A tranquil summertime scene captured at Lake Chaminwood Preserve won July’s portion of the Forest Preserve District’s Preserve the Moment photo contest.
The photo, taken by Paul Wenger of New Lenox, shows the preserve's 136-foot-long timber bridge perfectly reflected in the water below.
“The mirror image with its soft lighting perfectly captured the type of calm, peaceful moments you can find in the preserves either to start or end your day,” one of the photo contest judges noted.
Wenger said he recently bought kayaks and this was his very first outing with them.
"As we were paddling back in around sunset I noticed the beautiful colors and the reflection in the water and thought, this would be a great picture," he said in an email after being notified of his win.
He said he loves being outdoors and taking pictures, so the contest was a natural extension of his hobbies.
"I joined the Facebook group Will County Wildlife within the last year and I see a lot of great pictures on there so that gave me some motivation and ideas," he added. "My father was an excellent photographer so that probably plays a part as well."
A resident of New Lenox for 20 years, Wenger said he has visited Will County forest preserves the entire time.
"I love riding my mountain bike through the woods," he said. "I go most every day through Hickory Creek and I started carrying my camera. I remember riding that path many years ago before it was even paved. I also visit the preserves in all seasons to hike. I love to spot wildlife and even nice looking wildflowers."
Wenger said he is looking forward to kayaking in other preserves now that he owns his own kayaks.
Honorable mention photos for July were taken by:
Matthew Serafini of Lockport for an osprey diving in for a landing at Lockport Prairie.
Byron Morgan of Crete for a shot of a russula mushroom perched on the forest floor at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve.
David Kowalski of New Lenox for a breathtaking shot of storm clouds swirling in Hickory Creek Preserve.
You can view all of July's photo contest entries on the Forest Preserve District's Flickr page.
Wenger is the third monthly winner in the 2020 photo contest. Five more monthly winners will be chosen by a panel of judges before the contest concludes on 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 each receive a $75 gift card. 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 age 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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