What better way to celebrate the bounty of color, shadows and shapes present during a sunset in a forest preserve than to snap a picture at day's end for the July portion of the Forest Preserve's Preserve the Moment photo contest.
When all of the sunset submissions were reviewed by the judges, Michael Fagan of Frankfort won top honors with his photo taken at McKinley Woods in Channahon. The photo mimics a watercolor painting with the preserve's greenery framing bluish-gray and gold clouds reflected in the water.
"I really like the view of the end of the DuPage River as it meets with the Des Plaines," Fagan said via email after being notified of his win. "I have a couple daytime shots of the site and thought it would be a nice sunset shot. My interest in a sunset photo is always enhanced with the reflection possible in the water. The water level was very high and moving fast that night after some heavy rains. Bottom line, the clouds cooperated."
Honorable mentions were awarded to: Kevin Kuchler of Joliet for a photo of a cloud-dappled sky at Rock Run Preserve in Joliet; Kerri Carlson of Channahon for a picture of cotton candy clouds at Lake Chaminwood in Minooka; and Ronald Kapala of Shorewood for his photo of a silhouette of flowers illuminated by the setting sun at Prairie Bluff Preserve in Crest Hill.
This year's contest, which started in May, has several monthly categories as well as open months where any type of photo can be submitted, as long as it is taken in a Will County forest preserve during the contest timeline. So far, top entries in the wildlife, wildflowers and sunset categories have been chosen.
The remaining categories are:
- August, open category
- September, fungus
- October, fall colors
- November, structures
- December, open category
ENTER YOUR PHOTOS FOR AUGUST
After the contest concludes on December 31, all eight monthly photo winners will compete for top honors and prizes via voting on the District's Facebook page. Photos must be taken by amateur photographers age 18 or older. For a list of all Forest Preserve locations, check out the District's preserve page and be sure to read the contest rules before entering.
To view all of the contest photos submitted so far, including honorable mentions, visit our Flickr page.