These Aerial Photos Make Salt Ponds Look Like Abstract Art

Canadian photographer David Burdeny captures the chemical compositions of salt ponds all over the world.

by Masha (Maria) Koblyakova
20 December 2016, 2:20pm

All images courtesy of the artist. 

Untouched by man, natural landscapes bloom with color in the Salt Series by photographer David Burdeny. Aerial images of vibrant salterns blur the line between documentary photographs and paintings featuring an explosive array of colors.

Burdeny, a Vancouver-based photographer, explores the luminous textures and painterly geometric patterns of salt-making ponds in Australia, South America, and the United States. Originally trained as an architect, the artist employs a downward view as his starting point for understanding the relationships between spaces and objects. “Beauty is of course subjective, but when something as pedestrian is scrapping salt off the ground is as fascinating to watch as a Japanese tea ceremony, I think it should be celebrated,” Burdeny tells The Creators Project. After his first images, he turned to aerial photography in order to capture the ephemeral beauty of of the evaporating salt water's color.


The inspiration for the Salt Series began with a fascination of the pink lakes, like Lac Rose in Senegal. Burdeny was moved by artificial look of naturally occurring textures and colors. Due to the logistics and practical concerns, he needed to look closer to home, so he decided to start with the Great Salt Lake in Utah, and after that, Western Australia and the Mojave Desert.


In order to capture an expressive range of color emitting from the landscape scenes with man-made markings, Burdeny charters a helicopter for a few hours at altitudes between 500-2,000 feet. “It’s much like photographing on the ground really—trying different angles and elevations and light,” Burdeny explains. Flying at midday under direct sun, he captures the precise moments when elongated fields of color get blasted with light. The aerial images give each unusual landscape a unique treatment due to the effect that distance has on the scenes below.


Click here to see more work by David Burdeny.


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David Burdeny
Great Salt Lake