Looking back through photos taken during 2013, our staff has sifted through thousands to choose those that best captured the events and the mood of the year.
Some were political in nature, some reflected leaps in technology, others simply captured people doing what they love.
In January, photographer André Zandona flipped perspectives with his black and white photo of Stanford's synchronized swimming team as they practiced their routine underwater while competing at the U.S. Junior and Senior National Team trials in Santa Clara.
A major story that developed over the course of the year began in February when the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights ruled that the Palo Alto Unified School District failed to effectively investigate an ongoing case of bullying that targeted a middle school student with special needs. The photo of local parent Elizabeth Lee captures the quiet and reflective mood of the candlelight vigil the group held in February to show their support for the student and to call on the district to do more to stop bullying in schools.
Also in February, a group of protestors gathered outside of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's house as he hosted a private fundraising dinner for governor of New Jersey Chris Christie. A photo of Natalie Fowler and other protestors shows the group's efforts to call on Zuckerberg to stop supporting Christie, who cut $7.5 million of spending from family planning in New Jersey.
Palo Alto Mayor Greg Scharff addressed the community in the annual State of the City address, held for the first time at Tesla Motors' headquarters. Photographer Zandona's composition places the dim glow and sleek lines of a new Tesla Model S in the foreground as council members and the silhouettes of those in attendance sat listening to Scharff as he outlined his ambitions for the year.
2013 was a momentous year that advanced the marriage rights for same-sex couples across different states. In April, preceding the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn California's Prop. 8, the Palo Alto City Council passed a resolution opposing Prop. 8 and voiced its support of same-sex marriage. Community Services Department Director Greg Betts, together with his partner and fellow city employees, showed the city's solidarity by raising a rainbow flag on the flagpole outside of City Hall.
Google released a beta version of its product Glass to a select group of programmers, engineers, writers and technology lovers to gain their input and test out the wearable technology. Christophe Haubursin's photo of 24-year-old Stephen Balaban captured the software engineer's enthusiasm and excitement about the new technology as he demonstrated how he was able to "hack" into the tiny computer and install his own version of facial recognition and camera-controlling software.
In July Palo Alto's namesake, El Palo Alto, underwent a health check-up by a team of arborists and horticultural consultants. As arborist Dave Dockter scaled the tree while preparing to take a radar measurement of its roots, he took a moment to take in the height and scale of the famous redwood.
And on one weekend in July, hundreds of young chess players, including those from Palo Alto, filled the ballroom at the Santa Clara Hilton hotel and participated in the People's Tournament. Andrew Peng, 7, got up close and personal with the pieces on his board, trying to get a new perspective on the game.