It was quite a challenge to select images that would capture moments in the community from the past year that were the most newsworthy, decisive or visual.
Photographer Marjan Sadoughi discerned a thread of sound and movement running through her top five. According to her, "The harmonic rhythm of ballet performed by the dancers of L'ecole de Danse melds into the high-pitch tone of the Indian singers, drummers and dancers with their ankle rattles at the Stanford Powwow.
"That music is continued in the melody played on the Persian zither at Norouz (the Persian new year), a celebration that includes the seven dishes that start with 'S' on a spread called 'Sofreh Haftsin.'
"The beauty is carried on by the sweet and engaging gesture of model Christiana Samani showing off the ZenTrend fashion line at Filoli Center. And the flow of life concludes with the cheers of Palo Alto High School graduates looking at their tassels flipping in the air and embarking on a new page in their lives.
"These are some of the aspects that inspired me this year."
For Chief Photographer Norbert von der Groeben, one picture in particular brought him satisfaction in 2007.
"When I was a young photojournalist right out of college, I wanted to cover wars, have my photos make a difference and change the world for the better. But after spending time with a handful of seasoned photojournalist and photo editors, I learned quickly that covering wars was very dangerous and only a few photos will change the world.
"So I needed to set my goals a little more down to earth. One of those goals was to take a picture of a family geese traveling down the road.
"This opportunely happened for me in May as I was doing research for a photo essay on the parks of Palo Alto. I had just finished taking a tour of the Palo Alto Baylands when the ranger and I came across the geese and goslings making their way down Embarcadero Road.
"It might not be the greatest photo I have ever taken, but it had a very special meaning for me."
Photo intern Hardy Wilson selected a recent photo he took of a 92-year-old East Palo Alto humanitarian.
"I chose this photo because I believe it shows the humility of Mother Branch.
"She slowly shuffled out of her house to show me her garage filled with clothes, food and other items, smiling as she explained how each little thing would brighten someone's world. Her entire property is seemingly fully stocked, purely with items to give away at a moment's notice.
"Upon stepping into her house, she will shake your hand in a genuine, hearty manner, offering the food on her table and a blessing for your presence. She sought not to speak of herself but rather the people she has helped -- and continues to help. Mother Branch has truly dedicated her life to giving without seeking recognition."
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