Blogging Is Overrated

The Surreal Grandeur of San Francisco’s Little-Known Salt Fields

The southern end of the San Francisco Bay Area is known for expensive real estate, tech companies, and aerospace engineers. Less well known is its salt content.

Yet the salt industry has been a vital part of the South Bay for more than a century. Fly into any of the region’s airports and evidence of this appears as a vibrant quilt of briny pools in acid green, ochre, and shades of red that look toxic. These algae-infused intake and evaporation ponds, crisscrossed by channels and levees, are a surreal landscape seen best from the air.

Photographer Cris Benton has studied and documented this fascinating area for over 10 years, using cameras held aloft by large handmade kites. In his new book, Saltscapes: The Kite Aerial Photography of Cris Benton (Heyday Press), the retired architecture professor explains that kite aerial photography “fuels my fascination with photography’s capacity to reveal patterns and phenomena that lie beyond the capacities of our native senses.”

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