AAA Magazines

2020 Westways Photo Contest: 12 images that almost won

“I have shot at this Newport Beach location numerous times but never had the dramatic clouds and the colorful sky photographers dream of. The weather forecast predicted high clouds on New Year’s Day and I decided to go to the beach to enjoy the sunset and hoping the sky would light up. The first sunset of 2020 did not disappoint. Sony α7Rlll "Newport Pier Sunset Burner" by Jeff Woon, 23-year member, Tustin, California. Camera: Sony a7Rlll. “I have shot at this Newport Beach location numerous times but never had the dramatic clouds and the colorful sky photographers dream of. The weather forecast predicted high clouds on New Year’s Day, and I decided to go to the beach to enjoy the sunset, hoping the sky would light up. The first sunset of 2020 did not disappoint.”

These photographs came oh so close to winning prizes in the 2020 Westways Photo Contest, but just missed. We hope you enjoy these bonus entries. Thanks to all of our participants.

Essence of California by Donnie Kane, 27-year member, Ontario. Camera: Canon EOS 80d.

Essence of California by Donnie Kane

27-year member, Ontario, California. Camera: Canon EOS 80d.

“Bright blue water, perfect waves, sandy beaches, and tall palm trees. California will always be my forever home. Being in the water and shooting the beauty of the ocean is my passion and I’ve been fortunate enough to live only an hour from the coast. I think this photo of Laguna Beach perfectly encapsulates my love for the ocean and the essence that is California.”

Hawaiian Honu by Simon Motamed, 18-year member, Los Angeles. Camera: Olympus Tough TG-6.

Hawaiian Honu by Simon Motamed

18-year member, Los Angeles. Camera: Olympus Tough TG-6.

“One of my favorite things to do in life is swim with the honu (turtles) in Hawai‘i.  Here is a beautiful one off Maui just chillin’ before taking a breath and diving deep.”

Cactus flowers

Cactus Flowers by Debbie Reyna

48-year member, Indio, California. Camera: iPhone 11.

“Here are beautiful cactus flowers taken while I walked in my Indio neighborhood during our COVID-19 quarantine.” 

Morro Rock

We Always Have (To) Morro by Michelle Ngo

5-year member, Ontario. Camera: Sony a7RII.

“Last summer, I had to do a three-month internship in San Francisco, which meant leaving my fiancé behind in Los Angeles. It was a challenging time in my life, and I felt alone and miserable every day. We made a pact to see each other every other weekend, and San Luis Obispo was a perfect place for the two of us to meet in between. One night, we stayed up late to stargaze and took this beautiful picture. Morro Bay holds a special place in our hearts as a place where we could always find each other again.”

The 2020 Westways Photo Contest
Wood house in the Eastern Sierra

Abandoned Dreams by Darina Baebler

11-year member, San Diego, California. Camera: Samsung Galaxy S9+.

“This wooden house is nestled in the heart of the Eastern Sierra near Lee Vining. I immediately thought of ‘House of Broken Dreams’ [by Crosby, Stills, and Nash] since it was once occupied and now abandoned. Stunning surroundings and mountain peaks covered with snow in the midst of warm summer evening. Such a gem.” 

lizard in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Desert Veteran by Mike Bowen

5-year member, Visalia, California. Camera: Nikon Coolpix P900.

“As I walked back to the car after photographing some ancient cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado, a small, colorful animal scampered across the trail in front of me, dashed across dry brush, and hopped atop a downed tree trunk nearby. I slowly crouched down and started snapping pictures. I had come to photograph the park’s beautiful ruins of a past civilization, but that collared lizard turned out to be the best photo of the day.”

Badwater, Death Valley National Park, California

Badwater Reflection by Hong Yue Kao

33-year member, Pasadena, California. Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

“At 282 feet below sea level, the shallow water at Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park was probably just an eighth of an inch deep, but it seemed to cover unlimited acres in this surreal landscape of unspoiled salt flats with random patterns as white as snow. The winter sun set fast as I walked back to my car in total darkness after the photo shoot. I was not afraid, but I could hear my heart pounding with excitement.” 

Joshua Tree National Park

Blue Dream by Dan Kuras

6-year member, Nipomo, California. Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II.

“On a family camping trip to Joshua Tree National Park, I snuck out after sunset to photograph the beautiful area surrounding Jumbo Rocks Campground. As I clicked the shutter for a 35-second exposure, a distant car drove past—its headlights provided the right amount of unintentional light, allowing me to get both the landscape’s foreground and starry background. The final result: A surreal landscape created by a happy accident that captured the park’s landmarks.” 

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Mount Rainier by John McHenry

11-year member, El Cajon, California. Camera: Sony a7R.

“Mount Rainier National Park in Washington has been a favorite of mine for several years, and the views of the mountain never disappoint. I was lucky to capture this image one morning while hiking in July 2019.” 

Humpback Whale

Humpback Jumping for Joy by Neal Abello

50-year member, Santa Ynez, California. Camera: Sony a7Rlll.

“My wife and I visit Maui every year in January or February specifically to view the whales. Lots of mothers with babies made 2019 an especially good year. I can usually get photos of tails and blowholes, but this instance off Lahaina was like a dream come true. This is the best breech I have ever seen, and this whale did it several times. It seemed like it was just having a good time.”

Trillium Lake, Mount Hood, Oregon

Trillium Lake Reflection of Mount Hood by Tim Tidwell

1-year member, Newport Beach, California. Camera: Nikon D810.

“Bald eagles were soaring from shore to shore of Oregon’s Trillium Lake as fisherman reeled in the biggest trout I’ve ever seen. I always wanted to see the Cascade Range, and Mount Hood is so visible and accessible throughout Oregon. Such a beautiful area—I hope to return soon.” 

Travel offers and deals

Mom on kids on roller coaster

Entertainment savings

Save big with AAA discounts on tickets to your next adventure.

Learn more

Woman at airport looking at arrival and departure screen

Travel with confidence

Purchase travel insurance with Allianz Global Assistance.

Learn more

Infinity pool

Hot travel deals

Get the latest offers from AAA Travel’s preferred partners.

Learn more

Makena Beach, Maui, Hawaii

Travel with AAA

See how we can help you plan, book, and save on your next vacation.

Learn more

back to top icon