The Fish Eye

And Sir, we have Fresh Tilapia on The Menu tonight!

This was shot on the west shore of the Salton Sea, east of San Diego. When we first went there, it looked liked there was a pristine white sandy beach on the shores of a placid mini ocean. As we approached we noticed that the white sand was actually the bones of millions of dead fish, bleached white by the blazing desert sun. This image shows one of the newer contributors to the beach, and coincidentally, shot with a “Fish Eye” Lens.

The creation of the Salton Sea of today started in 1905, when heavy rainfall and snowmelt caused the Colorado River to swell, overrunning a set of headgates for the Alamo Canal. The resulting flood poured down the canal and breached an Imperial Valley dike, eroding two watercourses, the New River in the west, and the Alamo River in the east, each about 60 miles (97 km) long. Over a period of approximately two years these two newly created rivers sporadically carried the entire volume of the Colorado River into the Salton Sink.

In the 1920s, the Salton Sea developed into a tourist attraction, because of its water recreation, and waterfowl attracted to the area. The Salton Sea remains a major resource for migrating birds.

The Salton Sea has had some success as a resort area, with Salton City, Salton Sea Beach and Desert Shores on the western shore and Desert Beach, North Beach and Bombay Beach built on the eastern shore in the 1950s. The town of Niland is located 2 miles southeast of the Sea as well. The evidence of geothermal activity is also visible. There are mud pots and mud volcanoes on the eastern side of the Salton Sea.

The lack of an outflow means that the Salton Sea is a system of accelerated change. Variations in agricultural runoff cause fluctuations in water level (and flooding of surrounding communities in the 1950s and 1960s), and the relatively high salinity of the inflow feeding the Sea has resulted in ever-increasing salinity. By the 1960s it was apparent that the salinity of the Salton Sea was rising, jeopardizing some of the species in it. The Salton Sea currently has a salinity exceeding 4.0% w/v (saltier than seawater) and many species of fish are no longer able to survive. It is believed that once the salinity surpasses 4.4% w/v, only the Tilapia will survive (A favourite fish of many Locals, myself NOT included).


3 responses

  1. ~ * ♥ * ~

    I love the contrast and texture of the fish bones. I think it’s pretty amazing that the beach is made out of fish bones.

    bonita of Depict This!
    ~ * ♥ * ~

    July 12, 2011 at 1:05 am

  2. Carel Cramer

    Yes indeed, it is a very nice picture. Did you use the bracketing technic? If you did, I wonder how you managed the movement in the water…



    January 18, 2012 at 11:33 am

    • I recall that this was an HDR extraction from a single NEFF file – Photomatix can do this quite nicely. I often bracket water shots and then use Selective De-Ghosting (again Photomatix) to chose a single exposure, eliminated the weird motion blur while maintaining HDR for static portions (It is really cool)

      January 18, 2012 at 11:47 am

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