In the months following the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, BP waged an intense public relations war to downplay the size and impact of the disaster. BP "underestimated" (read: lied about) the size of the spill and sought to keep the press out of sensitive areas. For its part, the US government was too often willing to buy those lines and back BP's position, perhaps hoping to reinforce the notion that the spill wasn't all that bad and to demonstrate that the federal response was swift and effective.
As such, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) deigned not to release a slew of graphic photos during the height of the spill—despite receiving Freedom of Information requests to do so. According to a report in Mother Jones today, Greenpeace filed the FOI request in August 2010, asking for information on a number of endangered species, and has only just now received the materials.
As you can see, they're not pretty. Many of them show Kemp's Ridley sea turtles, an endangered species, choked by oil.
Others offer a new perspective at the extent of the spill.
The photo's aren't timestamped, but the request was filed for the summer months during the spill, so chances are they date around June-August 2010.
Go see Kate Sheppard's full report at Mother Jones, with more photos, if you're in the mood to have your day completely ruined.