The Edge of the World

The Edge of the World - Salton Sea

(click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 17-40 f/4 l, 17mm, iso 100, f/16, 0.6 sec // buy print)

This past Friday and Saturday I was part of a whirlwind trip that took me through Joshua Tree National Park and ended at the shores of the mysterious and disturbing Salton Sea. My good friend Heath O’Free was visiting Palm Springs from Canada, and had invited me to meet up with him on Friday. Also along for the journey was some other buddies…Rick Young and Chris Frailey from Phoenix, and Chris DeAngelis and Doug Wise from California.

Together we braved camping out in Joshua Tree despite lows in the mid-20’s (resulting in little to no sleep) and the strangeness that is the Salton Sea. I have an amazing assortment of images from the trip and can’t wait to share them over the coming weeks, but I had to start off with this one.

The Salton Sea is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. The minute you see the retreating shoreline and the dead fish…you know you are someplace unique.  And creepy.

But at sunset on the eastern shore of Bombay Beach, the place had an almost epic beauty. The calm waters, the beautiful colors, the way the sky blended in with the lake out on the horizon. It was majestic and amazing, while at the same time you walk along a beach of fish and fowl carcasses and constantly have an odor of decay lingering in your nose.

This particular spot immediately called out to me when I saw it from the car. The closer I got to this old pier, the more it reminded me of something out of the Lord of the Rings. An ancient dock at Minas Tirith as my buddy DeAngelis said. My wife thinks it looks like the scenes at the end of the movie Titanic.

Either way, I knew I wanted to shoot the sunset from here. We were blessed with gorgeous clouds and such calm, reflective waters.

More to come!


  • Chris Nitz

    That is one seriously grungy looking spot. I do like how it leads you out into the rest of the frame, but am going to go shower now. Sounds like a fun time, minus the whole sleeping in 20 degree frigidness.

  • Bryan Snider

    This kind of looks like your standing on a boat out in the middle of no where. What an incredible place. That area should be a national park in itself.

  • Chris Frailey

    Such a crazy place. That was a great trip and was nice to finally meet Heath, Chris, and Doug in person. Nice comp with the pier Mike.

  • John Sotiriou

    Amazing sunset, Mike. Nicely done!

  • Rich McPeek

    Awesome colors and composition! Love this shot!

  • Chris DeAngelis

    Great shot Mike! It was awesome to get to shoot with you again!

  • Rick Young

    I was surprised you got that shot with me yelling at you to “Get out of my frame!” the whole time.

  • Len Saltiel

    Incredible comp and color Mike. Looks like a unique place.

  • Scott Wood

    Very nice. Salton Sea is one of those places I have always wanted to go to, but never have. Still on my list, and even more so after seeing the images you guys captured.

  • Rick Louie

    Decay and beauty in the same shot! Awesome! I may have to check that place out someday!

  • Heath O’Fee

    Awesome frame, dude. Glad we were able to meet up again and hang – had an awesome time!

  • Jesse

    Beautiful and eerie. I have to say you really painted a nice picture with your words to set up this shot.

  • Adam Allegro

    Mike, what a wonderful, peaceful image. I would lvoe to visit here one day. Sounds like a wonderful photo trip, albeit a bit cold! Well done buddy!

  • Steve Beal

    This is just incredible! Sounds like an awesome meet-up!

  • A.Barlow

    Ha! Man, I just got back. Spent the weekend out there and stayed in Brawly. The sunsets last weekend in Bombay were pretty epic. So, how’d you like the beaches made of bones and all the dead floaters?

    Did you take E street up to the beach by chance? To me, driving up that little hill to the beach is like going through a portal to another world; a scene of devastation when you crest the top.

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