ICM photography at North Table Mountain


I go to Table Mountain every spring for the wildflowers. This year it was beyond crowded, and since I had photographed the place ad nauseam in the past, I packed light (just my toy camera, the Z50 and its 50 mm dedicated lens). My intention was to enjoy the walk and friends while practicing Intentional Camera Movement (ICM), a technique that I have been trying to learn (I have two previous posts on it, Casual ICM photography and A Study in ICM photography).

I mostly work in black and white, but Table Mountain in the spring is about color. The picture above was my favorite because it depicts the crowd marching towards the vernal pools. It involves two elements, ICM and double exposure by layering in photoshop. Eventually, when I think I know what I am doing, I will write a short tutorial on how to do these.

The North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve in Oroville is one of the four localities where one can find Northern Basalt Flow Vernal Pools, a habitat type with plants and animals that are either locally endemic, or endemic to the State of California. Every Spring, the place gets filled with wildflowers, and after the wildflowers, there come the crowds. The locality also harbors a few waterfalls, and a few more after a rainy winter. Below a few photos from previous years, to give an idea of what the place looks like in the spring (photos from 2017 to 2019).

Location: North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve, Oroville, California, USA. 

Tips for Table Mountain: Get there EARLY to get a parking spot in the spring. Early means, with the sunrise. As of now, a CDFW Lands Pass must be in possession by each visitor 16 years of age or older, however, visitors who have a valid California hunting or fishing license in their name are exempt from this requirement. There are no facilities except for potter potties. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen and a hat. The terrain is rocky and there is little shade.

11 thoughts on “ICM photography at North Table Mountain

  1. Steve Schwartzman says:

    I’m glad you provided those retrospective pictures as an enticement. I see why the place has such allure for people—though I’m sorry to here about the crowds this year, which probably correspond to the great desire people have to get back to normal as the pandemic recedes. I’d certainly find plenty to photograph there.


    1. Alessandra Chaves says:

      I bet you would! Here in California I have noticed a decrease in the outdoor crowds, as indoor places started to open up. However, the shopping malls are crazy full as if people hadn’t seen malls and stores before. Unbelievable.


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