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posted: 6/2/2013 6:00 AM

Naperville photographer isn't afraid to 'chimp'

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  • Larry Pearlman of Naperville captured this month's winning picture north of Pincher Creek in Alberta, Canada.

    Larry Pearlman of Naperville captured this month's winning picture north of Pincher Creek in Alberta, Canada.
    Courtesy of Larry Pearlman


Photographers call it "chimping."

Many pros kind of look down their noses at the practice but, in reality, it's what most of us amateurs do.

It's that moment when you think you've captured a really good picture and you immediately look at the back of your digital camera to see if the image on your LCD screen comes close to matching what you thought you saw through your viewfinder.

When it does, well, that's when you do the dance of joy, knowing you've got something special, the kind of photograph you just might consider sharing with others.

Larry Pearlman knows the feeling. His job takes him all over the world and his camera is never far from his side. And the bottom line is, chimping or no chimping, he's got an eye for what will and won't make a good picture.

So it was that the Naperville man recently found himself doing some work at a gas plant in Alberta, Canada, not far from Waterton National Park near a spot called Pincher Creek. It's a place where the sweeping prairie sways toward the Rocky Mountains and where the wind is a near-constant companion.

It's a stunning vista and a perfect place for windmills, and it was that combination that first captured Pearlman's photographic eye.

"I was in Waterton and I had a few extra hours," he says. "I went out with the sole purpose of taking some photographs."

It was late afternoon and the prairie seemed to be coming to life in the waning light.

There were many, many windmills, but Pearlman decided to crop his photo to include just one that "provides a stark contrast to the landscape and the Canadian Rockies."

"I like shooting landscapes," he says, "and I like machines and equipment."

Combine the two and for Pearlman and his trusty Canon 60D, it's irresistible.

"I knew the subject matter was really interesting and the lighting was really dramatic," he says.

And when he checked his LCD screen, he knew he had what he was looking for.

Our photo staff couldn't agree more and it's why Pearlman's image was selected as the winner of our May Photo Finish contest. For his efforts, he'll receive a $50 gift certificate from PJ's Camera, 662 Roosevelt Road, Glen Ellyn.

"I like it because it looks like a rustic photo of the road with the old-fashioned fencing going off into the distance and the mountains," DuPage Photo Director Scott Sanders says. "And there is this alien-looking modern invader plopped down in the middle of it. It looks unnatural and is a good contrast captured by the photographer."

Pearlman is a regular contributor to our contest and this isn't the first time he's won our monthly prize. He says he first started taking photographs with an old Brownie when he was about 5 years old and hasn't stopped since.

Many of his photos feature trains -- combining that passion for machines and landscapes he talks about -- but they almost all evoke some kind of emotion that helps set them apart.

"I try to be pretty selective," he says, and this month's entry is a perfect example of the kind of photograph that makes you stop and take a closer look.

It's the kind of image that makes much of Pearlman's work special. And if he's not careful, it just might give chimping a good name.

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