Anatomy of a photo (series): #44 Octopus event on Tomales Bay (the days before Hawktopus)

The other day I was speaking with someone that had seen my Hawktopus post (the Red-tailed Hawk that I was able to photograph as it flew with an octopus) and while they were very enthusiastic about it, they chided me once they learned that I had more pictures of octopi (sans redtail) taken on Tomales Bay several days prior that I had not yet shared with the world outside of facebook. So here are some of those pictures, and the story behind them-

One of the weakened octopus that I found on the shores of the bay

Several days before I saw the Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) carrying a Common Coastal Red Octopus (Octopus rubescens), I came across the first octopus that I had ever seen in the wilds of our coastal waterways, the wildest part about it however was that it was being eaten by a gull.

Gull with the prized tidbit of an octopus. Can we say sashimi?

Of course I took pictures of something I hadn’t expected to see, never having seen evidence of octopus in my local bay. Shortly after I came across several other octopus that were washed up on the shore and that weren’t yet dinner. They were out of the water, which I suspected to be a bad sign for them. Upon investigating I found they were still alive, but barely so. One I placed into the water, and while it livened up a little, it didn’t seem the active vivacious creature I suspect it once was. Since it seemed there was noting I could do to help them, I took photographs, documenting the event.

Whenever I come across something I haven’t seen before, I try to record it, not just for my own edification, but also because if I haven’t seen it before, perhaps others haven’t as well.

I used a digital SLR and a compact digital camera for the images. I was switching between the two- a 300mm lens on one, and the built in 7.4-44.4mm  Try to see if you can tell which is which from the depth of field.


About Galen Leeds Photography

Nature and wildlife photographer, exploring the world on his feet and from his kayak. Among other genres, he is one of the leading kayak photographers in Northern California. To learn more about him, visit him on his website-
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