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Good morning, and Happy New Year’s Eve.

Tajha Chappellet-Lanier here, thinking about how much I enjoy the constant flood of ETC. photos coming into my inbox

When this very newsletter first launched in March of 2020 (way before my time), it ushered in a brave new world for the tradition of the ETC. photo. No longer would we be confined to printing just one per week in the paper—now we can choose one every single day. 

This might seem like a tall order, but local photographers have really stepped up to the plateSo many of the photos we get are unique and interesting and well-composed. Just how unique and interesting and well-composed? Scroll down in this newsletter to revisit 10 of our favorite ETC. photos from 2020. (Or visit the ETC. photo gallery to see them all.)

So what do we look for when it comes to choosing ETC. photos? Firstly, and most importantly, the photos should be “a snapshot of Monterey County,” Karen Loutzenheiser, the Weekly’s art director, says. The photos should also be horizontal and submitted along with information about where the photo was taken and with what kind of camera. All these details help us write a caption, so the more precise the better.

But beyond this kind of basic information, revealing what works becomes a bit trickier. The daily ETC. photo means we have, and enjoy, an “opportunity to vary what runs every day,” Loutzenheiser says. But sometimes there isn’t that much variety among submissions—sunsets and beach shots, for example, are probably overrepresented (just as they are on my own camera roll, to be honest). “We tend to get a lot of nature photos because we live where there’s a lot of awesome nature,” Loutzenheiser says.

At some level, choosing the ETC. photo is a gut decision. It’s about opening an email, seeing an image, and thinking wow, I’ve never seen the world look quite like that. So keep sending us your sunsets and your beach shots. Send us news-worthy images from out in the community. Send us portraits and animal photos and artsy closeups. Send us photos of the way you see Monterey County, which won’t be quite how any of us have seen it before. 

-Tajha Chappellet-Lanier, Monterey County NOW editor,

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