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Salton Sea        Images © Mark A. Chappell

The Salton Sea, in California's Imperial Valley, is a weird place, created by accidental flooding in the early 1900s, sustained largely by agricultural runoff since then, and now slowly dying from evaporation, increasing salinity, dissolved toxins, and many other problems.   It's still intensely productive biologically, despite a solute content much higher than the ocean (and as a result, only one or two surviving fish species of the many that were introduced over the years).   Many of the beaches are largely formed of barnacle shells and huge populations of small invertebrates (as well as the fish) feed numerous migratory birds -- many of my photos of shorebirds were taken at the Sea.   Besides its biological richness, it can be strangely beautiful, especially near dawn on a calm day; many of the photos here were taken in such conditions (most in the northwest corner of the Sea).

  • Canon 7D2, 1D4, or 5D4, 11-16 mm, 11-24 mm, 16-35 mm, 24-105 mm, 100-400 mm, and 800 mm lenses (2010-2018)