John Maystadt was at the right place at the right time.
And how he captured the moment was pure gold.
About our contestEach week our Neighbor section includes at least one entry in our Photo Finish photography contest. Our monthly winner receives a $50 gift certificate from PJ's Camera in Glen Ellyn. If you'd like to submit a photo, email it in .jpg format with at least 300 dpi resolution to email@example.com.
Preparing with his wife to board an early morning flight to Las Vegas in November, the Roselle man caught sight of a plane landing at O'Hare International Airport. In the background, there was the sunrise and a silhouette of downtown Chicago.
Suitcase in one hand and camera bag in the other, he dropped the luggage and captured the image of a landing jet floating into view under the tail of the plane Maystadt was about to board.
"It was a wondrous site," Maystadt said. "Right place, right time. It was a beautiful thing."
A regular contributor to the Daily Herald's Photo Finish contest, Maystadt was encouraged by his son, Michael, to send this shot in.
"Kudos to my son, he really liked it," Maystadt said. "It really worked out perfectly."
Our photo department liked the results, too, and selected Maystadt's entry as the winner of our December contest.
"It has great color and great composition," DuPage Photo Director Scott Sanders said. "This is an excellent example of someone who knows a good photo when he sees it and has his camera ready to capture the moment."
For his efforts, Maystadt will receive a $50 gift certificate from PJ's Camera in Pickwick Place Plaza, 662 Roosevelt Road, Glen Ellyn.
A lover of landscapes and fascinated with mountains since he was a boy, Maystadt's eye for photography was born the summer of 1976, the year he graduated from college. Equipped with his first single-lens reflex camera, Maystadt read the owner's manual while a friend drove on a trip to the Canadian Rockies.
"Those are still some of my best and favorite photographs," he said. "I got into the digital age about seven or eight years ago, and it's been a wonderful trip."
Maystadt, an office manager for a company in Wood Dale, gets much of his inspiration on family trips. He enjoys taking pictures of sunsets from around the country.
This summer he traveled to Pennsylvania for the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg, where he brought back several shots of men in period costumes.
Maystadt and his wife, Kathy, do a yearly trek to Columbus, Ind., where he captures covered bridges and off-the-beaten-path photographs. It was a place he discovered several years ago by simply getting off the interstate for gas.
"That's how I come up with a lot of my shots. I always try to find the place that's a little different, especially when I'm traveling," Maystadt said. "A lot of times getting off the interstate is where you like to be."