Natural History Photography – Best Photos of 2019

My Best Natural History Photographs of 2019

2019 offered opportunities to again dive the chilly waters of Browning Pass at the far northern end of Vancouver Island, photograph the Southern California spring wildflower bloom, travel to Rome, Paris, Iceland and London with my family, dive with whales and sea lions in the fall months, return to a few classic southwestern landscapes and enjoy the coastline of northern San Diego County. Not to mention that I was able to spend time with good friends while chasing images. My favorite photos of the past year are below, roughly in chronological order. This is the 13th year 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. If you like these feel free to check out previous years’ favorites as well: 20182017, 2016, 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!

Northern elephant seals, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California

Northern elephant seals, Piedras Blancas
Image ID: 35136
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California, USA

Male elephant seals (bulls) rear up on their foreflippers and fight for territory and harems of females. Bull elephant seals will haul out and fight from December through March, nearly fasting the entire time as they maintain their territory and harem. They bite and tear at each other on the neck and shoulders, drawing blood and creating scars on the tough hides. Sandy beach rookery, winter, Central California, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon

Male elephant seals (bulls) rear up on their foreflippers and fight for territory and harems of females. Bull elephant seals will haul out and fight from December through March, nearly fasting the entire time as they maintain their territory and harem. They bite and tear at each other on the neck and shoulders, drawing blood and creating scars on the tough hides. Sandy beach rookery, winter, Central California
Image ID: 35144
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, 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: 35115
Species: Sand verbena, Abronia villosa
Location: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Borrego Springs, 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, Abronia villosa, Oenothera deltoides, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Borrego Springs, California

Dune primrose (white) and sand verbena (purple) bloom in spring in Anza Borrego Desert State Park, mixing in a rich display of desert color
Image ID: 35198
Species: Sand verbena, Dune Evening Primrose, Abronia villosa, Oenothera deltoides
Location: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Borrego Springs, California, USA

Dune Evening Primrose bloom in Anza Borrego Desert State Park, Oenothera deltoides, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Borrego Springs, California

Dune Evening Primrose bloom in Anza Borrego Desert State Park
Image ID: 35207
Species: Dune Evening Primrose, Oenothera deltoides
Location: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Borrego Springs, California, USA

California Poppies, Rancho La Costa, Carlsbad, Eschscholzia californica

California Poppies, Rancho La Costa, Carlsbad
Image ID: 35208
Species: California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica
Location: Rancho La Costa, Carlsbad, California, USA

California Poppies in Bloom, Elsinore, Eschscholzia californica

California Poppies in Bloom, Elsinore
Image ID: 35225
Species: California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica
Location: Elsinore, California, USA

Giant Plumose Anemones cover underwater reef, Browning Pass, northern Vancouver Island, Canada, Metridium farcimen

Giant Plumose Anemones cover underwater reef, Browning Pass, northern Vancouver Island, Canada
Image ID: 35251
Species: Giant Plumose Anemone, Metridium farcimen
Location: British Columbia, Canada

Pink Soft Coral, Gersemia Rubiformis, Browning Pass, Vancouver Island, Gersemia rubiformis

Pink Soft Coral, Gersemia Rubiformis, Browning Pass, Vancouver Island
Image ID: 35254
Species: Pink Soft Coral, Gersemia rubiformis
Location: British Columbia, Canada

The Fish Eating Anemone Urticina piscivora, a large colorful anemone found on the rocky underwater reefs of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Urticina piscivora

The Fish Eating Anemone Urticina piscivora, a large colorful anemone found on the rocky underwater reefs of Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Image ID: 35255
Species: Fish-eating Anemone, Urticina piscivora
Location: British Columbia, Canada

Dendronotus iris swimming nudibranch, Browning Pass, Vancouver Island, Dendronotus iris

Dendronotus iris swimming nudibranch, Browning Pass, Vancouver Island
Image ID: 35275
Species: Dendronotus iris
Location: British Columbia, Canada

Anemones are found in abundance on a spectacular British Columbia underwater reef, rich with invertebrate life. Browning Pass, Vancouver Island

Anemones are found in abundance on a spectacular British Columbia underwater reef, rich with invertebrate life. Browning Pass, Vancouver Island.
Image ID: 35339
Location: British Columbia, Canada

The Fish Eating Anemone Urticina piscivora, a large colorful anemone found on the rocky underwater reefs of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Urticina piscivora

The Fish Eating Anemone Urticina piscivora, a large colorful anemone found on the rocky underwater reefs of Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Image ID: 35460
Species: Fish-eating Anemone, Urticina piscivora
Location: British Columbia, Canada

Saint Peter's Basilica over the Tiber River, Vatican City, Rome, Italy

Saint Peter's Basilica over the Tiber River, Vatican City
Image ID: 35547
Location: Vatican City, Rome, Italy

La Tour Eiffel. The Eiffel Tower is an iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris, named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, who designed the tower in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World's Fair. The Eiffel tower is the tallest structure in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world

La Tour Eiffel. The Eiffel Tower is an iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris, named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, who designed the tower in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World's Fair. The Eiffel tower is the tallest structure in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world.
Image ID: 35601
Location: Tour Eiffel, Paris, France

La Sainte-Chapelle, The Holy Chapel, is one of the only surviving buildings of the Capetian royal palace on the Ile de la Cite in the heart of Paris, France. It was commissioned by King Louis IX of France to house his collection of Passion Relics, including the Crown of Thorns - one of the most important relics in medieval Christendom

La Sainte-Chapelle, The Holy Chapel, is one of the only surviving buildings of the Capetian royal palace on the Ile de la Cite in the heart of Paris, France. It was commissioned by King Louis IX of France to house his collection of Passion Relics, including the Crown of Thorns - one of the most important relics in medieval Christendom
Image ID: 35602
Location: La Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, France

Glacial river, highlands of Southern Iceland

Glacial river, highlands of Southern Iceland
Image ID: 35720
Location: Iceland

Landmannalaugar highlands region of Iceland, aerial view

Landmannalaugar highlands region of Iceland, aerial view.
Image ID: 35739
Location: Iceland

Glacial river, highlands of Southern Iceland

Glacial river, highlands of Southern Iceland
Image ID: 35744
Location: Iceland

Glacier, Skaftafell / Vatnajokull National Park, Southern Iceland

Glacier, Skaftafell / Vatnajokull National Park, Southern Iceland
Image ID: 35752
Location: Iceland

Young California sea lions playing underwater, Coronados Islands, Baja California, Mexico, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

Young California sea lions playing underwater, Coronados Islands, Baja California, Mexico
Image ID: 35853
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

Young California sea lions playing underwater, Coronados Islands, Baja California, Mexico, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

Young California sea lions playing underwater, Coronados Islands, Baja California, Mexico
Image ID: 35854
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

Portrait of a young California sea lion underwater, Coronados Islands, Baja California, Mexico, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado)

Portrait of a young California sea lion underwater, Coronados Islands, Baja California, Mexico
Image ID: 35875
Location: Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado), Baja California, Mexico

Del Mar Beach at Sunset, northern San Diego County

Del Mar Beach at Sunset, northern San Diego County
Image ID: 35098
Location: Del Mar, California, USA

Torrey Pines State Beach at Sunset, La Jolla, Mount Soledad and Blacks Beach in the distance, Torrey Pines State Reserve, San Diego, California

Torrey Pines State Beach at Sunset, La Jolla, Mount Soledad and Blacks Beach in the distance
Image ID: 35848
Location: Torrey Pines State Reserve, San Diego, California, USA

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

Sunrise over Broken Hill, overlooking La Jolla and the Pacific Ocean, Torrey Pines State Reserve
Image ID: 35850
Location: Torrey Pines State Reserve, San Diego, California, USA

Terramar Sunset, viewed from North Ponto with Oceanside and Camp Pendleton in the distance, Carlsbad, California

Terramar Sunset, viewed from North Ponto with Oceanside and Camp Pendleton in the distance
Image ID: 35903
Location: Carlsbad, California, USA

Carlsbad Coast Highway Sunset, North Ponto to Oceanside with Camp Pendleton in the distance

Carlsbad Coast Highway Sunset, North Ponto to Oceanside with Camp Pendleton in the distance
Image ID: 35904
Location: Carlsbad, California, USA

Southern right whale underwater, Eubalaena australis, Argentina, Eubalaena australis, Puerto Piramides, Chubut

Southern right whale underwater, Eubalaena australis, Argentina
Image ID: 35906
Species: Southern Right Whale, Eubalaena australis
Location: Puerto Piramides, Chubut, Argentina

White southern right whale calf underwater, Eubalaena australis, Argentina, Eubalaena australis, Puerto Piramides, Chubut

White southern right whale calf underwater, Eubalaena australis, Argentina
Image ID: 35908
Species: Southern Right Whale, Eubalaena australis
Location: Puerto Piramides, Chubut, Argentina

Courtship group of six Southern right whales, Eubalaena australis, Argentina, Eubalaena australis, Puerto Piramides, Chubut

Courtship group of six Southern right whales, Eubalaena australis, Argentina
Image ID: 35915
Species: Southern Right Whale, Eubalaena australis
Location: Puerto Piramides, Chubut, Argentina

South American sea lion underwater, Otaria flavescens, Patagonia, Argentina, Otaria flavescens, Puerto Madryn, Chubut

South American sea lion underwater, Otaria flavescens, Patagonia, Argentina
Image ID: 35930
Species: South American Sea Lion, Otaria flavescens
Location: Puerto Madryn, Chubut, Argentina

Spectacular Horseshoe Bend sunrise. 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

Spectacular Horseshoe Bend sunrise. 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: 35941
Location: Horseshoe Bend, Page, Arizona, USA

Upper Antelope Canyon, a deep, narrow and spectacular slot canyon lying on Navajo Tribal lands near Page, Arizona, Navajo Tribal Lands

Upper Antelope Canyon, a deep, narrow and spectacular slot canyon lying on Navajo Tribal lands near Page, Arizona
Image ID: 35931
Location: Navajo Tribal Lands, Page, Arizona, USA

Upper Antelope Canyon, a deep, narrow and spectacular slot canyon lying on Navajo Tribal lands near Page, Arizona, Navajo Tribal Lands

Upper Antelope Canyon, a deep, narrow and spectacular slot canyon lying on Navajo Tribal lands near Page, Arizona
Image ID: 35936
Location: Navajo Tribal Lands, Page, Arizona, USA