We asked you, the world's most passionate travelers, to send us photos that best captured your island dream. You answered with more than 1,300 images for the 19th edition of our reader photo contest. And here are the visions that really caught our attention, most satisfied our professional standards and ignited our insatiable wanderlust. Happy dreaming. See the photos.
Grand Prize: Bora-Bora by Joan Scala
"The day was cloudy during this short helicopter ride over Bora-Bora, so it was difficult to find lighting. Then the sun suddenly angled out, and the sky opened up near the end of the flight. The colors were unbelievable, and this appeared in front of us in an instant. It was magical. To fully appreciate the grandeur and diversity of the Islands of Tahiti, you need to experience them from all angles — under the water, from the land, on the sea and in the air."
Taken with a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II fitted with a 24-70 lens. The exposure is 1/320 second at f/7.1 at ISO 250. Prize: Five nights at the Outrigger Reef on the Beach on Oahu.
First Place: Ubud, Bali by Dave Gallagher
"Though the market where this photo was taken was crowded with people, this boy seemed to find a special private space all his own. His expression captivated me. This was taken in early afternoon at a market festival in Ubud, celebrating the Lunar New Year. I had been in Bali for a month, and this was the day before I had to leave. It made the whole trip worthwhile."
Taken with a Canon EOS Elan 7E fitted with a Tamron 28-300 mm lens. Prize: Seven nights at Emerald Palms on the Bahamas' South Andros Island.
Second Place: Honolulu, Hawaii by Tatiana Rivest
"I found the flamingos at the Honolulu Zoo around midday. I was taking photos of them for about a half-hour when I came cross this one sleeping. Right when I took the picture, he woke up and looked me dead in the eye."
Taken with a Canon PowerShot S2 IS. The exposure is 1/125 second at f/4. Prize: Four nights at any of the all-inclusive RIU Hotels & Resorts in the Caribbean or Mexico.
Third Place: Kake, Alaska by Ernest Manewal
"Every year, I've gone from Sitka over to Kake, a Tlingit village on Kupreanof Island where they have a Dog Salmon Festival. This was the welcoming canoe, which met the fast ferry that I came in on. It's a very small fishing village, and every year for this festival, they put on their regalia to welcome the ferry in this canoe and then do a welcoming dance on land. I took a lot of pictures that morning that just seemed to be right. I saw them off in the distance, and as they came even closer, I just kept photographing them."
Taken with a Nikon D80 fitted with a Nikon Nikkor 80-400 mm lens at 80 mm. The exposure is 1/500 second at f/5.6. Prize: Six nights for two at the Hilton Curaçao.
Artistic Merit: Martha's Vineyard by Amy Campbell
"This image was made at sunset on Martha's Vineyard just after I finished a workshop with professional photographer Alison Shaw. Her technique works by setting the camera to a long exposure with a small aperture and moving the camera horizontally, in this case, for the duration of the shutter opening. That method here makes the waves take on an ethereal and velvety appearance while smoothing over irregularities in the sand."
Taken with a Nikon D80 fitted with a 28-70 mm lens. The exposure is 1/2 second at f/22. The camera was panned while the shutter was open. Prize: Four nights at the Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa on Palm Beach.
Artistic Merit: San Juan, Puerto Rico by Catherine Flynn
"This is in the lower levels of the National Historic Site of San Felipe del Morro, which were once used as barracks. While touring the fort, I was struck by the historic echoes — the dangers of guarding an island settle- ment during the 1500s and also the isolation that the soldiers stationed there must have felt. The light in the series of connecting chambers was haunting, especially set against arches so simple and beautiful."
Taken with a Canon PowerShot A80. The exposure is 1/60 second at f/2.8. Prize: Weeklong session at the Maine Photographic Workshop in Rockport, Maine.