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

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

Blue whale underwater closeup photo.  This picture of a blue whale, the largest animal ever to inhabit earth, shows it swimming through the open ocean, a rare underwater view.  Since this blue whale was approximately 80-90' long and just a few feet from the camera, an extremely wide lens was used to photograph the entire enormous whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale close-up underwater portrait, taken breath-hold diving just a few feet away from the enormous blue whale with a fisheye lens.

North Pacific humpback whales, a mother and calf pair swim closely together just under the surface of the ocean.  The calf will remain with its mother for about a year, migrating from Hawaii to Alaska to feed on herring, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui

North Pacific humpback whales, a mother and calf pair swim closely together just under the surface of the ocean. The calf will remain with its mother for about a year, migrating from Hawaii to Alaska to feed on herring. Megaptera novaeangliae, Molokai, Hawaii.

Humpback whale breaching, near Molokai, Hawaii. Megaptera novaeangliae.  It is suspected the breaching often has a communicative purpose which depends on the behavioral context of the moment, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui

Humpback whale breaching, near Molokai, Hawaii. Megaptera novaeangliae. It is suspected the breaching often has a communicative purpose which depends on the behavioral context of the moment.

Guadalupe fur seals, floating upside down underwater over a rocky reef covered with golden kelp at Guadalupe Island, Arctocephalus townsendi, Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe)

Juveniles, Guadalupe fur seals, floating upside down underwater over a rocky reef covered with golden kelp at Guadalupe Island, Arctocephalus townsendi, Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe), Mexico.

Two blue whales, a mother and her calf, swim through the open ocean in this aerial photograph.  The calf is blowing (spouting, exhaling) with a powerful column of spray.  The blue whale is the largest animal ever to live on Earth, Balaenoptera musculus, San Diego, California

Blue Whale Aerial Photo. Two blue whales, a mother and her calf, swim through the open ocean in this aerial photograph. The calf is blowing (spouting, exhaling) with a powerful column of spray. Balaenoptera musculus.

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

Group of Adelie penguins leaping into the ocean from an iceberg, Brown Bluff, Antarctic Peninsula. Pygoscelis adeliae.

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.

Guadalupe fur seal, floating upside down under the ocean's surface at Guadalupe Island, watching the photographer and looking for passing predators, Arctocephalus townsendi, Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe)

Adult male, Guadalupe fur seal, floating upside down under the ocean's surface at Guadalupe Island, watching the photographer and looking for passing predators, Arctocephalus townsendi, Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe), Mexico.

Breaking wave, Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, morning, barrel shaped surf, California

Breaking wave, Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, morning, barrel shaped surf, California.

Breaking wave, Ponto, South Carlsbad

Cresting wave and morning sun, Carlsbad, California.

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 at sunrise, La Jolla, Pelecanus occidentalis

Male elk bugling during the fall rut. Large male elk are known as bulls. Male elk have large antlers which are shed each year. Male elk engage in competitive mating behaviors during the rut, including posturing, antler wrestling and bugling, a loud series of screams which is intended to establish dominance over other males and attract females, Cervus canadensis, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Male elk bugling during the fall rut, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Cervus canadensis.

Bald eagle, closeup of head and shoulders showing distinctive white head feathers, yellow beak and brown body and wings, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Haliaeetus leucocephalus washingtoniensis, Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska

Bald eagle portrait, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Alaska.

Waterfall at Temple of Sinawava during peak flow following spring rainstorm.  Zion Canyon, Zion National Park, Utah

Waterfall at Temple of Sinawava during peak flow following spring rainstorm. Zion Canyon.

Sunrise glints yellow on breaking wave, dawn surf, The Wedge, Newport Beach, California

Sunrise glints yellow on breaking wave at the Wedge

Vernal Falls at peak flow in late spring, with a rainbow appearing in the spray of the falls, viewed from the Mist Trail, Yosemite National Park, California

Vernal Falls at peak flow in late spring, with a rainbow appearing in the spray of the falls. Yosemite National Park.

A rainbow appears in the mist of the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River.  At 308 feet, the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River is the tallest fall in the park.  This view is from Lookout Point on the North side of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.  When conditions are perfect in midsummer, a midmorning rainbow briefly appears in the falls, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

A rainbow appears in the mist of the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River. At 308 feet, the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River is the tallest fall in the park. This view is from Lookout Point on the North side of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. When conditions are perfect in midsummer, a midmorning rainbow briefly appears in the falls.

Grand Prismatic Spring (left) and Excelsior Geyser (right).  Grand Prismatic Spring displays a stunning rainbow of colors created by species of thermophilac (heat-loving) bacteria that thrive in narrow temperature ranges.  The blue water in the center is too hot to support any bacterial life, while the outer orange rings are the coolest water.  Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest spring in the United States and the third-largest in the world.  Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Grand Prismatic Spring (left) and Excelsior Geyser (right). Grand Prismatic Spring displays a stunning rainbow of colors created by species of thermophilac (heat-loving) bacteria that thrive in narrow temperature ranges. The blue water in the center is too hot to support any bacterial life, while the outer orange rings are the coolest water. Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest spring in the United States and the third-largest in the world. Midway Geyser Basin.

A large, old brown bear (grizzly bear) wades across Brooks River. Coastal and near-coastal brown bears in Alaska can live to 25 years of age, weigh up to 1400 lbs and stand over 9 feet tall, Ursus arctos, Katmai National Park

A large, old brown bear (grizzly bear) wades across Brooks River. Coastal and near-coastal brown bears in Alaska can live to 25 years of age, weigh up to 1400 lbs and stand over 9 feet tall.

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

Hiker atop Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Full grown, mature male coastal brown bear boar (grizzly bear) in sedge grass meadows, Ursus arctos, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska

Mature male coastal brown bear boar (grizzly bear) in sedge grass meadows. Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Ursus arctos.

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)

An enormous great white shark, Guadalupe Island, Mexico, Carcharodon carcharias.

Mule deer in tall grass, fall, autumn, Odocoileus hemionus, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Mule deer in tall grass, fall, autumn.

Kelp frond showing pneumatocysts, Macrocystis pyrifera, San Clemente Island

Giant kelp frond showing pneumatocysts which make the algae bouyant. Macrocystis pyrifera, San Clemente Island, California

A whale shark swims through the open ocean in the Galapagos Islands.  The whale shark is the largest shark on Earth, but is harmless eating plankton and small fish, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island

A whale shark swims through the open ocean in the Galapagos Islands. The whale shark is the largest shark on Earth, but is harmless eating plankton and small fish. Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island, Galapagos, Ecuador.

A kelp forest, with sunbeams passing through kelp fronds.  Giant kelp, the fastest growing plant on Earth, reaches from the rocky bottom to the ocean's surface like a submarine forest, Macrocystis pyrifera, San Clemente Island

A kelp forest with sunbeams passing through kelp fronds. Macrocystis pyrifera, San Clemente Island, California.

A Florida manatee, or West Indian Manatee, swims slowly through the clear waters of Crystal River, Trichechus manatus, Three Sisters Springs

West Indian Manatee, swims slowly through the clear waters of Crystal River, Florida. Trichechus manatus.

Horsetail Falls backlit by the setting sun as it cascades down the face of El Capitan, February, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

Horsetail Falls backlit by the setting sun as it cascades down the face of El Capitan, February, Yosemite Valley.

Atlantic spotted dolphin, Olympic swimmer Mikako Kotani, Stenella frontalis

Atlantic spotted dolphin with Olympic swimmer Mikako Kotani, Bahamas. Stenella frontalis.

A great white shark swims through the clear waters of Isla Guadalupe, far offshore of the Pacific Coast of Baja California.  Guadalupe Island is host to a concentration of large great white sharks, which visit the island to feed on pinnipeds and tuna, Carcharodon carcharias, Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe)

A great white shark swims through the clear waters of Isla Guadalupe, far offshore of the Pacific Coast of Baja California. Guadalupe Island is host to a concentration of large great white sharks, which visit the island to feed on pinnipeds and tuna. Carcharodon carcharias, Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe), Mexico.

Bald eagle makes a splash while in flight as it takes a fish out of the water, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Haliaeetus leucocephalus washingtoniensis, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Bald eagle takes a fish out of the water. Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska.

Portrait of a young brown bear, pausing while grazing in tall sedge grass.  Brown bears can consume 30 lbs of sedge grass daily, waiting weeks until spawning salmon fill the rivers, Ursus arctos, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska

Young coastal brown bear, pausing while grazing in tall sedge grass, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Ursus arctos.

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

Adelie penguins, Pygoscelis adeliae, on iceberg near Paulet Island, Antarctica.

Milky Way and Shooting Star over Delicate Arch, as stars cover the night sky, Arches National Park, Utah

Milky Way galaxy and a Shooting Star over Delicate Arch at Night

Yosemite Falls at peak flow in late spring, viewed from Cooks Meadow, Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite Falls at peak flow in late spring, viewed from Cooks Meadow.

Venus comb murex.  Scientists speculate that the distinctively long and narrow spines are a protection against fish and other mollusks and prevent the mollusk from sinking into the soft, sandy mud where it is commonly found, Murex pecten

Venus comb murex. Scientists speculate that the distinctively long and narrow spines are a protection against fish and other mollusks and prevent the mollusk from sinking into the soft, sandy mud where it is commonly found.

Full moon rises over Seattle city skyline at dusk, Space Needle at right

Full moon rises over Seattle city skyline at dusk, Space Needle at right.

Paradise Falls tumble over rocks in Paradise Creek, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Paradise Falls tumble over rocks in Paradise Creek.

Oceanside Pier at dusk, sunset, night.  Oceanside

Oceanside Pier at dusk, sunset, night. Oceanside.

Tiny hikers atop Sand Dunes in Death Valley National Park, California.  Near Stovepipe Wells lies a region of sand dunes, some of them hundreds of feet tall

Tiny hikers atop Sand Dunes in Death Valley National Park, California. Near Stovepipe Wells lies a region of sand dunes, some of them hundreds of feet tall.

Aspen trees display Eastern Sierra fall colors, Lake Sabrina, Bishop Creek Canyon, Populus tremuloides, Bishop Creek Canyon, Sierra Nevada Mountains

Aspen trees display Eastern Sierra fall colors, Lake Sabrina, Bishop Creek Canyon.

Hiker in North Window, sunset, western face.  North Window is a natural sandstone arch 90 feet wide and 48 feet high, Arches National Park, Utah

Hiker in North Window, sunset, western face. North Window is a natural sandstone arch 90 feet wide and 48 feet high. Arches National Park, Utah.

Galapagos shark swims over a reef in the Galapagos Islands, with schooling fish in the distance, Carcharhinus galapagensis, Wolf Island

Galapagos shark (Carcharhinus galapagensis) at Wolf Island in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.

Scalloped hammerhead shark swims over a reef in the Galapagos Islands.  The hammerheads eyes and other sensor organs are placed far apart on its wide head to give the shark greater ability to sense the location of prey, Sphyrna lewini, Wolf Island

Scalloped hammerhead shark swims over a reef in the Galapagos Islands. The hammerheads eyes and other sensor organs are placed far apart on its wide head to give the shark greater ability to sense the location of prey.

A great white shark swims through the clear waters of Isla Guadalupe, far offshore of the Pacific Coast of Mexico's Baja California. Guadalupe Island is host to a concentration of large great white sharks, which visit the island to feed on pinnipeds and use it as a staging area before journeying farther into the Pacific ocean, Carcharodon carcharias, Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe)

A great white shark swims through the clear waters of Isla Guadalupe, far offshore of the Pacific Coast of Mexico's Baja California. Guadalupe Island is host to a concentration of large great white sharks, which visit the island to feed on pinnipeds and use it as a staging area before journeying farther into the Pacific ocean.

Sunrise breaking wave, dawn surf, The Wedge, Newport Beach, California

Golden barrel

Sunrise breaking wave, dawn surf

Sunrise breaking wave, dawn surf.

A SCUBA diver swims through a giant kelp forest which is tilted back by strong ocean currents.   Giant kelp, the fastest plant on Earth, reaches from the rocky bottom to the ocean's surface like a submarine forest, Macrocystis pyrifera, San Clemente Island

A SCUBA diver swims through a giant kelp forest which is tilted back by strong ocean currents. Giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, the fastest growing plant on Earth, reaches from the rocky bottom to the ocean's surface like a submarine forest.

Galapagos sea lion pup, Punta Espinosa, Zalophus californianus wollebacki, Zalophus californianus wollebaeki, Fernandina Island

Galapagos sea lion pup, Punta Espinosa.

Ocean sunfish recruiting fish near drift kelp to clean parasites, open ocean, Baja California, Mola mola

Ocean sunfish recruiting fish to clean it of parasites, near a patch of drifting kelp in the open ocean, Baja California, Mexico. Mola mola, Macrocystis pyrifera.

Humpback whale breaching with pectoral fins lifting spray from the ocean surface, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui

Humpback whale breaching with pectoral fins lifting spray from the ocean surface.

2006 Mavericks surf contest champion Grant Twiggy Baker of South Africa.  Final round, Mavericks surf contest, February 7, 2006, Half Moon Bay, California

Twiggy Baker, finals, Mavericks Surf Contest, 2006, Half Moon Bay, California.

Atlantic spotted dolphin and Olympic champion swimmer Matt Biondi, Stenella frontalis

Atlantic spotted dolphin with Olympic champion swimmer Matt Biondi, Bahamas. Stenella frontalis.

Brown booby flying over Rose Atoll at sunset, with dark colorful storm clouds and other birds in the background, Sula leucogaster, Rose Atoll National Wildlife Sanctuary

Brown booby flying over Rose Atoll at sunset, with dark colorful storm clouds and other birds in the background.

A white tern, or fairy tern, alights on a branch at Rose Atoll in American Samoa, Gygis alba, Rose Atoll National Wildlife Sanctuary

A white tern, or fairy tern, alights on a branch at Rose Atoll in American Samoa.

Lembert Dome and late afternoon clouds rise above Tuolumne Meadows in the High Sierra, catching the fading light of sunset, Yosemite National Park, California

Lembert Dome and late afternoon clouds rise above Tuolumne Meadows in the High Sierra, catching the fading light of sunset.

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.

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.

Light Beam in Upper Antelope Slot Canyon.  Thin shafts of light briefly penetrate the convoluted narrows of Upper Antelope Slot Canyon, sending piercing beams through the sandstone maze to the sand floor below, Navajo Tribal Lands, Page, Arizona

Light Beam in Upper Antelope Slot Canyon. Thin shafts of light briefly penetrate the convoluted narrows of Upper Antelope Slot Canyon, sending piercing beams through the sandstone maze to the sand floor below.

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.

The Second Wave at Night.  The Second Wave, a spectacular sandstone formation in the North Coyote Buttes, lies under a sky full of stars, Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Arizona

The Second Wave at Night. The Second Wave, a spectacular sandstone formation in the North Coyote Buttes, lies under a sky full of stars.

Bristlecone pine displays its characteristic gnarled, twisted form as it rises above the arid, dolomite-rich slopes of the White Mountains at 11000-foot elevation. Patriarch Grove, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Pinus longaeva, White Mountains, Inyo National Forest

Bristlecone pine displays its characteristic gnarled, twisted form as it rises above the arid, dolomite-rich slopes of the White Mountains at 11000-foot elevation. Patriarch Grove, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.

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.

Bigeye trevally jacks, motion blur, schooling, Caranx sexfasciatus, Darwin Island

Bigeye jacks, Caranx sexfasciatus, Darwin Island, Galapagos, Ecuador.

Breaking wave, morning, barrel shaped surf, California

Breaking wave, morning, barrel shaped surf, California.

Hawaiian spinner dolphin, resting herd swimming along reef, Stenella longirostris, Lanai

Hawaiian spinner dolphin, resting herd swimming along reef.

Townsley Lake (10396'), a beautiful alpine lake sitting below blue sky, clouds and Fletcher Peak (right), lies amid the Cathedral Range of glacier-sculpted granite peaks in Yosemite's high country, near Vogelsang High Sierra Camp, Yosemite National Park, California

Townsley Lake (10396'), a beautiful alpine lake sitting below blue sky, clouds and Fletcher Peak (right), lies amid the Cathedral Range of glacier-sculpted granite peaks in Yosemite's high country, near Vogelsang High Sierra Camp.

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.

Blue shark underneath drift kelp, open ocean, Prionace glauca, San Diego, California

Blue shark underneath drift kelp, open ocean, Prionace glauca

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.

Panorama of the Milky Way over Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Panorama of the Milky Way over Mesa Arch.

The Second Wave at sunset. The Second Wave, a curiously-shaped sandstone swirl, takes on rich warm tones and dramatic shadowed textures at sunset. Set in the North Coyote Buttes of Arizona and Utah, the Second Wave is characterized by striations revealing layers of sedimentary deposits, a visible historical record depicting eons of submarine geology, Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness

The Second Wave at sunset. The Second Wave, a curiously-shaped sandstone swirl, takes on rich warm tones and dramatic shadowed textures at sunset. Set in the North Coyote Buttes of Arizona and Utah, the Second Wave is characterized by striations revealing layers of sedimentary deposits, a visible historical record depicting eons of submarine geology

Stars and the Milky Way over ancient bristlecone pine trees, in the White Mountains at an elevation of 10,000' above sea level. These are some of the oldest trees in the world, some exceeding 4000 years in age, Pinus longaeva, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, White Mountains, Inyo National Forest

Stars and the Milky Way over ancient bristlecone pine trees, in the White Mountains at an elevation of 10,000' above sea level. These are some of the oldest trees in the world, some exceeding 4000 years in age.

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. Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Alaska.

The Virgin River flows by autumn cottonwood trees, part of the Virgin River Narrows.  This is a fantastic hike in fall with the comfortable temperatures, beautiful fall colors and light crowds, Zion National Park, Utah

The Virgin River flows by autumn cottonwood trees, part of the Virgin River Narrows. This is a fantastic hike in fall with the comfortable temperatures, beautiful fall colors and light crowds.

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.

Tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier

Tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier, Bahamas.

Blue whales feeding on krill underwater closeup photo.  A picture of a blue whale with its throat pleats inflated with a mouthful of krill. A calf swims behind and below the adult. Over 80' long and just a few feet from the camera, an extremely wide lens was used to photograph the entire enormous whale, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whales (mother and calf) underwater feeding, the adult blue whale's throat is inflated after engulfing a huge mouthful of krill.

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.

Stars and the Milky Way rise above ancient bristlecone pine trees, in the White Mountains at an elevation of 10,000' above sea level.  These are some of the oldest trees in the world, reaching 4000 years in age, Pinus longaeva, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, White Mountains, Inyo National Forest

Stars and the Milky Way rise above ancient bristlecone pine trees, in the White Mountains at an elevation of 10,000' above sea level. These are some of the oldest trees in the world, reaching 4000 years in age.

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.

Stars and the Milky Way over ancient bristlecone pine trees, in the White Mountains at an elevation of 10,000' above sea level. These are the oldest trees in the world, some exceeding 4000 years in age, Pinus longaeva, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, White Mountains, Inyo National Forest

Stars and the Milky Way over ancient bristlecone pine trees, in the White Mountains at an elevation of 10,000' above sea level. These are the oldest trees in the world, some exceeding 4000 years in age.

Giant black sea bass, endangered species, reaching up to 8' in length and 500 lbs, amid giant kelp forest, Stereolepis gigas, Catalina Island

Giant black sea bass, endangered species, reaching up to 8' in length and 500 lbs, amid giant kelp forest

Sandhill crane spreads its broad wings as it takes flight in early morning light.  This crane is one of over 5000 present in Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, stopping here during its winter migration, Grus canadensis, Socorro, New Mexico

Sandhill crane spreads its broad wings as it takes flight in early morning light, Grus canadensis, New Mexico.

A huge blue whale swims through the open ocean in this underwater photograph.  The blue whale is the largest animal ever to live on Earth, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale underwater photo. A huge blue whale swims through the open ocean in this underwater photograph, Balaenoptera musculus, Mexico.

Milky Way galaxy rises above the Fire Wave, Valley of Fire State Park

Milky Way galaxy rises above the Fire Wave, Valley of Fire State Park

The Second Wave at sunset. The Second Wave, a curiously-shaped sandstone swirl, takes on rich warm tones and dramatic shadowed textures at sunset. Set in the North Coyote Buttes of Arizona and Utah, the Second Wave is characterized by striations revealing layers of sedimentary deposits, a visible historical record depicting eons of submarine geology, Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness

The Second Wave at sunset. The Second Wave, a curiously-shaped sandstone swirl, takes on rich warm tones and dramatic shadowed textures at sunset. Set in the North Coyote Buttes of Arizona and Utah, the Second Wave is characterized by striations revealing layers of sedimentary deposits, a visible historical record depicting eons of submarine geology

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

The Milky Way galaxy arcs over Arch Rock in Joshua Tree National Park.

Bryozoan grows on a 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

Bryozoan grows on a 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. Lophogorgia chilensis, California.

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.

Breaking wave, morning, barrel shaped surf, California, The Wedge, Newport Beach

Breaking wave, morning, barrel shaped surf, California.

California sea lions swim and socialize over a kelp-covered rocky reef, underwater at San Clemente Island in California's southern Channel Islands, Zalophus californianus

California sea lions swim and socialize over a kelp-covered rocky reef, underwater at San Clemente Island in California's southern Channel Islands.

A SCUBA diver swimming over a rocky reef covered with kelp, watches a brightly colored orange garibaldi fish, Hypsypops rubicundus, San Clemente Island

Garibaldi, Hypsypops rubicundus, San Clemente Island, California.

Surf grass on the rocky reef -- appearing blurred in this time exposure -- is tossed back and forth by powerful ocean waves passing by above.  San Clemente Island, Phyllospadix

Abstract surfgrass in motion, underwater movement and blur, San Clemente Island, California.

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.

Vogelsang Peak (11516') at sunset, reflected in a small creek near Vogelsang High Sierra Camp in Yosemite's high country, Yosemite National Park, California

Vogelsang Peak (11516') at sunset, reflected in a small creek near Vogelsang High Sierra Camp in Yosemite's high country.

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

A school of blacksmith swims over a red gorgonian growing on a rocky reef. California.

Mobius Arch in the Alabama Hills, seen here at night with swirling star trails formed in the sky above due to a long time exposure, Alabama Hills Recreational Area

Mobius Arch in the Alabama Hills, seen here at night with swirling star trails formed in the sky above due to a long time exposure.

Racetrack sailing stone and star trails.  A sliding rock of the Racetrack Playa. The sliding rocks, or sailing stones, move across the mud flats of the Racetrack Playa, leaving trails behind in the mud. The explanation for their movement is not known with certainty, but many believe wind pushes the rocks over wet and perhaps icy mud in winter, Death Valley National Park, California

Racetrack sailing stone and star trails. A sliding rock of the Racetrack Playa. The sliding rocks, or sailing stones, move across the mud flats of the Racetrack Playa, leaving trails behind in the mud. The explanation for their movement is not known with certainty, but many believe wind pushes the rocks over wet and perhaps icy mud in winter

Torrey Pines Cliffs lit at night by a full moon, low tide reflections, Torrey Pines State Reserve, San Diego, California

Torrey Pines Cliffs lit at night by a full moon, low tide reflections.

Torrey Pines Cliffs and Pacific Ocean, Razor Point view to La Jolla, San Diego, California, Torrey Pines State Reserve

Torrey Pines Cliffs and Pacific Ocean, Razor Point view to La Jolla, San Diego, California.

Star Trails over Sky Rock. Sky Rock petroglyphs near Bishop, California. Hidden atop an enormous boulder in the Volcanic Tablelands lies Sky Rock, a set of petroglyphs that face the sky. These superb examples of native American petroglyph artwork are thought to be Paiute in origin, but little is known about them

Star Trails over Sky Rock. Sky Rock petroglyphs near Bishop, California. Hidden atop an enormous boulder in the Volcanic Tablelands lies Sky Rock, a set of petroglyphs that face the sky. These superb examples of native American petroglyph artwork are thought to be Paiute in origin, but little is known about them.

Milky Way over Tioga Lake, Yosemite National Park

Milky Way over Tioga Lake, Yosemite National Park

Blue whale, swimming through the open ocean, Balaenoptera musculus, La Jolla, California

Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) surfacing, aerial photo, near La Jolla, California.

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.

The Wave in the North Coyote Buttes, 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 in the North Coyote Buttes, 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.

Sunrise light on Turret Arch viewed through North Window, winter, Arches National Park, Utah

Sunrise light on Turret Arch viewed through North Window, winter.

Breaking wave, tube, hollow barrel, morning surf

Breaking wave about to become a barrel tube, morning surf. Carlsbad.

Giant black sea bass, gathering in a mating - courtship aggregation amid kelp forest, Catalina Island, Stereolepis gigas

Giant black sea bass, gathering in a mating - courtship aggregation amid kelp forest, Catalina Island

Giant black sea bass, endangered species, reaching up to 8' in length and 500 lbs, amid giant kelp forest, Stereolepis gigas, Catalina Island

Giant black sea bass, endangered species, reaching up to 8' in length and 500 lbs, amid giant kelp forest

Ancient bristlecone pine tree, rising above the arid, dolomite-rich slopes of the Schulman Grove in the White Mountains at an elevation of 9500 above sea level, along the Methuselah Walk.  The oldest bristlecone pines in the world are found in the Schulman Grove, some of them over 4700 years old. Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Pinus longaeva, White Mountains, Inyo National Forest

Ancient bristlecone pine tree, rising above the arid, dolomite-rich slopes of the Schulman Grove in the White Mountains at an elevation of 9500 above sea level, along the Methuselah Walk. The oldest bristlecone pines in the world are found in the Schulman Grove, some of them over 4700 years old. Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.

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

Coastal Redwoods, Northern California

Mobius Arch at sunrise, with Mount Whitney (the tallest peak in the continental United States), Lone Pine Peak and snow-covered Sierra Nevada Range framed within the arch.  Mobius Arch is a 17-foot-wide natural rock arch in the scenic Alabama Hills Recreational Area near Lone Pine, California

Mobius Arch at sunrise, with Mount Whitney (the tallest peak in the continental United States), Lone Pine Peak and snow-covered Sierra Nevada Range framed within the arch. Mobius Arch is a 17-foot-wide natural rock arch in the scenic Alabama Hills Recreational Area near Lone Pine, California.

Sunrise in Joshua Tree National Park, Yucca brevifolia

Sunrise in Joshua Tree National Park.

The Virgin River flows by autumn cottonwood trees, part of the Virgin River Narrows.  This is a fantastic hike in fall with the comfortable temperatures, beautiful fall colors and light crowds, Zion National Park, Utah

The Virgin River flows by autumn cottonwood trees, part of the Virgin River Narrows. This is a fantastic hike in fall with the comfortable temperatures, beautiful fall colors and light crowds.

Water rushes through a narrow crack, in the red sandstone of Zion National Park, with fallen autumn leaves

Water rushes through a narrow crack, in the red sandstone of Zion National Park, with fallen autumn leaves.

Clouds light up with blazing colors at sunset, La Jolla, California

Clouds light up with blazing colors at sunset.

The Milky Way galaxy arcs above Arch Rock, panoramic photograph, cylindrical projection, Joshua Tree National Park, California

The Milky Way galaxy arcs above Arch Rock in Joshua Tree National Park in this high resolution panoramic photograph.

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.

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.

Star trails and Arch Rock. Polaris, the North Star, is at the center of the circular arc star trails as they pass above this natural stone archway in Joshua Tree National Park, Alabama Hills Recreational Area

Star trails and Arch Rock, Joshua Tree National Park

Balanced Rock and Milky Way stars at night, Arches National Park, Utah

Balanced Rock and Milky Way stars at night.

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.

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

King penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) showing ornate and distinctive neck, breast and head plumage and orange beak. South Georgia Island.

A sliding rock of the Racetrack Playa.  The sliding rocks, or sailing stones, move across the mud flats of the Racetrack Playa, leaving trails behind in the mud.  The explanation for their movement is not known with certainty, but many believe wind pushes the rocks over wet and perhaps icy mud in winter, Death Valley National Park, California

A sliding rock of the Racetrack Playa. The sliding rocks, or sailing stones, move across the mud flats of the Racetrack Playa, leaving trails behind in the mud. The explanation for their movement is not known with certainty, but many believe wind pushes the rocks over wet and perhaps icy mud in winter.

Bald eagle in flight, wing spread, soaring, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Haliaeetus leucocephalus washingtoniensis, Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska

Bald eagle in flight, wing spread, soaring.

Yellow cottonwood trees in autumn, fall colors in the Virgin River Narrows in Zion National Park

Yellow cottonwood trees in autumn, fall colors in the Virgin River Narrows in Zion National Park.

Mount Rainier is reflected in Upper Tipsoo Lake, Tipsoo Lakes, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Mount Rainier is reflected in Upper Tipsoo Lake.

Narada Falls cascades down a cliff, with the flow blurred by a time exposure.  Narada Falls is a 188 foot (57m) waterfall in Mount Rainier National Park

Narada Falls cascades down a cliff, with the flow blurred by a time exposure. Narada Falls is a 188 foot (57m) waterfall in Mount Rainier National Park.

San Diego city skyline at dusk, viewed from Harbor Island, the Star of India at right

San Diego city skyline at dusk, viewed from Harbor Island, the Star of India at right.

Breaking wave, early morning surf, Ponto, Carlsbad, California

Ponto, morning surf, Carlsbad, California.

Adelie penguin on an iceberg, Pygoscelis adeliae, Brown Bluff

Adelie penguin on an iceberg, Pygoscelis adeliae, Antarctica.

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.

Blue whale feeding on krill underwater closeup photo.  A picture of a blue whale with its throat pleats inflated with a mouthful of krill, Balaenoptera musculus

A blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) underwater with its mouth open as it feeds on krill.

Mount Rainier is reflected in the calm waters of Reflection Lake, early morning, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Mount Rainier is reflected in the calm waters of Reflection Lake, early morning.

Salt polygons.  After winter flooding, the salt on the Badwater Basin playa dries into geometric polygonal shapes, Death Valley National Park, California

Salt polygons. After winter flooding, the salt on the Badwater Basin playa dries into geometric polygonal shapes.

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.

God Beams, clouds and afternoon light over the Pacific Ocean, Del Mar, California

God Beams, clouds and afternoon light over the Pacific Ocean.

Light Beam in Upper Antelope Slot Canyon.  Thin shafts of light briefly penetrate the convoluted narrows of Upper Antelope Slot Canyon, sending piercing beams through the sandstone maze to the sand floor below, Navajo Tribal Lands, Page, Arizona

Light Beam in Upper Antelope Slot Canyon. Thin shafts of light briefly penetrate the convoluted narrows of Upper Antelope Slot Canyon, sending piercing beams through the sandstone maze to the sand floor below.

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. Sequoiadendron giganteum. Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park.

Broken Hill with the Pacific Ocean in the distance.  Broken Hill is an ancient, compacted sand dune that was uplifted to its present location and is now eroding, Torrey Pines State Reserve, San Diego, California

Broken Hill with the Pacific Ocean in the distance. Broken Hill is an ancient, compacted sand dune that was uplifted to its present location and is now eroding.

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.

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.

Ferns grow below coastal redwood and Douglas Fir trees, 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

Ferns grow below coastal redwood and Douglas Fir trees, 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.

Eureka Sand Dunes, infrared black and white.  The Eureka 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, Death Valley National Park

Eureka Sand Dunes, infrared black and white. The Eureka 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.

Gentoo penguin coming ashore, after foraging at sea, walking through ocean water as it wades onto a sand beach.  Adult gentoo penguins grow to be 30" and 19lb in size.  They feed on fish and crustaceans.  Gentoo penguins reside in colonies well inland from the ocean, often formed of a circular collection of stones gathered by the penguins, Pygoscelis papua, New Island

Gentoo penguin coming ashore, after foraging at sea, walking through ocean water as it wades onto a sand beach. Adult gentoo penguins grow to be 30" and 19lb in size. They feed on fish and crustaceans. Gentoo penguins reside in colonies well inland from the ocean, often formed of a circular collection of stones gathered by the penguins.

Giant sequoia trees, roots spreading outward at the base of each massive tree, rise from the shaded forest floor, Sequoiadendron giganteum, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park, California

The Bachelor and Three Graces. Giant sequoia trees (Sequoiadendron giganteum), roots spreading outward at the base of each massive tree, rise from the shaded forest floor. Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park.

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.

Devil's Postpile, a spectacular example of columnar basalt.  Once molten and under great pressure underground, the lava that makes up Devil's Postpile cooled evenly and slowly, contracting and fracturing into polygonal-sided columns.  The age of the formation is estimated between 100 and 700 thousand years old.  Sometime after the basalt columns formed, a glacier passed over the formation, cutting and polishing the tops of the columns.  The columns have from three to seven sides, varying because of differences in how quickly portions of the lava cooled, Devils Postpile National Monument, California

Devil's Postpile, a spectacular example of columnar basalt. Once molten and under great pressure underground, the lava that makes up Devil's Postpile cooled evenly and slowly, contracting and fracturing into polygonal-sided columns. The age of the formation is estimated between 100 and 700 thousand years old. Sometime after the basalt columns formed, a glacier passed over the formation, cutting and polishing the tops of the columns. The columns have from three to seven sides, varying because of differences in how quickly portions of the lava cooled.