Hutt Lagoon is a salt water lake near the coast, just north of the mouth of the Hutt River, in Western Australia. The water of the lake is bring pink in color due to the presence of two types of algae that produces a reddish-orange organic pigment called Beta-Carotene, that is used commercially as a coloring pigment in food and medicines. Hutt Lagoon is the world’s largest system of algae farms dedicated to the production of this pigment.
The 14 km long by 2 km wide lagoon is separated from the Indian Ocean by a beach barrier ridge and barrier dune system. Hutt Lagoon is fed by marine waters seeping through the barrier ridge, but high evaporation rates barely balances the net influx of salt, resulting in high levels of salinity that is constant throughout the year. During the summer about 95% of the surface is a dry salt flat.
At present, about 450 hectares of Hutt Lagoon’s approximately 2,500 hectares is being used to cultivate algae from which Beta-Carotene is extracted. Beta-carotene is used as a natural dye in food and is also a rich supply of Vitamin A. Naturally, it can be found in found in various fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
These pictures were taken by British photographer Steve Back, while chartering a plane over the lake. An architectural photographer, Back was on assignment in the area when he first became interested in photographing the algae. He rented a small aircraft and headed southwest for the islands off the coast. While flying over the lagoon he was struck by the beauty and symmetry of one particular farm just south of Kalbarri.
“From the ground, the pink colouring is not too evident and a little unimpressive, yet from the air it looks fantastic”, said Back.
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