Tributary - The Salton Sea

(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 17-40 4.0 l, 22mm, f/22, iso 100, 56 sec, b+w 10-stop // buy print)

Our first stop on the Salton Sea was on the northwest shores. Rick Young took us down some random road that gave us the heebie jeebies. We had no clue if it was truly safe or if we might suddenly stumble upon a murder in progress.

Yes, it’s really that creepy over there.

We got out and took a beautiful stroll down a beach with the crunch of rotting fish under our feet and the smell of those carcasses in our noses. It was a bit like stepping into another world. This place was only 40 miles from Palm Springs and just a turn off I-10? Really?

As I tend to be, I don’t like to sit in one place too long. I started walking south and eventually found this tributary. The second I saw it I knew I had likely found the one shot I’d take away from this first detour along the Salton Sea. I loved the curves it made as it approached the water…and the reflection of the clouds. I knew while I was shooting this would be a B&W shot.

Thanks to Rick for letting me borrow his 10-stop for this one. I believe he made photographer #3 to loan me one on this trip. They’ll all be happy know I finally purchased a 10-stop, so needless to say I wont be so annoying on our next outing!


  • Curt Fleenor

    Awesome. Its like someone poured the sky into the water.

  • Chris DeAngelis

    Love this Mike! Does your nose still burn from that stench? Congrats on the 10stop!

  • Jesse

    Wow, this is really good. The glimmer of light in the water seals the deal for me. Great work.

  • Bryan Snider

    I love how you transition from saying this, “Yes, it’s really that creepy over there.” to saying this “We got out and took a beautiful stroll….” Anyways amazing shot! Looks like something out of a horrible dream or something.

  • Jason Hines

    Love the low perspective and the b&w man. Nice work.

  • aaron levy

    Mike, you keep thrilling me with your photos…Yes, I got to go to Salton sea some day..When I was in Arizona some yers ago, I found an “OLD TIMERS GRAVE sight in PUrchase, It was creepy there in the valley surrounded by mountains, no one there but a lonely grave sight, with old, old markers. The wind blew and we were the only car there…LOVED it.

    Again, much thanks!!!

  • Edith Levy

    Wonderful long exposure Mike. Great shot.

  • Andrew Marston

    Nice conversion to b/w. You use Silver Efex for this?

  • A.Barlow

    ha-ha, TSS will give you those feelings man!

    Love the shot today. Nice and contrasty and dark. very cool.

  • Bob Lussier

    Love this! The BW treatment rocks!

  • Kris Koeller

    Very cool shot. The black and white looks terrific.

  • Chris Frailey

    I can still smell that place. Crazy good though. I like the processing on this one Mike with the dark on the foreground.

  • Brian Furbush

    Nice shot Mike – terrific leading lines, and the 10-stop really helps to enhance the shot IMO. Hope you hightailed it out of there right after!

  • Adam Allegro

    Beautifully moody. Love the dark tones throughout. Nice work Mike.