There are different reasons I like certain pictures, but this one just tells the whole story. I like a lot of my Salton Sea pictures, but this sort of sums it up.
These shots are the same motel as the last post, but some different angles. When I was there in 2000, there was one chunk of a building left, which you can see at the right above, but the sign points to where the motel was. Now, just a pile of detritus. If this was a city, they’d at least fence the remains, but this is the Salton Sea. It just is.
What a great sign though. I love the electrical wires protruding from the top of the sign. At some point, someone was up there futzing with things trying to get it all working. It’s like fiddling while Rome burns.
I’ve got a couple more to post but since this is coming from 12-year-old scanned film (Kodak Max 400 for the curious), there are a lot of scratches and spots I have to clean up and it takes a while.
Southern California doesn’t have the history required to create a lot of ghost towns. The Salton Sea is a sort of natural equivalent though. Formed in a strange accident that saw the Colorado River flooding the Borrego desert for several years, the Salton Sea became a huge tourism mecca before slowly dying a slow death as agricultural runoff polluted the water and the lack of any source of replenishment dried much of the lake away.
Today, not much remains. I’m going to post a series of pictures I took 12 years ago – I can’t speak to the current state of the place but I’m willing to guess it’s no better.
This is the start of a few posts that, for the first time here, are going to be scans of actual film negatives instead of the normal digital stuff. Because of that, the EXIF information will be missing. I do know that most of this was taken with a Canon A-1 or a Canon Eos Elan 2E and a 50mm 1.8. I’ll post more info when I have it.
This is the Sundowner Motel – I have a few more shots of the place as well. It had obviously been closed a long time, but I’ve learned it burned down in 1998, a few years before these pictures were taken.
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Sundowner Motel, South West side of Salton Sea, 3.6.2000
A while back I did a few shots from the top of the Suicide Aurora Bridge – officially the George Washington Memorial Bridge. At the time the suicide fence was going up and I haven’t heard much since. I just looked into it and according to WSDOT, there has been one suicide since – that’s one in a little more than a year – a fraction of the rate before. The view from the top used to be great – it’s still nice. One thing that always got me was that the view from the bottom of the bridge is pretty great too, in an engineery kind of way. They never show these things off.
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As usual shooting something against the sky and not wanting to lose the detail, I did this one as HDR. I love the sweeping curves of the thing. I don’t even think this picture does justice to just how high the arc of steel sweeps from Fremont over to Queen Anne. The bridge is its own reward.