Lockport man’s sugar maple shot snags Forest Preserve photo contest win

A sweet shot of golden sugar maples won November’s portion of the Forest Preserve District of Will County’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. During the pandemic, he decided to challenge himself by tackling different types of photography, including landscape photography.

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.

All photo contest entries can be viewed at Flickr.com/WillCoForests. The contest, which began in May, will continue with one more monthly winner in December. In January, all eight monthly winners will vie for overall contest honors via public voting on the District’s Facebook page. Overall contest winners will receive gift cards of $500 for first place, $250 for second place and $150 for third place. Monthly winners and three random winners receive $75 gift cards. All prizes are funded by The Nature Foundation of Will County.

For more information on contest rules and how to enter photos in December, visit ReconnectWithNature.org.