2022 Park Pics Winners

Thank you to all the participants who took our second Park Pics contest to new heights! Enjoy the winning images below and hear from the photographers about themselves and what inspired their photos. Also, check out the gallery of outstanding finalists and our 2021 winners!

People’s Choice Award

Explorer by José Luis Aguirre

About José Luis Aguirre:
I am a Colombian documentary and commercial photographer who has lived in the Bay Area for 23 years. I feel very lucky to live in California and even more so in San Mateo County where we are privileged to be surrounded by so many natural wonders. For me, photography is art, a form of expression to capture time and show fragments of life. I love taking portraits because I like to meet and interact with people, but I also enjoy photographing nature, trees, plants, animals and all kinds of landscapes. Our region offers all of this and much more with all its natural parks. That is why I consider that we have the perfect setting to create the perfect photo. We just need to go out, find it and try it.
Inspiration for photo:
Being at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach is like being in a sanctuary. Before our trip to the park, my 11-year-old son and I did some research about this amazing place and found out that there’s a huge living community of marine life in the tide pools. We decided to go and photograph this unknown universe making sure we did not step on any crab, sponge, sea star, mollusk, or any other little sea creature. When I saw my son looking down very carefully at the rocks and the marine life, I thought it was a nice portrait to show how people, in this case my child, could enjoy, learn and appreciate nature. Then, I decided to call my photo “Explorer”.   
Location: Fitzgerald Marine Reserve


Landscapes & Waterscapes

Stormy Fitzgerald Sunset by Brody Scotland

About Brody Scotland: 
I’m an artist and photographer living in San Leandro, California. Photography is my lifelong passion but not my day job (I work for an arts nonprofit). I am often out before sunrise, photographing on a backroad somewhere close to home before starting my workday. My mission in life is to increase the amount of happiness in the world, and photography is both my meditation practice and a way to help fulfill my mission. 
Inspiration for photo: 
I visited the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve for the first time during the beginning of the pandemic, and am inspired to return and photograph it regularly. I’m about 6 months into a personal photographic project documenting the Reserve, and I’m hoping to have a robust body of work showing off the beauty of the park during every season. This particular image was made when a storm was blowing out to sea: I was home in San Leandro and knew conditions might be right for a wonderful sunset, so I checked the Half Moon Bay webcams, threw my gear into the car, and zoomed over. The results were worth it!
Location: Fitzgerald Marine Reserve


Landscapes & Waterscapes Aspiring Photographer

Fall Flourish by Claire Keating

About Claire Keating:
My name is Claire and my photo’s name is Fall Flourish. My favorite colors are pink and blue. The thing I love most in the whole world besides my parents is the garden at my school. 
Inspiration for photo:
What inspired me to take the photo is the beauty of nature, even when it’s a dead leaf. I found the place to take the photo when I was taking a walk down a road/bridge across the river at Memorial Park, and I just found the perfect patch of leaves. Memorial Park is beautiful and has a beautiful bridge and creek. I’ve been camping there since I was 6 months old. It also has a good ice cream shop in summer. You should try camping there too. I am excited that I won and congrats to everyone who tried their best!
Location: Memorial Park


Up Close with Nature

California Scrub Jay with Acorn by Leslie Cavaliere

About Leslie Cavaliere:
I work in education technology but am fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time outdoors on the local trails. I received my first Nikon camera on my eighteenth birthday and have been an avid photographer ever since.  I try my best to capture the landscape and people of the places I visit with an eye toward capturing the beauty and emotion of those places to create visual stories and keep the memories alive. I’ve traveled to over 52 countries on all seven continents and am always ready with passport and camera in hand to take on the next adventure. I’m grateful for the beautiful parks and trails that are so close to home in the Bay Area.
Inspiration for photo:
I enjoy sunrise hikes several days a week at Edgewood Park and have come to appreciate the vast number of species of birds you can spot there. California Scrub-Jays are quite vocal and loud and I usually see them perched on top of bushes in the distance. Their harsh call makes them hard to miss! I captured this image with a Nikkor Z 100–400 mm f 4.5-5.6 VR S Z TC-2.0x lens. The bird was so far away I didn’t even see the acorn in its mouth until I got home.  The magic of golden hour provided the perfect lighting for this image. I’ve come to love these mischievous birds and am always on the lookout to spot them burying, and even stealing, acorns from other birds in the park.
Location: Edgewood Park


Up Close with Nature Aspiring Photographer

Seabird at Seashore by Cayce Ng

About Cayce Ng:
I am currently a Sophomore at Burlingame High School. Photography started as a fun hobby to enjoy the beauty of nature. I love taking macro photography of flowers, wildlife, and everyday objects. Aside from photography, some of my other passions are baking, reading, drawing, and ceramics. 
Inspiration for photo:
This photo was taken in early October when exploring the new recreational area at Coyote Point. I had originally been taking pictures of the kiteboarders but noticed this herring gull just a few feet from me enjoying the sun. I took this opportunity and captured a few shots. This is my favorite photo of the bunch because of the position of the bird as well as the little shine in the eye. Usually, when people notice gulls at the beach, they overlook the beauty of such a common bird. 
Location: Coyote Point Recreation Area


People in Parks

Maritime Discoveries by Gouri Srinidhi

About Gouri Srinidhi:
I am originally from Colorado, and am grateful to call the Bay Area home. With my husband and my two little ones, I spend most of my weekends hiking. I work for an international gender equality center, and enjoy photography, running and being in nature.
Inspiration for photo:
One of the best parts of being a mom is watching my children explore the beauty of this world and learn how to respect and care for it. This picture encompasses that feeling for me. It captures the interest of my son in learning about the tide pools created by the low tide at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, my husband’s patience in helping him understand the nature around him, and the vastness of the ocean beyond them. This scene, and our regular trips out into nature are a continuous reminder of how precious our ecosystems are and provide us with inspiration to do all we can to preserve them. 
Location: Fitzgerald Marine Reserve


People in Parks Aspiring Photographer

Candid of 2 People Walking Down Cowell-Purisima by Henry Mateja

About Henry Mateja:
I am a sophomore from the Santa Cruz area. My passion for photography came from a family of photographers – my Dad was a photographer and so was my Grandma. When I am not taking photos, I enjoy spending time with friends and exploring nature. 
Inspiration for photo:
For me, I struggle with inspiration. Motivation to pick the camera up each day is hard, but what keeps me taking photos is the practice. I am inspired to see myself grow as a photographer and improve my skills. Some days I just feel like photos click in my head – I will look up and see something beautiful and imagine the frame in my head, how I would position myself, how I would like to set the lighting if I could. It’s a fun exercise in my head that always keeps me creative. In general, I think inspiration is rare, and if I only took photos when I was inspired I wouldn’t be anywhere near as good of a photographer as I am now. I’m not always inspired but I am always motivated to improve.
Location: Cowell-Purisima Trail



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