Naperville woman wins our monthly Photo Finish contest
Susan Barhaug of Naperville won this month's Photo Finish contest with this stunning image of the Millennium Carillon.
The window of opportunity can be a fickle thing.
Sometimes it's wide open. Sometimes it's closed tight. And sometimes it's cracked just enough to give you a peek at what's on the other side.
About our contest
About our contest
Each week our Neighbor section includes at least one entry in our Photo Finish photography contest. Our photo staff picks one overall monthly winner to receive a prize. If you would like to submit a photo, email it in .jpg format with at least 300 dpi resolution to email@example.com.
Susan Barhaug is living proof.
She was in downtown Naperville taking pictures for what would become a self-published photo book, and looking for just the right image of the city's Millennium Carillon amid the surrounding autumn splendor.
She was there on Saturday. She was there on Sunday. But the changing leaves still hadn't reached their crescendo.
So the determined Naperville woman returned a week later and — pow! — it looked like a postcard. The sun was out. The sky was a pristine blue. The leaves were dazzling. The reflection in the water was stunning.
She whipped out her Sony NEX3, snapped maybe a dozen images, and emerged with the photograph that not only serves as the cover of her book (titled, appropriately enough, "Naperville, Illinois"), but that also is our choice for the picture of the month in our Photo Finish contest.
"I just love this picture," she says. "It's my favorite."
DuPage Photo Director Scott Sanders agrees.
"I like it because the colors are gorgeous and the mirror image reflection is just about perfect," he says.
For her efforts, Barhaug will receive a $50 gift certificate from PJ's Camera, 662 Roosevelt Road, Glen Ellyn.
Barhaug says she has enjoyed photography for all of her adult life, but began taking it seriously a year and a half ago when her husband, Ken, bought her the SLR camera.
She took some lessons to learn how all the gizmos work — "the artistic part comes a little more naturally to me" — and then set about the task of capturing Naperville in all four seasons.
"At that point," she says, "I started to look at it as a form of art."
Now, she says, "I almost always have a camera in my hand."
Producing a book of her images was a natural progression from the photo albums she was putting together for friends and neighbors who were moving away from town. Fittingly enough, she's sold some of those books to a Realtor who presents them as keepsakes for people who are leaving Naperville.
Barhaug knows a lot about her city. She's lived here for roughly 30 years and spent 20 years in the town's banking industry.
She says she discovered our Photo Finish contest just a few weeks ago and decided to see how her carillon image would do. Pretty well, it turns out.
Which brings us back to that window of opportunity we were talking about.
Barhaug says the blue skies she captured in her winning photo gave way that night to a big wind storm that came roaring through town.
When she returned to downtown the next day, she found many of the colorful leaves were gone and so was that near-perfect reflection.
Mother Nature, as luck would have it, had slammed that window shut.
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