Best Photos from our Readers and Staff
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.
"It's right behind my house where we would hike," she said of the posted environmentally sensitive area, where the greatest damage to the environment has been caused by SDG&E itself. "Now there are 10 towers on the east side. It's caused me so much sorrow," Rowley wrote.
“We rode the "Caravan" down into the exhibit which we've never done before, and got to hand feed giraffes and rhinos,” she says. “Wow, so worth the experience!
March 19, 2012 (Descanso) - Nancy Manning shot this picturesque night time image of snow falling along a country bridge in Descanso, where four inches have blanketed the ground thus far.
Doesn't it resemble a scene straight out of a fairy tale?
By Miriam Raftery
March 19, 2012 (San Diego's East County) -- As a late winter storm sweeps across our region, readers in San Diego's East County have shared some of their favorite photos of the season.
Morgan La Salle shared these first two pastoral images of Pine Valley, where a blanket of white coats corrals and farmlands--serving up a "cool" setting for local barnyard animals.
March 17, 2012 (La Mesa) -- Mayan Avitable, our assistant editor, took this photo around midnight last week as a cutting she had taken from a neighbor's plant generated this amazing bloom. The flower opened, filled the room with a fabulous aroma, and by morning was gone.
This flower is commonly called a Night Blooming Cereus. This particular plant is scientifically named Epiphyllum oxypetalum. Night Blooming Cereus refers to a large number of flowering Cereus cacti that bloom at night, and have flowers that do not live long. Some of these species, such as Selenicereus grandiflorus, bloom only once a year, for a single night.
By Miriam Raftery
March 14, 2012 (El Cajon)--Students at Grossmont College may be surprised to see who's hanging out just off campus. ECM editor Miriam Raftery spotted these deer grazing on a sunny slope adjacent to the community college.
By Billy Ortiz
March 9, 2012 (Lakeside) – Most every day I like to drive down El Monte Rd in Lakeside. It reminds me of how it used to be in the old days with wide open fields, some farming and the best part is all the wildlife in the area--golden eagles, hawks and falcons, wild turkeys, deer and every once in a while a mountain lion or a bobcat.
Today a bobcat just happened to pop up just off the side of the road in time for a photo and some video! View it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gf0InbHxles.