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People’s Choice Winner

Herndon senior Josh Katz reflects on award-winning photograph.

This photo by Herndon High School senior Josh Katz was selected as the People’s Choice award winner during the annual Herndon Town Calendar photo contest.

This photo by Herndon High School senior Josh Katz was selected as the People’s Choice award winner during the annual Herndon Town Calendar photo contest. Photo by Josh Katz

— When the Town of Herndon 2014 calendars are sent to all the residents late this year, the work of Josh Katz will adorn the main page. Katz, a rising senior at Herndon High School, took this year’s People’s

Choice Award winning photograph.

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Herndon High School senior Josh Katz at Herndon ArtSpace with his award-winning photograph that will be featured in the 2014 Herndon Town Calendar.

It will appear on the calendar’s third page, opposite Mayor Lisa Merkel’s greeting.

Katz took the photo last summer, and he got the idea while going back and forth between skate parks in Herndon and the one at Lake Fairfax.

“I like skateboarding, and I like the long exposure shots that are in a lot of the skateboarding magazines I read, and this shot was a combination of the two,” he said.

Katz manned his Canon T3i with a 50 mm lens during the shoot, and another friend held a flash while Omar Segovia went back and forth across the park feature.

“We went out around 8 p.m., because I knew Omar would need some light to see where he was going, and I wanted to get some ambient light,” he said. “But we only had about 15 minutes of good light to get the shot, and it took about five or 10 minutes to figure out the best way to capture him.”

Katz said he set the shutter speed on his camera for a two-second exposure, and clicked the shutter as Segovia hit the obstacle.

“We did a bunch of shots where I just messed with the aperture to let more or less light in, going from as wide as possible to as low as possible,” he said. “I probably took 60 or so photos, and maybe five or six ones that were really good.”

The photo depicts a ghostly, translucent Segovia as he hits the front of the obstacle at the park, with a few headlights on Herndon Parkway visible in the background.

“I wanted people to be able to see something in the background, not just black, which is why the time of day was important,” he said. “Once we got the light right, we sent Omar over the obstacle over and over and just kept shooting.”

During the last school year, Katz showed the results of his session to his photography teacher, who urged him to submit it to the Town Calendar competition.

More than 200 votes were received for the People’s Choice Award photo, which included 58 finalists, and Katz’s was the clear winner with more than 20 votes. Katz will be enrolled in AP Photography at Herndon, and says his ultimate goal is to be one day published in a skateboarding magazine.

He will be honored by the Town Council at their Sept. 10 meeting.