I won a trip to Hawaii in 2002. This is from the front page of the San Diego Union-Tribune, May 12th 2002. See the original winning photo here.
We went on the Hawaii trip in November. Here's the view from our hotel room:
I made this shot about 20 minutes before sunrise. Everyone else was still asleep. Notice the brightness of the lights in the other hotels. It was dark out and our eyes don't see the colors as brilliantly as the film did. The colors are this intense for only a few minutes. The rest of the roll before and after was boring. To get these colors you have to be up and shooting while everyone is asleep in the morning, and shoot while everyone else is eating or getting ready for dinner in the evening.
Sorry not to post more pretty Hawaii shots. The whole point of our trip was to play in the warm water. We enjoy a lot more than photography!
The previous contest "winner" was disqualified since he just put a coffee-table travel book into a color copier and submitted that copy of an image very similar to my image here. When the newspaper published the image their phones lit up with people saying "baloney, that photo is on the cover of a book I just bought at the big warehouse store" and thus the joker was disqualified.
I also won a couple of first places in the San Diego Union-Tribune's 2001 Nature Photo Contest. If you have a fast Internet connection and the flash player you can see mine and the the other winning shots of that contest here.