Best Photos from our Readers and Staff
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.
June 20, 2013 (Santee) -- Assemblyman Jones (R-Santee) and East County Magazine announced today that they will host a photography contest that features photographs taken in San Diego’s East County. The winning photographs will be displayed in Assemblyman Brian Jones’ Capitol Office and featured in East County Magazine.
“It’s an honor to be able to highlight the photographers and the beautiful landscapes Eastern San Diego County has to offer,” Jones said.
Miriam Raftery, Editor of East County Magazine said, “East County Magazine appreciates this opportunity to showcase the works of talented local photographers. East County Magazine looks forward to publishing works displaying our region’s beautiful scenery and our historic communities.”
All entries must be received by July 15, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. to be eligible. For details, scroll down.
June 21, 2013 (Campo)--Mary Clark and her son, Jimmie, 3, enjoy an idyllic moment in the summer sun amid wildflowers next to their family's vineyard. Miriam Raftery captured the moment on a visit to the Campo Creek Winery earlier this month. The photograph illustrates the joy of rural living--a lifestyle treasured by many people in East County.
May 27, 2013 (Ocotillo) -- When Jim Pelley arose at sunrise and looked out over the desert from his home in Ocotillo, he noticed something missing. So he grabbed his camera to record the unusual sight.
A Siemens wind turbine at Pattern Energy's Ocotillo Express Wind Energy facility had hurled off a multi-ton blade onto a trail on public Bureau of Land Management recreational land. Fortunately, since the accident occurred at night, nobody was harmed.
May 24, 2013 (Mountain Springs) - Photographers Jim Pelley and Parke Ewing spotted a herd of endangered Peninsular Bighorn sheep preparing to cross I-8 in Mountain Springs, at the county line separating San Diego and Imperial Valley counties.
Residents report that wildlife is returning to the area over the past week, since wind turbines at the adjacent Ocotillo area have been silenced during the investigation into a blade that fell from a wind turbine.
How many sheep can you find ih the photo below? (click "read more" to view.) We don't know the answer, but Pelley says spotting the well-camouflaged sheep reminds him of playing "Where's Waldo."
By Greg Dunne
April 28, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) -- My friend, David Hart, and myself went on a long and strenuous six-hour but fun hike of all five peaks at Mission Trails Regional Park on Wednesday. We enjoyed seeing many of nature’s wild life. Mule Deer, Red Diamondback Rattlesnake (always be aware of rattlesnakes this time of year), a Gopher Snake, (the gopher snake I befriended and then let him back on his way), and even a Jerusalem Cricket.
April 24, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- A sure sign of spring in East County is when you see wild lilacs (ceanothus) blooming, covering fields and hillsides in a tapestry of lavender and purple. ECM editor Miriam Raftery captured these beautiful blooms in Deerhorn Valley.
April 24, 2013 (La Mesa) – The Lake Jennings March Photo Contest garnered 83 spectacular entries from individuals throughout Southern California and Arizona, from age 8 and older. Photographers roamed the banks, paddled into the deep, hung out in Hermit Cove, watched the wild life, and clicked shutters. Winning entries were selected in both the Youth and Adult categories. Photos can be viewed on the Helix Water District or Lake Jennings’ Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.519785861417321.1073741828.301972993198610&type=1#!/media/set/?set=a.519785861417321.1073741828.301972993198610&type=1
April 7, 2013 (Julian) – This photo taken by Nadin Abbott in Julian stumped our staff initially when we were asked to identify the bird with dramatic black and white markings.
Fortunately, our “Bird Talk” columnist Greg Dunne checked with experts and confirmed that this beautiful bird in flight is Acorn Woodpecker.
April 3, 2013 (Jamul) -- Ariele Brooke sent in this adorable photo of her young relatives at an Easter event sponsored by Jamul Kiwanis.
"They had a petting zoo with chickens, bunnies, and a goat," Brooke reports, adding that activities also included an egg hunt, face punting and inflatable jump.
By Miriam Raftery
March 24, 2013 (Jacumba Hot Springs) --I spotted this beautiful crested bird, a cedar waxwing, on a visit to Jacumba Hot Springs last week. Lake Jacumba, once virtually dry, is now refilled and is a magnet for a wide variety of bird species.
Cedar waxwings are most often found in the northern United States, but can be seen in wooded areas of San Diego County during their spring migration. They often travel in flocks and are known as the "party animals" of the bird world, since they have been known to feast on fruits and berries until they become intoxicated!
March 13, 2013 (Jamul) -- Debbie Ekhaml caught the action as twin fawns leaped across a meadow in an ecological preserve in Jamul. Who knew that Bambi could jump so high--nearly resembling a kangaroo at times?
"I have many pictures of them with the doe, but like them jumping the best," wrote Ekhaml, who declined to disclose the precise location in order to protect the deer from hunters.
By Greg Dunne
March 6, 2013 - Last week I did back to back hikes in Missions Trails Regional Park. I was treated with three Mule Deer on the trail—a great sight! I have only seen deer at Mission Trails once before and that was after the Cedar fires of 2003.
It was on my way back from North Mt. Fortuna that I spotted the trio of deer. They were not as skittish as I thought they might be and I was able to watch them and take photos for at least three or four minutes.