Salt Pond E6C
The first phase of South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project (SBSPRP) work in the Eden Landing Ecological Reserve (ELER) played out between the San Mateo Bridge approach to the north and the Old Alameda Creek Flood Control Channel to the south. After several years of remarkable Phase I progress, the SBSPRP is now starting a Phase II set of ELER projects. These will be largely sited south of the Old Alameda Creek Flood Control Channel and north of the Coyote Hills. I am expanding my photographic coverage of the area with the idea of capturing a set of “before” photographs taken before Phase II interventions. Last Sunday Claudia and I headed out to Salt Pond E6C, which proved to be an interesting subject.
The ExC ponds are a relatively compact group of salt evaporation ponds arranged along the eastern flank of Turk Island, the northernmost outlier of the Coyote Hills. Pond E3C has an intriguing salt work ruin in its center (Plummer Bros. Salt Works, c. 1869?) while E1C and E2C have a close relationship with Turk Island. My “Bush Past Prime” photographs were taken in E2C. However, the target of this session was Salt Pond E6C, which I have not visited before, and its neighboring ponds E4 and E5 to the north as well as E4C and E5C to the south.
This was a somewhat strange day for photography. What looked like an inversion layer kept a hazy atmosphere of water vapor near the ground. We started under dead calm conditions and then got the 7.5-foot Rokkaku aloft as a 5 mph breeze arrived. Once again I was thankful for the relatively light weight of my new Canon EOS-M rig. By the end of my 1-1/2 hour photo session the wind had freshened to 14 mph or so and the Rokkaku was straining under the load. It is always nice to get the gear back down on the ground under such circumstances.
The images from this session proved entertaining. Salt Pond E6C itself was near dry with colorful red water in its borrow ditches. I image that it had a lacy white crust of salt before our recent rains but during this session the levees and exposed pond plateau were earth colored and somewhat moist. Salt Ponds E4 and E5 to the north were green with shades that reminded me of a 1950s color palette while E4C and E5C to the south sported different and more vivid shades of green. In many of the oblique photographs there is a color gradient ramping from the color of pond water to sky blue as the viewing angle becomes more grazing. The gradient is particularly visible in this session because low winds kept the pond surfaces relatively still and mirror like. The entire landscape is dotted with duck hunter’s blinds.