On Saturday D. and I went on a special sunset photographic expedition to the Oliver Salt Works ruins at Eden Landing, and here's the pics I took.
Obligatory power lines shot.
In the salt marsh, it is easy to see how the yellowlegs got its name.
The reserve is not open to the public yet, as the conversion from former salt evaporation ponds to natural salt marsh is still in progress. A ranger from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is with us to open locked gates and guide us to the salt works ruins.
The site of these former salt ponds is a desolate place.
One of the machines used in creating new trails for the reserve.
Historically, salt was evaporated to dryness in clay vats which covered several hundred acres, then hauled to an on-site mill, where it was thoroughly washed, dried, granulated and bagged.
It is hard to imagine these stark landscapes as thriving salt marsh habitat.
As the sun lowers in the sky, our group wends its way down the trail to the salt works ruins.
Nearing the ruins, we see a rusty piece of junk by the side of the trail.
At the ruins, these pilings look like broken teeth, or crumbled tombstones.
Back in the day, the surrounding ponds would be full of salt water from San Francisco Bay, and shallow-draft schooners would pull in at wharves to off-load goods and take on harvested salt. Now, there is nothing left but piling stumps.
The sun begins to set behind a fog bank hovering over the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west.
The Oliver brothers focused their operations on manufacturing high-grade salt for the fishermen of the Pacific Coast, particularly the salmon and cod fishing trade. They did an extensive business in Alaska, British Columbia and Puget Sound.
It's peaceful here at sunset.
A view of the Coyote Hills in the distance, turning ruddy from the setting sun.
A couple of excavators loom in the distance like prehistoric creatures in the marsh. They are being used in the salt marsh restoration project and are idle during the weekend.
An old hunting blind in a pond.
The moon has risen.
Dusk over a pond.
Looking toward the Diablo Range in the east.
Sunset behind the fogbank lights up the western sky with gold.
Autumn sunsets have a special potency to them.
One of the excavators accidentally dug up some of the old salt works historical artifacts and they got hauled away before anyone knew what had happened. No one knows exactly what got dug up or where it is now.
The excavator looks so innocent sitting there, doesn't it?
Colors intensify as the sun sinks lower.
The blazing sky creates a molten lake in a nearby salt pond.
As evening approaches, the light dies away, and we pack up our equipment to leave. The moon rises higher and lights the way back home.