San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox and his cohorts got it right in their stewardship of the Sweetwater Regional Park! They transformed a weed-choked, mostly-dry riverbed, a defunct sand plant, a 1938 mansion, and several go-no-where horse trails into a regional park that is used and enjoyed by all manner of folk. And, for our purposes as photographers, the area offers a smorgasbord of venues!
There are over 500 acres and 16 miles of trails stitched together in the Valley that allows one to hike, ride a horse or a bike from the 125 toll road in the east all the way to I-805 in the west! Furthermore, if you are hiking or biking, you may continue on an improved bike path that connects to and goes most of the way around the San Diego Bay!
Photographers can use any-and-all of their favorite equipment during a day of shooting in the Park; there are distinct sections which provide many different possible compositions. The Sweetwater Reservoir offers vistas that include back country mountains, horses, fishermen, and the 100+ year old Sweetwater Dam.
Morrison’s Pond, dug for a sand plant, offers birds, wildflowers and a bucolic atmosphere. Rohr Park has the Rohr Manor House and an old adobe building and, on certain weekends, live steam-driven trains!
At any moment, mountain bikers, joggers, or myriad other folk may wander by. The main location for people on street bikes, walkers, or those walking their dogs is the West part of Rohr Park. If you continue west beyond Rohr, you can pass under the Willow Street Bridge which was built in 1940. There is a lot of old architecture to photograph if you look around Bonita.
Plan a day trip to the Bonita area for early Spring. With the rains and warm weather we’ve experienced, this could be a banner year for photographing wildflowers!