Todd Sherlock was out for a walk, just getting a little exercise, in late October at Herrick Lake Forest Preserve near Wheaton.
The sun was going down, he already had taken a bunch of pictures and was thinking of heading for home when something caught his eye.
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Each week our Neighbor section includes at least one entry in our Photo Finish photography contest. If you'd like to submit a photo, email it in .jpg format with at least 300 dpi resolution to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your name, town and a daytime phone number.
"It was real windy, and the algae was swirling and the leaves were blowing off the trees into the blue water," he says.
So he took out his trusty Canon SX210 and snapped what turned out to be his last picture of the day.
"I thought it was so windy it might turn out too blurry," he says, "but it turned out pretty cool."
So cool, in fact, that the Daily Herald's DuPage County photo staff selected it as the winning entry for November in our monthly Photo Finish contest.
For his efforts, Sherlock wins a $50 gift certificate from PJ's Camera, 662 Roosevelt Road, Glen Ellyn.
"We chose it because of its interesting composition and spectacular color," DuPage Photo Director Scott Sanders says. "It looks like an abstract painting."
It really does look like something you might find in an art shop, and that's probably not a surprise given that Sherlock spent about 35 years running and working in galleries before entering "semiretirement" last year at age 61.
His gallery work always kept him pretty busy, but around three years ago he started devoting some serious time to photography and almost immediately found success. He says he's exhibited nearly 130 photos in shows across the country, and one of his images will be in Photographer's Forum's 2013 Best of Photography.
"I've had an eye for it all my life," he says, and now he seldom leaves home without a camera.
Lots of people take pictures when they travel, he says, but "it's amazing what you can find in your own neighborhood. If people would just put down their iPhones and iPads for a little while and look around, there's some pretty cool stuff.
"I always say, 'I used to look, but now I see.'"
Sherlock says he had just started getting involved in photography when he sent four of his early images to a museum in Andrews, N.C. The museum accepted and displayed all four, he says, "and I was off and running."
A Wheaton resident, he's displayed his works locally in museums in Bloomingdale and at Graue Mill in Oak Brook and in Caribou Coffee shops in Glen Ellyn and Willowbrook.
His goal for this year was to get his own website, and he did just that, featuring 650 of his works, at fineartamerica.com/profiles/todd_sherlock.html.
As he moves forward, he says he hopes to keep entering shows, to keep winning ribbons.
"I sold art for so long, and I loved that," he says. Now he's finding he has that same kind of passion for photography.
He laughingly compares himself to the folk artist Grandma Moses, who didn't sell her first piece until she was 75.
"I'm kind of the Grandma Moses of the photography field," he says. "But I'm just 61, so I guess I'm ahead of her."