Monday, 31 December 2012

Salton City New Year's Eve Walk

Happy New Year to you All 


Thank you for all your support, for the Kickstarter contributions, for the grant monies, for talks, ideas, thoughts, comments and critiques. 

I welcome contributions to the Salton Sea Speaks website and hope it will grow! I look forward to more conversations and keeping an open dialogue, gaining participants and adding interviews and your photos.

Went on a walk down to the Seafront this late morning to see the status quo, to capture a momento mori of 2012, with lots of hope thrown in for 2013. Here's to hope and positive action. Not just for the Salton Sea. For all. 

Leading up to the shore line

 Looking East: The ripple in the water indicates that there is some object in there.
Probably from the fifties or even earlier. I am willing to bet that unless something gets
done to save the Sea that object will become exposed.

Like this rope and buoy. In this area in the fifties, there was a 
kiddie pool and RV park with boat rentals and other activities. 
As the floods came in the seventies, it covered up all these 
objects, which are now becoming exposed once again.

Though what was nice to see was that the water did look very nice and clean!

This pelican is either conducting his orchestra or demonstrating his sheer manliness. Or fluffing his wings.

I leave off by saying enjoy the start to the New Year. All the best, Christina

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Book Reading Del Mar Arts Center and Exhibition Palm Desert Community Gallery!

This past weekend saw me traveling to Del Mar to do a book reading/signing at the Del Mar Art Center and then to Palm Desert the following day for the opening of the exhibition, Portraits of the Desert at the Palm Desert Community Gallery.

Talking. Photo by T Weiner
 This of course meant that I got to talk about the Salton Sea. A lot. And   the people who were there were interested to know about it. In Del Mar, I spoke a bit about the background of the project, then read a couple of excerpts from the book itself.

I had never done a book reading before (reading out loud in 10th grade English class would perhaps be the last time I read a book out loud to others) much less a book signing. So it was all just a little lot bit daunting.

Talking and Reading. Photo B Coletti
What did make it a little easier was that I was speaking on a subject I felt comfortable talking about as once I start I generally cannot stop for a while. Difficult was knowing what excerpts to choose from as there are so many passages that I could have easily picked. The great thing is that I will be able to mix it up and read other passages in the future to other crowds. There were some very interesting questions that were asked that ranged from the publishing of the book to the project and organising it; to what the solutions are with regards to restoring the Salton Sea and  questions about the history of it as well as the alien lifeforms that visit it. Some of the conversation verged on the more serious, some was more light hearted, a very nice mix.

Still talking. Photo by B Coletti
Over all I did enjoy this experience of doing the book reading as the audience were really engaging and wanted to know more about this place. The space was also really wonderful, a beautiful gallery, colourful, light, amazing art work, which I really appreciated! I also wanted to pass on my most gracious thank you to Bob Coletti for approaching me with the idea and talking with the Del Mar Arts Center to make it happen. Thank you to Ursula Heintz! And Terry Weiner for making the journey! And the Del Mar Arts Center for allowing me to use their space.  

Bob Coletti, Ursula Heintz and me.

Thank you to all for coming and for your support!

On Monday I left San Diego County  and headed back towards Palm Desert for the exhibition "Portraits of the Desert". I have really been looking forward to this exhibition. Back already in 2010 I applied to the Palm Desert Community Gallery hoping to have the chance to show my then Salton Sea photographs of the wetlands, landscapes and people using the sea for recreational purposes. I was in the UK at the time and duly sent off my application form and CD with images on time (ok... just in time) and waited.  And waited some more. And more. And then some. And started getting discouraged. Then about three months later, I received an email saying that the art gallery manager had just received my application form and cd from another department. The package had been sitting unopened for this time in another office somewhere and so my application never had the chance to be viewed by the judges for inclusion in the show. Of course this isn't to say that I would have definately gotten into the show, but I had missed the boat.It wasn't meant to be.

Come this year January 2012, it was time to send off the application form and CD again. This time I had a new project I wanted to share and so sent off the "Portraits and Voices of the Salton Sea" images and was super happy to hear in February that I was accepted into a three person show with two other photographers, George Kenton and Dennis Johnson!! Ten months later, the opening night was on and the photos were all up and the other two photographers are amazing and very different, but complimentary and it looked so good. A really enjoyable evening with a nice crowd.
Dennis Johnson

The exhibition runs until the 7th of February and is open to the public. Palm Desert Community Gallery is located in Palm Desert City Hall, 73-510 Fred Waring Drive, and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please call 760-346-0611, ext. 664 or visit

So if in the Palm Desert area, why not stop by in the gallery?

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Portraits and Voices and You! Yes, You!


This is where you and your input come in!

I would love to hear your stories, see photographs, read comments and otherwise have you get in touch with me about and your relationship with the Salton Sea.

This can be in form of pictures, text, links, youtube videos, news articles  or anything or other of note!! Have a look at the excerpts page at for what I have put together thus far.

I will publish as much as possible on as it is meant to be a space for people to speak out. So by getting in touch with me, you are aware that whatever you send may be made public!

You can either comment using the form below or email:

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

"Portraits and Voices of the Salton Sea" Events coming up in December!!!

Here is your chance to find out more about the Salton Sea and the people who live and/or work there! Curious to know more about the Salton Sea and what really goes on there? Live in San Diego County?Or in the Coachella Valley?

First up:

In the Del Mar Art Center on the 9th of December from 3-6pm:

A brief book reading at the beginning and then individual q&a and book signing! Refreshments will be served.

And the flyer:

The following day, Monday the 10th of December, brings me back to the Coachella Valley!

To the artist reception for a three person show at the Palm Desert Community Gallery for a show entitled "Portraits of the Desert" from 5.30pm-7pm.

Super excited about that as well!!

Refreshments will be served! Hope to see you there!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Sometimes speaking is better said through dancing

"Big Apple Activism" Nobody could have said it better than the people at Swing the Doc ( - a soon to be awesome swing dance documentary. oh mygod i am so so excited!!!).

Since I can't lindy at the Salton Sea, I decided to go and do my most favourite routine ever. Done a couple of Charlestons improvs, it was time for the "Big Apple".

Did have a prettier view to begin with, but the ground was dusty fluff and could't even do anything without sinking into it.

Why am I dancing? Because I love it. And I am out here as I love this area. And well not many other people who lindy hop out here. So it became a matter of taking things into my own hands and doing what I can.

It is to point out the tragedy that will be the Salton Sea, if the water levels are not maintained. The air would be laden with dust and dust clouds. Anyone dancing out there would not be able to breathe properly. In fact, the Imperial Valley, one of the valleys in which the Salton Sea is located already has a high percent of kids of asthma. It is always the most vulnerable that suffer. It does not have to be this way.

Though I welcome any dancer to come and do a routine/social/whatever with me on the shoreline of the Salton Sea.

Massive thank you to Nikki Santilli for showing me the Big Apple! An inspiration she is!!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Photos from the Annual Beach Clean-Up at the Salton Sea, Salton City site

This last Saturday, the 10th of November, was the official California Coastal Commission Beach Clean-Up event at the Salton Sea. There were two locations, here are photos taken at the Salton City location.

A lot was taken care of on the Saturday in the area at the Old Yacht Club in Salton City. The shoreline looks great! And we can be sure that all those items that had been littering the shoreline no longer pose a threat to the Sea as they have been removed.

But so much remains to be done. Living in windy conditions certainly helps spread the litter around that is not locked in and shut tight and indoors. As the winds here blow primarily out of the West, the areas near the Sea are most effected, at least here on the west side of the Sea.

On Friday night, I was given information by a Salton City resident, Andrew Lawrence, about another totally trashed site right by a bird sanctuary at the shoreline in Salton City.  Andrew and another participant, Ivan Soto, undertook to clean it as a last minute item on the agenda. The second site was in such bad shape that the cleaning for it continued into the Sunday.

A massive huge thanks to the following participants for getting their hands and knees dirty and coming out on a Saturday to pick up the litter, in particular those that made their way all the way from El Centro to Salton City - a 100 mile round trip.

Susan Millan, Richard Cordero III, Judith Cordero, Freddie Jiminez, Maria Valencia, Alexandra Corrales, Lila Limon, Ivan Soto (all from El Centro!), Rick Davis (site coordinator!), Olivia Alejandro, Maria C Perez, George Mohoff, Andrew Lawrence, Bob Brodie,  and Gerri Dunham.

Also: I wish to extend my thanks to Fredda Stephens, Park Ranger Extraordinaire, over at the Salton Sea State Recreation Area.  The three partipants who volunteered at the State Recreation Area are: 
Marcella Reinert Humberford, Larry Goodwin, Doug Kroll   
Thank you to all for making the effort.

Susan Millan is a wonderful teacher who bought out three of her students and I hope they enjoyed their day and learned a lot about the Salton Sea.

Total participants for the Salton Sea Clean-Up 2012: 18

Massive thank you to: Burrtec for the dumpsters and Dave at the Salton City Dump; Red Earth Casino for the bowl of home-made chips for the post clean-up food, Coachella Valley Water District for the Water; The Dome in Vista Del Mar for opening its doors to the hungry and tired volunteers and Terry Weiner at the Desert Protective Council for her help with promoting the event. 

Photo: S Millan

 Photo: S. Millan

The Clean Up Crew hard at work

Carmen and George at the dumpsters

A small section of the 25ft barbed wire fence

Only a very small section of what we found South Marina facing the Old Yacht Club looking east.

Olivia at the edge of that field.

At the other site near the Bird Santuary: Pre-clean up and Post...

 All Photos in the above section: A.Lawrence

Dumpster at the Old Yacht Club site. More was yet to be dumped!!

Weird items found: Poker Chip, a complete dresser in pieces, a couple of family photographs, one pair of men's underpants right at the shoreline (I wonder: did someone take a nudie dip and forget to put their underpants back on?), and... a dildo. And tires. So many tires. All over. The shoreline of the Salton Sea appears to be a prime target for people who dump tires.

Here an aerial shot - at this point one of the dumpsters had been taken already.

Photo below: S. Magdaleno

So: the decision has been reached to organise another Clean-Up for January or February.  Details to follow.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

The Portrait and Voice of Andrzej Pyrka in "Portraits and Voices of the Salton Sea"

Andrzej Pyrka

Andrzej, a friend of roughly 15 years, came to visit me in Salton City just recently for less than 24 hours. It was great to have him visit, as I do love having visitors and love showing people around the Sea and passing on what knowledge I have gained on this stunning and complex area. We did what we could in this brief time, which included a trip once all around the Sea, a stop at North Shore, the Salton Sea State Recreation Area, Salvation Mountain and the Wheels of Karma and War, the mudpots, Red Hill Marina, and driving along the shoreline just South of Sonny Bono. Unfortunately we had to hightail it after that (until the border patrol, where it was slowtailing it for some time) back to Salton City as he had to get back to LA that same evening.

After he left I wrote him asking whether he would like to participate by answering a few questions I had with regards to his visit to this area and he agreed. Here is the result. Thank you for taking your time for this interview!

*If you could please introduce yourself*

I am Andrzej Pyrka, was born in Poland, grew up in Germany, have lived in France, 
the US, Mexico and Belgium at some point in my life and now work in Singapore. 
Am a political scientist working for a consulting company and feel very passionate 
about traveling - especially to the hidden gems of the world, where you don't 
encounter busloads of other tourists.

*What were your first impressions? You had mentioned coming out here with 
contradicting views of the Salton Sea. Could you expand a little on that?*

Since I knew that you are enthusiastic about the region and I trust your judgment, 
it was not MY contradicting views that I came with. I was very much looking forward 
and expecting it to be nice after I had heard so many interesting things about the 
Sea. But it is true that the people that I told I was driving out to the Salton 
Sea were very divided in what they had to say about it. Some said it was a great 
and beautiful place, others would almost 'warn' me to come out here claiming that 
it was a boring and gloomy area and that it was not worth my time. It seems that 
among people living in LA the Salton Sea has a reputation of being the 
'end of the world', a godforsaken place that one should stay away from. People do 
not know much about the sea, but what they know - e.g. the military tests in the 
nearby mountains, the dead fish, the smell - scares them away.

*What was your favorite part? And your least favorite part?*

Interestingly, it's exactly this 'scary' and supposedly unattractive element about 
the Salton Sea that makes it so attractive and special to me - I remember arriving 
at the North Shore in the morning and looking across the Sea that was lying there 
peacefully in beautiful light and with Pelicans and Cranes creating a picturesque 
scenery. Such images one usually only gets to share with a huge number of other 
viewers, tourists, photographers. I was trying to think of comparable places I had 
been to earlier, that were as easily accessible and of similar beauty, for example 
a lake in the Austrian alps. On a Saturday morning, such a mountain lake would 
have been full with people, and it would have been virtually impossible to witness 
this solemn and sublime 'zen' atmosphere for the crowds running around. Since the 
Salton Sea seems to scare more people away than it attracts these days, the visitor
can experience unspoilt and almost unshared beauty.
The least favorite part is that all the beauty and special character of the place 
is tainted by the feeling of decay that is difficult to shake off.
Anywhere one looks and goes, there are abandoned buildings, foreclosed houses, 
stories about the Sea's former glory and alarming news about a disappearing lake. 
This of course is not very uplifting, and all this is difficult to forget while 
discovering the beauty of the place. It's like meeting a wonderful person and 
finding out that this person has been infected with an incurable disease that will 
soon lead to certain death.

*The Salton Sea has been in the news quite often recently due to the stench 
that reached LA. Even all the way in Germany, where you keep up with the news, it 
had made the magazines. Do you think that this has a positive or negative effect 
on the Salton Sea?*

The positive/negative depends a bit on what one think is best for the Salton Sea at 
the moment. If the focus is on waking up policy-makers so they get start taking 
action regarding the Sea's most pressing issues, I think recent global media 
attention is certainly great. Just imagine high-ranking Californian officials 
being asked by a delegation on visit from Germany what the matter was with that 
stinking sea and what was being done about it. The officials will certainly want 
to have a good response to that. If the goal is to attract tourists, I don't think 
recent media reports have done the Salton Sea good. With all the more famous 
tourist attractions across the US, nobody will reserve a weekend to drive out to a 
smelly place; at best such reports will draw 'urban explorers' to come to Salton, 
the type of people that get a kick out of discovering abandoned buildings and 
sites and doing sort of a 'forbidden tourism'.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Portraits and Voices of the Salton Sea update! and Volcanoes...?

My book is now available to purchase on Etsy:

Along with those prints and notecards I have been promoting.


in other news.... I have known about the old volcanoes at the Salton Sea (Obsidian, Red Hill, Rock Hill, Mullet island and that they were remnants of old vocanoes. I have also been several times to the amazing little mudpots (little volcanoes) which burp and splutter and spit and hiss and cough and have taken all my visitors (well the four I have had so far.....) to go see them - as they are something else.

This is what I just read today:

Click here for "Mystery of Salton Sea buttes solved; volcanoes now a worry"


Is a volcano eruption at the Salton Sea imminent?

We are right at the edge of the infamous San Andreas Faultline - it starts by Bombay Beach and there have been several earthquakes in nearby Brawley late August. The scientists and researchers are also now saying that the eggy rotten smell is not from the dead fish but instead from the now supposedly active volcanoes....


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Now! Available in my Etsy Shop!!


8x10 photos in 11x14 black mats!!

Of the lovely Salton Sea, located in Southern California!

A Lake in the Desert!

Rivers in the Skies 


Inlet at Red Hill Marina

No longer Here nor There

Let's Take to the Sky

Twice the Sky

And now for something a little different. 

Lastly, a dance photograph of the amazing dancer Lena. I will start expanding on my dance photograph collection and getting more of them printed up! So stay tuned!!!

A Crease in Time

All of my images can be custom ordered to different sizes/finishes, matted or un matted, framed or not, and stand out mounted. Get in touch with any questions!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Inlet at Red Hill Marina, Salton Sea over the years (well 2008-2012)

Inlet at the Red Hill Marina, Salton Sea

Amazing how fast it can all dissappear. Sure, to some extent all the water that evaporated was due to the heat and sun of the long hot summer, but even so. Look at how much dust is exposed to the air.
The first image was taken in 2008, the second in 2010 and the third one in 2012, not too long ago. Good to see that there was some water, there had been a few storms in that area over the summer, but not enough to counteract the trend of this lake drying up. Once that happens, be careful its going to be dusty down here. Oh and in Coachella Valley. And perhaps throughout the Inland Empire and Riverside? Maybe even LA. With the right wind conditions, anything is possible. Remember the  "Big Stench, Summer 2012, a mere month and a half ago. The link to the article - click here

Spring 2008

January 2010


October 2012

The Dock at the Red Hill Marina

March 2008

October 2008

October 2010

January 2012