All photos by Kevin Krautgartner. Used with Creative Commons permission.
If aerial photography is your passion and you’re looking for more impressive work to inspire you, we’re sure the work of German fine art, architecture, and landscape photographer Kevin Krautgarner fits the bill. In his two-part series titled Australian Salt, he gives us a bird’s eye view of the colorful salt evaporation ponds in Australia. Aerial photography brings to our attention some of nature’s most mesmerizing shapes and patterns. But in this case, we’re all eyes on the surprisingly artful colors we don’t usually associate with the process of salt making.
Krautgarner’s series joins our roster of favorite aerial photography projects, along with the works of Tom Hegen, Tom Leighton, and Marco Grassi. His collection takes on a minimalist and abstract look, with the focus on the dreamy pastels created by the salt evaporation ponds or salterns. He shot Australian Salt aboard a small plane with the rear doors removed.
According to him, these shallow artificial ponds are designed to extract salts from seawater, through a process called solar evaporation. Through the effects of the sun and wind, the sea water evaporates in the successive ponds until it becomes fully concentrated. This causes the salt to crystallize on the floor of the pond. What gives the ponds their variety of colors — from vivid blues and bright reds to pastel pinks, blues, and greens — is the differences in algal concentrations. The color also indicates the salinity level of the ponds.
Many of the photos look like pastel versions of Piet Mondrian’s iconic abstract masterpiece, Composition with Red Blue and Yellow. The most striking, however, are the squares and stretches of crimson that don’t look like bodies of water at all. Some of the photos also show some blobs and texture created by the crystallized salts, adding another dimension to the artful series.