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Salton Sea



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The Big Sandbox
Photograph by Gerd Ludwig

Thousands of off-roaders test their mettle and machines on Oldsmobile Hill, a popular climb at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. Created from sands blown from the dry bed of Lake Cahuilla—the ancient incarnation of the current Salton Sea—the 40-mile-long (60-kilometer-long) dune system is the most popular off-roading site in California, attracting as many as 160,000 visitors on some holiday weekends. It's also the sole remaining U.S. habitat of the endangered Peirson's milkvetch, a small desert plant harmed by off-road vehicle use. The courts will soon decide how much of the dunes will remain open to off-roaders.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Canon 1V
Film type: Ektachrome 100
Lens: EF 28-70mm f/2.8 zoom
Speed & F-stop: 1/250 @ f/11
Weather Conditions: Clear
Time of Day: Afternoon
Lighting Techniques: Natural light


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