First of all, awesome work! The finalists represent such a diverse body of work. Very inspiring.
Second, I enjoyed the article format enormously. As a complete hack photographer myself, the learning aspect was most welcome.
I do take issue with the winner (and I want to do this without any disrespect to you Sean, or your excellent work). Mesa Arch is 1/2 mile from the road, and at sunrise it's been photographed to death many times over. That would seem to disqualify it, given the stated criteria (emphasis added).
Keep up the good work BPL and fellow forum members.