Each year, we at Coastal Living sit down, take deep breaths, and begin the monumental task of wading through the thousands of entries we receive for the "Capture the Coast" photo contest.
Along the way, we have learned much: that on the coasts our readers frequent, the water is turquoise and azure and cerulean and cobalt and indigo and sapphire-but always blue. That when "burying" Dad or Uncle Joe in the sand, the fine powder of North Florida and the coarse grains of Hawaii work equally well. That although sunsets can be a million different colors, holding your breath just before they explode across the horizon is a universal reaction.
This year's entrants included bathing beauties and mermaids of all ages. Photos of brilliant sunrises and ecstatic pets poured in alongside those of quiet mornings and stormy nights. But one image captured our hearts.
Grand prize winner Albert Giraldi had the great fortune to snag the instant when innocence and bliss collide. First Flight personifies that magical feeling of being at the coast, no matter which one you call home.
Each photo we receive offers a glimpse of how our readers celebrate their seaside lifestyles. And, monumental task or no, culling through the entries is a duty we love.
The 2004 Winners:
"Breakfast at Sunrise"