Check out some of our favorite photos from past National Wildlife photo contests. Each week we'll celebrate nature and wildlife from a different state and this week we're featuring Illinois' nature and wildlife!
Nature photographer Dr. Robert Esbensen writes, "I set out on a summer afternoon to get some deer photos. I had only walked about 30 yards when this fawn came out of the woods and started feeding right in front of me." The Illinois resident used a Nikon D300 with a 300mm lens to capture the moment in Jo-Daviess County. Read about white-tailed deer in National Wildlife's Oh Deer!
Wildlife photographer Brian Tang made this image in Naperville on a "rainy, chilly day, and the goslings balled up together and closed their eyes while waiting out the rain." The Illinois photographer used a Canon 40D with a 300mm f/2.8 lens and a 2x teleconverter. Read No Honking Matter from National Wildlife's archives.
Wildlife photographer Mark Wallner writes, "The big red fox kits started playing and I just started photographing away as the fox were used to people along a beach near a marina," at Illinois Beach State Park. The Wisconsin resident used a Canon 1DS Mark III with a 300mm f/2.8 lens with a 2x teleconverter.
Photographer Madison Roberts made this scenic image with a Canon 7D and 18-270mm lens. The Illinois resident writes, "Virginia bluebells are unique because they only appear in late April for a few weeks. I came to Moraine View State Park to find this common spot transformed by the bloom. They made the landscape look like a dream, and because they only stay for a short while it makes the scene that much more precious." Learn how to utilize native wildflowers to create a wildlife-friendly garden.
Bird photographer Owen Deutsch explains during a visit to Fox Lake, Illinois he and a friend went to see a pair of bald eagles nesting nearby. Over the course of a few hours he shot some nice photos when "all of the sudden a great blue heron flew right into a clump where the eagles had their nest. The eagle took off after the heron, defending the nest" and the photographer got this award-winning shot. The Illinois resident used a Nikon D3 camera. Read NWF blogs about Bald Eagles.
Nature photographer Jonathan Lavan made this portrait of a Virescent Green Metallic Bee visiting a native flower in his suburban Chicago backyard habitat with a Nikon D90. Learn how cultivating a garden with native plants can help native bees.
Wildlife photographer Mark Wallner writes, "Standing at the edge of a pond in a Northern Illinois forest preserve, I heard some squeaking and saw this muskrat with a bullfrog. The bullfrog later got away." The Wisconsin resident used a Canon 1DS Mark III with a 300mm lens.
Photographer Anna Ihland made this image of flowers on a sunny day in Schaumburg, Illinois with a Nikon D600. Get some photography tips on capturing the natural beauty of flowers and taking flower photos beyond the macro lens from National Wildlife.
Wildlife photographer Brian Tang shot this portrait of an indigo bunting fluffing up his feathers to defend its territory in Romeoville, Illinois using a Canon 40D with a 300mm f/2.8 lens and 2x teleconverter. Read Why Birders Love the Blues, from National Wildlife's archives.
Illinois resident Pamela Ridgley photographed "one of two raccoons swimming to a brush covered island in the DuPage River" from her kayak using a Nikon D300s with a 70-300mm lens. Read National Wildlife's Raccoons: A League of Their Own.
Nature photographer Allan Sander made this image of an invasive gypsy moth's patterns in Cook County, Illinois with a Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro and 100mm f/2.8 lens with a 2mm extension tube. The Arizona resident writes, "Gypsy moth caterpillars were everywhere, and I saw the resulting damage a couple of years later. The local forest preserves had become skeletons of black cherry and white oak trees. The caterpillars would find shade in lower shrubs adjacent to their food source during the day, making this close-up photo possible." Read Good Bugs Gone Bad from National Wildlife.
Nature photographer Tom Wood writes, "I visited the Cache River State Natural Area to photograph the large cypress and tupelo trees found in Illinois swamps. Hiking the trail to Little Black Slough, I was rewarded with this scene." The Tennessee resident used a Canon 5D Mark II with a 24-105mm lens on a tripod.
Wildlife photographer Robert Esbensen photographed "a young opossum feeding on crab apples in a tree" while walking through an Illinois forest preserve, using a Nikon D70s and a 300mm lens. Read about why it makes sense to make way for opossums in your garden.
Robert Esbensen also made this image of a yellow warbler in his Illinois backyard habitat, where "the greenery of the woods made a nice background," with a Nikon D300 and a 300mm f/4 lens.
Nature photographer Jessica Hardegree explains she "just happened upon this coyote" in Cobden, Illinois. The Indiana resident captured the moment using a Nikon D3200. Read all about this adaptable predator in Coyote Nation, from National Wildlife.
Illinois resident Tara Glenny writes, "I found this little gray tree frog in my backyard, so I got my camera to take a picture. Next thing I know, he takes a huge leap and lands like this! I'm glad my camera was right there!" The aspiring youth photographer used a Nikon D5000 with an 18-55mm lens. Learn how to create a backyard environment the amphibians won't be able to resist.
Wildlife photographer Barbara Baird made this image of a male Eastern bluebird waiting to feed his nestlings in Plum Grove Nature Preserve, where staff provide nest boxes and monitor the native bird. The Illinois resident writes, "Male and female Eastern bluebirds contribute equally to the care of their young," and used a Canon 1Ds Mark II with a 500mm f/4 lens to document the familial behavior. Help bluebirds in your backyard habitat by providing a proper nest box.
Illinois resident Patrick Connolly writes, "I was pleasantly surprised to find a raccoon family living in the cavity of an old tree growing in a favorite nature area near my house, and returned a few times as the kits grew were. On this day, the mother raccoon left the tree for a short time and upon her return she did not go straight into the den, rather she relaxed on a higher branch. Her alone time was short lived as two of the kits scampered up the tree to show her affection." Connolly captured the moment with a Canon 50D and 500mm f/4 lens with a 1.4x teleconverter. See more raccoon portraits from PhotoZone!
Illinois resident Pamela Ridgley photographed "a sunrise over Braidwood Lake as steam rose around an old strip mine hill and two pelicans flew off in the distance" using a Nikon D200.
Photographer Bruce Peerson visited Kankakee River State Park during water strider mating season. "Clusters would huddle together in spots all over the water, being parted by the wind and current only to re-form again and again. It was like a morph animation but it was real and organic." The Illinois resident used a Canon 5D Mark II with a 100mm f/2.8 macro lens.
Patrick Connolly also photographed this white-winged crossbill at Morton Arboretum in Illinois using a Canon 7D with a 500mm f/4 lens and 1.4x teleconverter.
Wildlife photographer Les Zigurski snapped this photo of a red fox catching mice to bring back to the den in a Northwest Illinois countryside with a Canon 1D Mark II. Read When the Red Fox Comes to Town, from National Wildlife's archives.
More from the National Wildlife Federation:
NWF's Illinois Affiliate Prairie Rivers Network
NWF Blogs about Illinois and Prairie Rivers Network
Find a Park: Illinois
National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes Regional Center
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