Sunday, May 31, 2015

Salton Sea Post #2

I promised a follow-up post on my recent Salton Sea visit last week. Here's the backstory for those of you who are not familiar with the area. The Salton Sea is the largest lake in the state of California, although it is an "accidental" lake. It resulted from massive overflow from irrigation canals connecting to the Colorado River. The water flowed to an area that has no drainage. In the 60's and 70's, the Salton Sea became a very popular vacation destination. It had great boating, fishing, water skiing, and was slated to be the "next big thing" from a real estate development point of view. Developers saw big opportunity and started developing areas like Salton City. Roads were built, utilities were brought in, lots were sold, and homes and marinas were constructed.
Google Images:
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But somewhere along the way, the health of the lake suffered. Salinity rose to the point where there were large fish die-offs, and no one could (or can) figure out how to reverse things. 
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This worried investors, created odors and attracted flies, and basically put the brakes on real estate development in the area. Home buyers were scared off, and as real estate values plummeted, people defaulted on loans and walked away for their vacation paradise investment.
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So what has become of the Salton Sea, you ask?? The salinity is so high that very few fish species can survive (it's more saline than the ocean). The water has receded due to evaporation exceeding inflow, and continues to recede more each year. The water is much too polluted for swimming or even boating. The sand beaches have been replaced with dead fish, fish bones, and barnacle shells.
Even our little chihuahua dog couldn't walk down to the water's edge... the fish bones and barnacle shells were too sharp to walk on.
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A blog I was reading about the Salton Sea ( describes Bombay Beach on the Salton Sea as "A worst case scenario - perhaps the most heinous civic failure in the annals of western human civilization." Perhaps an overstatement, perhaps not, but you can argue that there are many Bombay Beach-like locations all around the Salton Sea.

So why visit? It's such a strange and unusual place that that becomes a draw in itself. It's popular with birders and also with photographers. The abandoned trailers, eccentric people, alien landscape... well, you get the picture.

Bottom line? Absolutely worth a visit, and make sure you take your camera gear!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Greetings from the Salton Sea!

The Salton Sea is so strange and unusual it really does require some background information, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area. No time tonight to do this, but hopefully on a follow-up post. For now, just let me share some shots of tonight's sunset.

Linking with Skywatch Friday. Click on the link to check out great skies from around the world!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Keys View, Joshua Tree National Park

Keys View provides amazing views on a clear day. It overlooks the Coachella Valley, with views of the Salton Sea, Palm Springs, San Jacinto Mountain, and the San Andreas fault line.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Look, Am-pa!!

My granddaughter has learned to appreciate the sky, the clouds, the moon, the stars. I guess I can thank "Skywatch Friday" for that! She's often with me as I'm out photographing the skies. She has trouble with the gr sound, so I'm "Am-pa"!
Linking with Skywatch Friday. Click on the link to check out great skies from around the world!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Smokin' Chihuahua!

Our chihuahua can be a pain in the butt! She's always finding little things around the house to chew on. The other day she found some chapstick. My wife picked her up to take it away from her, but she gets snarly and doesn't want to give it up. It struck me as very funny... she was holding the chapstick in her mouth like a little cigar and looked quite defiant. My imagination (and Photoshop) took over from there!
Linking with Our World Tuesday.

Friday, May 15, 2015


Fast-moving clouds and a full moon are a nice combination. I used a 400mm lens, tripod, ISO 1600, f/5.6, exposure times varied depending upon cloud cover (1/10 sec to 1/50 sec). Taken in my back yard during the last full moon.

Here's a square-crop of the above shot...

Linking with Skywatch Friday. Click on the link to check out great skies from around the world!!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Circular Pathway to Inner Peace (??)

A couple of weeks ago I was driving my Jeep around a fairly remote piece of desert with the goal of photographing some homestead cabins. Here's one I came across that I like alot.

Another view. This little cabin is pretty typical of what people used to build to improve their 5-acre lot and quality for a homestead. No idea why they chose pink for the exterior wall color, but it adds to the mystery all these years later!

Here it is in b&w. I can never decide which I like better... b&w seems ideally suited for desert photography, but on the other hand, the colors can be great. I'd be curious to know which you prefer.

As the sun was setting, I found myself in a more remote area on a very questionable dirt road. I nearly ran over this rock pathway with the Jeep! A very strange location... no cabins around for miles; totally in the middle of nowhere. I decided to stop, get out the tripod, and take a few sky shots.
May be someone can enlighten me as to the purpose of this path? I'm guessing it's meditative in nature.

Beautiful desert skies, dirt roads, and vistas that go on forever. What could be better?? Linking to Skywatch Friday. Click on the link to check out great skies from around the world!!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Never Too Old...

... to play with bubbles! This is my 85 year old Mom playing with her great granddaughter.

It was such a great photo opportunity, I couldn't pass it up!!

My granddaughter is 2 1/2 and loves her GG!

Some of the bubbles stuck to the ground long enough for me to try to get a picture.

Bubbles seem to be good therapy and make everyone smile. I highly recommend them!!