Auburn (CA), Dam Waterfall, Concrete Steps

ISO100, 55mm, f/20, 0.5 sec
North Fork Dam, Lake Clementine, Auburn, CA

A last minute change of plans led me to the Gold Country area of Placer County.  The North Fork (of the American River) Dam is a very photogenic structure in the way the water spills evenly over top of the dam.

(Click through the image for the 700px view)

There is a trail leading to the base of the dam, but not an obvious trail leading a bit further downstream to where I had hoped to shoot from.  It would have involved some deliberate scrambling over wet boulders and heavy mist from the waterfall.  Now normally, these conditions would have been uncomfortable but not ones to stop me.  Yet, I had parked the car in a location where it was not entirely certain if parking fees applied or not.  And with the park ranger seeing me not just a few moments before, I was not willing to risk a parking ticket for more than a 5 or 10 minute shoot.

Instead of just framing of the dam and the waterfall in its entirety, as would be the norm of many photographers (myself included), the focus is of the lower portion of the falls as it hits a boulder below.  The hazy skies and general monochromatic dull green and brown hillsides just did not make for an overall pleasing composition; so the goal was to decomposition the scene and find something interesting. The stairs leading down to the main focal point of the water hitting the rocks with the yellow accent just behind was what finally caught my eye.  7 minutes of shooting various compositions and I was back in my car looking for a new location.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center weighted metering mode, ISO 100, 55mm, f/20, 0.5 sec

Auburn (CA), Dam Waterfall, Concrete Steps. Auburn, California. May 26, 2013. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.


9 thoughts on “Auburn (CA), Dam Waterfall, Concrete Steps

    1. I appreciate that Simon! It funny how I had set myself to photograph the entire dam because of the rare spillover waterfall style, but I end up with a composition that is just a fraction of the entire scene!


  1. Loving your blog – beautiful images, fine compositions. Having lived in Fair Oaks and Grass Valley, it’s great to see another’s perspective. THANKS!


    1. Thanks for stopping by and enjoying the photos David. We have a great many locations to shoot, but many have been photographed beautifully by many photogs. So unless I get that rare light or atmospherics, I usually try and find a different composition (along with taking the usual shots we can’t resist shooting).


    1. Thanks for the comments Mark. I have faint memories of wanting to include the stairs for that very reason. It’s one of those things where there are multiple focal points vying for your attention and it becomes a matter of zooming in and taking elements out of the frame one by one until it just feels right. I apparently work on semi-autopilot when at a location and can count on a third of the compositions working out. The other two thirds, mediocre or falling into the “this is probably not gonna work, but let’s shoot it anyway” category.


    1. Great to hear from you James and glad you like the photo! I’ve been a bit behind on catching up on blog reading this week, but I hope you’ve had a good week (shooting and otherwise) and and even better weekend going forward.


      1. Thanks very much Steve and I totally understand. We do so enjoy our blogging community that it does take time to get round to writing to each and everyone, especially as we all lead busy lives. Have a great Sunday and that the week ahead inspires you to produce more “electrifying images”


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