Bertrand Leclercq of Naperville knows just where to find praying mantises at the end of summer, and his theory paid off as he took the top spot in August's portion of the Preserve the Moment photo contest.
“I specifically look for mantises in the goldenrods at the end of summer, they are not easy to spot,” he said in an email after being notified of his win. “They will actually rotate their heads to look at you. Their colors vary from dark brown to green. The one in the picture had very pretty green eyes and posed for me!”
The pose, captured at Riverview Farmstead Preserve, impressed the judges who selected the crisp close-up as the top photo for August.
Leclercq said he has been visiting forest preserves since he moved to Naperville from France in 2004.
“I work as a chef and walking in the nature has always been a great way to relieve stress,” he said. “In the preserves, I feel fully connected with nature. I like to observe all the amazing fauna and flora of our beautiful region."
Leclercq regularly posts photos on the Forest Preserve’s Will County Wildlife Page on Facebook.
“My goal is to spread joy and positivity through my photographies and share to the public the wonders of nature at their doorstep.”
One of his favorite subject matters is praying mantises, which he finds fascinating.
“I like to observe their particular behaviors,” he said. “They are actually very friendly!”
Honorable mentions for the month went to:
Nancy Havener of Naperville for a stunning sunset at Lake Renwick Preserve.
Matt Serafini of Lockport for a Caspian tern shaking off sparkles of water at Lockport Prairie Nature Preserve.
Serafini for a gull searching for a meal above the water at Lockport Prairie.
Leclercq for a colorful photo of a giant swallowtail butterfly on a coneflower at Riverview Farmstead Preserve.
You can view all of August's photo contest entries on the Forest Preserve District's Flickr page.
Leclercq is the fourth monthly winner in the 2020 photo contest. Four 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 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 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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