Hawaii shows off its picture-perfect self in this feast of award-winning photos

A spidery photo of the lava flow from Kilauea. The unfettered joy of children as they jump into the warm Pacific. An artistic photo of shave ice. These are among the winners of the Hawaii magazine 2019 photo contest, honoring the best images of the islands, shot by professionals and amateurs.

Zeus Quijano Jr. of Orange won the grand prize for his photo of red-hot lava from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii Island flowing into the ocean. It was taken before last year’s devastating eruption that lasted more than three months.


“That was just an amazing experience,” Quijano said. He was on a boat tour around sunset when he snapped the winning photo of fiery lava clinging to hardened, black lava at Kupapau Point along the island’s south coast.

“The more we contemplated it, the more it gave us what locals call ‘chicken skin,’ ” the magazine wrote about the photo.

Lava-viewing during a vacation to Hawaii Island had been on he and his wife’s bucket list for a long time.

“We’re looking to move to the Big Island,” Quijano said. “We both feel like we belong here.”

First place awards were given in several categories.

The winning Wildlife image of a pueo (Hawaiian short-eared owl) was taken by Peter K. Tang of Honolulu. He said it took patience to capture an owl sitting on a fence post near Kamuela on Hawaii Island.

“My friend ... and I would drive back and forth until we saw a pueo,” he told the magazine. “Some flew away, and some didn’t mind [having their] picture taken.”

Beth Cagnoni of Kihei, Maui, snagged first place in the People category with her photo shot near the northwest corner of the island.

“My husband and three boys love jumping off cliffs here in Hawaii, and Kapalua Bay has some lower rocks with a ladder for the younger crowd, so my daughter got to jump too,” Cagnoni told the magazine.

The cliff jumping takes place near the Cliff House, a historic venue now used for weddings and other special occasions.

A few miles down the coast near Lahaina is where Marie Frost captured the winning photo in the Food category.

Frost, a resident of Dexter, Mich., who vacations in Hawaii every year, used an iPhone to take a shot of the lilikoi (passion fruit) shave ice at Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice.

The peach-colored concoction, served in a blue bowl, stood out against the purple picnic table on which it sat before being devoured by Frost and her boyfriend.

“They use real fruit juice,” she said. “They leave the seeds in there which is kind of cool.”

In the Land category, Tou Thor of San Francisco found inspiration at one of bustling Waikiki’s lesser-known places: Magic Island, a man-made peninsula adjacent to Ala Moana Regional Park.

“I always loved spending evenings watching the sunset at Magic Island,” Thor told the magazine. “Just like the name implies, this place is very magical and I’m sure most people agree.”

Jason O’Rourke of Honolulu traveled to Kauai’s Napali Coast to take the first place “ocean” photo at Kee Beach.

He said he shot the image as “waves rushing back from the cliffs collide with the next set coming in.”

First prize winners received $100 gift certificates for their efforts. Quijano, the grand-prize winner, earned a $500 gift voucher, round-trip airfare to Hawaii for two, plus a stay in a Waikiki hotel.

Submissions are judged by the magazine’s team of editors, designers and staff.

Info: Hawaii Magazine’s 2019 Photo Contest