It’s been an eventful year in the Bay Area. There were big protests, incredible views, intriguing wildlife, a World Series title, environmental disasters and many touching moments in the diverse communities that call this place home. Here are some of our favorite images from 2012…

March saw a fair amount of rain. Berkeley’s creeks ran high and the early spring skyscapes were often beautiful to behold. (Joe Parks/Berkeleyside)

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Feb. 7 upheld Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling that invalidated Proposition 8, California’s same-sex marriage ban. The federal appeals court declared the ban to be unconstitutional, paving the way for a U.S. Supreme Court showdown on the voter-approved law. (Don Clyde/KQED)

In April, a Great Horned Owl made its nest in the crotch of a Eucalyptus tree on Berkeley’s Claremont Canyon fire trail. The arrival of a chick was a source of fascination for many bird-loving hikers and photographers. (Lee Aurich/Berkeleyside)

Protesters turned out in force on May Day in the Bay Area. The day began with protests at ferry terminals throughout the Bay as part of a labor action by workers in a dispute over health care. A planned protest aimed at shutting down the Golden Gate Bridge was called off. In Oakland, 3-5,000 protesters skirmished with police, who used tear gas. In San Francisco, protesters marched and took over a building at 888 Turk. (Don Clyde/KQED) Yerba Buena Center for the Arts presented Occupy Bay Area, an exhibition of “visual culture” from Occupy encampments around the Bay Area. Though the show made perfect sense to artists and other cultural producers, it was considered a bold move to some who questioned whether the exhibition created a kind of “instant history.” (Artwork by Eric Drooker; courtesy of the artist and YBCA)

Watching the partial eclipse of the sun on the afternoon of Sunday, May 20 at the Lawrence Hall of Science. (Elazar Sontag/Berkeleyside)

The American pika is a squeaky little animal that lives at high elevations in mountains in the West. It could one day have a huge influence on the battle over climate change. And a new program is enlisting students to help scientists learn more about the critters. (Craig Miller/KQED)

Sea level rise could one day inundate industrial, commercial and residential areas all along the Bay, from this rock quarry in the North Bay to companies in Silicon Valley and neighborhoods in San Jose. (Molly Samuel/KQED/aerial support from LightHawk)

The State Parks Department threatened to close 70 parks following budget cuts. Anderson Valley residents said Hendy Woods is an important part of their economy and gathered at “Occupy Hendy Woods” to discuss how to keep the park open. In July, it was revealed that the department was sitting on a $54 million surplus. In the end, no parks were closed in 2012. (Molly Samuel/KQED)

Berkeleyans had front row seats to a fire that erupted at the Chevron refinery in Richmond on Aug. 6. More than 80 firefighters spent five hours battling the blaze, which prompted shelter-in-place orders for an estimated 160,000 local residents. (Jef Poskanzer/Berkeleyside)

On Sept. 21 Berkeleyans in the thousands turned out to see the space shuttle Endeavour, carried on a specially adapted NASA 747, fly just over the city’s rooftops and the Bay. Many gathered at vista points in the hills, including Grizzly Peak Drive, Inspiration Point, and the Lawrence Hall of Science, while others looked open-mouthed from sidewalks, school playgrounds and the bleachers at Berkeley High. (Alan Tobey/Berkeleyside)

Frank and Leticia Romo’s shrine to their son Sergio’s baseball career in his childhood bedroom in Brawley, California. About 25,000 people live in this farm town, out in the desert scrubland. There’s no big college, no stadium, but the town has sent a bumper crop of 21 players to the major and minor leagues. (Marcus Teply/KQED)

Six-year-old Aubrey Bown places a red carnation to honor her uncle, James Suh, a U.S. Navy SEAL who was shot down in Korangal Valley, Afghanistan. Cupertino hosted the annual Veterans Day ceremony at Memorial Park. (Anna Li/Peninsula Press)

Jeff Tedford, head coach of the Cal Golden Bears football team since 2002, was fired on Nov. 20 after a 3-9 season and a combined 15-22 record over the last three years. Tedford’s total pay in 2011 was almost $2.9 million. (Joe Parks/Berkeleyside)

A homeless man amid his belongings in the alleyway where he lives in Berkeley. (Anna Vignet /San Francisco Public Press)

This photo is part of a photo essay on homelessness entitled “Architecture of Homelessness.” The photographer’s statement on the project is included below.

Initiatives to help San Francisco’s homeless find shelter, jobs or medical treatment remain controversial. One recent law, the “sit-lie” ordinance, made it illegal to sit or lie down on city sidewalks. Some homeless people say this law takes away their right to dwell freely — essentially the right to be alive. How does one build a place of one’s own in a city where other opportunities are not available? We all have the need to create a sense of home, even in extreme circumstances. In these photos, the lines between public and private, urban and domestic, blur. They reveal the architecture of homelessness, and contribute to the understanding of a displaced people who make their own spaces.

  • mike desertwolf

    that is so true the homeless need a voice there are no places to live when u are out there ive been homless for 4yr now its hard all we ask is to have place to lay our heads at night

  • mike desertwolf

    at lest some towns let us sleep in parking lots and other places we need to help them how hard is it if u see a homless person to ask them hey u want a blanket or somting to eat or drink alto of us dont have money to go to the store thank god for soupkitchens like st anhaneys

  • mike desertwolf

    well i would like to be the voice of the homeless we need a person or persons to stand up for us i talk to a lot of homless here in rwc and liten to there tail how the became homeless we have a lot of vaccant buildings how hard would it be to make more shelters the are a lot of angels that leve food out tfor the homeless a lot of them dont know where to go to get help like food stamps ga well i hope it get better

Author

Katrina Schwartz

Katrina Schwartz is a journalist based in San Francisco. She's worked at KPCC public radio in LA and has reported on air and online for KQED since 2010. She's a staff writer for KQED's education blog MindShift.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor