Useless Loop-Shark bay- Western Australia.
Surrounded by the World Heritage Area of Shark Bay, Useless loop is a closed company town populated by 70-odd Australian employees of Japan’s Mitsui Group and their families. Established in the early ’60s for one reason, and one reason only: salt.
This area is off limits to tourist, so the only way to see these remarkable man made patterns is from the air. Producing 1.4 million tonnes of salt a year for export to Asia is a simple process, relying on mother nature to do the hard work by the process of evaporation. The crystallisers — shallow ponds in which the concentrated brine slowly evaporates, leaving a harvest of fat salt crystals — take on the appearance of an abstract watercolour from the air. Blue because of the reflected intense Australian sky and the patterns, looking like an artist's brushstrokes are the tracks left by the salt harvesting machines.
There's something quite exhilarating about flying over these areas twisting and turning with the doors off the small Cessna. Criss crossing the sky above looking for these simplified abstract compositions on the ground below.