New Croton Dam

Updated: Sep 19

Why a Wonder: Upon completion of construction (1892-1906), the New Croton Dam was the tallest (301 feet) dam in the world. It is still one of the largest hand-made stone structures on the planet.


The New Croton Dam offers creative photo possibilities when viewed from the upper spillway or from the Croton Gorge below.



Where: Westchester County, New York.


When: Year round, but the water flow is the strongest and most dramatic in Spring.


Photography: Sunrise up top and sunset below are ideal times to make photographs. Before sunrise and after sunrise also offer wonderful photo opportunities.



Most photographers use zoom lenses in the 24-105mm range, but you can get some nice detail shots with telephoto zoom lenses in the 70-200mm range. I am totally mirrorless, and use Canon RF lenses that offer these zoom ranges.


To create the “dreamy water” effect, you’ll need a neutral density (ND) filter when photographing in bright sunlight. Experiment with different slow shutter speeds – from ¼ of a second to several seconds – for different effects. Your settings will vary as the flow of the water varies.



Check your camera's highlight alert to make sure the white water is not overexposed against the dark rocks.



A polarizing filter will help reduce reflections on the water, but sometimes a bit of glare can add a nice touch to photographs.




Try black-and-white photography (two images above), which can produce dramatic results due to the contrast range (white water against dark rocks) in many views.


Infrared photography (below) can also be fun. Convert an old digital camera to IR only and let the IR fun begin!


Bring a lens cleaning cloth and clean your lens regularly, as mist drops on a lens can ruin a photographs.




Hey! I am very serious about my photography, but I am also serious about having fun. Above are two fun iPhone shots that Susan and I took at the dam, using the apps, Distressed FX and Snapseed.


Learn more: Take a private workshop at the dam with Rick.


© Rick Sammon




This post sponsored by Breakthrough Filters.



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