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Photographing the future and past on the same day

Salvation Mountain
Salvation Mountain

You will not find the future on most maps, but take Highway 111 to Niland and go east on Main Street, cross the railroad tracks, and soon you’ll see Salvation Mountain: the future for many folks.

A fella named Leonard Knight spent decades and hundreds of gallons of paint to create his vision for a Christian Hereafter in the desert. Photographers can spend hours trying to capture the color and intricacies of his vision... using all sorts of lenses from macro to wide angle.

If you continue a bit farther on the road east from Salvation Mountain, you’ll come to Slab City, a place lost in time! It’s a squatters’ paradise on an abandoned military base. There are a few WWII artifacts to photograph, but the area is mostly home to the tents and trailers of those who have moved off the grid... so tread lightly and ask before you photograph.

Follow the road back to Niland and turn north on Highway 111 for 17 miles to Bombay Beach on the Salton Sea. Here you’ll see what’s left of a 1950’s development boom and bust. There ARE some folks still living here, and the local tavern is hopping, but mostly it’s a place of destroyed dreams. Time your visit for sunset and have your camera ready when the sun sinks into the putrid water... it’s the only time the Salton Sea fulfills its broken promises.,_California