After all of the online votes were counted Friday, Plainfield resident Robin Kosiek's photo of a tiny water drop made a big splash by taking first place in the Forest Preserve's Wonders of Water photo contest.
Kosiek's winning photo featured a water droplet clinging to the tip of a delicate branch at Hammel Woods in Shorewood. Kosiek said she was encouraged to enter the contest by a friend.
"My favorite place to be is outside in nature with my camera," she said via email. "I try to get out and take photos once a week of different forest preserves, rivers and local parks."
Kosiek said she doesn’t let rain or snow prevent her from getting outside.
"The day I took the photo, it had just rained and was still a bit drizzly," she said. "I decided to go out and take photos of the trees at Hammel Woods. The trees are my favorite. There were so many raindrops just hanging from the tips of the branches of two trees adjacent to the parking lot. I must have stood there for half an hour just taking pictures of the raindrops."
The winning shot was one of six photos selected as finalists from around 220 entries submitted by more than 50 participants during the six-week contest, which ended March 11.
Coming in second was Jamie Sariyavong of Joliet who snapped a picture of rushing water cascading over rocks at Isle a la Cache preserve in Romeoville.
Third place was awarded to Kathy Bobal of Braidwood for a photo of swirling water taken at Hammel Woods. Bobal said she began exploring the preserves to get in her 10,000 steps a day.
"The photography contests that are offered are an additional bonus!"
She said holding the contest in the winter was more of a benefit than a hindrance because the landscape was brown.
"It really allowed the water to stand out as the subject," Bobal said in an email.
The top three photos were chosen online by voters who either liked or commented on their favorite photo via the District's Facebook page, www.facebook.com/willcoforests.
Comments posted for Kosiek's water drop photo complimented the photographer for timing the shot perfectly, creating a great depth of field and for the reflection of trees in the droplet.
Sariyavong's photo garnered comments for its variations of color and the way the water flowed all the way to the horizon.
Bobal's picture was complimented online for capturing the movement of water and its varying textures, from frothy to fluid.
All of the photo entries have been posted on the
District's Flickr account
. Photos were taken at 19 different preserves, from Whalon Lake in Naperville in the north, to Braidwood Dunes and Savannah in the south, and from Monee Reservoir in the east to McKinley Woods in the west.
The photo contest was inspired by "Water|Ways," a traveling Smithsonian Institution exhibit that was on display at the District's Four Rivers Environmental Education Center in Channahon during the same six-week period as the photo contest. The exhibit was a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution's Museum on Mainstreet program and Illinois Humanities.