Salton Sea – Warm Shadows

As soon as I started shooting around the Salton Sea in southern California, I knew I wanted to turn the images into some sort of series. The problem was, I had some difficulty figuring out exactly how I wanted to present the images. HDR? Black and white? I couldn’t seem to decide, and it was a bit frustrating. After a bit of playing around in PhotoTools last night, I think I found my recipe; a warm, vintage look on a single exposure really captures the mood of the place.

This is the first of the series, and it was taken near the northeast corner of the Salton Sea outside a visitors centre. I’m not exactly sure what this T-post is for, but the hard light creating the strong shadow makes for an interesting composition. Because I was shooting with a wide angle lens, I had the choice of keeping the horizon straight or the bar vertical…I chose the bar 🙂

Canon EOS 50D, Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5, 13mm, F 16, ISO 100, 1/125 sec

Mike Olbinski - January 25, 2011 - 7:04 am

This is awesome…otherwise boring-ish location, harsh sunlight…n clouds (a mortal sin for me)…but you find the one element that makes it art. Love it my man.

Mike Olbinski - January 25, 2011 - 7:04 am

That should have said “no clouds” 🙂

Tobias George - January 25, 2011 - 7:28 am

Love this shot! Agree that the processing captures the mood perfectly. Well done.

James Brandon - January 25, 2011 - 7:55 am

Agree with Mike 100%, these conditions look terrible yet you came out with a wonderful image. Cheers to that Heath!

John Sotiriou - January 25, 2011 - 8:24 am

ditto all of the above. Could that bar be a nesting platform of some sort? Just guessing.

Chris Wray - January 25, 2011 - 8:43 am

Uncanny shot. Mike, et al have accurately expressed the flaws in the shooting conditions and lackluster subject matter, but your keen eye and skillful processing turn an otherwise ‘ho-hum’ photo into a poetic expression. Well done, Heath!

Jesse - January 25, 2011 - 8:59 am

Really dig the vintage tones to this image Heath. I bet it was liberating to work on one single frame for a change.

James Howe - January 25, 2011 - 9:24 am

I like the vintage look. Would like to visit the area some time.

Toad Hollow Photography - January 25, 2011 - 9:25 am

That is so terribly cool Heath!

Jim Denham - January 25, 2011 - 11:34 am

I like it Heath! The shadow is very coo1…sorry, warm!

Bob Lussier - January 25, 2011 - 11:35 am

Love the warm tones in this shot! Great series!

Erik Kerstenbeck - January 25, 2011 - 11:49 am

Hi

Well done on the composition and post processing.

Salton Sea anytime when not during Golden Hours is such a hard place to shoot. The redeeming factor there is the wealth of decay (aside from the thousands of fish bones on the beach) of old structures from its Glory days! Must go back sometime soon before it heats up again!

Cheers, Erik

Juergen Buergin - January 26, 2011 - 2:23 am

Wonderful photo, love the mood!
Regards from Berlin,
Juergen

mark blundell - January 26, 2011 - 6:36 am

Thats a decent shot – you always need some foreground interest . . well processed too.