Hanalei man wins big with photo of Kalalea

HANALEI – Local photographer and writer Ben Welborn was on his way to the Anahola soccer field to do some bike riding when he looked up and saw “the shot”

Above him, the Kalalea mountain range loomed majestically from behind a line of silhouetted palm trees

Welborn returned to the spot later equipped with his Nikon F100 and was at first worried that the gathering storm clouds would block out shot he had composed perfectly in his head

“But then the light became incredible and I got the photo,” he says

That photo, taken last year, earned him the grand prize in the annual Islands Magazine photo contest – a trip to Tahiti. The photo ran in a recent edition of the national magazine

“Trip is neat,” he says, “but more than anything it’s fun to see your stuff in print and to have people call you up and go, ‘Oh man, I just love that.’” Welborn, 31, who has had his work published in Stratos magazine and Hana Hou, Hawaiian Airlines’ in-flight magazine, takes photographs only part-time

In order to qualify to win the contest, those entering have to make less than 10 percent of their income from photography, he says

Welborn’s photo of Kaua’i beat out hundreds of entries featuring islands all over the world

Welborn took the photo using a Nikkor 80-200 zoom with a 2x teleconverter, a tripod and no filters. He used F-11 at 1/60th of a second

He says that on the very day he got the phone call from Islands Magazine informing him of the prize, he had written down his goals for the year 2000. One of those goals was to win a photo contest. “So it does pay to write down your goals,” he says.

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