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9 years of Westways Photo Contest winners

2019 Westways Photo Contest third-place winner Burrowing Owls by Tom Webb.

As we look forward to the 10th Westways Photo Contest, here’s a look back at the winning photos from our first 9 contests. The 2023 contest is now closed.

2014: Sequoia Star Trail

Sequoia Star Trail by Robert Kawika Sheer

Robert Kawika Sheer of Redondo Beach took this shot at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. He used a 1953 4x5 Speed Graphic Special to make a 6-hour exposure of this giant sequoia tree as he lit the tree with a hand-held Coleman lantern for 30 minutes as “seemingly every dart-flying bug in the dark forest flick-snapped me in the head and neck.”

2015: Overlooking Bixby Creek Bridge

Overlooking Bixby Creek Bridge by Megan Empero

Megan Empero from Canyon Country used her Canon EOS Rebel XS to take this photo during a family road trip to the central California coast. Captivated by “the grandness of the bridge, the water’s rich blue tones, and the beautiful sky,” they pulled the car over on a narrow dirt road to make the photograph.

You may also like: 2020 Westways Photo Contest winners

2016: Yosemite

Yosemite by Martha Chapin

Martha Chapin of Reseda made this photo with her Canon EOS 5D Mark III. Celebrating her husband’s January birthday, the morning conditions were perfect. “New overnight snow covered the valley floor and trees. Fog formed as the sun rose and the sky started to clear. The sun shining through the trees and the fog provided an exceptional photographic opportunity.”

2017: Snow and Steam

Snow and Steam by Paula Stinson

Paula Stinson of San Diego used her Nikon D7100 for this morning shot while visiting Ely, Nevada, for the Nevada Northern Railway Museum’s 3-day Winter Steam Photo Shoot Spectacular with her husband. “Waking up to a sparkling white blanket of snow on our second day was an unexpected surprise. I loved the contrast of the snow-laden trees with the black steam rising from the vintage locomotive.”

2018: Bee Happy

Bee Happy by Maria Puchalski

On a beautiful sunny day, Maria Puchalski from Mission Viejo noticed bees buzzing around the flowers in her neighbor’s front yard. Many had pollen on their hind legs; she took out her iPhone 5 and captured one of them.

You may also like: 2021 Westways Photo Contest winners

2019: Pele’s Well

Pele’s Well by Dennis Ball

Dennis Ball of La Verne was on Hawai‘i Island for his 30th anniversary. While researching the trip, he learned about Pele’s Well, a lava tube south of the Kona airport where waves force water to rise and drain through a natural well. After scouting the location in the morning, he returned just before sunset with his Fuji XT3 to make this shot.

2020: The Sleepy Fox

The Sleepy Fox by Jeff Szucs

Jeff Szucs of Tulare put more than 2,000 miles on his car as he made a grand tour of northern Arizona with his wife. As they hiked near Williams (about 40 miles west of their base in Flagstaff), they “stumbled upon this fox who had no fear of being photographed.” Out came his Sony a9 for this first-prize photo.

2021: Graceful Great Egret

Graceful Great Egret by Wayne Angeloty

Wayne Angeloty traveled from his Pismo Beach home to an estuary at the Sweet Springs Nature Preserve in Los Osos. As he slowly approached, the egret “seemed unfazed by the foot traffic and my continuous but silent shooting” with a Nikon 3400 DSLR. “The pose, soft reflections, and onyx-mirrored surface reminded me of an ancient brush painting.”

You may also like: 2022 Westways Photo Contest winners

2022: Electric Pier

Electric Pier by Connor Naasz

Connor Naasz of San Clemente knew he had limited time when thunderstorms were forecast. Arriving at the San Clemente Pier with his Sony a7 III, he saw lightning in all directions. “I happened to be right in the middle of a 360-degree show. I set up my tripod, framed the pier, and fired away. Shortly after taking this photo around 7:15, I felt the hair on my head and arms start to stand up—which I took as my sign to leave!”

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