A picture of a toad perched on a toadstool was deemed the winner – warts and all – in the October portion of the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Preserve the Moment photo contest
The photo featured varying shades of green, a mixture of textures and a splash of red to make the portrait come alive. The acorn resting under the toadstool added a whimsical nature to the shot.
Kevin Keyes of Westmont snapped the photo at Rock Run Preserve in Joliet.
"That is so humbling and fantastic," Keyes said of his photo being selected. "I am honored to be the winner of the October portion of the contest and a finalist overall."
Keyes said he is an avid outdoorsman who spends as much time in the preserves as possible.
"I deeply enjoy photography and always have my camera with me," he said. "I feel that Will County offers some of the most scenic, clean and pure preserves within the entire state."
Keyes added that he is particularly interested in photographing reptiles, amphibians and fungus.
"To me, my photo of the toad upon a toadstool exemplifies the natural world that I love and cherish."
Honorable mentions for the month went to: David Kacynski of Plainfield for his close-up photo of a plains garter snake’s forked tongue at Four Rivers Environmental Education Center in Channahon; Lani Nishimura of Plainfield for a picture that captured raindrops delicately dripping from a leaf at Hammel Woods in Shorewood; Bonnie Wydra of Tinley Park for her fall photo of the breathtaking bridge at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve in Crete Township; and Kevin Keyes for his picture of blue skies peeping through colorful fall maple leaves at Hickory Creek Barrens Nature Preserve in New Lenox.
A full gallery of the entries can be found on the District's Flickr page
While the June-October portions of Preserve the Moment are over, participants can continue to submit photos
and compete in the November and December contest segments.
One winner is chosen each month. After the contest ends on Dec. 31, monthly winners will be posted online, and members of the public will judge the photos and choose the overall contest winners. Winning photos must be taken in a Will County forest preserve during the contest time period (June 1-Dec. 31) to be eligible for final judging.
A list of photo submission instructions and a complete set of contest rules can be found here.