Did you see all the action that happened on day one of the Dusty Lenses Salton Sea expedition? If not, here's the link to get caught up.
Ready for more?
Day two is where we hit the ground running and don't stop until late at night. It's by far the most active part of the weekend, and has loads of juiciness! We start with a sunrise shoot, then head to some local landmarks (Salvation Mountain and Slab City), stop for lunch, visit some serious quirkiness full of bananas, take a bit of a rest before heading back out for sunset photos and low key dinner at a local dive. We top the day off with a nighttime adventure in a local slot canyon for steel wool experiments and starry skies. By the end of the day, we are beat!
Let's start with sunrise shooting. We go to a spot on the edge of the water that is walking distance from the hotel, where we set up tripods and scope out our perfect spot. Some quick checks on who needs help with settings and composition, and then we watch the sun rise in all its glory! It is absolutely spectacular.
Moving on, we head around the South end of the lake to Niland, where we turn through the town to go to Salvation Mountain and Slab City. Salvation Mountain is loaded with religious phrasing and praising of love, but more importantly, is a major art installation that has been handmade by a local artist who passed away in 2014. His legacy continues to live on thanks to friendly caretakers who are passionate about maintaining this work of art.
Right next to Salvation Mountain is Slab City, a community of desert squatters who live off the grid and have an overall belief that nothing is to be wasted. The highlight of this community is arguably East Jesus, which epitomizes this lifestyle philosophy. We were lucky enough to get a personal invite for a behind-the-scenes tour by the lead resident artist, and boy did we get an eyeful! Details galore!
After a lunch stop in Niland, it was off to the International Banana Museum. Thankfully, it was open and oh-so-glorious! This stop is the quirkiest of quirky roadside attractions, with over 20,000 banana memorabilia. If you're lucky enough to catch it when it's open, do go inside!
The intense heat made us head back to the hotel for a break, and then we headed right back out for sunset photos in Bombay beach. The water levels have dramatically lowered since my last visit in April, changing the photo ops significantly, but part of the journey is also finding these changes and going with the flow! We each scoped out a spot for the sunset, explored the structure remains, and then packed up for another break in a local dive.
Ski Inn was spectacular, and the owners and regulars are extremely friendly! While we missed kitchen hours, we were treated to some drinks and popcorn, as well as some incredibly entertaining karaoke!
Final stop for the day was a local slot canyon near Ocotillo Wells. The hike was a bit more strenuous than most of us expected, but the views from the destination spot were spectacular. We had fun with steel wool and then captured some gorgeous starry skies!
The morning of our third day was a much deserved rest. We slept in (our nighttime hike ended at about 2am!), grabbed a hearty breakfast, and then chatted a bit before heading back on the road to get home. Of course, spontaneous stops along the road always happen ;-) Borrego Springs offers some great art culture and is about a half hour West from Salton Sea!
Like I mentioned in the post for day one, this trip was a trial run of a new program for 2016. My dream is to do this trip - and eventually offer ones to other spots in the region - with a different group each time!
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Hope to see you on the next trip!