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Salton Sea



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Farms for the Future
Photograph by Gerd Ludwig

Strolling through a field of plastic a few miles from the Salton Sea, farmworkers place cups over tender watermelon plants to protect them from wind and winter freezes. Unlike most farmers in the Imperial Valley, who use flood irrigation, melon grower Arthur Saikhon switched to high-tech drip irrigation in 1989, increasing yields by 150 percent and cutting his water use in half. His grandfather, a Sikh Indian from Punjab, began growing watermelons in the valley in the 1940s, but Saikhon's not sure the business will still be viable when his young children grow up. "With the growth in California, Arizona, and Las Vegas, the price of water may get so high we might not be here," he says.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Canon 1V
Film type: Fujichrome Velvia 50
Lens: EF 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom
Speed & F-stop: 1/60 @ f/10 with polarizer
Weather Conditions: Sunny
Time of Day: Early morning
Lighting Techniques: Natural light
Special Equipment: I shot this from a 12-foot (four-meter) ladder.


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