Chemical Brothers

So I'm shooting at this chemical trench at Bristol Dry Lake in the central Mojave Desert one day when these two dudes see me and mosey over to look at what I am photographing. This is odd in itself. The few people on this minor, desolate desert back road are normally passing through on their way to Joshua Tree or Vegas. But these guys had pulled over to wander around on the empty salt flat.

They peer at me and my tripod and the trench and ask me, "what is this?" and I tell them I guess it's calcium chloride from the dry lake crystallizing out of solution. Or it could be regular table salt. Or it could be they are harvesting chlorine for bleach and pool cleaner. At any rate, it's chemicals they are crystallizing out of solution in the dry desert air.

There is only one way to find out for sure, they decide, and that is to get into the trench and taste the liquid. They start clambering down into the trench. I tell them "dudes, you don't know what that is, and it'll be hard to get back out again". But they are determined to taste the chemicals, to actually put this wild fluorescent green chemical in their mouths.

"Right on", I say, and take their picture. "Put us on Facebook," they call out as they wet their feet and hair in the trench.

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