2014 Photo Contest Winners

These winning images rose to the surface and left us wanting more. Each year we receive hundreds of photos from all over the world, and these winners do not disappoint. Check out your top shots from the 25th Annual Islands Photo Contest.

Islands Magazine Photo Contest | Best Travel Photography | Grand Prize, Lahaina, Maui by Katie Sheppard

Grand Prize, Lahaina, Maui by Katie Sheppard

“It’s very rare to find a curious humpback. This was a special day. We were 2 miles off Lahaina on my boyfriend’s boat when we spotted this whale near a Zodiac raft. It circled our boats and was spy hopping for 30 to 45 minutes, as if begging for a picture. You’re not allowed to swim with humpbacks in Hawaii, so I had my GoPro attached to a 4-foot stick. I set the camera’s timer to shoot at one-second intervals, put it over the side of the boat and hoped for the best.” Shot with: GoPro Hero 3 Prize: Five-night stay at Aston at The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach, plus airfare from Alaska Airlines.Katie Sheppard
Islands Magazine Photo Contest | Best Travel Photography | Old San Juan, Puerto Rico by Ken Smith

Second Prize, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico by Ken Smith

“This building seemed to stand out from the others. What I liked about it were the lines. The doors aligned with the balconies, and all the different rectangles seemed to have repeating lines. I shot this with my 35 mm lens with a panoramic head, which was a challenge. This image is actually nine HDR images stitched together. It took a great deal of post-production work to get all the lines parallel and perpendicular.” Shot with: Sony Alpha7R Prize: Seven-day cruise for two in St. Vincent and the Grenadines with Sail Windjammer.Ken Smith
Islands Magazine Photo Contest | Best Travel Photography | Old San Juan, Puerto Rico by Ken SmithThird Prize, Sulphur Bay Boy, Tanna, Vanuatu by Paul Zizka

Third Prize, Sulphur Bay Boy, Tanna, Vanuatu by Paul Zizka

“No words were exchanged between this boy and me in Sulfur Bay. He was staring at me out this window, so I made a gesture to ask if I could take a photograph. The boy nodded, and that was the extent of our interaction. I couldn’t tell if this structure was his home. Everyone seems to live everywhere, and children appear to be raised by the village as a whole. I love the boy’s quiet confidence. It makes me wish I were back on Vanuatu.” Shot with: Canon 5D Mark II, 17-40 mm lens Prize: Two-night stay at Little Palm Island in the Florida Keys.Paul Zizka
Islands Magazine Photo Contest | Best Travel Photography | Artistic Merit, Holes by Matt Anderson

Artistic Merit, Holes by Matt Anderson

“I stumbled upon images of the Conch Bar Caves while researching the region for an upcoming trip. Getting to the caves involved a ferry from Providenciales to North Caicos, a rental car (options are limited), lots of biting no-see-ums, and a drive across a hurricane-weathered bridge to Middle Caicos. From there, the caves are off the main road. Beware of a pack of wild dogs. This image is the ceiling of Indian Cave. The holes in the eroded limestone formations reveal the jungle above, and yeah, the view is worth the trek.” Shot with: Canon 5D Mark II, 24 mm lens **Prize:****** One-week photo workshop at Maine Media Workshops.Matt Anderson
Islands Magazine Photo Contest | Best Travel Photography | Reader's Choice Winner, Bora Bora, Tahiti by Alicia Besinger

Reader's Choice Winner, Bora Bora, Tahiti by Alicia Besinger

“One of my favorite parts of traveling is sunrise. It’s my special time. On this morning, the sunlight over Mount Otemanu turned the clouds golden. It was quiet, just the sound of the sea lapping the sand. I sat next to the palm without thinking of my camera, but I love how the tree frames the scene.” Shot with: Canon SX40 HS, 24-840 mm lens Prize: A four-day Luxury Included vacation for two at Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa in Providenciales.Alicia Besinger
Islands Magazine Photo Contest | Best Travel Photography | Reader's Choice Nominee, Johns Island, South Carolina by Emma Foley

Reader's Choice Nominee, Johns Island, South Carolina by Emma Foley

Angel Oak, taken on Johns Island, SC. Claims to be the oldest living tree on the East Coast, up to 1,500 years old.Emma Foley
Reader's Choice Nominee, Denarau Island, Fiji by Angie Saylor

Reader's Choice Nominee, Denarau Island, Fiji by Angie Saylor

Fire throwing on the beach at night. March 25, 2013. Denarau, Fiji.Angie Saylor
Reader's Choice Nominee, Kauai, Hawaii by Bruce Kaiser

Reader's Choice Nominee, Kauai, Hawaii, by Bruce Kaiser

Na Pali CoastBruce Kaiser
Reader's Choice Nominee, Kauai, Hawaii by Jim Magers

Reader's Choice Nominee, Kauai, Hawaii, by Jim Magers

Five Sisters FallsJim Magers
Reader's Choice Nominee, Local Kids by Nicole Andersen

Reader's Choice Nominee, Local Kids, by Nicole Andersen

Ibo, MozambiqueNicole Andersen
Reader's Choice Nominee, Borneo by Ernest Manewal

Reader's Choice Nominee, Borneo, by Ernest Manewal

Pensive, probiscus monkey on the island of BorneoErnest Manewal
Reader's Choice Nominee, The Kiss by Ana Martin

Reader's Choice Nominee, The Kiss, by Ana Martin

Mandarishfish mating ritual at dusk. Lembeh Straits, Sulawesi, IndonesiaAna Martin
Reader's Choice Nominee, Moorea, Tahiti by David Honl

Reader's Choice Nominee, Moorea, Tahiti, by David Honl

Hula dancer atop a canoeDavid Honl
Reader's Choice Nominee, Kauai, Hawaii by Arnold Flores

Reader's Choice Nominee, Kauai, Hawaii, by Arnold Flores

Vista of HanaleiArnold Flores