Monthly Archives

February 2009

Blue Whale Photo in National Geographic Magazine

Blue Whale

I am very fortunate to have one of my blue whale photos (Balaenoptera musculus) appear in the March 2009 issue of National Geographic Magazine. It is an image of a whale’s dorsal ridge and fluke, taken underwater, in the “Inside Geographic” section near the end of the magazine which describes an upcoming NG television special about blue whales and the researchers who study them. It is related to the excellent article on blue whales appearing earlier in the same issue, written by Kenneth Brower and beautifully photographed by the world’s foremost whale photographer, Flip Nicklin.

Blue whale dorsal ridge and fluke, underwater, National Geographic Magazine, March 2009, copyright Phillip Colla

Blue whale, National Geographic Magazine, March 2009, copyright Phillip Colla

Atascadero Hills

California

The rolling hills of Atascadero, decorated with power transmission lines and signal towers, sunrise.

Hills between Morro Bay and Atascadero, early morning light, power transmission lines and signal attenae

Hills between Morro Bay and Atascadero, early morning light, power transmission lines and signal attenae.
Image ID: 22222
Location: Morro Bay, California, USA

Madison River and Snow, Yellowstone National Park

National Parks, Panoramas, Photography, Wyoming, Yellowstone

In 1997 we made a visit to Yellowstone National Park in late fall to see the elk rut and were blessed with a few days of light snow. Not the bone chilling cold of Yellowstone in winter, but “winter lite” just perfect for we underdressed southern Californians. We spent most of our time watching elk along the Madison River, seen here with a dusting of snow and overcast skies:

Madison River, snow-covered banks and cold winter air, panorama, composite of 7 individual photographs, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Madison River, snow-covered banks and cold winter air, panorama, composite of 7 individual photographs.
Image ID: 22448
Location: Madison River, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA

The above panorama was made with the good gear (digital slr, good glass). You can see another panoramic photo of the Madison river shot handheld with our nifty Panasonic Lumix micro-mini-handy-cam, which stitched surprisingly well with contains super detail.

See more panoramic photos and Yellowstone National Park photos

Downtown San Diego and USS Midway

California, San Diego

One more photo of San Diego, then on to other things. Seen here are the high rise office buildings along the waterfront of downtown San Diego, lit with warm sunset light. Dominating the foreground is the USS Midway, a US Navy aircraft carrier that is now permanently docked in San Diego and which serves as a naval museum and a testament to San Diego’s rich Navy tradition and history.

Downtown San Diego and USS Midway.  The USS Midway was a US Navy aircraft carrier, launched in 1945 and active through the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm, as of 2008 a museum along the downtown waterfront in San Diego

Downtown San Diego and USS Midway. The USS Midway was a US Navy aircraft carrier, launched in 1945 and active through the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm, as of 2008 a museum along the downtown waterfront in San Diego.
Image ID: 22289
Location: San Diego, California, USA

See more Photos of San Diego.

Coast Highway 101

California, San Diego

The Coast Highway, also known as Highway 101 or Coast Blvd, is one of the gems of San Diego County. It takes on somewhat different names as it passes through the beachside communities of La Jolla, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas and Carlsbad. It passes spectacular ocean views, funky cafes and galleries, upscale restaurants, a few state parks and some very nice real estate. In this photo looking south, the Coast Highway passes alongside Torrey Pines State Beach and climbs past Torrey Pines Reserve. La Jolla is in the distance. The mouth of Los Penasquitos Marsh connects with the ocean in the center of the photograph. If you are a runner, consider this stretch of highway and beach “A-list.”

Coast Highway 101, looking south from Del Mar, with Los Penasquitos Marsh on the left and the cliffs of Torrey Pines State Reserve and La Jolla in the distance, San Diego, California

Coast Highway 101, looking south from Del Mar, with Los Penasquitos Marsh on the left and the cliffs of Torrey Pines State Reserve and La Jolla in the distance.
Image ID: 22310
Location: San Diego, California, USA

See more Photos of San Diego.

San Diego Convention Center

California, San Diego

We made several loops over downtown as the sun dropped to the horizon, eventually passing by the San Diego Covention Center. It is really a big facility and looks quite different from the air than when I have seen it from the entrance near the Gaslamp District. Just a few seconds after the photo below was made, I took a nice photo of Petco Park just a short distance away (as the crow flies).

San Diego Convention Center, located in the Marina District of downtown San Diego.  Built in 1989, the San Diego Convention Center offers 525,700 square feet of exhibit space.  It is noted for its distinctive "sails" made of Teflon-coated fiberglass suspended over the central exhibition hall, aptly named Sails Pavilion

San Diego Convention Center, located in the Marina District of downtown San Diego. Built in 1989, the San Diego Convention Center offers 525,700 square feet of exhibit space. It is noted for its distinctive “sails” made of Teflon-coated fiberglass suspended over the central exhibition hall, aptly named Sails Pavilion.
Image ID: 22290
Location: San Diego, California, USA

See more Photos of San Diego.

San Clemente Island and Mount Soledad, La Jolla

California, La Jolla

The sun had set and we were en route back to land the helicopter. Rather than spacing out as I am wont to do, for some reason I was paying attention and just happened to notice this juxtaposition of La Jolla’s Mount Soledad and distant San Clemente Island. I rattled off a bunch of frames, but since the light level was very low I had a tough time getting enough shutter speed to freeze the image in the copter. I ended up with one keeper:

Mount Soledad juxtaposed against a distant San Clemente Island at sunset, San Diego, California

Mount Soledad juxtaposed against a distant San Clemente Island at sunset.
Image ID: 22316
Location: San Diego, California, USA

See more of our San Diego Photos.

Coronado Bridge, San Diego

California, San Diego

One of the most striking sights during our flight over San Diego was the San Diego – Coronado Bridge. Arching high over San Diego Bay, the Coronado Bridge connects San Diego with the “island” community of Coronado and North Island Naval Air Station. Coronado is not truly an island as it is connected with the mainland with the long, skinny Strand, but approaching Coronado along the Strand requires a long detour through Imperial Beach. The Coronado Bridge was built high enough that large Navy boats can sail beneath it. And the bridge sections are designed to float so that, in the event that a disaster occurs and the bridge is destroyed, the bridge pieces can be easily moved out of the way so that Navy vessels can move quickly through the area. In this photo looking north, Coronado Island is seen to the left and downtown San Diego to the right.

San Diego Coronado Bridge, known locally as the Coronado Bridge, links San Diego with Coronado, California.  The bridge was completed in 1969 and was a toll bridge until 2002.  It is 2.1 miles long and reaches a height of 200 feet above San Diego Bay.  Coronado Island is to the left, and downtown San Diego is to the right in this view looking north

San Diego Coronado Bridge, known locally as the Coronado Bridge, links San Diego with Coronado, California. The bridge was completed in 1969 and was a toll bridge until 2002. It is 2.1 miles long and reaches a height of 200 feet above San Diego Bay. Coronado Island is to the left, and downtown San Diego is to the right in this view looking north.
Image ID: 22288
Location: San Diego, California, USA

See more of our San Diego Photos.

Midway Geyser Basin Panorama, Yellowstone

National Parks, Panoramas, Photography, Wyoming, Yellowstone

Midway Geyser Basin is one of my favorite parts of Yellowstone National Park. Early mornings and cold days are great here. The Firehole River steams as it flows through the basin, and numerous hot springs on either side of the river create shifting fogs and mists. In this panorama, formed from eight separate photographs, the Firehole River flows from left to right. Obscured by the steam in the far right of the image are Grand Prismatic Spring and Excelsior Geyser.

Firehole River, natural hot spring water steaming in cold winter air, panorama, Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Firehole River, natural hot spring water steaming in cold winter air, panorama, Midway Geyser Basin.
Image ID: 22454
Location: Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA

See more panoramic photos