s portion of the Preserve the Moment photo contest.
Judges were drawn to the predator’s eyes, its piercing gaze and the way the cautious mammal was framed by the wheat-colored background of McKinley Woods preserve in Channahon.
The photo was taken by Eileen Capodice of Minooka, who said she traveled to the preserve late one afternoon with her 12-year-old son to see if they could view any bald eagles. Instead, she said she saw a "beautiful and healthy looking coyote" moving through the woods toward an opening in the grass. After capturing the coyote with her camera, Capodice said it continued to the clearing for a pre-hunting power nap.
"It was just a cool nature moment to witness, and I was glad to enjoy the moment with my son," she said.
Capodice said her family moved to Colorado around six years ago for her husband's work.
"I immediately fell in love with the nature that surrounded us, and my husband purchased my first camera as a Mother’s Day gift," she said. "I am self-taught with my photography, and have thoroughly enjoyed the process of learning and practicing."
The family returned to Illinois two years ago.
"I continue to pursue my passion for learning new skills and capturing new and unique things to share with others, especially my mom," Capodice said. "She also shares an interest in photography, and I love being able to share my work with her and get her input on the creative side of things."
Capodice said she enters the photo contest to challenge herself to capture unique moments.
"The Will County forest preserves offer so many wonderful and beautiful opportunities to get out and enjoy some nature, so I frequently find myself enjoying the trails at several of the different preserves. There are so many gems of a moment just waiting to be captured. My 'yoga' is finding and capturing them through my lens to share with others."
Honorable mentions for October were awarded to:
- Tyler Keene of Plainfield for a landscape photo at Hammel Woods in Shorewood that highlights the site’s rich autumn colors.
- Tyler Paul of Wilmington for a determined Northern shoveler duck flying high in the sky at McKinley Woods.
- Toni Vandarakis of Joliet for a marbled orb weaver in all its pumpkin-colored glory chilling out at Hammel Woods.
- Kim Baranowski of New Lenox for a shot of washed-out mammal bones resting on the forest floor near Four Rivers Environmental Education Center in Channahon.
You can view all of October's photo contest entries on the Forest Preserve District's Flickr page.
Capodice is the sixth monthly winner in the 2020 photo contest. Only two more monthly winners will be chosen by a panel of judges before the contest concludes December 31. In January, all eight monthly winners will vie for top honors via public voting on the District’s Facebook page.
Monthly photo contest winners receive $75 gift cards. Overall winners chosen in January will receive MasterCard gift cards worth $500 for first place, $250 for second place and $150 for third place. The photo contest is sponsored by The Nature Foundation of Will County.
Photos must be taken by amateur photographers ages 18 or older, and they must be snapped in a Will County forest preserve after the May 1 contest start date. Please read all photo contest rules and photo upload instructions before entering the contest.
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