When Nina Pulliam of Itasca was teaching school in Decatur in the 1960s, it was one of the first lessons her students taught her that resulted in a lifelong pursuit.
She was asked to supervise the yearbook staff. Though her interest in photography began in childhood, this assignment compelled her to sharpen her skills.
"The kids taught me how to use a camera," she said.
Pulliam later taught at Addison Trail High School, where she was again in charge of yearbook production and where her photography skills again were pressed into service.
These days, the retired educator makes pictures when she travels, explores local places and visits cultural events.
Her late summer trip to Millennium Park in Chicago yielded an eye-catching shot of a Jalisco dancer's performance that won the Daily Herald's Photo Finish competition for September.
Daily Herald DuPage Photo Director Bev Horne said the image is a "colorful, lively photo showing movement with good composition."
As this month's contest winner, Pulliam will receive a $50 gift certificate redeemable at PJ's Camera in Glen Ellyn.
Pulliam used her Nikon D-90 camera with a Tamron 16-300 millimeter lens to get the shot at the evening show.
"It's easy to take good pictures there because they have such good stage lighting," she said. "I set the camera to shoot three photos at a time. I didn't take a tripod. I set it for a (shutter) speed that I like."
With the DSLR camera set at either 1/40 or 1/50 of a second, she got the shot she wanted.
"I had a good seat on the aisle in the first section behind reserved seats, and before I left I was allowed to shoot photos from the west side of the stage," she said.
"I chose this photo because I liked the motion of the dress and the dancer's smile. It was a beautiful night of lively music, enthusiasm, glorious costumes and dance. And although I did not understand Spanish, and it was entirely in Spanish, I got goose bumps when the thousands of people there joined in singing traditional songs."
A member of the Schaumburg Camera Club, Pulliam said her photography habit has encouraged her adventurous side.
"I like photography a great deal because it gets me out to places I might not otherwise decide to go," she said.
Last year, she visited the Denver area and Rocky Mountain National Park.
She said she winters in a small town on Florida's gulf side, where she photographs pelicans, blue herons, ibis, great egrets and woodpeckers.
"I'd like to get up to Minnesota this fall yet. I like to drive up to Lake Superior," she said.
That trip north takes travelers to scenic, photo-worthy spots such as Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse, she said.
In August, she joined those in search of a glimpse of the solar eclipse as it passed through its totality trajectory.
"I got as far as Columbia, Illinois. I didn't get as far as Carbondale. I saw it from my cousin's driveway," she said. "I got very nice pictures. I was lucky. You kind of aim up and put it on infinity and shoot."