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updated: 3/2/2014 7:29 PM

Wood Dale photographer captures great image, contest prize

Wood Dale's Dan Mikos captures great image, contest prize and -- most importantly -- bragging rights

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  • Dan Mikos of Wood Dale won first place in our February Photo Finish contest for this image he captured in his own back yard.

    Dan Mikos of Wood Dale won first place in our February Photo Finish contest for this image he captured in his own back yard.


Timing, Dan Mikos will tell you, can be everything.

The Wood Dale man, for example, got home late a while back and happened to glance up to see the full moon shining through the trees in his backyard.

Kind of cool looking, you know? Kind of spooky, too. The kind of image worth remembering.

It's also the kind of image Mikos has tried to capture before, only to find that big ol' full moon often becomes nothing more than a white speck on a photo.

On this night, though, the North Park University marketing major grabbed a camcorder from the back of his car, propped it up on the roof of the vehicle and took one lone shot of the moon and the trees and the sky.

And darned if it didn't turn out to be something special.

"I was in the right place at the right time," he says. "I just got lucky."

Lucky or not, the DuPage photo staff picked his submission as the winner of our February Photo Finish contest.

"I like it because it is very moody," DuPage Photo Director Scott Sanders says. "I expected to see Lon Chaney as The Wolfman peering from around a tree."

For his efforts, Mikos will receive a $50 gift certificate from PJ's Camera in Pickwick Place Plaza, 662 Roosevelt Road, Glen Ellyn.

That's a nice prize, of course, but truth be told, the bragging rights that come with winning our contest may be more important to Mikos.

It seems his girlfriend, Cynthia Huntowski, entered our contest in June 2012 and won first prize for her image of a sunset at the Wood Dale reservoir.

Mikos, a Fenton High School grad, says that was in his mind when he submitted his own photo.

It's not that the two of them might turn this whole Photo Finish thing into a competition or anything like that. Oh, no, not a chance.

Well, OK, maybe.

"I think I'm going to turn it into a contest," he says. "I've got a couple more shots I'd like to enter and this will push us to try to get the perfect shot."

Mikos says he began taking pictures as a high school freshman eight years ago and really, really enjoys the hobby.

He says he saw the movie, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," and was reminded "how much photography means to me."

"It's nice to be able to look back on memories you otherwise might lose," he says. "It's an opportunity to capture a moment in time."

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