From Covid to comets, see what our photogs captured through the lens.

Oak Knoll Elementary School first-graders snack (socially-distanced) at the start of recess at the Menlo Park school on Sept. 29, 2020. All students must sit six feet apart and face the same direction. After eating, they sanitize their hands and play in a predetermined area on campus: the field, the blacktop or the playground. (Photo by Magali Gauthier)


It’s a year that will be forever seared into our collective memory (and bankroll therapists for decades to come): a raging pandemic, widespread social upheaval, catastrophic wildfires, bitterly-contested elections. Looking back, it’s amazing that so much turbulence could fit into a mere 365 days.

Covering it all—as journalists—was challenging, fascinating, distressing and more than just a little exhausting. On the visual front, there was a lot to capture and our photographers were up close (but still six feet away) for most of it.

So take a quick visual tour of all that happened here in the 6–5–0, and join us in saluting our tireless shutterbugs for focusing from the front row.

Local female wrestlers practice on the mats at Menlo-Atherton High School, in January, when the United States national women’s wrestling team coach Terry Steiner came to the Peninsula to conduct a wrestling workshop. (Photo by Magali Gauthier)
The reality of the pandemic sets in (clockwise from top): The massive line of customers starts to move as Costco opens in Mountain View on the morning of March 15, 2020. The line serpentined through much of the parking lot; A customer walks by empty shelves of bath tissues at a Target in Mountain View on March 14, 2020; Mark Comeau, the head embalmer at Spangler Mortuary, wears protective eyewear, a mask and a face shield to prep a body at the mortuary in Mountain View on April 7; Five people sit in a train car leaving Menlo Park train station heading northbound around 5 p.m. on March 13, 2020. (Photos by Magali Gauthier)
National Guard Airman First Class Ethan Comley moves a pallet of prepared food boxes at a Second Harvest of Silicon Valley warehouse. By June, the nonprofit went from serving about 270,000 people a month to 500,000 — an 85% increase. (Photo by Magali Gauthier)
A few bites from the Year in Eats (clockwise from top): Earlier in the year (before Covid) we went behind the scenes with Lawrence Chu, the owner of Chef Chu’s restaurant, which has now been in business for over 50 years in Los Altos. (Photo by Sammy Dallal); Tripp Distillery employee Gabrielle Van Eijk filling up a customer’s Mason jar with hand sanitizer, on Saturday, March 21. In the wake of Covid, the Pacifica distillery quickly converted their business to producing hand sanitizer. (Photo by Charles Russo); Bún Bò Huế An Nam in San Jose is well known for its namesake beef noodle soup, one of the many locations we looked at during our deep dive into how San Jose became America’s mecca for authentic Vietnamese food. (Photo by Michelle Le); Vasundhara Shivalkar prepares ukadiche modak daily from scratch. On weekends, customers of Puranpoli in Santa Clara order as many as 200 of the sweet delicacy, which is usually prepared only once a year during Ganesh Chaturthi, a Hindu festival. The steamed dumplings are made from rice flour and filled with coconut, jaggery, nutmeg, cardamom and saffron. (Photos by Federica Armstrong)
Mountain View High School graduate Cole Mueller is filmed walking up the podium on the school’s football field bleachers, where graduates typically sit during graduation ceremonies, on June 4, 2020. (Photo by Magali Gauthier)
In early June, Black Lives Matter protests erupted across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers (clockwise from top): Protesters kneel in front of City Hall in Palo Alto on June 1, 2020; Rickey McLane wears a shirt that lists the names of black murder victims during a protest in East Palo Alto on June 12, 2020; Osei Johnson, 9, kneels with other protesers during a moment of silence in front of Palo Alto City Hall on June 1, 2020; Protesters share a moment of silence across from California Highway Patrol officers while blocking traffic in all directions on the Dumbarton Bridge on June 12, 2020. (Photo by Magali Gauthier)
Wildfires hit California hard in late summer and early autumn (clockwise from top): A view from Twin Peaks in San Francisco — at 8a.m. on September 9, 2020 — the day the skies turned orange over the Bay Area. (Photo by Charles Russo); Andy Kerr, co-owner of Alice’s Restaurant, drives behind a San Mateo County Sheriff vehicle through the CZU August Lightning Complex fires evacuation zone on August 25th. Kerr made daily deliveries to firefighters and holdouts in the wildfire zone. (Photo by Magali Gauthier); An orange glow and smoke coming from wildfires in the Santa Cruz Mountains in San Mateo County is seen from the Palo Alto Baylands on the evening on Aug. 20, 2020. (Image courtesy Brian Krippendorf); Andy Kerr, co-owner of Alice’s Restaurant, hands California Highway Patrol Officer Adrian Baez a breakfast sandwich while he guards a roadblock along California State Route 1 outside of Pescadero. (Photo by Magali Gauthier)
Flabellina iodinea (also known by the wonderful common name of Spanish Shawl), a species of nudibranch (sea slug). In August, we profiled Aron Sanchez, a local resident with a knack for capturing the splendor of local sealife. (Photo via Aron Sanchez/Waterbod)
Four-legged locals (clockwise from top): Marco practices a trick with his owner Diana Gerba in their Menlo Park home. Back in February, the 4-year-old Tibetan Spaniel competed in the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City. (Photo by Magali Gauthier); Howard Kushlan walks Miles, a dog that belongs to two local seniors, in Menlo Park on April 1. Kushlan has organized a group of volunteers that complete tasks like walking dogs for seniors and other community members at high risk during the coronavirus crisis. (Photo by Magali Gauthier); Judith Gable, of Los Altos, shares a quiet moment with her horse Lucy, who had been evacuated to the Cow Palace from her boarding location at Ciara West Equestrian on Skyline Boulevard, in Woodside during the CSZU wildfire in August. (Photo by Charles Russo); OJ peers up at an elevated feeding platform at Coyote Point. He is one of 13 feral cats that calls the San Mateo park home. In Ocotber, we profiled the local volunteer operation that has been successfully managing the feral cat population in San Mateo. (Photo by Magali Gauthier)
The new normal (clockwise from top): Residents cheer, wave, clap and bang pots and pans from their balconies to thank Channing House staff for their work in keeping them safe during the novel coronavirus crisis at a staff appreciation event at the retirement community in Palo Alto on April 16, 2020. (Photo by Magali Gauthier); Gina Hampton cuts Kathy Berra’s hair at DJ’s Hair Design Inc. in Menlo Park on July 8, 2020. (Photo by Magali Gauthier); Principal Alain Camou greets a student arriving off the bus at Las Lomitas Elementary School in Atherton on Oct. 19, 2020. (Photo by Olivia Treynor):Mountain View High School football players stretch at the end of a conditioning practice on the high school’s football field on June 24, 2020. (Photo by Magali Gauthier)
In the lead up to the hotly-contested 2020 election, we spoke with eight of the young (under 30) local candidates running for their respective city council seats within the 6–5–0 area code. Three of them won. (Photos courtesy to the Candidates)
A group of teenagers sit in socially distanced seats in a Menlo Park backyard while watching Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides on Aug. 16, 2020. (Photo by Magali Gauthier)

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Sometimes our work is a collaborative effort, hence the "staff" byline. The best of what to eat, see and do on the SF Peninsula.

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