Photographers Recognized in Annual Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve Contest

Contest promotes the importance of open space and the preservation of wildlife habitat

At its February 16 meeting, Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors recognized seven amateur photographers for their winning images in the fifteenth annual Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve photo contest.

The contest offers photographers an opportunity to share images of the natural beauty protected at EFRR through a partnership between OMWD, the US Bureau of Land Management, and San Diego County Water Authority. Contest entries assist in educating the public on local recreational opportunities and support EFRR’s mission to protect wildlife and natural resources.

“I think we have all come to appreciate the outdoors and nature a little more during the pandemic,” said OMWD Vice President Kristie Bruce-Lane. “The beautiful scenes depicted in these winning photos shine light on the importance of open space so that future generations can experience and enjoy it.”

Winners were chosen for five categories—Scenic View, Water Scenery, Plants, Animals, and Youth (under fifteen years of age). The public also selected a People’s Choice award winner by voting for their favorite of 12 entries posted on EFRR’s Facebook page. This year’s winners are:

  • “Serenity” by Peter Montgomery – Best in Show
  • “Above the Fog” by Brandon McDonald – Scenic View
  • “Morning Reflections” by Brandon McDonald – Water Scenery
  • “In the Details” by Christie Lothrop – Plants
  • “Reservoir Dogs Sleeping” by CJ Edingfield-Murphy – Animals
  • “Cactus” by Ashley Hahlen – Youth
  • “Rocks” by Will Getz – People’s Choice

Prizes included tickets donated by San Diego Zoo, a 24” x 36” canvas print donated by PC Photo & Imaging, outdoor equipment donated by REI, and a $100 cash prize donated by Escondido Creek Conservancy.

Winning photographs are on display through April 30 at the Interpretive Center Honoring Susan J. Varty, located in EFRR’s staging area. The interpretive center is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., subject to docent availability.

EFRR offers approximately 11 miles of hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails, as well as picnic areas and scenic mountain viewing points. Open daily from 8:00 a.m. to approximately thirty minutes before sunset, EFRR is located at 8833 Harmony Grove Road in Escondido. Admission and parking are free. More information is available at

stream with rocks

Best in Show – “Serenity” by Peter Montgomeryfog down low in EFRRScenic View Category – “Above the Fog” by Brandon McDonald

morning red sky over reservoir

Water Scenery – “Morning Reflections” by Brandon McDonald

dew on blades of grass

Plants Category – “In the Details” by Christie Lothrop

three coyotes

Animals Category – “Reservoir Dogs Sleeping” by CJ Edingfield-Murphy


Youth Category – “Cactus” by Ashley Hahlen

orange rocks in black mulch

People’s Choice Award – “Rocks” by Will Getz