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January 20, 2012

Dream Destination Photo Contest: And the Winner Is…

By awayblog

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McWay Falls, located in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur (Heidi Haas)

From sunrises to sunsets, mountains to marketplaces, we've winnowed down the hundreds of entries in our Dream Destination Photo Contest to the winning shot: this photograph of California's McWay Falls, taken by reader Heidi Haas. In our quest to find the most inspirational travel photograph, the judges felt this image, featuring an 80-foot cascade dropping into restless Pacific Ocean swell, captured travel's sense of wonder as you round that bend to discover something new and unexpected. It also shows a moment where childhood memories of past vacations converge with the present—in her caption entry, Heidi details how she visited Big Sur as a child on a family vacation and was inspired to return 13 years later to check off the one place they'd bypassed on that trip.

For those of you wishing to trace Heidi's footsteps, McWay Falls is just one scenic highlight along a road, California Highway One, packed with a lifetime of iconic twists and turns. The waterfall is located at the end of an easy half-mile trail in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Other trails in the park include a 4.5-mile hike through stands of towering redwood trees and a short mile-long path that cuts through rock onto a quiet cove frequented by sea otters.

Read's Pacific Coast Highway Vacations Guide

Congratulations to Heidi, who wins a pair of round-trip airline tickets, plus a big thanks to everyone who took part. Stay tuned for our next great photo contest at the beginning of February—keep those cameras at the ready!

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Related Topics: News · Travel Photography


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I grew up looking often at a picture that was almost exactly the same shot (except for the exact position of the waves), and certainly the same perspective from the same perch, on a very famous picture that wsa on my Uncle's wall at his business. It doesn't really take much creative talent to go to exactly the same spot and take exactly the same framing as a well known beautiful shot. Nothing against the picture or the shooter, but I really think that in the context of a contest, they cheated.

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