Home> The Salton Sea, Ca. Photography Hot Spot
The Salton Sea, California Photography Hot Spot
Photography Hot Spot Location – The Salton Sea, Southern California
The Salton Sea is a bird photographer’s paradise. It is a shallow, saline, endorheic rift lake located directly on the San Andreas Fault, predominantly in California’s Imperial and Coachella valleys. The modern sea was accidentally created by the engineers of the California Development Company in 1905. To increase water flow into the area for farming and irrigation, canals were dug from the Colorado River into the valley. Due to fears of silt buildup, a cut was made on the bank of the Colorado River to further increase the water flow. The resulting outflow overwhelmed the engineered canal, and the river flowed into the Salton Basin for two years, filling the historic dry lake bed and creating the new sea, before repairs were completed. It was once a thriving resort community until the fish started dying, and the smell was just everywhere. That’s when everyone left.
Sunset here is pretty incredible as you can see the colors burst in the image above, but there is a smell of dead fish that you can get used to as you explore this post-apocalyptic looking town. We were a little nervous in this desolate city. It’s filled with old beat-up trailers that are falling apart, and you wonder if anyone is living in some of them. We don’t scare easy at all, but we had a strange feeling here. You are also right near the Mexican border, and the thought of that made us spook a little. DO NOT drive into Mexico. It’s way too dangerous.
We drove all the way around the lake. I had to hit the wildlife refuge on the southern side. The photo of the salty looking dry area was the south side. The northern side was just filled with birds. There are plenty of birds everywhere. I just like the north shore best. It seems to be more there and less driving in between.
We met a man here named Jose. We called our photo file, five years ago, “The Salton Sea with Jose.” He showed us around at sunset when we tried to find the right spot to get to the sunset on the water. It was in a farming area around the lake. Jose told us that If we had gone out there alone at night, there was a good chance that we might not come out, so don’t be like us and go wandering in the dark alone.
There is also a cool road that runs away from the sea there that is just incredible. It is Coyote Road off of the midway point along the north shore of The Salton Sea. It’s the images with the clouds rolling in above. That is a road you must travel down. It would be great if you could get clouds like that, but that doesn’t often happen here in the high desert.