When you turn up on the shoreline of Lake Natron in Tanzania, you may be forgiven for believing to be in a nightmare. All along the shoreline you can find eerie corpses of animals, stiffened corpses all standing like statues. They have been calcified by the water, a group of bats or birds, meeting a deadly death from simply tumbling into these toxic waters.
The waters of Lake Natron have occurred naturally from volcanic ash, making the lake salty enough to poison most animals or people. The strange thing is that it remains the breeding ground for the lesser flamingos, who do not seem to be bothered that death is right next to them. They even can be found feeding on the algae at some points.
It is not really known why these animals crash into the water, some believe the reflective water causes them to become confused, but as soon as they do that is the end. The waters of Lake Natron are filled with such a high soda and salt content that the creature’s body becomes perfectly conserved, they calcify as if they had dried out immediately.
As you may have thought Lake Natron is completely inhospitable to life, the salt lake is steaming hot and has blood red bacteria living in it. Temperatures when last checked were reaching 140 degrees Fahrenheit. They become scary statues that litter around the lake, every detail of their body completely preserved, even the little hairs on a bat’s face can still be seen.
In fact, the calcification is so intense that the creatures become rock hard, their wings can no longer move or bend. Nick Brandt photographed the animals in 2010, advised it was impossible to put them into a better pose, however his photos still became stunning portraits as a look into the death.