It was as if nature’s kaleidoscope encompassing smallest of ants to a giant peacock not leaving a chrysanthemum here and a koel there, is unfolding before you.

That is the impression one gets while browsing entries for the Nature Forever Society’s BiodiverCity Photo Contest uploaded on www.thehindushutterbug.com now underway. Nature lovers armed with whatever camera they possessed moved around in their backyard or simply stood in their balconies and waited sometimes for hours together, to capture the nature’s very many multihued species in all their pristine glory.

May it be solitary green leaf sitting pretty on dried leaves as Vimal Rakesh of Chennai got it or Putul Gupta’s image of seagull taking off from Nal Sarovar in Ahmedabad, the participants brought out their creative best in portraying "nature in neighbourhood", the broad theme of the contest.

That is the impression one gets while browsing entries for the Nature Forever Society’s BiodiverCity Photo Contest uploaded on thehindushutterbug. There was Rohit Ramesh, who uploaded a bold photo from Poonch in Kashmir of a family of unusually quiet monkeys captioned "Living in peace". So intense was people’s engagement with nature that Rajesh Kumar of New Delhi managed a close-up of red ants around a drop of honey and called it, "My honey bunny", while Jaya Kiran Reddy of Vijayawada snapped a blade of grass, "Lively green".

It was not just about plant and animal species. Smita made the most of her fortunate stay in Himachal Pradesh by sending a spectacular image of the landscape of her backyard, the trees, the mountains and the lake, captioned, "Peace is all what you need and what you get from nature".

To call the response to the contest overwhelming is an understatement, as hundreds of images of nature continue to pour in daily. "It’s refreshing to see photos of different species of butterflies, lizards, spiders, snakes, dragon, flowers, and millipedes being uploaded on www.thehindushutterbug.com for the contest.

As most of these images came from urban areas, it is reassuring that so much of biodiversity still exists in our cities, which needs to be conserved,” said Mohammed Dilawar of Nature Forever Society, who spearheaded the contest.

The entries sent by the participants will be of tremendous use as it would help creating a database for documenting flora and fauna found in and around human habitats, he said. "Conservation of biodiversity cannot be achieved without people’s participation and without making them aware of nature’s wonders around them. We are hopeful of achieving these twin objectives through the contest".

A feature of the contest had been the way people took pictures without getting bogged down in photographic techniques. They choose their subject perfectly, spent time in observing and exploring them and then went about clicking. Their spontaneity brought forth freshness in looking at urban biodiversity surviving amid pressure from all sides.

Their creative exploration of natural heritage ranged from a nuanced web formation by a spider to geometrical patterns of the leaves and flowers. It was like discovering a treasure hidden behind of maze of buildings and a cloud of noxious smoke relentlessly spewed by automobiles. Some brought out challenges of conservation in urban setting like the road kills, lack of proper shelter and water in urban areas.

The only condition for participating in the contest is not to submit images of nesting birds, caged birds or animals, pet animals like dogs and cats. Photos taken in national parks and sanctuaries are barred. A mention of the location, city and State where the photo was taken would help in better documentation.

Be part of the action and a big exercise of photo documenting that is on till February 28. With just about three weeks remaining, carry your camera and stir out and show you still connect with nature and its myriad forms. Also nudge your friends and relatives to take the plunge for a cause.