You know how sometimes you're walking around your yard and something catches your eye and you think, hey, that would make a nice picture.
For many of us, that's about as far as it goes. A mosquito buzzes us or we have to move the sprinkler and the next thing we know we've scurried back into the air conditioning and forgotten all about that potential photograph.
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About our contestEach 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.
Brian Van Dine is one of those other guys. You know, the ones who actually go looking for a cool image and then know what to do once they've found it.
Which is exactly what happened earlier this summer when Van Dine was in his Carol Stream yard and was struck by the beauty of all the perennials in bloom -- especially the day lilies growing against a backdrop of a Russian sage.
He recently had purchased a Pentax X5 camera and says he "was hunting around the property for interesting photo opportunities to try it out."
Van Dine, who says there's "a little bit of an artistic streak running through our family," didn't let the opportunity pass him by.
"I recognized the color contrast would work," he says.
He shot several exposures and then applied one of the camera's digital features, Toy Camera, to the image. The filter is designed to take a high-grade photo and make it look like it was shot with a toy camera by keeping the center of the image sharp but slightly blurring the edges.
In this case, he says, "it caused the lily to just pop out."
The resulting picture caught the eye of the Daily Herald's DuPage photo staff, which picked it as the winner of our August Photo Finish contest. Van Dine will receive a $50 gift certificate from PJ's Camera in Pickwick Plaza at 662 Roosevelt Road, Glen Ellyn, for his efforts.
"I like this photo mainly because of the striking colors," DuPage Photo Director Scott Sanders says. "Experimenting with photo effect filters in current digital software is something that makes amateur photography so much fun."
A social worker, Van Dine says he became interested in photography about 20 years ago and recently got more involved in the digital aspect of the hobby.
When he saw the results of his recent effort, he decided to enter it in our contest.
"When I looked at it," he says, "I thought, by golly, this is a really good picture."
Turns out he was right.