Best Photos from our Readers and Staff

VISIBLE IN PARTS OF EAST COUNTY THE HOTEL DEL CORONADO’S CHRISTMAS 2021 LIGHTS STUN

Photos of the week.

Photos and story by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

December 2, 2021 --- The  2021 Hotel del Coronado’s Christmas lights, visible in parts of East County, debuted a new look ---  shimmering, color-changing lights that resemble a castle. Their historic Norfolk Island Pines, located on their front Founders Lawn, draped with lights, created that illusion. 

“It looked like an Emerald City,” said visitor Jeff Nelson. “I was shocked to find out the lights were suspended on pine trees that have been there forever.”

The light show can be seen in elevated, hilly areas of East County.

According to staff this is the first year with this particular display noting they used a new contractor for the project.

The lights, named “At First Light” lightshow spectacular, feature lights that are draped over the historic pine trees that also include a coordinated music show and snow flurries. 

In addition to the "castle" the hotel is also decorated with thousands of lights on multiple roofs, buildings, fences and more. 


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: TURKEY TIME

East County News Service

November 23, 2021 (Alpine) – Did you know that not all turkeys are brown? Richard Edwords of Alpine sent this shot of his white “royal palm” and gray “blue slate” turkeys, both heritage breeds.

Fortunately for these birds, they won’t wind up on the Thanksgiving table.  Edwords says,  “They are therapy turkeys. We take them to the senior care facilities.  I own them and I sell the babies in the spring.”


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ANZA-BORREGO PHOTO CONTEST NOW OPEN

East County News Service

Nov. 2, 2021 (Borrego Springs) – You’re invited to submit your best photos of the unique and natural beauty of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park by December 7. There are six categories to enter your photos – and the Best of Show winner will receive a 2.5 hour private tour for two with California Overland Desert Excursions.

The contest is presented by the Anza Borrego Foundation in partnership with the Borrego Art Institute and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: BOUNTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL FALL IN EAST COUNTY

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left:  fall foliage along Highway 78 in Ramona Valley

 


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: LIGHTNING FIRE

By Miriam Raftery 

October 4, 2021 (La Mesa) – Lightning from tonight’s storm sparked several fires across East County tonight, including this one in the Casa de Oro/Mt. Helix area.  Dawn Hough Sebaugh captured a series of dramatic images showing lightning striking vegetation with an explosive force, sending a shower of sparks swirling up into the night sky.

“It sounded like a bomb went off!” Sebaugh posted, noting that she thought a lightning bolt had struck a home.

 

Pulse Point indicates the strike was on Calavo just north of Louisa. A dispatcher at Heartland Fire & Rescue confirms that fortunately, the lightning did not strike a structure, but instead ignited a grove of palm trees.


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: NATURE’S LIGHT SHOW

East County News Service

September 11, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – More than 100 lightning strikes illuminated skies across San Diego County last night, the National Weather Service reports. Michael Brunker snapped these spectacular images from his San Carlos home using a Nikon D7500 camera on a tripod, taking hundreds of shots.


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: DUST STORM IN BORREGO SPRINGS

East County News Service

August 31, 2021 (Borrego Springs) – “Strong thunderstorms east of Borrego and subsequent downdrafts has created a Haboob in Borrego Springs, see progression below over several minutes,” says Bob Kutscher, who sent in these photos. A haboob is an intense dust storm carried on an atmospheric gravity current or weather front; haboobs occur commonly in dry land areas around the world. 

 

Kutscher runs a weather station and is a severe weather spotter for the National Weather Service.


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: SUNRISE AFTER A DESERT STORM

East County News Service

August 20, 2021 (Borrego Springs) – Bob Kutscher snapped this photo on August 11, the morning after a storm dumped three quarters of an inch of rain accompanied by thunder and lightning – all preceded by a Haboob, or dust storm that left particles to intensify the sunrise hues.


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THE RADY SHELL AT JACOBS PARK'S INAUGURAL WEEKEND PROVIDES A PHOTO-OF-THE-WEEK SHOT

 
August 10, 2021 (San Diego) ECM reporter Rebecca Jefferis Williamson snapped this photo-of-the-week during a performance by Gladys Knight at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.  The inaugural weekend started with a performance by the San Diego Symphony under conductor Rafael Payare's  guidance on August 6. Gladys Knight performed August 8.  The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park's season ends in November. The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park can be rented as well. 

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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: EAGLES IN EAST COUNTY

East County News Service

July 12, 2021 (San Diego's East County) - Scott Legace photographed a mother and baby Bald Eagle landing on their perch here in San Diego’s East County.

 

 

 


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: NATURE IN EL CAJON

East County News Service

July 8, 2021 (El Cajon) – Robert Gehr captured the beauty of nature in downtown El Cajon with images of a cactus flower, pine cones, a mother duck and ducklings, a snowy egret and a colorful hummingbird.


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK:FLOWER POWER

East County News Service

July 3, 2021 (Flinn Springs) --Renee Owens snapped this idyllic photo beneath a flowering jacaranda tree with bougainvillea in the background.

"Ellie is part Belgian Malinois, pure flower child," says Owens, who photographed the dog in Flinn Springs.


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LAKE JENNINGS NAMES WINNERS IN SPRING PHOTO CONTEST FOR 2021 “LIFE AT THE LAKE” THEME

East County News Service
 
Photos courtesy of Helix Water District
 
June 28, 2021 (Lakeside) – In the 10th annual Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest, 61 photographers submitted entries. This year’s theme was “Life at the Lake.”

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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: FOXY INTRUDER

East County News Service

May 25, 2021 (Santee) – Santee resident Kate Pittman posted these startling photos on Facebook with this message today. “This just happened. Fox chased my cat through the doggie door into our office.”
 
Pittman added that she opened a sliding glass door to let the fox out, which was “growling at me.”  She adds, “What a way to start the day!”
 

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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: BIRDS NEST THISTLES

May 9, 2021 (San Diego's East County) -- Birds' nest thistles are among the more unusual wildflowers now in bloom in meadows along Sunrise Highway en route to Mount Laguna from Rancho Cuyamaca State Park. Miriam Raftery snapped these images.

The first photo, left, shows the characteristic nest-snaped plant before it's bloomed. The spiny appendages have a cactus-like appearance and are sharp to the touch.


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: SPRING BLOOMS

April 30, 2021 (Mount Helix)-- East County Magazine Editor Miriam Raftery snapped this image of a hillside abloom with wildflowers in an idyllic springtime day near her home on Mt. Helix.


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: SAN DIEGO PADRES' GAME

By Miriam Raftery 

April 3, 2021 (San Diego) ECM staff writer and photographer, Rebecca Jefferis Williamson, submitted this picture of a baseball game ---San Diego style - at the beach. The San Diego Padres' Petco Park includes a fan section that has beach chairs and sand. Pictured are three fans enjoying the second game of the season.  Fans were seated in "pods" or groupings of family and friends due to the pandemic. Social distancing between the pods was enforced. 


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HELIX WATER DISTRICT LAUNCHES 2021 LAKE JENNINGS SPRING PHOTO CONTEST

Source: Helix Water District

March 4, 2021 (Lakeside) -- Helix Water District has launched its 10th annual Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest to share the beauty of its reservoir with the local community. The contest is open to photos taken at Lake Jennings between March 1 and May 31, 2021.


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: AERIAL SNAKE CONTROL

East County News Service

February 27, 2021 (Jamul) – Wildlife photographer Debbie Merrill writes, “The Rattlers are out!  I caught this first year Red Tail Hawk catching and eating one today.  Good to the last button!”

 


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: NATURAL GOPHER REMOVAL

By Miriam Raftery

February 3, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – Jamul resident Debbie Merrill sent in this photo, along with a message which reads, “Sending along my Coyote with Gopher image to show this is their natural prey, not pets!”

I’ve witnessed a coyote digging a gopher out of its burrow on my own property in La Mesa, which had been overrun with gophers until Mother Nature sent this natural form of pest control. 


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: FLOCKING TO DESCANSO’S SNOW

East County News Service

January 29, 2021 (Descanso) -- Richard Edwords sent this photo of his flock of chickens experience a blanket of newly fallen snow at his home in Descanso.


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PHOTO OF THE MONTH: COOL POOL

East County News Service

January 27, 2021 (Descanso) – How cold was it this week in East County? Cold enough to freeze over a swimming pool in Descanso.  Thanks to Allen Walker Entertainment for sending in this startling image of lawn chairs perched atop the iced-over pool that resembles an outdoor skating rink.

Readers, please send us your winter pics to editor@eastcountymagazine.org


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: WINTER BLACKBERRIES

January 15, 2021 (Mt. Helix) -- Global warming and climate change are affecting growing seasons.  ECM editor Miriam Raftery was surprised to find ripe blackberries in mid-January in her backyard on Mt. Helix in unincorporated La Mesa. Blackberries normally ripe in midsummer and go dormant in winter, but this vine never lost its leaves.

Several readers have shared that they were startled by mid-winter harvests of peppers and tomatoes this month.


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: FESTIVE FRIDAY IN SANTEE

 
December 19, 2020 (Santee) – Rebecca Jefferis Williamson sent in these images from a “Festive Friday” event held at the Santee Trolley Square last Friday.

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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: HAPPY BIRTHDAY SANTEE

East County News Service

December 4, 2020 (Santee) – Rebecca Jefferis Williamson snapped this photo of a keepsake Christmas ornament commemorating Santee’s 40th birthday on December 1st.  The city hosted dual fireworks displays, as well as treats passed out through local merchants.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted a broader celebration originally planned.


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: MOONRISE OVER EAST COUNTY

Photo credit:  Dawn Hough Sebaugh Photography

November 30, 2020 (Casa De Oro) – Dawn Hough Sebaugh sent in this photo taken from the deck of her Mt. Helix home, looking eastward as a golden-hued moon rose over East County’s mountains.

View more of her photographs and artwork at https://www.facebook.com/DHSartstudios.


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: LAKE CUYAMACA WILDLIFE TRAIL

 
 
East County News Service
 
 
November 28, 2020 (Cuyamaca) – Scott Lagace sent in a stunning collection of photos, along with this description. 
 
“There is a trail out by Cuyamaca Lake called the Marty Minshall Trail or as I call it, the wildlife trail because of all the deer, turkeys, birds and even a Bald Eagle which flies around the lake. Along with the wildlife the landscape and scenery of the area is breath taking especially now that the leaves are turning colors.”

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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: ANTS AND THE SUNSET

By Greg Dunne

November 21, 2020 (Lakeside) -- Well, it's not Edgar Allen Poe, or Robert Frost. It simplicity is that of a ten year old, but that's what I was the other at the lake. Think big or think small, or don't think at all.
 
The ants made me think on the ground below me. I watched them for 10 minutes, and it took me three times as long to write this poem down. Thanks to all the ants for being there.
 
Here are my thoughts about ants and a photo of them on my walk the other day at Lake Jennings and the sunset that night.
 

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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: WINTER WONDERLAND AT LAKE CUYAMACA

 

 
 

East County News Service

 

November 11, 2020 (Lake Cuyamaca) -- Pandora Horn sent in this images after snow transformed her home on the North Hill of Cuyamaca Lake in Julian into a winter wonderland. 

Her dog, Prada Van Horn, bundled up in a festive sweater for a romp in the new fallen snow.


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: HALLOWEEN'S BLUE MOON

 

Photo and story by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson 

Nov. 1, 2020 (San Diego's East County) Halloween night, October 31, 2020, provided a spooky and unique "Once in a Blue Moon" phenomenon - a blue moon.

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac October contained both a harvest moon and a hunter's blue moon. The "why" behind this unique occurrance  has to do with having two full moons in one calendar month or autumnal equinox. 

Interpreting cloud formations, and not to be mistaken with recognized cloud formations, but imagination, means declaring these clouds as either a dragon's head or a fuzzy Baby Yoda. Your choice. 


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