The votes are in, and Pop Photo has picked a winner for our “Maui: How Bad Do You Want It?” Photo Contest!

For a chance to win an all-expenses-paid six-day trip to the Magic Isle, readers had the chance to submit a photo showing us exactly how bad they wanted to visit Maui. Picking a winner wasn’t easy, because we got some pretty amazing responses: particularly those of you who braved outdoor shots in the snow and ice, wearing nothing but bathing suits.

But in the end we had to go with this hilarious contribution from Liesel Kopp, whose imagination and image editing skills took her to new levels of wackiness. We were impressed by the concept (not just “on the brain” but “under the skin”), as well as the evident research and care spent putting this together (look closely and you’ll notice she even included the Hawaii state bird). Mostly because, well, it made us laugh out loud, particularly the “crowning touch.”

Here’s how Liesel did it:

“I thought about the contest theme for a really long time, and then it hit me that I had had “Maui on the brain” for so long that the idea morphed into other phrases, and that’s where the phrases “On our minds, under our skin and in our hearts” came from. Then my boyfriend Josh and I did a ridiculous photo shoot in my apartment, and I started playing with the results with those phrases in mind. I used stock images of Maui, as well as elements of photos that my brother Kerry had taken in Kauai, to meld onto our bodies.

The background is also from my brother, and I manipulated the people in the background so that they no longer look like their original selves. I had a ton of layers going on–each element is its own layer, and depending on the color, brightness and detail of each, I would use options such as Multiply, Overlay, Screen, and Opacity to make them look like they were tattooed onto us. I also used the Eraser at a very low opacity to soften edges of elements, and the dodge and burn tool to give them depth. I saved the nene bird and palm tree as our crowning glory–I wanted the image to be as fun, colorful and ridiculously over-the-top as possible to match how much I want to go to Maui.”

She’s pretty excited to be the winner! “I absolutely love the island, and I’ve always been overwhelmed by its beauty as well as the sense of reverence and spirituality there. Winning this contest is incredibly special and means the world to me. I’ll be taking my boyfriend Josh, who patiently participated in my photo shoot then allowed me to put a palm tree on his head.”

She¹ll be traveling there some time in the next year with the help of our sponsors, Maui Visitors Bureau (, and Royal Lahaina Resort (

See all of the results here:

And for your own chance to enter one of our contests, keep checking