Shutterbugs summoned to capture Elfin Forest

ENCINITAS — Olivenhain Municipal Water District and the Escondido Creek Conservancy invite amateur photographers of all ages to the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve for its seventh annual amateur photography contest beginning Aug. 1. Visit for more contest details and an entry form.“Exploring a place through the lens of a camera is an entirely different experience than hiking or riding through it,” OMWD Park Supervisor Jeff Anderson said. “A camera slows you down and draws you in. It allows you to see the beauty of a place you never saw before. We hope our photo contest will inspire you to bring your camera to the EFRR and see it in a whole new light.”The 784-acre reserve currently offers 11 miles of hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails as well as serene picnic areas and scenic mountain viewpoints. The natural beauty of the reserve includes a portion of Escondido Creek, a variety of native plant communities, and views of the Pacific Ocean, Channel and Coronado Islands, and Laguna and San Bernardino mountain ranges.

Winning photos will be selected from six categories — Scenic View, Water Scenery, Plants and Animals, Black & White, Youth, and, new for 2012, Cell Phone. Winners will be displayed at the reserve’s Elfin Forest Interpretive Center honoring Susan J. Varty beginning in January 2013, and will also be featured on the reserve’s web page, In addition, winners are eligible for prizes donated by local businesses such as gear from REI, dinner donated by the Stone World Bistro and Gardens, a “Shutterbug Session” donated by the San Diego Zoo, and a $100 cash prize donated by the Escondido Creek Conservancy.

Entries must feature the reserve as their subject or be taken within the reserve from any trail. Photos must be received by Nov. 2, at Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s office, 1966 Olivenhain Road in Encinitas. The awards presentation will take place at OMWD’s Dec. 12 Board of Directors meeting.

Located at 8833 Harmony Grove Road in the community of Elfin Forest, the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve provides a wealth of opportunities for recreational use, educational research, and environmental appreciation. The 784-acre open space park and recreational area was developed by OMWD in partnership with the San Diego County Water Authority and the US Department of the Interior-Bureau of Land Management. For more information or to arrange a ranger-led tour of the Reserve, call (760) 632-4212.