Best Photos from our Readers and Staff
March 1, 2014 (Campo) – Donna Tisdale forwarded these photos taken on February 25th with the following description.
February 23, 2014 (Rancho San Diego) – Jennifer Hanna snapped these images of a brush fire behind her home on Sunday, February 16. The blaze, near Fury and Wieghorst in the Rancho San Diego area of El Cajon, was swiftly dowsed by firefighters.
By Miriam Raftery; photos by Tom Lemon
February 23, 2014 (Cuyamaca) – “The meadows should be green, Cuyamaca Lake full. Not so,” Tom Lemon writes after a trip to the mountain area. “The area is tinder dry and the lake down six or eight feet.”
Still, he found some interesting sights, as thees photos reveal.
By Nadin Abbott
Photos by Tom and Nadin Abbott
February 21, 2014 (San Diego) There is nothing like a romantic evening outside by the porch with a fire. Well, it was not quite that. Over the last two months we have had a good dozen fires in the Fashion Valley area in San Diego. Since some have been posted on the Twitter feed, you even saw them.
Photos by Eldonna Lay and Meghan M. Lay
February 15, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Motorists along Fuerte Drive at Mt. Helix drive and on Chase Avenue near Fuerte in the unincorporated areas of the County will soon be safer, thanks to two new retaining walls under construction. The walls are being built to halt erosion of enbankments and rockslides onto the roadways below.
February 15, 2014 (Jacumba)—Wayne Brammer sent in these photos of SDG&E’s new Eco Substation in Jacumba. The project is (so-named for hooking up to industrial-scale renewable energy projects. But to most backcountry residents, the project is an ecological disaster that destroyed the landscape and used three times more water (90 million gallons total) than SDG&E estimated.
“This thing is a monster and they’re wasting water all over the place, not just here but all the way to Boulevard,” writes Bramley, referencing other energy projects in the pipeline. “We really do need to separate from the city and have our own county,” he concluded, linking back to a reader’s editorial on this issue.
February 8, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Debbie Ekhaml photographed these red-tailed hawks at three different locations around East County recently. They were taken in the National Wildlife Refuge in Jamul.
February 4, 2014 (McCain Valley) – Charles and Laurie Baker sent in these surreal images taken while hiking in the Mica Gem and Table Mountain wilderness areas in McCain Valley, where winds and weathering have carved out fantastic rock formations in this rugged terrain.
January 30, 2014 (Boulevard) -- Is a "green" energy project really green if it destroys these beautiful scenes? Soitec wants to industrialize our backcountry with over 8,000 solar panels, each 30 feet high, scraping the earth bare and destroying sensitive wetlands and wildlife habitat. Thanks to Teresa DeGroot for documenting what will be destroyed unless Supervisors vote down this project, one of several industrial-scale energy projects proposed as part of the "energy zone" that elected officials seek to create in East County's rural and wilderness areas. Area residents want to see green energy projects located in urban areas where power is used--not in pristine areas such as these that are located along state designated scenic highways. Click "read more" to view more photos.
January 23, 2014 (Carrizo Gorge) – Laurie Baker sent photos taken while hiking at the rugged Carrizo Gorge in McCain Valley, near the site of a planned industrial wind facility. Her images show the dramatic rock formations that make this area one of the most spectacular scenic vistas in San Diego's East County.
By Miriam Raftery
January 7, 2014 (Descanso) -- Duncan McFetridge sent in these idyllic images of his "spiritual grandson," Ki, enjoying a swim at Indian Springs along the Sweetwater River, about a half hour hike from the town of Descanso.
January 2, 2013 (Santee) – Laurie Baker sent in this photo of a Red Tail Hawk eating an American Coot, also known as a mud hen.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” Baker says of the raptor, photographed at Santee Lakes.
December 11, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- Mission Trails Regional Park forwarded these images taken by David Cooksy, showing resplendent fall foliage and a coyote in the park—the largest urban regional park in America.
November 12, 2013 (Poway) -- Scott Dixon with the San Diego Astronomy Association (SDAA) shot this fiery image showing the head of the Pelican Nebula. The photo was taken in Poway in August.
To view more dramatic astronomical images, visit the SDAA website gallery at http://aisig.sdaa.org/objects.asp.
By Miriam Raftery
November 10, 2013 (Pine Valley) -- Fall is a fabulous time to take a drive through East County's backcountry. The photos on this page were taken yesterday along Old Highway 80 from Guatay to Pine Valley, where trees wear coats of gold, rust and crimson on these late autumn days.
October 28, 2013 (San Diego) -- Photographer Debbie Ekhaml sent this haunting image -- along with a description--and a follow-up shot.
"The fog (and flash) made for a spooky Halloween photo of a coyote out in the SD Wildlife Refuge," she wrote. "The flash did not seem to bother her, as I took more after the initial one."
Click "read more" and scroll down to see a second image of the coyote in brighter lighting.
By Miriam Raftery
October 15, 2013 (Descanso) – Debbie Ekhaml had just finished a horseback ride near Descanso and was eating lunch shortly after noon recently when a surprise visitor emerged.
“This beautiful male Bobcat appeared and caught a gopher while we quietly sat under an oak and watched,” she told ECM. “ He hung around for about 50 minutes and tried to get a second one (unsuccessfully). We were amazed not only to get to watch him, but to see him hunt in the middle of the day!”
September 11, 2013 (Boulevard) -- Melody Ponchot found beauty after the recent storms on September 2 and September 7 at the ranch where she lives in Boulevard, from golden rays to rainbows. For those who ask why people want to leave way out in rural East County, here are a few inspiring reasons! Click "read more" and scroll down to view more.
September 7, 2013 (Mount Laguna) -- Retired Fire Captain Greg Bishop sent us these photos taken during yesterday's extreme storms by the National Science Foundation’s HPWREN camera atop Mt. Laguna, a project of the University of California, San Diego. (http://hpwren.ucsd.edu)
September 2, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- Brian Duke Fast Forward Productions has sent in two dramatic photos of stormcells taken today.
The first shot is taken near the Golden Acorn Casino and shows the incongruous combination of a brush fire (right) in the La Posta area beside the looming stormcell bringing heavy showers to the area. The second (below) is a panorama of multiple cells over the Campo/Boulevard communities, along with the fire.
More thundershowers are possible through Friday, the National Weather Service predicts, so expect more wet and wild weather in coming days.
September 1, 2013 (Borrego Springs) - Bob Kutscher shot this stunning sunset photo in the Anza-Borrego desert after a recent storm. You can still see clouds nestled in the valleys, he observed.
August 29, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Lee and Nancy Hauser sent in this photo of their “hummingbird haven,” a backyard paradise for birds. “The potato tree behind the waterfall has gotten very large and always seems to be full of hummers, finches, etc.,” they write. “Lots of entertainment in a small space.”
1st place wildlife photo, Bighorn Ram by Daren Sefcik (left) and 1st place landscape photo, Bridge to Opportunity by Gary Avant (right)
By Miriam Raftery
August 15, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) -- We received many amazing images from talented photographers across our region for our photography contest jointly sponsored by Assemblyman Brian Jones and East County Magazine.
Winners and honorable mentions in landscape and wildlife photographer were selected by judges in Sacramento and San Diego based on aesthetics, composition, and lighting. All photos were taken in the Assemblyman’s district in San Diego’s East County.
The list of winners and their photos are published below. Winning entries will also be displayed in Assemblyman Jones’ office in the state capitol. Congratulations to the winners – and to the many talented photographers who submitted entries!
August 6, 2013 (Jamul) – Debra Ekhaml spotted this Barn Owl in the Rancho Jamul Ecological Preserve. “Although the light was flat from clouds and I only had my small camera, you can clearly see he is a rust brown color, and not the usual white for around here,” she writes. “John Martin (F&W Biologist) said this is not unheard of, but very unusual. I thought it was different enough to send in. He was a very stunning bird-his color was just beautiful!”
July 30, 2013 (El Cajon) – Richard Campbell took this photo from his home in Fletcher Hills, looking east across a fog bank over the city of El Cajon.
July 22, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Bird Talk columnist Greg Dunne shared these images. He writes, “Out at my six-mile walk around Lake Murray Thursday towards the dam, I was treated to five fledgling Cooper's Hawks. I was able to observe them for quite a while.” The darker-backed Cooper's Hawks are the adults, he noted. “I could also tell the fledglings by their behavior, hopping around from branch to branch, making noise with their screeching, and just seeming unsure what to do next, while there was one that seemed a bit annoyed at all this commotion, and was a bit darker on the back side, and was a bit more poised than the young ones. A bit far away for good photos, but I really had a good time watching them.”
By Miriam Raftery
July 9, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- Our readers have sent some dramatic images of the Chariot Fire, which as of tonight has scorched 4,850 acres and burned at least eight buildings.
Here are some of the most stunning images from our readers--and thanks to the many of you who sent in photos and news tips on this major story. (Note, additional photos were used in our earlier stories on this fire, all in our wildfire news section.)
Jim Pelley shot the photo, left, taken at sunset in Ocotillo.
July 5, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – ECM has received an eyewitness account from a former East County resident, Pamela Lopez-Davies, of the early hours of the Doce Fire, which claimed the lives of 19 firefighters in Yarnell, Arizona, including 18 from the Granite Mountain Fire Department’s hotshot team. The fire began on June 18 and as of today has scorched 8,277 acres. The blaze is 80% contained.
“While driving to Chino Valley, AZ at about 11:30 am on Tuesday June 18, I noticed a small plume of smoke in the vicinity of Granite Mountain,” said Lopez-Davies, who snapped these photos near her home in Prescott, Arizona.
July 1, 2013 (Jamul) – Debbie Ekhaml captured these close-up images of a Cooper's Hawk family in Jamul, as the fledgling hawks learn how to successfully hunt a sparrow. Cooper’s Hawks prey on birds and small mammals, even taking on prey larger than themselves such as ducks and chickens. They have sometimes been known to lose their lives for taking on the wrong prey, such as a large owl.
June 28, 2013 (San Diego's East County) - Lighting can transform a scene into a magical display. Milt Cyphert captured one of those golden magic moments with this photo, taken at a Laguna Mountain meadow.