Tag Archives: Salton Sea

Following a Dream in 2017 – Day 82 of 100

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Today’s picture was taken five days ago at the Salton Sea. It’s interesting how the place looks so accommodating at first glance–picnic tables, grills, ample parking–that you almost forget that few people travel to the region for recreation. But then you step of the car and remember why the lake is abandoned. The smell. It’s tremendously strong, so much so that any guests in your car are likely to pass on exiting the vehicle even for a minute because the odor is too much to tolerate. I remember my first trip to the lake. I walked around for hours taking pictures during the afternoon–ignoring the smell as best as I could–to the point where my sneakers became two mucky swamp creatures. I don’t recall how many times I had to wash my shoes to get the smell out, but I know the job was akin to removing what dogs jettison on lawns for unfortunate, unaware soles (pun intended).

Nevertheless, the Salton Sea still a beautiful place to photograph. Some of my best shots have come from the lake, and that speaks volumes when I consider how many places I’ve visited over the years, and how many pictures I’ve taken of those destinations. There’s a surreal sadness that hangs over the area. It hints at a time when the air was once fresh and the water was once swimmable. You can almost picture women sunbathing, children running and laughing, and fishermen casting their lines into fish-rich waters. You know the present and past are two different worlds, and only God knows what the future holds for the region. (I’ll save talking about what happened to the Salton Sea for another blog entry.)

-Vincent Lowry (Author of American Vineyard)

 

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Following a Dream in 2017 – Day 9 of 100

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I made a sale today! While it was to a customer who had purchased art from me in the past, I’m not going to pout about that fact. Businesses have repeat buyers all the time, so it’s foolish of me to be looking for new buyers every single day and ignore the customers who already enjoy my artwork. I must focus on both groups. Success will never come otherwise.

The piece I sold today was a shot I took a few years back of the Salton Sea with an Egret posed atop the remains of a destroyed pier. The scene struck me with a beautiful sadness. The town of Salton was flooded and destroyed many years back due to an engineering disaster, and the lake has suffered extreme pollution from agricultural runoff and abandoned garbage. The smell is awful. Fish bones, from countless poisoned species, now cover the recreational beaches where tourists used to bask in the California sunshine. And strange relics, such as a smashed out TV set, litter the edges like something out of a warzone.

In other words, it’s not a place to take your family or friends for a vacation.

But the place is a visual feast. The water is amazingly calm, almost like glass. The skies are often clear and blue. And the wildlife that survived the slights of the past, such as the Egret in my photo, carry a peaceful resilience that I find both mystifying and inspiring. It’s a timeless place. Salton Sea’s past, present, and future somehow seem all rolled up into one, and if I were to use one word to describe how a photographer can best capture the spirit of the site, it’s patience. You have to ignore your other senses which tell you to immediately leave (the sense of smell shouting the loudest) and let your eyes take in the uniqueness that surrounds you. Only then should you take your photo. Let the mood properly settle upon you.

You’ll be surprised by the result.

(Vincent Lowry – Author of American Vineyard and LucysLetter)

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