The 10 best shots I hit in 2009

best_photo_200920091215_0009Ghosts in the Machine
A thermal scanner shows the heat signatures of passengers arriving at Seoul’s Incheon Airport. Such devices were deployed in the spring to help prevent the spread of swine flu.

best_photo_200920091215_0008Inauguration Day
U.S. President-elect Barack Obama waits backstage, moments before taking the oath of office.
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best_photo_200920091215_0007Chaiténn volcano
Electrical discharges sparked by the heat of ash plumes light the night sky above Chaitén volcano in the Patagonia region of Chile. The volcano began erupting in early May, for the first time in 9,400 years. Ash billowing from the crater was visible from some 200 kilometers away, and even caused disruption in neighboring Argentina. Thousands of people were evacuated from the surrounding area, with relatively few casualties.


Wind Man
Jamaica’s Usain Bolt celebrates after winning the men’s 100m final race of the 2009 IAAF Athletics World Championships on August 16, 2009 in Berlin. Jamaican Usain Bolt set a new world record of 9.58 seconds in winning the final of the men’s 100m at the World Athletics Championships. His time bettered his own world record of 9.69sec set in the Beijing Olympics final. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)


To Space
STS-127 Space Shuttle Endeavour launches from launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center July 15, 2009 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. After multiple delays due to hydrogen leaks and weather conditions, Endeavour is to deliver components of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kibo laboratory to the International Space Station. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

best_photo_200920091215_0004Michel Jackson
Fans of pop star Michael Jackson sit vigil at talk radio host Michael Jackson’s Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame mourning his death on June 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Jackson, 50, the iconic pop star, died after going into cardiac arrest in a hospital today in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Czerwonka/Getty Images)

best_photo_200920091215_0003The Wall of the XXI century
A recently constructed section of the controversial US-Mexico border fence expansion project crosses previously pristine desert sands at sunrise on March 14, 2009 between Yuma, Arizona and Calexico, California. A top Homeland Security official told a House panel that the department could ultimately respond to escalating violence of warring Mexican drug cartels by deploying military personnel and equipment to the region. 6,290 people were killed in the violence in Mexico in 2008, according to Mexican officials, and more than 1,000 in the first eight weeks of this year. Hundreds of kidnappings in Phoenix during the same time period were blamed on the drug trade. The new barrier between the US and Mexico stands 15 feet tall and sits on top of the sand so it can lifted by a machine and repositioned whenever the migrating desert dunes begin to bury it.  The almost seven miles of floating fence cost about $6 million per mile to build. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

best_photo_200920091215_0002Ares-I-X Rocket
A cone of moisture surrounds part of the Ares I-X rocket during lift off Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009, on a sub-orbital test flight from the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39-B in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

A hero, a miracle
In this Thursday Jan. 15, 2009 file photo, airline passengers wait to be rescued on the wings of a US Airways Airbus 320 jetliner that safely ditched in the frigid waters of the Hudson River in New York, after a flock of birds knocked out both its engines. The audio recordings of US Airways Flight 1549, released Thursday, Feb 5, 2009 by the Federal Aviation Administration, reflect the initial tension between tower controllers and the cockpit and then confusion about whether the passenger jet went into the river. (AP Photo/Steven Day, File)

best_photo_200920091215_0010Upside Down
Photographer Kate Westaway went underwater to take this image of a humpback whale calf off the coast of Turks and Caicos. “I was really terrified at first, she says. “I was in snorkel gear, and this humpback calf was brushing me with his pectoral fin. He would slap the water with his tail and then go to his mother, who was sleeping nearby, then return to us. I came eye to eye with him a few times. Maybe he was fascinated by his reflection in my 
 fish-eye lens.” The photograph is printed upside down. Westaway says she wanted to show the world from the whale’s perspective.

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