Category

Best Photographs of the Year

Natural History Photography – Best Photos of 2016

Best Photographs of the Year

My Best Natural History Photographs of 2016

2016 offered opportunities for me to photograph underwater and aerial views in the Sea of Cortez, sharks in the Bahamas, stingrays in the Cayman Islands, astrophotography landscapes in Grand Teton National Park, summer in Lake Tahoe, autumn in Mineral King, the Zion Narrows again, and as always America’s Finest City, San Diego.

This is the tenth year in a row I have done an annual retrospective. My creative goal for any one year is, as it always has been, to shoot 3-4 world-class images and 10-15 portfolio-quality images. Below are my favorites from 2016. If you like these feel free to check out previous years’ favorites as well: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007. Also, be sure to check out Jim Goldstein’s blog, where he collects the “best of the year” collections of many talented photographers.  Thanks Jim! Cheers and Thanks for looking!

Two tiger sharks, Galeocerdo cuvier

Two tiger sharks
Image ID: 31875
Species: Tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier
Location: Bahamas

Great hammerhead shark, Sphyrna mokarran

Great hammerhead shark
Image ID: 31966
Species: Great hammerhead shark, Sphyrna mokarran
Location: Bimini, Bahamas

Caribbean reef shark, Carcharhinus perezi

Caribbean reef shark
Image ID: 31977
Species: Caribbean reef shark, Carcharhinus perezi
Location: Bahamas

Lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris

Lemon shark
Image ID: 32015
Species: Lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris
Location: Bahamas

Southern Stingray, Stingray City, Grand Cayman Island

Southern Stingray, Stingray City, Grand Cayman Island
Image ID: 32070
Location: Stingray City, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Beautiful Caribbean coral reef, sponges and hard corals, Grand Cayman Island

Beautiful Caribbean coral reef, sponges and hard corals, Grand Cayman Island
Image ID: 32101
Location: Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Loggerhead turtle, Caretta caretta, Grand Cayman Island

Loggerhead turtle, Caretta caretta, Grand Cayman Island
Image ID: 32137
Location: Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Southern Stingrays, Stingray City, Grand Cayman Island

Southern Stingrays, Stingray City, Grand Cayman Island
Image ID: 32162
Location: Stingray City, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Southern Stingray, Stingray City, Grand Cayman Island

Southern Stingray, Stingray City, Grand Cayman Island
Image ID: 32165
Location: Stingray City, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Beautiful Caribbean coral reef, sponges and hard corals, Grand Cayman Island

Beautiful Caribbean coral reef, sponges and hard corals, Grand Cayman Island
Image ID: 32178
Location: Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Aspens show fall colors in Mineral King Valley, part of Sequoia National Park in the southern Sierra Nevada, California

Aspens show fall colors in Mineral King Valley, part of Sequoia National Park in the southern Sierra Nevada, California
Image ID: 32257
Location: Mineral King, Sequoia National Park, California, USA

Aspens show fall colors in Mineral King Valley, part of Sequoia National Park in the southern Sierra Nevada, California

Aspens show fall colors in Mineral King Valley, part of Sequoia National Park in the southern Sierra Nevada, California
Image ID: 32273
Location: Mineral King, Sequoia National Park, California, USA

Teton Range from Schwabacher Landing, Grand Teton National Park

Teton Range from Schwabacher Landing, Grand Teton National Park
Image ID: 32312

Milky Way over T.A. Moulton Barn, Grand Teton National Park

Milky Way over T.A. Moulton Barn, Grand Teton National Park
Image ID: 32316

Eagle Falls at Sunrise, Lake Tahoe, California

Eagle Falls at Sunrise, Lake Tahoe, California
Image ID: 32326
Location: Lake Tahoe, California, USA

Split view of Trees and Underwater Boulders, Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Split view of Trees and Underwater Boulders, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Image ID: 32331
Location: Lake Tahoe, Nevada, USA

Split view of Trees and Underwater Boulders, Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Split view of Trees and Underwater Boulders, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Image ID: 32334
Location: Lake Tahoe, Nevada, USA

Boulders underwater, Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Boulders underwater, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Image ID: 32358
Location: Lake Tahoe, Nevada, USA

Punta Colorada and San Gabriel Bay, aerial photo, Isla Espiritu Santo, Sea of Cortez, Mexico

Punta Colorada and San Gabriel Bay, aerial photo, Isla Espiritu Santo, Sea of Cortez, Mexico
Image ID: 32368
Location: Isla Espiritu Santo, Baja California, Mexico

Los Islotes, part of Archipelago Espiritu Santo, Sea of Cortez, Aerial Photo

Los Islotes, part of Archipelago Espiritu Santo, Sea of Cortez, Aerial Photo
Image ID: 32397
Location: Baja California, Mexico

Punta Alta and La Cueva, Baja California, Sea of Cortez, aerial photograph

Punta Alta and La Cueva, Baja California, Sea of Cortez, aerial photograph
Image ID: 32435
Location: Punta Alta, Baja California, Mexico

Isla San Francisquito, Aerial Photo, Sea of of Cortez

Isla San Francisquito, Aerial Photo, Sea of of Cortez
Image ID: 32441
Location: Isla San Francisquito, Baja California, Mexico

Boat Ambar and School of Fish, Ensenada el Embudo, Isla Partida, aerial photo

Boat Ambar and School of Fish, Ensenada el Embudo, Isla Partida, aerial photo
Image ID: 32456
Location: Isla Partida, Baja California, Mexico

Sea Lions playing in shallow water, Los Islotes, Sea of Cortez

Sea Lions playing in shallow water, Los Islotes, Sea of Cortez
Image ID: 32506
Location: Los Islotes, Baja California, Mexico

Sea Lion Underwater, Los Islotes, Sea of Cortez

Sea Lion Underwater, Los Islotes, Sea of Cortez
Image ID: 32522
Location: Los Islotes, Baja California, Mexico

California Sea Lion Hunts in a School of Scad Fish, Sea of Cortez

California Sea Lion Hunts in a School of Scad Fish, Sea of Cortez
Image ID: 32600
Location: Baja California, Mexico

Fall Colors in the Virgin River Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah

Fall Colors in the Virgin River Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah
Image ID: 32609
Location: Virgin River Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah, USA

The Virgin River Narrows, where the Virgin River has carved deep, narrow canyons through the Zion National Park sandstone, creating one of the finest hikes in the world

The Virgin River Narrows, where the Virgin River has carved deep, narrow canyons through the Zion National Park sandstone, creating one of the finest hikes in the world.
Image ID: 32622
Location: Virgin River Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah, USA

Natural History Photography – Best Photos of 2015

Best Photographs of the Year

My Best Natural History Photographs of 2015

2015 offered opportunities for me to photograph the Sierra Nevada, the Sea of Cortez, California’s Channel Islands, the coral reefs of the Fiji Islands, a Louisiana plantation, astrophotography landscapes in the Southwest, and as always America’s Finest City, San Diego. I was finally able to get back in the water and focus on underwater photography, which is where I got my start as a photographer but which has been nearly absent in my work for the past 10 years.

This is the ninth year in a row I have done an annual retrospective. My creative goal for any one year is, as it always has been, to shoot 3-4 world-class images and 10-15 portfolio-quality images. Below are my favorites from 2015. If you like these feel free to check out previous years’ favorites as well: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007. Also, be sure to check out Jim Goldstein’s blog, where he collects the “best of the year” collections of many talented photographers. Cheers and Thanks for looking!

Desert Light

Erosion in the salt patterns of Badwater Playa, Death Valley National Park

Erosion in the salt patterns of Badwater Playa, Death Valley National Park
Image ID: 30475
Location: Badwater, Death Valley National Park, California, USA

Mesquite Dunes at sunrise, dawn, clouds and morning sky, sand dunes, Death Valley National Park, California

Mesquite Dunes at sunrise, dawn, clouds and morning sky, sand dunes.
Image ID: 30479
Location: Mesquite Dunes, Death Valley National Park, California, USA

Sand verbena wildflowers on sand dunes, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Abronia villosa, Borrego Springs, California

Sand verbena wildflowers on sand dunes, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Image ID: 30516
Species: Sand verbena, Abronia villosa
Location: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Borrego Springs, California, USA

San Diego From Above

Panoramic Aerial Photo of San Diego Coronado Bay Bridge

Panoramic Aerial Photo of San Diego Coronado Bay Bridge
Image ID: 30789
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Aerial Panoramic Photo of Point Loma and Cabrillo Monument, San Diego, California

Aerial Panoramic Photo of Point Loma and Cabrillo Monument
Image ID: 30847
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Del Mar beach and homes at sunset

Del Mar beach and homes at sunset
Image ID: 30491
Location: Del Mar, California, USA

Aerial Panoramic Photo of Point La Jolla and La Jolla Cove, Boomer Beach, Scripps Park

Aerial Panoramic Photo of Point La Jolla and La Jolla Cove, Boomer Beach, Scripps Park
Image ID: 30786
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Astrophotography Landscapes

Milky Way during Full Lunar Eclipse over Arch Rock, Joshua Tree National Park, April 4 2015

Milky Way during Full Lunar Eclipse over Arch Rock, Joshua Tree National Park, April 4 2015
Image ID: 30718
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA

Perseid Meteor Shower over Joshua Tree National Park, Aug 13, 2014

Perseid Meteor Shower over Joshua Tree National Park, Aug 13, 2014
Image ID: 31145
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA

Jet Airliner Silhouetted Against Supermoon Eclipse, at Moonrise over San Diego, September 27 2015

Jet Airliner Silhouetted Against Supermoon Eclipse, at Moonrise over San Diego, September 27 2015
Image ID: 31869

Milky Way over Mount Laguna FAA Radar Site, including ARSR-4 radome (radar dome)

Milky Way over Mount Laguna FAA Radar Site, including ARSR-4 radome (radar dome).
Image ID: 31047

Sierra Nevada – The Range of Light

Panorama of Bear Creek Spire over Long Lake at Sunrise, Little Lakes Valley, John Muir Wilderness, Inyo National Forest, Little Lakes Valley, Inyo National Forest

Panorama of Bear Creek Spire over Long Lake at Sunrise, Little Lakes Valley, John Muir Wilderness, Inyo National Forest
Image ID: 31173
Location: Little Lakes Valley, Inyo National Forest, California, USA

Milky Way over Tenaya Lake, Polly Dome (left), Tenaya Peak (center), Yosemite National Park

Milky Way over Tenaya Lake, Polly Dome (left), Tenaya Peak (center), Yosemite National Park
Image ID: 31185
Location: Yosemite National Park, California, USA

North Peak (12242', center), Mount Conness (left, 12589') and Conness Lake with its green glacial meltwater, Hoover Wilderness, Conness Lakes Basin

North Peak (12242′, center), Mount Conness (left, 12589′) and Conness Lake with its green glacial meltwater, Hoover Wilderness
Image ID: 31060
Location: Conness Lakes Basin, Hoover Wilderness, California, USA

View from Summit of Mount Hoffmann, Ten Lakes Basin at lower left, looking northeast toward remote northern reaches of Yosemite National Park

View from Summit of Mount Hoffmann, Ten Lakes Basin at lower left, looking northeast toward remote northern reaches of Yosemite National Park
Image ID: 31193
Location: Mount Hoffmann, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Ocean Light

California sea lions underwater, Sea of Cortez, Mexico, Zalophus californianus

California sea lions underwater, Sea of Cortez, Mexico
Image ID: 31205
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico

Young California sea lion pups underwater, Sea of Cortez, Mexico, Zalophus californianus

Young California sea lion pups underwater, Sea of Cortez, Mexico
Image ID: 31209
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico

Sea fan gorgonian and schooling Anthias on pristine and beautiful coral reef, Fiji, Pseudanthias, Gorgonacea, Wakaya Island, Lomaiviti Archipelago

Sea fan gorgonian and schooling Anthias on pristine and beautiful coral reef, Fiji
Image ID: 31311
Species: Gorgonian, Anthias, Pseudanthias, Gorgonacea
Location: Wakaya Island, Lomaiviti Archipelago, Fiji

Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fishes, feeding on plankton in strong ocean currents over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Gau Island, Lomaiviti Archipelago

Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fishes, feeding on plankton in strong ocean currents over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world.
Image ID: 31318
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Anthias, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias
Location: Gau Island, Lomaiviti Archipelago, Fiji

Acropora table coral on pristine tropical reef. Table coral competes for space on the coral reef by growing above and spreading over other coral species keeping them from receiving sunlight, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island, Fiji

Acropora table coral on pristine tropical reef. Table coral competes for space on the coral reef by growing above and spreading over other coral species keeping them from receiving sunlight.
Image ID: 31331
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

California Pelican flying on a wave, riding the updraft from the wave, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

California Pelican flying on a wave, riding the updraft from the wave.
Image ID: 30262
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

Gray whale raising fluke before diving, on southern migration to calving lagoons in Baja, Eschrichtius robustus, San Diego, California

Gray whale raising fluke before diving, on southern migration to calving lagoons in Baja.
Image ID: 30463
Species: Gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Spectacular pristine tropical reef with vibrant colorful soft corals. Dendronephthya soft corals, crinoids, sea fan gorgonians and schooling Anthias fishes, pulsing with life in a strong current over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Crinoidea, Gorgonacea, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Spectacular pristine tropical reef with vibrant colorful soft corals. Dendronephthya soft corals, crinoids, sea fan gorgonians and schooling Anthias fishes, pulsing with life in a strong current over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world.
Image ID: 31367
Species: Crinoid Feather Star, Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Gorgonian, Anthias, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Crinoidea, Gorgonacea
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Killer whale attacking sea lion.  Biggs transient orca and California sea lion, Orcinus orca, Zalophus californianus, Palos Verdes

Killer whale attacking sea lion. Biggs transient orca and California sea lion.
Image ID: 30429
Species: Killer whale, California sea lion, Orcinus orca, Zalophus californianus
Location: Palos Verdes, California, USA

The Kelp Forest offshore of La Jolla, California. A kelp forest. Giant kelp grows rapidly, up to 2' per day, from the rocky reef on the ocean bottom to which it is anchored, toward the ocean surface where it spreads to form a thick canopy. Myriad species of fishes, mammals and invertebrates form a rich community in the kelp forest. Lush forests of kelp are found throughout California's Southern Channel Islands, Macrocystis pyrifera

The Kelp Forest offshore of La Jolla, California. A kelp forest. Giant kelp grows rapidly, up to 2′ per day, from the rocky reef on the ocean bottom to which it is anchored, toward the ocean surface where it spreads to form a thick canopy. Myriad species of fishes, mammals and invertebrates form a rich community in the kelp forest. Lush forests of kelp are found throughout California’s Southern Channel Islands
Image ID: 30998
Species: Giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Natural History Photography – Best Photos of 2014

Best Photographs of the Year

My Best Natural History Photographs of 2014

This is the eighth year in a row I have done an annual retrospective. 2014 held less “serious” photography for me than any of the previous 20 years. Life gets in the way, and running a photography business is 60% administrative, 25% photographic and 15% chaotic. Nevertheless I still consider myself to be a fortunate photographer and would not trade places with anyone else (OK, perhaps Neil Armstrong in 1969). My creative goal for any one year is, as it always has been, to shoot 3-4 world-class images and 10-15 portfolio-quality images. Thanks to some special opportunities I was able to experience this year — including two stabs at aerial photography, one great outing to Utah, and a dream safari in Kenya — I was able to bring home some satisfying images. Here they are! Note: if you like these feel free to check out previous years’ favorites as well: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007. Also, be sure to check out Jim Goldstein’s blog, where he collects the “best of the year” collections of many talented photographers. Thanks for looking, and best wishes for 2015!

Light Painting and the Milky Way and Stars over Delicate Arch, at night, Arches National Park, Utah

Light Painting and the Milky Way and Stars over Delicate Arch, at night, Arches National Park, Utah
Image ID: 29288
Location: Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Utah, USA

Full Moon rising over San Diego City Skyline, viewed from Harbor Island

Full Moon rising over San Diego City Skyline, viewed from Harbor Island
Image ID: 29121
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Lunar Eclipse and blood red moon sequence over Arch Rock, planet Mars above the moon, composite image, Joshua Tree National Park, April 14/15 2014

Lunar Eclipse and blood red moon sequence over Arch Rock, planet Mars above the moon, composite image, Joshua Tree National Park, April 14/15 2014.
Image ID: 29201

Clearing storm clouds over Broken Hill, overlooking La Jolla and the Pacific Ocean, Torrey Pines State Reserve, San Diego, California

Clearing storm clouds over Broken Hill, overlooking La Jolla and the Pacific Ocean, Torrey Pines State Reserve
Image ID: 29416
Location: Torrey Pines State Reserve, San Diego, California, USA

Lunar Eclipse Sequence Over Broken Hill, Torrey Pines State Reserve. While the moon lies in the full shadow of the earth (umbra) it receives only faint, red-tinged light refracted through the Earth's atmosphere. As the moon passes into the penumbra it receives increasing amounts of direct sunlight, eventually leaving the shadow of the Earth altogether. October 8, 2014, San Diego, California

Lunar Eclipse Sequence Over Broken Hill, Torrey Pines State Reserve. While the moon lies in the full shadow of the earth (umbra) it receives only faint, red-tinged light refracted through the Earth’s atmosphere. As the moon passes into the penumbra it receives increasing amounts of direct sunlight, eventually leaving the shadow of the Earth altogether. October 8, 2014.
Image ID: 29412
Location: Torrey Pines State Reserve, San Diego, California, USA

Aerial photo of gray whale calf and mother. This baby gray whale was born during the southern migration, far to the north of the Mexican lagoons of Baja California where most gray whale births take place, Eschrichtius robustus, San Clemente

Aerial photo of gray whale calf and mother. This baby gray whale was born during the southern migration, far to the north of the Mexican lagoons of Baja California where most gray whale births take place.
Image ID: 29017
Species: Gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus
Location: San Clemente, California, USA

Torrey Pines cliffs and storm clouds at sunset, Torrey Pines State Reserve, San Diego, California

Torrey Pines cliffs and storm clouds at sunset
Image ID: 29102
Location: Torrey Pines State Reserve, San Diego, California, USA

African elephant herd, Amboseli National Park, Kenya, Loxodonta africana

African elephant herd, Amboseli National Park, Kenya
Image ID: 29531
Species: African elephant, Loxodonta africana
Location: Amboseli National Park, Kenya

California Brown Pelican head throw, stretching its throat to keep it flexible and healthy, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla

California Brown Pelican head throw, stretching its throat to keep it flexible and healthy
Image ID: 29085
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Balboa Pier, sunrise, Newport Beach, California

Balboa Pier, sunrise
Image ID: 29138
Location: Balboa Pier, Newport Beach, California, USA

San Clemente Island Pyramid Head, the distinctive pyramid shaped southern end of the island

San Clemente Island Pyramid Head, the distinctive pyramid shaped southern end of the island
Image ID: 29358
Location: San Clemente Island, California, USA

Lionness and two week old cub, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya, Panthera leo

Lionness and two week old cub, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Image ID: 29793
Species: African Lion, Panthera leo
Location: Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Lion female, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya, Panthera leo

Lion female, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Image ID: 29917
Species: African Lion, Panthera leo
Location: Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Milky Way at Night over Arch Rock, Joshua Tree National Park

Milky Way at Night over Arch Rock, Joshua Tree National Park
Image ID: 29196
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA

Scripps Pier and moving water, pre-dawn light, La Jolla

Scripps Pier and moving water, pre-dawn light, La Jolla
Image ID: 28984
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Leopard, Olare Orok Conservancy, Kenya, Panthera pardus

Leopard, Olare Orok Conservancy, Kenya
Image ID: 30081
Species: Leopard, Panthera pardus
Location: Olare Orok Conservancy, Kenya

Stars over Corona Arch at Night, Moab, Utah

Stars over Corona Arch at Night, Moab, Utah
Image ID: 29242
Location: Corona Arch, Moab, Utah, USA

Palomar Observatory at Night under the Milky Way, Panoramic photograph, Palomar Mountain, California

Palomar Observatory at Night under the Milky Way, Panoramic photograph
Image ID: 29342
Location: Palomar Observatory, Palomar Mountain, California, USA

Mixed Herd of Wildebeest and Zebra, aerial photo, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya, Equus quagga

Mixed Herd of Wildebeest and Zebra, aerial photo, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Image ID: 29824
Species: Zebra, Equus quagga
Location: Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Natural History Photography – Best Images of 2013

Best Photographs of the Year

My Best Natural History Photos of 2013

Once again the end of the year is upon us and I look back at my photographic works of the preceding 12 months. I did not produce as many new images as in years past but I did manage to create some notable ones that hopefully communicate why I love to spend time outdoors. If the theme of this year’s selection is not obvious, allow me to point out that this is the first annual retrospective of mine that includes just one photograph made during daylight hours (and a couple at the edge of the day). Note: if you like these feel free to check out previous years’ favorites as well: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007. Also, be sure to check out Jim Goldstein’s blog, where he collects the “best of the year” collections of many talented photographers, you are sure to find enough eye candy to keep your pupils entertained for all of 2014. Cheers, thanks for looking, and best wishes for 2014!

The Wave at Night, under a clear night sky full of stars.  Photographer is illuminating the striated rocks with a small handheld light. The Wave, an area of fantastic eroded sandstone featuring beautiful swirls, wild colors, countless striations, and bizarre shapes set amidst the dramatic surrounding North Coyote Buttes of Arizona and Utah. The sandstone formations of the North Coyote Buttes, including the Wave, date from the Jurassic period. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Wave is located in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness and is accessible on foot by permit only

The Wave at Night, under a clear night sky full of stars. Photographer is illuminating the striated rocks with a small handheld light. The Wave, an area of fantastic eroded sandstone featuring beautiful swirls, wild colors, countless striations, and bizarre shapes set amidst the dramatic surrounding North Coyote Buttes of Arizona and Utah. The sandstone formations of the North Coyote Buttes, including the Wave, date from the Jurassic period. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Wave is located in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness and is accessible on foot by permit only.
Image ID: 28620
Location: North Coyote Buttes, Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Arizona, USA

Owachomo Bridge and Milky Way.  Owachomo Bridge, a natural stone bridge standing 106' high and spanning 130' wide,stretches across a canyon with the Milky Way crossing the night sky, Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah

Owachomo Bridge and Milky Way. Owachomo Bridge, a natural stone bridge standing 106′ high and spanning 130′ wide,stretches across a canyon with the Milky Way crossing the night sky.
Image ID: 28541
Location: Owachomo Bridge, Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah, USA

Approaching sunrise and star trails over the San Diego Downtown City Skyline.  In this 60 minute exposure, stars create trails through the night sky over downtown San Diego

Approaching sunrise and star trails over the San Diego Downtown City Skyline. In this 60 minute exposure, stars create trails through the night sky over downtown San Diego.
Image ID: 28386
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Ancient bristlecone pine trees at night, under a clear night sky full of stars, lit by a full moon, near Patriarch Grove, Pinus longaeva, White Mountains, Inyo National Forest

Ancient bristlecone pine trees at night, under a clear night sky full of stars, lit by a full moon, near Patriarch Grove.
Image ID: 28533
Species: Ancient Bristlecone Pine, Pinus longaeva
Location: White Mountains, Inyo National Forest, California, USA

Mount Rainier sunset, viewed from Ricksecker Point, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Mount Rainier sunset, viewed from Ricksecker Point.
Image ID: 28722
Location: Ricksecker Point, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, USA

Perseid Meteor Shower and Milky Way, Andromeda Galaxy and the Pleides Cluster, over Half Dome and Yosemite National Park, Glacier Point

Perseid Meteor Shower and Milky Way, Andromeda Galaxy and the Pleides Cluster, over Half Dome and Yosemite National Park
Image ID: 28746
Location: Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Milky Way over the Watchman, Zion National Park.  The Milky Way galaxy rises in the night sky above the the Watchman

Milky Way over the Watchman, Zion National Park. The Milky Way galaxy rises in the night sky above the the Watchman.
Image ID: 28587
Location: Zion National Park, Utah, USA

The OVRO 40 meter Telescope, part of the Owens Valley Radio Observatory located near Big Pine, California, USA. The telescope is used to conduct interferometric observations along with the other telescopes in the observatory, as a Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) station and as a single dish instrument. Its main focus today is on the monitoring of blazars

The OVRO 40 meter Telescope, part of the Owens Valley Radio Observatory located near Big Pine, California, USA. The telescope is used to conduct interferometric observations along with the other telescopes in the observatory, as a Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) station and as a single dish instrument. Its main focus today is on the monitoring of blazars.
Image ID: 28796
Location: Big Pine, California, USA

Milky Way over Tioga Lake, Yosemite National Park

Milky Way over Tioga Lake, Yosemite National Park
Image ID: 28521
Location: Tioga Lake, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Blue Moon, Full Moon at Sunset over San Diego City Skyline, approaching jet with headlights appearing in front of the moon

Blue Moon, Full Moon at Sunset over San Diego City Skyline, approaching jet with headlights appearing in front of the moon
Image ID: 28753
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Cormorants and sea lions on Seal Rock, at night, waves lit by full moon, Laguna Beach, California

Cormorants and sea lions on Seal Rock, at night, waves lit by full moon.
Image ID: 28864
Location: Laguna Beach, California, USA

Live Oak and Milky Way, rocks and stars, Joshua Tree National Park at night

Live Oak and Milky Way, rocks and stars, Joshua Tree National Park at night
Image ID: 28417
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA

Milky Way and stars at night above Mount Rainier, Sunrise, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Milky Way and stars at night above Mount Rainier.
Image ID: 28728
Location: Sunrise, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, USA

Sunrise Clouds and Surf, Hospital Point, La Jolla

Sunrise Clouds and Surf, Hospital Point, La Jolla
Image ID: 28834
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Scripps Pier solstice, sunset aligned perfectly with the pier, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California

Scripps Pier solstice, sunset aligned perfectly with the pier.
Image ID: 28474
Location: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California, USA

Best Photos of 2012 – My Photography Year in Review

Best Photographs of the Year

Best Photos of 2012 – My Photography Year in Review

It is time to post my annual “Favorite Photos of the Year”, as I have since 2007. This year I added fewer than 1000 new images to my stock photography collection, but included in that paltry number are some real gems with which I am quite happy and proud. I managed to get out on the ocean a few times and see a few whales with one of my oldest photographer pals, made a fantastic flight over southern San Diego County with a pilot friend, learned more about landscape astrophotography through trial and error with a night photography buddy, got back in the surf with a new rig after a two year hiatus and tried to keep up the young guys, managed to sneak in one fantastic trip to Paris and London with Tracy, not to mention the 50+ volleyball matches I photographed this year (my daughters are a wrecking crew on the court). So without further ado, here are my Favorite Photographs of 2012. Note: if you like these feel free to check out previous years’ favorites as well: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007. Thanks for looking, and cheers!

See also:

Best Photos of 2011
Best Photos of 2010
Best Photos of 2009
Best Photos of 2008
Best Photos of 2007

Best Photos of 2011

Best Photographs of the Year

Best Photos of 2011

In a past “best of” post I stated that one of my goals is to make a handful of really strong images each year, images that could be included in a career retrospective portfolio. This year I will admit that another of my goals is to produce a body of photographic work that outlives me, that has relevance throughout not only my life but those of my children and grandchildren. That’s a lofty goal and, truth be told, I will never know if I have succeeded or not. My hunch is that, of the photos I have made so far in my 20+ years of shooting, perhaps two or three may outlive me. Anyway, enough musing. Here are my favorite images, my “best photos of 2011”.

Dusk settles on downtown San Diego with snow-covered Mt. Laguna in the distance

Dusk settles on downtown San Diego with snow-covered Mt. Laguna in the distance.
Image ID: 26716
Location: San Diego, California, USA

The Milky Way galaxy arches over Arch Rock on a clear evening in Joshua Tree National Park

The Milky Way galaxy arches over Arch Rock on a clear evening in Joshua Tree National Park.
Image ID: 26792
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA

A humpback whale raises it fluke out of the water, the coast of Del Mar and La Jolla is visible in the distance, Megaptera novaeangliae

A humpback whale raises it fluke out of the water, the coast of Del Mar and La Jolla is visible in the distance.
Image ID: 27142
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae
Location: Del Mar, California, USA

Boulders and sunset in Joshua Tree National Park.  The warm sunlight gently lights unusual boulder formations at Jumbo Rocks in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Boulders and sunset in Joshua Tree National Park. The warm sunlight gently lights unusual boulder formations at Jumbo Rocks in Joshua Tree National Park, California.
Image ID: 26730
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA

Earth Shadow lies over Point La Jolla at dawn

Earth Shadow lies over Point La Jolla at dawn.
Image ID: 26444
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Horseshoe Bend. The Colorado River makes a 180-degree turn at Horseshoe Bend. Here the river has eroded the Navajo sandstone for eons, digging a canyon 1100-feet deep, Page, Arizona

Horseshoe Bend. The Colorado River makes a 180-degree turn at Horseshoe Bend. Here the river has eroded the Navajo sandstone for eons, digging a canyon 1100-feet deep.
Image ID: 26635
Location: Horseshoe Bend, Page, Arizona, USA

Fisherman at dawn along the La Jolla coastline, waves blur as they crash upon the Boomer Beach boulders

Fisherman at dawn along the La Jolla coastline, waves blur as they crash upon the Boomer Beach boulders.
Image ID: 26447
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Breaking wave fast motion and blur. The Wedge, Newport Beach, California

Breaking wave fast motion and blur. The Wedge.
Image ID: 27079
Location: The Wedge, Newport Beach, California, USA

Water falling from the fluke (tail) of a humpback whale as the whale dives to forage for food in the Santa Barbara Channel, Megaptera novaeangliae, Santa Rosa Island, California

Water falling from the fluke (tail) of a humpback whale as the whale dives to forage for food in the Santa Barbara Channel.
Image ID: 27029
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae
Location: Santa Rosa Island, California, USA

California sea lion underwater, Zalophus californianus, Sea of Cortez

California sea lion underwater.
Image ID: 27423
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico

King angelfish in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico, Holacanthus passer

King angelfish in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico.
Image ID: 27470
Species: King angelfish, Holacanthus passer
Location: Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico

San Diego harbor and skyline, viewed at sunset

San Diego harbor and skyline, viewed at sunset.
Image ID: 27146
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Torrey Pines balloon aerial survey photo.  Torrey Pines seacliffs, rising up to 300 feet above the ocean, stretch from Del Mar to La Jolla. On the mesa atop the bluffs are found Torrey pine trees, one of the rare species of pines in the world. Peregine falcons nest at the edge of the cliffs. This photo was made as part of an experimental balloon aerial photographic survey flight over Torrey Pines State Reserve, by permission of Torrey Pines State Reserve, San Diego, California

Torrey Pines balloon aerial survey photo. Torrey Pines seacliffs, rising up to 300 feet above the ocean, stretch from Del Mar to La Jolla. On the mesa atop the bluffs are found Torrey pine trees, one of the rare species of pines in the world. Peregine falcons nest at the edge of the cliffs. This photo was made as part of an experimental balloon aerial photographic survey flight over Torrey Pines State Reserve, by permission of Torrey Pines State Reserve.
Image ID: 27271
Location: Torrey Pines State Reserve, San Diego, California, USA

Freediver photographing pelagic gelatinous zooplankton, adrift in the open ocean, Phacellophora camtschatica, San Diego, California

Freediver photographing pelagic gelatinous zooplankton, adrift in the open ocean.
Image ID: 26817
Species: Fried-egg jellyfish, Phacellophora camtschatica
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Surf and sky at sunset, waves crash upon the sand at dusk, Carlsbad, California

Surf and sky at sunset, waves crash upon the sand at dusk.
Image ID: 27234
Location: Carlsbad, California, USA

Ocean Beach Pier, also known as the OB Pier or Ocean Beach Municipal Pier, is the longest concrete pier on the West Coast measuring 1971 feet (601 m) long, San Diego, California

Ocean Beach Pier, also known as the OB Pier or Ocean Beach Municipal Pier, is the longest concrete pier on the West Coast measuring 1971 feet (601 m) long.
Image ID: 27387
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Yosemite Falls reflected in flooded meadow.  The Merced  River floods its banks in spring, forming beautiful reflections of Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite Falls reflected in flooded meadow. The Merced River floods its banks in spring, forming beautiful reflections of Yosemite Falls.
Image ID: 26888
Location: Yosemite National Park, California, USA

T.A. Moulton barn with Teton Range, on Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

T.A. Moulton barn with Teton Range, on Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
Image ID: 26914
Location: Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA

Convict Lake sunrise reflection, Sierra Nevada mountains

Convict Lake sunrise reflection, Sierra Nevada mountains.
Image ID: 26974

See also:

Best Photos of 2010
Best Photos of 2009
Best Photos of 2008
Best Photos of 2007

Best Photos of 2010

Best Photographs of the Year

Best Photos of 2010

A good friend once told me that his photography goal was to shoot two or three really good images each year. I’ve tried to keep that in mind in the years since. It is only on looking back over the last year’s photographs, having now removed myself from the emotion and excitement that was present when the images were made, that I can judge whether I have succeeded in making a small number of really notable images. I feel pretty good about what I produced in 2010. So in true shameless promotional fashion, here are my personal favorites, in no particular order. These are not necessarily the images that I feel will sell best (although I hope they do well in that regard!). Rather, these are the photographs that best recall emotion and remembrance of where I was and what I was feeling when I made them. I owe a big “Thank you” to my wonderful wife Tracy, to my daughters and to my friends for your support and encouragement!

Adelie penguins leaping into the ocean from an iceberg, Pygoscelis adeliae, Brown Bluff

Adelie penguins leaping into the ocean from an iceberg.
Image ID: 25005
Species: Adelie Penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae
Location: Brown Bluff, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

Archangel Falls in autumn, near the Subway in North Creek Canyon, with maples and cottonwoods turning fall colors, Zion National Park, Utah

Archangel Falls in autumn, near the Subway in North Creek Canyon, with maples and cottonwoods turning fall colors.
Image ID: 26097
Location: Zion National Park, Utah, USA

Red gorgonian on rocky reef, below kelp forest, underwater.  The red gorgonian is a filter-feeding temperate colonial species that lives on the rocky bottom at depths between 50 to 200 feet deep. Gorgonians are oriented at right angles to prevailing water currents to capture plankton drifting by, Lophogorgia chilensis, San Clemente Island

Red gorgonian on rocky reef, below kelp forest, underwater. The red gorgonian is a filter-feeding temperate colonial species that lives on the rocky bottom at depths between 50 to 200 feet deep. Gorgonians are oriented at right angles to prevailing water currents to capture plankton drifting by.
Image ID: 25393
Species: Red gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis
Location: San Clemente Island, California, USA

Giant redwood, Lady Bird Johnson Grove, Redwood National Park.  The coastal redwood, or simply 'redwood', is the tallest tree on Earth, reaching a height of 379' and living 3500 years or more.  It is native to coastal California and the southwestern corner of Oregon within the United States, but most concentrated in Redwood National and State Parks in Northern California, found close to the coast where moisture and soil conditions can support its unique size and growth requirements, Sequoia sempervirens

Giant redwood, Lady Bird Johnson Grove, Redwood National Park. The coastal redwood, or simply ‘redwood’, is the tallest tree on Earth, reaching a height of 379′ and living 3500 years or more. It is native to coastal California and the southwestern corner of Oregon within the United States, but most concentrated in Redwood National and State Parks in Northern California, found close to the coast where moisture and soil conditions can support its unique size and growth requirements.
Image ID: 25795
Species: Coast redwood, giant redwood, California redwood, Sequoia sempervirens
Location: Redwood National Park, California, USA

Kelp fronds and pneumatocysts.  Pneumatocysts, gas-filled bladders, float the kelp plant off the ocean bottom toward the surface and sunlight, where the leaf-like blades and stipes of the kelp plant grow fastest.  Giant kelp can grow up to 2' in a single day given optimal conditions.  Epic submarine forests of kelp grow throughout California's Southern Channel Islands, Macrocystis pyrifera, San Clemente Island

Kelp fronds and pneumatocysts. Pneumatocysts, gas-filled bladders, float the kelp plant off the ocean bottom toward the surface and sunlight, where the leaf-like blades and stipes of the kelp plant grow fastest. Giant kelp can grow up to 2′ in a single day given optimal conditions. Epic submarine forests of kelp grow throughout California’s Southern Channel Islands.
Image ID: 25396
Species: Giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera
Location: San Clemente Island, California, USA

Blue whale, exhaling as it surfaces from a dive, aerial photo.  The blue whale is the largest animal ever to have lived on Earth, exceeding 100' in length and 200 tons in weight, Balaenoptera musculus, Redondo Beach, California

Blue whale, exhaling as it surfaces from a dive, aerial photo. The blue whale is the largest animal ever to have lived on Earth, exceeding 100′ in length and 200 tons in weight.
Image ID: 25953
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus
Location: Redondo Beach, California, USA

Adams River sockeye salmon.  A female sockeye salmon swims upstream in the Adams River to spawn, having traveled hundreds of miles upstream from the ocean, Oncorhynchus nerka, Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada

Adams River sockeye salmon. A female sockeye salmon swims upstream in the Adams River to spawn, having traveled hundreds of miles upstream from the ocean.
Image ID: 26161
Species: Sockeye salmon, Oncorhynchus nerka
Location: Adams River, Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada

Wandering albatross in flight, over the open sea.  The wandering albatross has the largest wingspan of any living bird, with the wingspan between, up to 12' from wingtip to wingtip.  It can soar on the open ocean for hours at a time, riding the updrafts from individual swells, with a glide ratio of 22 units of distance for every unit of drop.  The wandering albatross can live up to 23 years.  They hunt at night on the open ocean for cephalopods, small fish, and crustaceans. The survival of the species is at risk due to mortality from long-line fishing gear, Diomedea exulans

Wandering albatross in flight, over the open sea. The wandering albatross has the largest wingspan of any living bird, with the wingspan between, up to 12′ from wingtip to wingtip. It can soar on the open ocean for hours at a time, riding the updrafts from individual swells, with a glide ratio of 22 units of distance for every unit of drop. The wandering albatross can live up to 23 years. They hunt at night on the open ocean for cephalopods, small fish, and crustaceans. The survival of the species is at risk due to mortality from long-line fishing gear.
Image ID: 24071
Species: Wandering albatross, Diomedea exulans
Location: Southern Ocean

Paraglider soaring at Torrey Pines Gliderport, sunset, flying over the Pacific Ocean, La Jolla, California

Paraglider soaring at Torrey Pines Gliderport, sunset, flying over the Pacific Ocean.
Image ID: 24286
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

King penguin, showing ornate and distinctive neck, breast and head plumage and orange beak, Aptenodytes patagonicus, Fortuna Bay

King penguin, showing ornate and distinctive neck, breast and head plumage and orange beak.
Image ID: 24581
Species: King penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus
Location: Fortuna Bay, South Georgia Island

Southern humpback whale in Antarctica, with significant diatomaceous growth (brown) on the underside of its fluke, lifting its fluke before diving in Neko Harbor, Antarctica, Megaptera novaeangliae

Southern humpback whale in Antarctica, with significant diatomaceous growth (brown) on the underside of its fluke, lifting its fluke before diving in Neko Harbor, Antarctica.
Image ID: 25647
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae
Location: Neko Harbor, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

Eureka Dunes.  The Eureka Valley Sand Dunes are California's tallest sand dunes, and one of the tallest in the United States.  Rising 680' above the floor of the Eureka Valley, the Eureka sand dunes are home to several endangered species, as well as "singing sand" that makes strange sounds when it shifts.  Located in the remote northern portion of Death Valley National Park, the Eureka Dunes see very few visitors

Eureka Dunes. The Eureka Valley Sand Dunes are California’s tallest sand dunes, and one of the tallest in the United States. Rising 680′ above the floor of the Eureka Valley, the Eureka sand dunes are home to several endangered species, as well as “singing sand” that makes strange sounds when it shifts. Located in the remote northern portion of Death Valley National Park, the Eureka Dunes see very few visitors.
Image ID: 25249
Location: Eureka Dunes, Death Valley National Park, California, USA

Racetrack Playa, an ancient lake now dried and covered with dessicated mud, Death Valley National Park, California

Racetrack Playa, an ancient lake now dried and covered with dessicated mud.
Image ID: 25264
Location: Racetrack Playa, Death Valley National Park, California, USA

Cathedral Range peaks reflected in the still waters of Townsley Lake at sunrise, Yosemite National Park, California

Cathedral Range peaks reflected in the still waters of Townsley Lake at sunrise.
Image ID: 25764
Location: Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Sandhill cranes flying, wings blurred from long time exposure, Grus canadensis, Bosque Del Apache, Socorro, New Mexico

Sandhill cranes flying, wings blurred from long time exposure.
Image ID: 26225
Species: Sandhill Crane, Grus canadensis
Location: Bosque Del Apache, Socorro, New Mexico, USA

A young girl has fun swimming in a pool

A young girl has fun swimming in a pool.
Image ID: 25291

Tabular iceberg, Antarctic Peninsula, near Paulet Island, sunset

Tabular iceberg, Antarctic Peninsula, near Paulet Island, sunset.
Image ID: 24778
Location: Paulet Island, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

Two Adelie penguins, holding their wings out, standing on an iceberg, Pygoscelis adeliae, Paulet Island

Two Adelie penguins, holding their wings out, standing on an iceberg.
Image ID: 25050
Species: Adelie Penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae
Location: Paulet Island, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

See also:

Best Photos of 2009
Best Photos of 2008
Best Photos of 2007

There are approximately 2700 “keepers” that I made in 2010 and that are now in my stock photo library. The following gear was used to make them. These proportions come from the metadata filter tab in Lightroom.

Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III: 55%
Canon EOS 5D Mark II: 23%
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II: 21%
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3: 1%

Canon 15mm f/2.8 fisheye prime lens: 4%
Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L II zoom lens: 12%
Canon 24mm f/2.8 prime lens: 1.5%
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L zoom lens: 0.07%
Canon 24-105mm f/4 L zoom lens: 24%
Canon 70-200mm f/4 L zoom lens: 14%
Canon 300mm f/2.8 L telephoto lens: 26%
Canon 500mm f/4 L telephoto lens: 19%

Best Photos of 2009

Best Photographs of the Year

Best Photos of 2009

Looking back on 2009, I realize I was fortunate to spend a lot of time outdoors — alone, with my family and with friends old and new — pursuing photographs and adventure. During the course of those outings I brought back some images I am proud of, and which bring back fond memories. Without further ado, here are my twelve favorite images of the last year, my “Best Photos of 2009”:

Half Dome and storm clouds at sunset, viewed from Sentinel Bridge, Yosemite National Park, California

Half Dome and storm clouds at sunset, viewed from Sentinel Bridge.
Image ID: 22744
Location: Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Bald eagle spreads its wings to land amid a large group of bald eagles, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Haliaeetus leucocephalus washingtoniensis, Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska

Bald eagle spreads its wings to land amid a large group of bald eagles.
Image ID: 22588
Species: Bald eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Haliaeetus leucocephalus washingtoniensis
Location: Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska, USA

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

Brown pelican preening, cleaning its feathers after foraging on the ocean, with distinctive winter breeding plumage with distinctive dark brown nape, yellow head feathers and red gular throat pouch, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla, California

Brown pelican preening, cleaning its feathers after foraging on the ocean, with distinctive winter breeding plumage with distinctive dark brown nape, yellow head feathers and red gular throat pouch.
Image ID: 22527
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

California sea lions, underwater at Santa Barbara Island.  Santa Barbara Island, 38 miles off the coast of southern California, is part of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and Channel Islands National Park.  It is home to a large population of sea lions, Zalophus californianus

California sea lions, underwater at Santa Barbara Island. Santa Barbara Island, 38 miles off the coast of southern California, is part of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and Channel Islands National Park. It is home to a large population of sea lions.
Image ID: 23422
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Santa Barbara Island, California, USA

Torrey Pines State Beach, sandstone cliffs rise above the beach at Torrey Pines State Reserve, San Diego, California

Torrey Pines State Beach, sandstone cliffs rise above the beach at Torrey Pines State Reserve.
Image ID: 22435
Location: Torrey Pines State Reserve, San Diego, California, USA

Joshua tree, sunrise, infrared, Yucca brevifolia, Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua tree, sunrise, infrared.
Image ID: 22888
Species: Joshua tree, Yucca brevifolia
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA

A giant sequoia tree, soars skyward from the forest floor, lit by the morning sun and surrounded by other sequioas.  The massive trunk characteristic of sequoia trees is apparent, as is the crown of foliage starting high above the base of the tree, Sequoiadendron giganteum, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park, California

A giant sequoia tree, soars skyward from the forest floor, lit by the morning sun and surrounded by other sequioas. The massive trunk characteristic of sequoia trees is apparent, as is the crown of foliage starting high above the base of the tree.
Image ID: 23259
Species: Giant sequoia tree, Sequoiadendron giganteum
Location: Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Garibaldi and golden gorgonian, with a underwater forest of giant kelp rising in the background, underwater, Muricea californica, Hypsypops rubicundus, Catalina Island

Garibaldi and golden gorgonian, with a underwater forest of giant kelp rising in the background, underwater.
Image ID: 23432
Species: California golden gorgonian, Muricea californica, Hypsypops rubicundus
Location: Catalina Island, California, USA

An explosion of yellow and orange color, aspen trees changing color in fall, autumn approaches, Populus tremuloides, Bishop Creek Canyon, Sierra Nevada Mountains

An explosion of yellow and orange color, aspen trees changing color in fall, autumn approaches.
Image ID: 23325
Species: Aspen, Populus tremuloides
Location: Bishop Creek Canyon, Sierra Nevada Mountains, California, USA

San Diego city skyline at night, showing the buildings of downtown San Diego reflected in the still waters of San Diego Harbor, viewed from Coronado Island

San Diego city skyline at night, showing the buildings of downtown San Diego reflected in the still waters of San Diego Harbor, viewed from Coronado Island.
Image ID: 22250
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Old car lying in dirt field, Bodie State Historical Park, California

Old car lying in dirt field.
Image ID: 23112
Location: Bodie State Historical Park, California, USA

See also:

Best Photos of 2008
Best Photos of 2007

Best Photos of 2008

Best Photographs of the Year

Best Photos of 2008

In 2008, my photographic pursuits took me (and often, Tracy and the girls as well) all over San Diego, the central coast and deserts of California, Canada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, up in a plane and south of the border. Here are the photos from 2008 that I consider my favorites, mostly for sentimental reasons but also because I think they are good images.

The Wave, an area of fantastic eroded sandstone featuring beautiful swirls, wild colors, countless striations, and bizarre shapes set amidst the dramatic surrounding North Coyote Buttes of Arizona and Utah.  The sandstone formations of the North Coyote Buttes, including the Wave, date from the Jurassic period. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Wave is located in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness and is accessible on foot by permit only

The Wave, an area of fantastic eroded sandstone featuring beautiful swirls, wild colors, countless striations, and bizarre shapes set amidst the dramatic surrounding North Coyote Buttes of Arizona and Utah. The sandstone formations of the North Coyote Buttes, including the Wave, date from the Jurassic period. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Wave is located in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness and is accessible on foot by permit only.
Image ID: 20607
Location: North Coyote Buttes, Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Arizona, USA

Blue whale. The sleek hydrodynamic shape of the enormous blue whale allows it to swim swiftly through the ocean, at times over one hundred miles in a single day, Balaenoptera musculus, La Jolla, California

Blue whale. The sleek hydrodynamic shape of the enormous blue whale allows it to swim swiftly through the ocean, at times over one hundred miles in a single day.
Image ID: 21250
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Brown pelican head throw.  During a bill throw, the pelican arches its neck back, lifting its large bill upward and stretching its throat pouch, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla, California

Brown pelican head throw. During a bill throw, the pelican arches its neck back, lifting its large bill upward and stretching its throat pouch.
Image ID: 20257
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Middle Coronado Island, viewed from the south, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

Middle Coronado Island, viewed from the south.
Image ID: 21322
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

A great white shark swims underwater through the ocean at Guadalupe Island, Carcharodon carcharias, Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe)

A great white shark swims underwater through the ocean at Guadalupe Island.
Image ID: 21346
Species: Great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias
Location: Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe), Baja California, Mexico

Sunrise in Joshua Tree National Park, Yucca brevifolia

Sunrise in Joshua Tree National Park.
Image ID: 22100
Species: Joshua tree, Yucca brevifolia
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA

Male elephant seals (bulls) rear up on their foreflippers and fight in the surf for access for mating females that are in estrous.  Such fighting among elephant seals can take place on the beach or in the water.  They bite and tear at each other on the neck and shoulders, drawing blood and creating scars on the tough hides, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California

Male elephant seals (bulls) rear up on their foreflippers and fight in the surf for access for mating females that are in estrous. Such fighting among elephant seals can take place on the beach or in the water. They bite and tear at each other on the neck and shoulders, drawing blood and creating scars on the tough hides.
Image ID: 20369
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California, USA

Sea otters mating.  The male holds the female's head or nose with his jaws during copulation. Visible scars are often present on females from this behavior.  Sea otters have a polygynous mating system. Many males actively defend territories and will mate with females that inhabit their territory or seek out females in estrus if no territory is established. Males and females typically bond for the duration of estrus, or about 3 days, Enhydra lutris, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Moss Landing, California

Sea otters mating. The male holds the female’s head or nose with his jaws during copulation. Visible scars are often present on females from this behavior. Sea otters have a polygynous mating system. Many males actively defend territories and will mate with females that inhabit their territory or seek out females in estrus if no territory is established. Males and females typically bond for the duration of estrus, or about 3 days.
Image ID: 21606
Species: Sea otter, Enhydra lutris
Location: Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Moss Landing, California, USA

Coyote, pausing to look for prey as it passes through Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, Canis latrans, Socorro, New Mexico

Coyote, pausing to look for prey as it passes through Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.
Image ID: 21803
Species: Coyote, Canis latrans
Location: Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, Socorro, New Mexico, USA

Sunset at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, with sandhill cranes silhouetted in reflection in the calm pond.  Spectacular sunsets at Bosque del Apache, rich in reds, oranges, yellows and purples, make for striking reflections of the thousands of cranes and geese found in the refuge each winter, Grus canadensis, Socorro, New Mexico

Sunset at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, with sandhill cranes silhouetted in reflection in the calm pond. Spectacular sunsets at Bosque del Apache, rich in reds, oranges, yellows and purples, make for striking reflections of the thousands of cranes and geese found in the refuge each winter.
Image ID: 21804
Species: Sandhill crane, Grus canadensis
Location: Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, Socorro, New Mexico, USA

California poppy plants viewed from the perspective of a bug walking below the bright orange blooms, Eschscholzia californica, Eschscholtzia californica, Del Dios, San Diego

California poppy plants viewed from the perspective of a bug walking below the bright orange blooms.
Image ID: 20539
Species: California poppy, Eschscholzia californica, Eschscholtzia californica
Location: Del Dios, San Diego, California, USA

Dune primrose (white) and sand verbena (purple) bloom in spring in Anza Borrego Desert State Park, mixing in a rich display of desert color.  Anza Borrego Desert State Park, Oenothera deltoides, Abronia villosa, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Dune primrose (white) and sand verbena (purple) bloom in spring in Anza Borrego Desert State Park, mixing in a rich display of desert color. Anza Borrego Desert State Park.
Image ID: 20464
Species: Dune Evening Primrose, Sand Verbena, Oenothera deltoides, Abronia villosa
Location: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Anza Borrego, California, USA

UCSD Library glows with light in this night time exposure (Geisel Library, UCSD Central Library), University of California, San Diego, La Jolla

UCSD Library glows with light in this night time exposure (Geisel Library, UCSD Central Library).
Image ID: 20142
Location: University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, USA

The Bellagio Hotel fountains light up the reflection pool as the half-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas rises above them, at night

The Bellagio Hotel fountains light up the reflection pool as the half-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas rises above them, at night.
Image ID: 20559
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

A bubble ring. A young girl watches as a bubble ring ascends through the water toward her

A bubble ring. A young girl watches as a bubble ring ascends through the water toward her.
Image ID: 20776

Mariner Mountain, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, part of Strathcona Provincial Park, located 36 km (22 mi) north of Tofino.  It is 1,771 m (5,810 ft) high, snow covered year-round and home to several glaciers

Mariner Mountain, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, part of Strathcona Provincial Park, located 36 km (22 mi) north of Tofino. It is 1,771 m (5,810 ft) high, snow covered year-round and home to several glaciers.
Image ID: 21107
Location: Mariner Mountain, Strathcona Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada

See also: Best Photos of 2007

Best Photos of 2007

Best Photographs of the Year

Best Photos of 2007

I had a couple of fantastic road trips last year, putting big miles on my Expedition, including a winter trip through Utah and Arizona (where I was able to enjoy a number of iconic locations totally alone!), a long weekend in Minnesota, a memorable journey to Lake Clark National Park in Alaska, and a fall outing to Yellowstone with my daughter and my father where we toured the park and enjoyed the fall elk rut. Here are my favorite images from 2007:

Mesa Arch, Utah.  An exuberant hiker greets the dawning sun from atop Mesa Arch. Yup, that's me, Island in the Sky, Canyonlands National Park

Mesa Arch, Utah. An exuberant hiker greets the dawning sun from atop Mesa Arch. Yup, that’s me.
Image ID: 18036
Location: Island in the Sky, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, USA

A hiker admiring the striated walls and dramatic light within Antelope Canyon, a deep narrow slot canyon formed by water and wind erosion, Navajo Tribal Lands, Page, Arizona

A hiker admiring the striated walls and dramatic light within Antelope Canyon, a deep narrow slot canyon formed by water and wind erosion.
Image ID: 17993
Location: Navajo Tribal Lands, Page, Arizona, USA

Black bear walking in a grassy meadow.  Black bears can live 25 years or more, and range in color from deepest black to chocolate and cinnamon brown.  Adult males typically weigh up to 600 pounds.  Adult females weight up to 400 pounds and reach sexual maturity at 3 or 4 years of age.  Adults stand about 3' tall at the shoulder, Ursus americanus, Orr, Minnesota

Black bear walking in a grassy meadow. Black bears can live 25 years or more, and range in color from deepest black to chocolate and cinnamon brown. Adult males typically weigh up to 600 pounds. Adult females weight up to 400 pounds and reach sexual maturity at 3 or 4 years of age. Adults stand about 3′ tall at the shoulder.
Image ID: 18744
Species: American black bear, Ursus americanus
Location: Orr, Minnesota, USA

Western gull, early morning pink sky, Larus occidentalis, La Jolla, California

Western gull, early morning pink sky.
Image ID: 18394
Species: Western gull, Larus occidentalis
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Juvenile female coastal brown bear (grizzly bear) grazes on sedge grass, Ursus arctos, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska

Juvenile female coastal brown bear (grizzly bear) grazes on sedge grass.
Image ID: 19137
Species: Brown bear, Ursus arctos
Location: Lake Clark National Park, Alaska, USA

The Kenai Mountains rise above thick ice sheets and the Harding Icefield which is one of the largest icefields in Alaska and gives rise to over 30 glaciers, Kenai Range, Kenai Fjords National Park

The Kenai Mountains rise above thick ice sheets and the Harding Icefield which is one of the largest icefields in Alaska and gives rise to over 30 glaciers.
Image ID: 19016
Location: Kenai Range, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska, USA

Lunar eclipse sequence, showing total eclipse (left) through full moon (right).  While the moon lies in the full shadow of the earth (umbra) it receives only faint, red-tinged light refracted through the Earth's atmosphere.  As the moon passes into the penumbra it receives increasing amounts of direct sunlight, eventually leaving the shadow of the Earth altogether.  August 28, 2007, Earth Orbit, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, The Universe

Lunar eclipse sequence, showing total eclipse (left) through full moon (right). While the moon lies in the full shadow of the earth (umbra) it receives only faint, red-tinged light refracted through the Earth’s atmosphere. As the moon passes into the penumbra it receives increasing amounts of direct sunlight, eventually leaving the shadow of the Earth altogether. August 28, 2007.
Image ID: 19392
Location: Earth Orbit, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, The Universe

A great white shark opens it mouth just before it attacks its prey with a crippling, powerful bite.  After the prey has been disabled, the shark will often wait for it to weaken from blood loss before resuming the attack.  If the shark looses a tooth in the course of the bite, a replacement just behind it will move forward to take its place, Carcharodon carcharias, Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe)

A great white shark opens it mouth just before it attacks its prey with a crippling, powerful bite. After the prey has been disabled, the shark will often wait for it to weaken from blood loss before resuming the attack. If the shark looses a tooth in the course of the bite, a replacement just behind it will move forward to take its place.
Image ID: 19452
Species: Great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias
Location: Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe), Baja California, Mexico

Brown pelican in flight.  The wingspan of the brown pelican is over 7 feet wide. The California race of the brown pelican holds endangered species status.  In winter months, breeding adults assume a dramatic plumage, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla

Brown pelican in flight. The wingspan of the brown pelican is over 7 feet wide. The California race of the brown pelican holds endangered species status. In winter months, breeding adults assume a dramatic plumage.
Image ID: 20051
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Coyote in snow covered field along the Madison River, Canis latrans, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Coyote in snow covered field along the Madison River.
Image ID: 19635
Species: Coyote, Canis latrans
Location: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA

Grizzly bear in snow, Ursus arctos horribilis, Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Grizzly bear in snow.
Image ID: 19616
Species: Grizzly bear, Ursus arctos horribilis
Location: Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA

Madison River steaming in the cold air, sunrise, autumn, tall grasses and golden light, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Madison River steaming in the cold air, sunrise, autumn, tall grasses and golden light.
Image ID: 19592
Location: Madison River, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA

Bull elk in sage brush with large rack of antlers during the fall rut (mating season).  This bull elk has sparred with other bulls to establish his harem of females with which he hopes to mate, Cervus canadensis, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Bull elk in sage brush with large rack of antlers during the fall rut (mating season). This bull elk has sparred with other bulls to establish his harem of females with which he hopes to mate.
Image ID: 19746
Species: Elk, Cervus canadensis
Location: Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA

Breaking wave, tube, hollow barrel, morning surf

Breaking wave, tube, hollow barrel, morning surf.
Image ID: 19567