A sweet shot of golden sugar maples won November’s portion of the Forest Preserve District’s Preserve the Moment Photo Contest.
The photo was taken by Bob Bruining at Messenger Woods in Homer Glen. The Lockport graphic artist's shot featured the earthy brown forest floor as well as the yellow maples in the distance. The perspective gives viewers a feeling of what the towering trees look like from a creature's perspective on the ground.
Bruining said through the years he has mostly photographed people, including his children and their teams and sporting events.
"But when COVID hit, I decided to challenge myself to do different things," he said.
At first, he tackled astro-photography, with the help of online groups, and he began taking photos of the moon and later the Milky Way galaxy. In recent months, he decided to try some landscape shots, but he found they were a lot harder than taking pictures of people.
He quickly realized he had to find colors and shapes to make the landscapes come alive. And Messenger Woods, just down the road from his parents' house, was a perfect spot to try out his new hobby. When he saw the stand of sugar maples in full fall color with sunlight streaming through the woods, he took one picture while standing up, but he didn't like the shot.
"So I knelt down and got all the way down to the leaves," he said.
Once he reviewed the kneeling shot at home, he knew it was something special. "I like the contrast of the brown going into the yellow," he said. "I liked the colors and the perspective."
Honorable mentions for November were awarded to:
- Carl Molano of Chicago for a photo of a least bittern ready to spring into action at Whalon Lake.
- Eileen Capodice of Minooka for a photo of perky pileated woodpeckers on a tree at McKinley Woods.
- Byron Morgan of Crete for Canada geese and their reflections at Rock Run Preserve.
- Joe Viola of Shorewood for a photo of a shy raccoon peeking out of a tree trunk at Hammel Woods.
ENTER NOW: DECEMBER IS YOUR LAST CHANCE
All photo contest entries can be viewed at Flickr.com/WillCoForests. The contest will continue with monthly winners through December. Monthly winners will vie for overall contest honors in January 2022 via public voting on the District's Facebook page.
Entrants receive a participation gift, monthly winners receive a $75 Visa gift card, and overall contest winners will receive gift cards of $500 for first place; $250 for second place; and $150 for third place.
At the conclusion of the contest, three random drawings also will be held for all contest participants. The three winners will each receive a $75 Visa gift card. Only those participants who have not won a prize in the 2021 contest will be eligible for the drawing. Prizes are funded 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 on or after the contest start date.
Please read all contest rules and photo upload instructions before entering the contest.
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