The Salton Sea, in the middle of the Imperial Valley near the southern end of California, is actually a lake-the largest lake in California at 35 miles long, 15 miles wide and 235 feet below sea level. This is one of the few places in North America where photographers can find good weather for a winter trip. When I arrived in late February, it was 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and no wind. When you tire of photographing ghost towns, dead fish and salt encrusted beaches on a toxic sea, there is a colorful location called Salvation Mountain, hidden away from the lake, three miles east of Highway 111 on the east side of the lake. This spot is not to be missed.
A few miles south of Bombay Beach is the small town of Niland (n-eye-land). Watch for the United Food Center at the junction of Highway 111 and Main Street. Drive east on Main Street, cross the railroad tracks and continue east where Main Street becomes Beal Street. It’s three paved miles from Highway 111 to Salvation Mountain. The mountain is fifty-feet tall and a hundred-fifty feet wide. A new addition that resembles an underground forest has been added on the south side of the mountain. You will need a very wide-angle lens to capture the effect of a forest winding through tight passageways. Salvation Mountain is an ongoing project supported by local volunteers. Donations, and cans of latex paint, are welcome.
Notes and images from Bob Hitchman.