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© Jason Hawkes / REX Shutterstock
© Jason Hawkes / REX Shutterstock
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These Salt Ponds in the South San Francisco Bay Area Are a Technicolor Wonder

Picture of Shayne Fergusson
Updated: 23 March 2017
With vivid hues of pink, orange and green these salt evaporation ponds create a colourful patchwork landscape.

Photographer Jason Hawkes captured the colourful hues as he flew over the South San Francisco Bay area in a helicopter. The British aerial photographer caught the breathtaking shots whilst leaning out the side of the copter as it swooped over the stunning vistas.

© Jason Hawkes / REX Shutterstock
© Jason Hawkes/REX Shutterstock
© Jason Hawkes / REX Shutterstock
© Jason Hawkes / REX Shutterstock

‘Nearly 8,000 acres of the South San Francisco Bay is made up of salt evaporation ponds, all of which is protected by the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge,’ said Hawkes.

© Jason Hawkes / REX Shutterstock
© Jason Hawkes/REX Shutterstock
© Jason Hawkes / REX Shutterstock
© Jason Hawkes/REX Shutterstock

Hawkes goes on to explain, ‘evaporation ponds provide important habitat for more than 70 species of birds. As the ponds are shallow – only 5 metre deep – it’s easy for shorebirds to find food in the low salinity ponds.’

© Jason Hawkes / REX Shutterstock
© Jason Hawkes/REX Shutterstock
© Jason Hawkes / REX Shutterstock
© Jason Hawkes/REX Shutterstock
© Jason Hawkes / REX Shutterstock
© Jason Hawkes/REX Shutterstock

‘Flying over the bay you see the incredible and distinctive colours: beautiful green, red, pink and yellow hues, coloured by the microorganisms that thrive at varying salinity levels,’ he says.

© Jason Hawkes / REX Shutterstock
© Jason Hawkes/REX Shutterstock
© Jason Hawkes / REX Shutterstock
© Jason Hawkes/REX Shutterstock

‘The microorganisms in each lake are determined by their tolerance to salinity, and the colors are reactions to salt levels. These evaporation lakes show all sorts of colours and hues from green, where low salinity encourages green algae to grow, to incredible coral pink and reds that is caused by the algae Dunaliella.’

© Jason Hawkes / REX Shutterstock
© Jason Hawkes/REX Shutterstock