Adam Pratt doesn't wait for an event to begin before he pulls out his camera.
"One thing that I've always tried to do is to not just shoot the obvious," the Wheaton resident says. "I look for the before, the after -- whatever makes it different."
That's what earned his unusual take on a sunrise the top spot in this month's Photo Finish contest.
Taken on the way to the top of Haleakala in Maui, it captures the gathering at the edge of the summit waiting, cameras in hand, to witness the amazing sunrise.
"This just jumped out at me -- the goofiness of all of these people on top of this mountain, hundreds of people just waiting for the sun to rise," he said.
Daily Herald Photo Editor Scott Sanders commends Pratt's originality.
"It is definitely not your typical sunrise photo," said Sanders, who chooses the winners for the photo contest.
"The photographer didn't play it safe and stand with all the other photographers to take the standard sunrise photo. Instead, he made all the other photographers and watchers the subject of his photo.
"It is good once in awhile to take a chance, separate yourself from the crowd and try something different. You can strike out, but you can also get a winner."
In Pratt's case, waiting to get to the top of the mountain before turning on his camera would have been a mistake.
"I got lots of bad photos of the sunrise that day, too," he jokes.
For his efforts, Pratt will receive a $50 gift certificate to PJ's Camera in Glen Ellyn.
Pratt, who does technical sales for Adobe, usually sticks close to home to find lively subjects for his photography hobby. Their names are Andrew, 6; Katie, 4; and Joshua, who is almost 2 -- his three children.
He carries his Canon 20D SLR with him all the time, and says photography is purely a hobby.
And, for the record, he wants people to know that working for the manufacturer of design software like Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign didn't give him an edge.
"There's no Photoshop in that image," he says.
Each Sunday's Neighbor section includes at least one entry to our Photo Finish photography contest.
Our professional photography staff picks some of their favorite submissions to run each week and one overall month winner to receive a prize.
If you would like to submit a photo for consideration, e-mail it in .jpg format with at least 300 dpi resolution to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Include your name, address and a phone number (for contact purposes only), plus a description of where you took the photo and what the occasion was for it.
The winner will receive a $50 gift certificate, good at PJ's Camera, Pickwick Place Plaza, 662 Roosevelt Road, Glen Ellyn.