Last week a group of us ventured out to the Salton Sea for a photo shoot. Having been there once before and seen the desolation and decay I was excited to add a touch of beauty to the scene with my models. I had seen images of an abandoned motel near the Salton Sea and knew this would be a great place as it offered a variety of location options. I figured since were were passing by we’d also stop at the dinosaurs in Cabazon for a quick shoot on our way to the Salton Sea. Even though I had allotted plenty of time for hair, makeup, wardrobe and lunch I hadn’t planned on traffic getting out of LA (at 2PM) being so bad. I also didn’t allot for another 20 minutes for hair and makeup final touches when we got to Cabazon.
This loss of about 45 minutes changed my plans for the the rest of the day. By the time we got to the “abandoned motel” we only had about 20 minutes before the sun set behind the mountains. Turns out that this famous abandoned motel had since been turned into a museum and community center. I had brought my models to the only modern establishment in the area. The ideas and shots I had planned in my head were now thrown out the window and I had to make-do with the light and location I had available. There was still a free-standing shack that would offer me some of the decay I was looking for and the shore of the lake offered some great options.
When I was shopping for wardrobe I came across two white sun dresses that reminded me of a baptism scene in The Book of Mormon which I had seen the weekend before. After the sun dipped below the mountains there was about ten minutes of this incredible light. The lake was dead calm and the tones reflected in the water from the sky seamlessly blended together for an ethereal quality. These are the only shots that I had in my head that came to fruition.
The rest of the images from the Salton Sea were nothing like what I had planned but they turned out amazing. I also had lofty goals for a video but when the clock is ticking stills take precedence. I didn’t shoot any video after Cabazon. A big thanks for out to Sura Radcliffe, Stacey Ellis, Claire Dellamar and Sarah Roberts for their work.