Photo: Death of a Family

Picture: Dead fish on the shores of the Salton Sea, Imperial Valley, near Brawley, California

My buddy and I had pulled off along the side of the road at the edge of the Salton Sea to take some photos of the shoreline. As I walked out toward the water, intrigued by the dry, cracked soil, I noticed a dead fish near where I was looking to set up my tripod. Well, the obvious first thought was to move away from the dead fish. So I started looking for another spot to put my tripod. But it slowly became apparent that there were dead fish everywhere. Strewn like a line of kelp at the beach left after a high tide, there was a line of dead fish that stretched over this entire shore. An it wasn’t just one dead fish here, and another over there. Instead, there was group after group after group. Finally, I decided I needed to photograph this morbid scene. I found the above small group that reminded more than any of a family. There’s really no way to know if these fish were related in life, but in death they form a family bond that is visually gripping. I don’t know what killed all these fish, but if you check the background of the previous posted photo, maybe you can get an idea…

See more images of dead fish in my… oh wait, I don’t have any other photos of dead fish.

PS, I have a catch-all category I call the Fossil Beds, and there’s a good chance that in a few million years that’s exactly what this will be.

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3 Comments on “Photo: Death of a Family”

  1. Richard Says:

    Hey Gary, if don’t mind would you email me the directions to where you found these dead fish? I saw this in National Geographic once and was curious as to where this was. I have a fascination with this type of stuff. btw. I once posted a photo of those power plants on NPN and someone mentioned they were hydrothermal power plants.

  2. Sean Says:

    It’s actually standard fare for the Salton Sea, the most polluted lake in California. The beach is more bones of dead fish than anything else. There have been a number of die offs over the years due to pollution, bacteria outbreaks, high salinity, lack of oxygen, and from what I’ve read the recent die off was due to the freeze back in January.

  3. enlightphoto Says:


    Thanks for the info; It’s no surprise about the pollution. Maybe I’ll post a pic of my plastic dam. As for the recent freeze, I was there during that time, so this would have been from something before that.

    Cheers & thanks for taking the time to write.

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