Channahon man’s sunrise photo earns him top award in photo contest

Forest Preserve District of Will County received a record number of submissions in 2020

Kevin Kuchler of Channahon often hears out to the preserves early in the morning because he loves sunrises.

That love led to Kuchler become the December winner of the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s photography contest Preserve the Moment.

Kuchler’s winning photo was a “stunning” sunrise shot at Lake Renwick Preserve in Plainfield, a news release from the Forest Preserve District of Will County said.

“I love taking sunset or sunrise photos, but mostly sunrise because you can catch some pretty awesome birds that early in the morning too,” he said in the release.

But Kuchler also loves shooting landscapes and hiking in the preserves.

“Walking in a forest with the birds and the quietness is relaxing,” he said in the release. “I also love sharing my photos on social media for others to see how beautiful our state and our county is. I think sometimes people forget that we have some amazing scenery here, sometimes it just takes a little longer to find.”

The Forest Preserve received a record number of submissions in 2020 with 1,092 photo entries from 467 individuals. Kuchler was excited to be one of the winning entries.

“That is very exciting! I have been entering the contest for the last few years now, not sure when I started but it feels like it’s been a long time,” Kuchler wrote in an email after being notified of his win.

Kuchler of Channahon said he has been snapping photos in the preserves since around 2010. Kuchler is the eighth and final monthly winner in the 2020 photo contest, which concluded Dec. 31.

Honorable mentions were awarded to: Evi Kempf of Naperville for a photo of a path surrounded by golden vegetation at Lake Renwick; Eileen Capodice of Minooka for a photo of an eagle soaring high in the sky while clutching a fish at Rock Run Rookery in Joliet; Mark Hanna of Romeoville for a bevy of bullfrogs in a pond at Lockport Prairie in Lockport Township; and Tyler Paul of Wilmington for a squirrel peeking out of a tree trunk at McKinley Woods in Channahon.

View December’s entries at Flickr.com/WillCoForests.

The photo contest is sponsored by The Nature Foundation of Will County. Visit willcountynature.org.

For more information on the Forest Preserve District of Will County, visit ReconnectWithNature.org.

Denise M. Baran-Unland

Denise M. Baran-Unland is the features editor for The Herald-News in Joliet. She covers a variety of human interest stories. She also writes the long-time weekly tribute feature “An Extraordinary Life about local people who have died. She studied journalism at the College of St. Francis in Joliet, now the University of St. Francis.