Photo: Salvation Mountain (night photos, Mojave Desert, near Salton Sea)

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Leonard Knight spent three decades joyously painting religious messages on a tall mound of adobe he called Salvation Mountain. Knight built his mountain using adobe mixed with straw to keep strengthening the mountain. Mr. Knight believes that he has put more than 100,000 gallons of paint on his mountain to combat erosion of wind and rain.  Leonard Knight passed away in 2014.
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Leonard Knight pasó tres décadas alegremente pintando mensajes religiosos en un montículo de altura de adobe que llamó Salvation Mountain (Montaña de la Salvación). Knight construyó su montaña con adobe mezclado con paja para mantener fortalecer la montaña. El Sr. Knight estima que él ha puesto más de 100000 galones de pintura en su montaña para combatir la erosión del viento y la lluvia. Leonard Knight falleció en 2014.
Taken at night. Subject illuminated while the shutter of the camera was open during this long exposure night photo. This is not a post-processing creation.

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Mr. Knight’s Message of Love – Slab City Wedding, Salvation Mountain

Slab City Wedding, Salvation Mountain

Leonard Knight came out to Slab City, near Niland, and liked the area. He began building this as a result for his deep passion for The Lord. He started one week. One week turned into another, then one year into another.

The “Toxic Nightmare”: Saving Salvation Mountain  In summer 1994, the county hired a toxic waste specialist to test for “contaminants.” Even before the test results were back, they cordoned off the area and labeled it a “toxic nightmare.” The tests predictably came back claiming high amounts of lead in the soil. The county petitioned the state of California for funds to tear down the mountain and haul it to a toxic waste disposal site in Nevada, a state that seems to be rather good at this sort of thing.

However, local residents collected hundreds and hundreds of signatures were collected on circulated petitions. Thanks to the help of many old and new found friends, Leonard dug soil samples from the very same holes as the toxic waste specialist had dug, submitting it to an independent lab. The new tests revealed no unacceptable levels of any contaminants, including lead. Salvation Mountain was saved. Just a few year later, in 2002, Salvation Mountain was entered into the Congressional Record proclaiming it as a national treasure. Mr. Knight hopes that someday the museum will hold photos and artifacts of the mountain, including his struggle with the county supervisors, as well as his art. But more than that, he hopes that his message of love and compassion for all will be seen by more.

And indeed, Mr. Knight’s message of love and compassion could be seen in full display. Sara and Mike, residents of Slab City, held a wedding reception at Salvation Mountain in April 2012. Here, Mike puts a ring on Sara.

They were lovely, kind, warm people, and I was happy to be a wedding photographer again, if only for a short while. 😀

Equipment:  Nikon D90, Tokina AT-X 116 Pro DX AF 11-16mm f/2.8 Lens For Nikon