Best Photos from our Readers and Staff
By Miriam Raftery
December 24, 2012 (Mount Helix) -- This Christmas Eve, enjoy Tom Lemon's gift to our readers. I've seen shadows cast by clouds on the earth below, but I'd never before seen shadow on top of the clouds.
Lemon snapped this unusual image from Mount Helix, looking down on pink-tinged clouds early in the morning to see the shadow of the mountain cast on the surface of the clouds.
December 21, 2012 (Mount Helix) -- Tom Lemon snapped this serene image depicting a sea of golden-hued clouds, taken from atop Mount Helix on a foggy mid-winter morning in San Diego's East County.
December 4, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – “Uncle Sam made sure everyone knew (well - everyone at Lake Murray on my 6 mile walk) it was their civic duty to vote today,” Greg Dunne wrote in an e-mail to ECM on election day, adding that he received enthusiastic comments from walkers, dog walkers, bicyclists, joggers and others. “Thanks to some great photography work from my walking buddy David,” he added. “Now it's off to vote,” said Dunne, who struck a “muscle pose” while modeling the costume made by his wife.
December 1, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Melody Ponchot has provided us with a dazzling set of photographs that are a study in contrasts, some shot in the snow-covered rural landscape around her home in Boulevard, others taken at Valley of the Moon, a boulder-strewn terrain east of Jacumba. In both places, there is tranquility in the rugged beauty of nature—from serene winter wonderland to jagged peaks in these wild and special vistas here in our own backyard.
November 11, 2012 (Ocotillo) – Tom Lemon sent in this photograph of pristine desert before the construction of the wind project in Ocotillo.
November 4, 2012 (El Cajon) – “Doesn't the "spirit" of those kids/young adults shine thru in the photo beautifully?” says Rebecca J. Williamson, who captured the moment at last month’s 3rd annual Chaldean Festival at Prescott Promenade in El Cajon.
October 28, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Construction of the Tule Wind project in McCain Valley has not yet begun, though developer Iberdrola has pledged to preserve the most scenic portion of views across the Carrizo Gorge. But photographer Tom Lemon stopped by McCain Valley’s famed Carrizo Gorge Overlook this weekend in McCain Valley, discovering to his dismay that wind turbines at Pattern Energy’s Ocotillo Express wind project in Ocotillo are plainly visible across the formerly pristine vista, gateway to three designated wilderness areas.
BLM rules do not allow the agency to consider lost views when determining siting of energy projects, unfortunately for the many who cherish wilderness.
Above is the new view, with turbines across the horizon:
October 14, 2012 (Los Angeles)-- ECM photographer Ron Logan, in Los Angeles this week, snapped this historic image of the Space Shuttle Endeavor on its final journey to the California Science Center in Inglewood.
Astronauts, movie stars and political leaders were on hand. State Senator Roderick Wright concluded, that the reason for making the California Science Center the Endeavor's final home is "because we want you to know, every young person here in the audience, that the universe is your limit. You can go as high as you choose to go."
October 8, 2012 (Ocotillo) – Photographer Daren Sefcik visited Ocotillo in May, before construction began on the Ocotillo Express wind project, then returned on October 3.
Through still photos and dramatic panoramic videos that reveal 360 degree views, Sefcik documents turbines dwarfng mountains and looming in close proximity to homes. “The landscape has already been destroyed by Pattern [Energy] and it will never, ever be the same,” he said.
September 23, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Help tell East County’s story through photos!
The Far East Project, a print/multimedia anthology and performance project, is comprised of personal narratives, interviews and histories from East County communities and residents. This living history project for our region is sponsored by San Diego Foundation Arts and Culture Foundation along with So Say We All.
You’re invited to submit photos that “capture the soul of East County” as you see it. Deadline for entries is Sunday, October 7, 2012.
September 21, 2012 (Ocotillo) -- Parke Ewing forwarded these images showing transformation of the desert landscape in Ocotillo, where public outcry and seven lawsuits have thus far failed to stop the Pattern Energy's wind project.
The first image reveals excavation for just one of the 112 wind turbines; this hole measures 16 feet deep. In the sunset shot, towering wind turbines now replace the century-old ocotillo forest that once stood here, sacrified for "green" energy.
September 10, 2012 (Lakeside)--Billy Ortiz snapped this colorful image of the setting sun over Lakeside’s historic downtown district.
To submit a photo of the week, contact email@example.com.
August 14, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) -- Daren Sefcik photographed our own East County light show—the Perseid Meteor Shower illuminating the night sky above Blair Valley on August 11.
August 13, 2012 (Ocotillo) -- ECM photographer Jim Pelley shot this beautiful sunrise this morning from the yard at his home in Ocotillo.
Soon this dramatic landscape may be only a memory, vanished in the dust as towering ocotillo cacti are torn down and replaced by 112 wind turbines, each 500 feet tall.
By Tom Lemon
August 10, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) — When you're driving east on Interstate 8 past Jacumba and the Desert View Tower there's a sharp left turn and you begin to descend Mountain Springs Grade. You will drop about three thousand feet to the desert in ten miles, and can see the remains of Old Highway 80 in the canyons and some of the original concrete road just past the Mountain Springs exit.
July 23, 2012 (McCain Valley) - ECM reader Tom Lemon sent in these spectacular photos of McCain Valley, site of the proposed Tule Wind facility in San Diego's East County.
"I first visited McCain Valley around 1995 after reading Jerry Shaad's book Afoot and Afield in San Diego County. I began camping and hiking in the Valley and explored the trails and side roads to vista points where you can see the abandoned San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railroad tracks, the Salton Sea, and Castle Butte in Arizona. Yes, you can see all the way to Arizona," he wrote.
"My friend Brian getting into the spirit of McCain. Yeah, it does make you feel like that."
July 25, 2012 (Ocotillo) – No, this isn’t the mother ship that’s landed in Ocotillo. It’s another alien power – the first wind turbine foundation poured at Pattern Energy’s Ocotillo Express project. Photographer Jim Pelley measured a single turbine foundation hole measures 286 feet.
More than 100 turbines, each 450 feet tall, are planned to invade this desert on public land--despite protections under state and federal law intended to preserve the habitat, wildlife and scenery.
July 19, 2012 (McCain Valley) – Tom Klimek of Lemon Grove shared these photos that he took of McCain Valley “as few have seen it,” blanketed in snow, isolated in its pristine beauty.
“On March 18, 2012 I drove to Laguna Mountain and then to McCain to enjoy the late winter storm that brought wind, rain, hail, and snow to the East County,” he wrote. “McCain Valley Road begins at about 3200 feet elevation and rises to 4500 feet near the end of the road. There were no tracks in the snow as me and my son drove all the way to Cottonwood camp.”
By Miriam Raftery
Photo by Jim Pelley
July 15, 2012 (Ocotillo) -- Photographer Jim Pelley captured this inspiring image of sunbeams illuminating the proverbial silver lining of this storm cloud over the desert in Ocotillo.
There is a tragic irony to this spectacular image, however.
June 20, 2012 (Ocotillo) -- Photographer Jim Pelley snapped this image of a horned desert lizard, whose camouflaged appearance blends right in with its desert surroundings. Pelley spotted the reclusive reptile on the site of the Ocotillo Express wind energy facility, which is now under construction.
By Miriam Raftery
May 30, 2012 (Santee) – ECM editor Miriam Raftery took a break from the hustle and bustle of news editing for a stroll at Santee Lakes.
May 22, 2012 (Mexico) – ECM correspondent Nadin Abbott and her husband, Tom are vacationing in Mexico and captured this image of Popopcapetl, a smouldering volcano 30 miles from Puebla (pictured) and 60 miles from Mexico City. An eruption could occur at any time.
“When it does go, they will have to test air at different altitudes to see if jets can come in...The ash has a bad habit of destroying jet engines. That would be a bad day for flying,” Nadin quipped in an e-mail to ECM.
May 6, 2012 (San Diego's East County) -- ECM editor Miriam Raftery snapped this image of last night's "super moon" -- the closest that the moon comes to earth in its orbit this year.
This full moon shot was taken off Highway 79, between Santa Ysabel and Ramona, casting a golden halo as it rose.
April 25, 2012 (San Diego) -- The Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation is presenting a solo exhibition by award winning nature photography Scott Streit. This exhibition is on display in the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor’s Center Art Gallery, One Father Junipero Sera Trail, San Diego now through May 4 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.
May 17, 2012 (Ocotillo) –Robert Lundahl spotted these signs posted by residents and environmentalists, who are mobilizing to inform the public about negative impacts of the proposed Ocotillo Express wind energy facility.
The site borders Anza Borrego Desert State Park on Bureau of Land Management public lands. If built, 450-foot-tall turbines would produce electricity for transmission over Sunrise Powerlink.
April 12, 2012 (Ocotillo) – “My wife, Mary, and I had the pleasure of seeing a large group of bighorn sheep while we were on one of our desert wildflower trips,” Robert Baran says.
They photographed a group of 15 or more Peninsular Bighorn Sheep on Saturday, April 7 between Meyer Creek and Ocotillo.
April 9, 2012 (Anz-Borrego Desert) -- Daren Sefcik snapped these beautiful blooms this week in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park, where the desert is ablaze in color.