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TED ORLAND: From Joshua Tree to the Salton Sea: The Lost Corner of California

My idea of a good photographic adventure is to plunk the camera down beside me in the car, set a compass bearing toward the far horizon, and photograph whatever surprises my senses along the way. Admittedly that approach isn’t exactly rocket science, but I’ve come to realize that when I follow a path I find interesting, I invariably find interesting images awaiting me as well. (How could it be otherwise?)
In recent years, my photo forays have often lured me southward from Santa Cruz, over the grapevine, and into the Lost Quadrant of California that borders the Salton Sea. Think of it as California’s own home-grown Bermuda Triangle, an amorphous (but breathtakingly large!) expanse of natural and un-natural landscapes, home to decades of utopian dreams and failed real estate schemes.
Follow the hundred-mile loop road around the ever-receding shoreline of the Salton Sea and you’ll discover anomalies like the inexplicably cursed Bombay Beach Resort and the surreal folk wonder of Salvation Mountain. Double that search perimeter and you’ll find yourself in the pristine high desert, surrounded by unworldly cacti and the spectacular rock formations of Joshua Tree National Park.
All told, the Salton Sea and its environs offer a visual testament to the Good, the Bad and the Bizarre. Simply put, it’s a photographic gold mine!

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"Burnt Palms Near the Salton Sea" 2015"Albino Cactus in Bondage, Desert Hot Springs CA" 2018"Palm Grove Near Mecca, CA" 2019"Overhead Palms, Coachella Valley Palm Oasis" 2017"Damaged Date Palm Grove" 2018"Visiting Day at the Old Palms Home" 2016"Lonely Palm, Near Borrego Springs, CA" 2016"What's Wrong With This Picture?" 2015"Deconstructing Stonehenge" 2016"Jesus Takes a Selfie" 2019"Walkway, Coachella Valley Palm Oasis" 2015"NSA Forest, Indio, CA" 2015"Moonrise, Salton Sea Mountains" 2019"Coyote" 2017"Dead Fish, Bombay Beach Salton Sea, CA" 2016"A Picture All About ME!" Salton Sea 2018"Selling Sticks in the Desert" 2016"Katy Walking Away" 2016"The Last Cowboy" 2003"Leonard Knight, Creator of Salvation Mountain" 2007