Top shots of 2012

Yes, it is that time of the year again. If you follow me on Flickr, you probably know most of these shots, because they been sitting in my Best of 2010 set for a good chunk of the year. But I did get some good shots yesterday, so there may be a wrinkle or two in the final list. As always, this list goes to eleven.

Nesting Herons

I’ll start with the nesting Great Blue Herons. There is just something majestically silly about proclaiming yourself the worlds greatest twig collector.

Harbor Seal birth

I captured a Harbor Seal birth, with Mom and the pup eyeing the gull.

White-tailed Kite

This White-tailed Kite gave me multiple opportunities to shoot it while circling over Mound Meadow.


MPC Softball, I hope to get to more games this season.

Chin slap

We marvel when a platform diver enters the water without a splash. Here is a 45 ton critter exiting the water with a minimal splash. We could learn a few things…

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk in a pine. I was walking down the trail and saw binoculars seemingly focused on me, so I turned around.

Endeavour's last flight

Endeavour flies over Monterey.

A very intent stag

This guy was so focused on the doe ahead of him that I could have gotten closer, but then I would have had to change my lens.


A very late addition, but how can I skip a nice shot of antidunes.

Spotted Towhee

In a surprise move, I selected this Spotted Towhee shot over the one that I had I’m my “Best of” set.

Sea Otter regatta

Another surprise, this shot of the Sea Otter Regatta, beat out a shot of a real Sea Otter with her pup. Oh well, the decision of the judge is final.

A less than happy photo credit

This morning my phone buzzed. A former neighbor and San Jose historian passed away. Did I have a picture that could be used in his obituary?

To answer that required a dive into the archive. And it required diving into my memories of Jack Douglas. For reasons never quite clear, other than I volunteered to do it, I became the editor of the Naglee Park neighborhood newsletter. So every few months Jack would show up on my doorstep with a folder containing a computer disk and a hard copy of his history column, with explicit instructions to return the folder and disk when I was done.

It was the easiest page to fill in the newsletter.

Jack was able to bring the history of our little neighborhood alive. He literally wrote the history of Naglee Park. And for years he played the part of General Naglee in our neighborhood 4th of July parade, bringing that history to generations of new neighbors.

The San Jose Mercury News used this photo of Jack as General Naglee in it’s obit today. They gave me a credit, but I would rather have Jack.

Jack Douglas as General Naglee
Jack Douglas as General Naglee, 2007

Thank you Jack for teaching me about the history of my city and neighborhood.

Happy Darwin Day

As usual, to celebrate Darwin’s birthday, I have updated my celebrating diversity photo set on Flickr. Here are this years additions. Enjoy:

Elephant SealsNorthern Elephant Seals
Poison HemlockPoison Hemlock
White-tailed KiteWhite-tailed Kite
Hauled out for lunchSouthern Sea Otter and Western Gull
Dunlin with SanderlingsSanderlings and Dunlin
Lined Shore CrabLined Shore Crab
Tyler Skaggs (Visalia) Cal League starting pitcherTyler Skaggs (Visalia), Cal League starting pitcher
California CondorCalifornia Condor
FlowersBumble bee and flowers
Western Fence LizardWestern Fence Lizard
ShipwormsShipworm borings

My top shots in 2011

This time of year lots of folks have their top 10 of the year lists. Well I have one too, but it goes to eleven. So here they are in no particular order, my best shots from 2011:

California Thrasher

California Thrasher

The California Thrasher is one of those birds that literally tell you that you in central California. Its song is so ornate and complex that when you hear it you say, “There’s a thrasher nearby”. They will also pop up to the top of the bushes and let you get a nice shot. Thanks!

Foggy Headlands


Apparently the summers on the southern coasts of Oregon and Washington had an impact, because I am always trying to capture where the world fades into the fog.

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Ok, I cheated on this image. I photoshopped out a distracting kelp float that was right by the bird’s bill. It was like a giant zit on your prom photo. Other than that, I really like the shot.



This was my miniatures entry this year. I had heard about the Osprey at Pt Lobos but hadn’t seen it. Then one day it showed up in front of me and then put on a show while devouring lunch.

California Condor

California Condor

I wasn’t sure which was the better shot from the day, my brother absolutely giddy after seeing condors up close, or one of the condors. But I recon’ that you’d rather see a picture of a condor than my brother.

Willets in Flight

Willets in flight

Catching birds in flight is one of the most challenging things I attempt with a camera. When I pull it off, I’ve got to show it off.

Coast Starlight

Coast Starlight

One of the few shots that I planned in advance. Get there ahead of time, set up for the shot, take the shot, and get the hell off the the tracks!

Sea Otter

Sea otter

Is it really a collection of shots from Monterey if you don’t have a Sea Otter. This one seemed to be especially pleased to be spending the day in the kelp.

Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird

Catching a hummingbird like this is just lucky. Yes, I had pre-set the ISO and the shutter speed so the shot was possible, but getting the bird in it, that is just lucky.

The Warbler Cannon

Look Ma, no wings.

This one is special. Even before Sam suggested the Warbler Cannon, I had added the “Fooop!” sound effects in my mind. It is something out of a Don Martin cartoon. How I caught it…

Dancing Pebbles

Flying pebbles

The geologist in me notices little things like pebbles getting tossed into the air by an incoming wave. Even if no one else notices, I think it makes an interesting photo.