NOAA Fisheries WCR Photo Contest: Take us with you!

July 2019

“Take us with you!” was the call to NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast biologists, engineers, stream surveyors, and other staff to submit their shots for the NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region photo and video contest.  Our staff go places few ever do – from the high seas to the high sierras – and we asked them to submit photographs and short videos that “show how we accomplish our mission in ways words cannot.” 

Staff at our Northwest and Southwest Fisheries Science Centers and our West Coast Region submitted 105 stunning photos and six videos, transporting us into the field and sharing their passion for managing, conserving, and protecting living marine resources.

Three professional photographers, Kyle McBurnie, Sam Wells, and Oriana Poindexter, judged the photos for exposure, composition, and the story each one told.

The entries were considered in six different categories: fishing and fisheries, species, science & technology, habitat, NOAA Fisheries at work, and 30-second videos. All contest photos are available in our NOAA Fisheries West Coast Flickr album for viewing and downloading, along with comments from the judges.

Congratulations to our winners, and a special thanks to all who participated and to our distinguished panel of judges.


overhead view of river with scientist electro fishing below


Benjamin Sandford - Electro-fishing team sampling juvenile Chinook salmon in Camas Creek, Idaho.

Judges’ comments: “A pleasing composition of a beautiful river and the science well displayed.” "I want to be on that river!" 



people in boat setting a net near shore

Category Winner: Fishing and Fisheries

Larry Ward - Elwha nearshore monitoring beach seine.

Judge’s comment: “Balanced composition, serene location and some science!” 


hand in orange gloves holding up a small silver fish

Category Winner: Species

Jeff Bash - Pacific Hake collected during 2017 Winter Hake Survey.

Judge’s comment: “A great composition that shows the species and the science.” 


view through a ship porthole of a man working with equipmant

Category Winner: Science & Technology

Bernardo Alps - Water sampling at Cross Seamount for beaked Whale eDNA, genetic samples collected from the environment.

Judge’s comment: “Great perspective through the porthole, really elevates the scene.” 


shades of dark smoke and bright red lava

Category Winner: Habitat

Bernardo Alps - Lava flow from Kilauea Volcano reaches the ocean off Hawaii. Instantly cooled lava creates a vapor column at Kamokuna, Hawaii.

Judge’s comment: “Impressive capture of the power of nature.” 


two men in radio tracking gear at edge of Redfish Lake

Category Winner: NOAA Fisheries at Work

Matthew Nesbit - Mobile tracking radio-tagged juvenile Sockeye in Redfish Lake, Idaho.

title slide: coho salmon spawing in eagle creek oregon 2016

Category Winner: 30-Second Video

Blane Bellerud - Video: Salmon spawning in Eagle Creek.

Judge’s comment: “Well paced with good music, and a great capture of behavior!”



man applies a tag to a green sturgeon as others watch

Honorable Mention: Fishing and Fisheries

Kristine Lesyna - Tag training workshop for green sturgeon post-release survival cooperative research study.

Judge’s comment:Cool to see a sturgeon with tag, and the people involved.”


small girl fishing at a stream's edge

Honorable Mention: Fishing and Fisheries

Maria Rea - Child fishing in the upper Sacramento River.

Judge’s comment: “Beautiful color and composition, with points for cuteness!”


Honorable Mention: Species

John Pohl - Pacific white-sided dolphins riding the bow wave of the NOAA research ship Bell M. Shimada. 


Booby catching a squid in mid-air over ocean water

Honorable Mention: Species

Bernardo Alps - Red-footed booby captures flying fish.

Judge’s comment: “Impressive capture and excellent image quality.” 


humpback whale's tail above water

Honorable Mention: Species

Dan Cheng - Lob tailing by a humpback whale.

Judge’s comment:Best Whale in Show!” 


squid flying low over ocean water

Honorable Mention: Species

Bernardo Alps - A flying squid flushes as the NOAA research ship Reuben Lasker approaches.

Judge’s comment: “We (the judges) learned about the existence of flying squid through this image, and we're impressed.” 


flying red footed booby passing an American flag on a ship

Honorable Mention: Species

Michael Force - Red-footed booby saluting flag aboard NOAA research ship Reuben Lasker during NOAA Fisheries’ Cetacean and Ecosystem Assessment Survey off Hawaii.

Judge’s comment: “Well-timed capture with points for humor.” 


sparow sits on thorned branch

Honorable Mention: Species

Bill Lind - Perched white-crowned sparrow.

Judge’s comment:Best Bird in Show, technically excellent photograph.” 


tagged green sturgeon on cushion before return to water

Honorable Mention: Science and Technology:

Kevin Stockmann - Green sturgeon that has been satellite tagged to examine post-release survival in the California halibut fishery. 


rainbow over Mukilteo station with Puget Sound water in distance

Honorable Mention: Habitat

Janet Curran - Puget Sound Pot-o-Gold, the NOAA Fisheries Mukilteo Field Station. 


overhead view of man in a hard hat lifting equipment out of the water

Honorable Mention: NOAA Fisheries at Work:

Bernardo Alps - A Drifting Acoustic SPAR Buoy Recorder is retrieved aboard the NOAA research ship Reuben Lasker. 


overhead view of boat, man extends a net to a turtle in the water

Honorable Mention: NOAA Fisheries at Work:

Joel Schumacher - In-water capture of a Pacific Leatherback off Half Moon Bay, California. Southwest Fisheries Science Center scientists prepare to drop a net in front of a surfacing leatherback. 


3 men are silhouetted at a boat railing with a view of ocean beyond

Honorable Mention: NOAA Fisheries at Work:

John Douglass - Tracking VHF radio-tagged leatherback. The NOAA Fisheries’ Pacific Leatherback research team homes in on a previously tagged turtle to recover behavioral video data.

steelhead in shallow water

Honorable Mention: 30-Second Video

Mark Capelli - Vide0: Endangered Southern California Steelhead spawning with a native Rainbow trout in Maria Ygnacio Creek in the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara County.

Judge’s comment: “Interesting behavior recorded in a clear manner.”