Wildlife Viewing in Northern California

Wildlife Viewing in Sonoma, Lake and Marin counties and Northern California

Speaker, Tom Reynolds, Photographer and Videographer

The Redbud Audubon Society is pleased to welcome Tom Reynolds, photographer and videographer for its April 18, program meeting at the Lower Lake Methodist Church Social Hall at 16255 Second Street in Lower Lake. The evening begins at 7 p.m. with sign-in and refreshments; the public is warmly invited.


Tom Reynolds is a widely respected photographer from Sonoma County who has been photographing and video-ing birds and wildlife in Northern California for 15 years. He has built an impressive body of work around Sonoma County wildlife, mostly at the County’s Regional Parks. In his talk to Redbud, Tom will show a 40-minute video of some of the best places to view wildlife in nearby counties and beyond.

Many of his images are stunning, capturing seldom-witnessed scenes: a family of river otters devouring a lunker largemouth bass, a Pileated Woodpecker pecking at wild grapes, a Bald Eagle soaring near Jenner with a lamprey clutched in its talons, and a close-up of a bobcat perched on a mossy rock at the southwest corner of Spring Lake, its fur glinting in the sun.

Reynolds has become an unofficial photographer and ambassador for Regional Parks, donating his images for county use on social media, websites and publications, conducting regular birding trips on park properties, and making presentations to local schools and nonprofit groups on wildlife and photography.

“He spends most days in one park or another,” said Meda Freeman, spokeswoman for the department. “He’s so immersed in his work, and his product is so tangible and beautiful. He’s so committed to his mission that he won’t even accept a free parking pass from us. We consider ourselves pretty lucky to have his support.”

Reynolds, now in his 70s, came to wildlife photography late in life. For most of his career, he worked as a fleet manager for PepsiCo. After taking an early retirement from the company, he moved to Santa Rosa and spent 10 years as a heavy equipment operator for the county until his second retirement.

A San Diego native and longtime Los Angeles resident, he moved to Santa Rosa more than a decade ago and remains enthralled by the county’s natural splendor. His volunteer role combines his belief in public service and his lifelong hobby. He was born with the “Kodak gene,” he says. “I just like being outside. I go up to theNational Wildlife Refugesin the Sacramento Valley once in a while, but mostly I just visit the regional parks. They’re incredible properties, and you can spend a lifetime exploring them.”

His photographs have been a key part of Sonoma County’s bid to boost local support for parks and increase their draw for tourists. “He posts pictures almost every day. People see that and they want to visit those places,” said. Regional Parks Director Caryl Hart.

Tom Reynolds’ contributions have been recognized with several major awards. He was awarded the Sonoma County Regional Parks’ “Best of the Best” Volunteer award in 2011. The following year, the county Board of Supervisors honored Reynolds as one of 18 “Outstanding Volunteers” among the county’s overall corps of 3,000 helpers. In 2013 Madrone Audubon awarded him the chapter’s Bentley Smith Award for his photography and work with education and the environment.

The Army and Air Force veteran brushes off the adulation while encouraging fellow retirees and county residents to get more involved. “You have a choice when you retire: Sit on a rocking chair and complain about the world or show what the world is made of,” he said. His camera enables him to do exactly that.

His life has been challenging since the Tubbs Fire in October 2017 when he lost his home, computer equipment and cameras, all his possessions, and all his photos. However, he was able to recover most of the photos from Facebook and Shutterfly, and has resumed his photography and volunteer activities. “For me, the most important part is making people aware of what a beautiful place we live in,” he said.

You can preview some of Tom’s amazing photos and videos on his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/tom.reynolds.505