The incredible star trail image is by Milky Way Mike Ver Sprill. This image is how we discovered him. See his Photographer of the Month page.

Batsto Village is a historic New Jersey site. It’s also a photography hot spot in the South Central Pinelands area. It’s a location to photograph some 19th-century buildings. There is a sawmill and several other buildings with a lake nearby. You can take tours of the village and photograph the interior of the buildings. Check their schedule.

This is also a  New Jersey night sky Milky Way photography location.

Batsto Village Photography Hot Spot

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You can photograph here any time of year, but the park is only open during the day. Their location near gives them very dark skies and prime Milky Way opportunities for those willing to brave night shooting.  This is Milky Way territory, and many photographers have photographed the buildings in the park under the Milky Way even though the park closes at dusk. They make for really great images.

The park is boring otherwise, as you can see from the pictures. You will not win any awards shooting here. You won’t find crowds here, so that part shouldn’t worry you. However, they have events, so check their schedule first.

You can do “event” photography, such as weddings and movie making, with a permit. The operative word is “event.”  Otherwise, just walking around taking pictures for your blog is protected under your civil rights. See below.

The office is not worth stopping in unless you need a drink of water. 


Announcing our Photography Contest

All of the winners will have their photo featured in our Magazine  Lots of Prizes

 See all of the Details on our Photography Contest Page.


In the United States, the Constitution’s First Amendment safeguards photography as an artistic form of expression. Despite this protection, photographers are often forced to defend their right to take photographs (and record video) in public areas.

We travel and do photography as an art and tell people where to go, do their photography and create their art.

The law states that no one has the right to privacy in public areas. This means that no official can keep the photographer from photographing because the First and Fourteenth Amendments protect photojournalists.

Generally, people with cameras and the media have a right to photograph in public locations. Photographers should know their rights. Many times, security guards, police officers, and other members of law enforcement do not understand our civil rights. The law gives photographers certain rights to protect them from harassment by police and government officials.

You can read more about Photography and the First and Fourteenth Amendments here.

You do need permits to photograph “events” in the parks. Walking around the park to take pictures and blog about the park is not an event; you do not need a permit. You are covered under civil rights. If this were the case, you could not take your cell phone into this park, take a few shots and discuss your day in your blog, which is considered commercial.

Eavesdropping laws for audio taping: You should be aware that New Jersey is a one-party state. This means as long as one party (that party being me) is aware that a conversation is being recorded, it is legal and admissible in a court of law. You would be shocked how many people are not aware of this.

Check to see if your state is a one-party state.


Although it is geared towards protests, the civil right of photography still applies. It is your responsibility to verify what the ACLU says pertains to your situation such as walking in a park and taking pictures for your blog.

Your rights

  • When you are lawfully present in any public space, you have the right to photograph anything in plain view, including federal buildings and the police. (On private property, the owner may set rules about photography or video.)
  • Police officers may not confiscate or demand to view your photographs or video without a warrant, nor may they delete data under any circumstances. However, they may order citizens to cease activities that are truly interfering with legitimate law enforcement operations.
  • If you are videotaping, be aware that there is an important legal distinction between a visual photographic record (fully protected) and the audio portion of a videotape, which some states have tried to regulate under state wiretapping laws.

What to do if you are stopped or detained for taking photographs

  • Always remain calm and never physically resist a police officer.
  • Police cannot detain you without reasonable suspicion that you have or are about to commit a crime or are in the process of doing so.
  • If you are stopped, ask the officer if you are free to leave. If the answer is yes, calmly walk away.
  • If you are detained, ask the officer what crime you are suspected of committing, and remind the officer that taking photographs is your right under the First Amendment and does not constitute reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.


You have moving waters here at one spot, but carrying your tripod may not be worth it. Nothing dynamic will happen in this park except for Ghost Hunting.  You can do your long-exposure running and milky water shots. Your settings will vary depending on the lighting and your neutral density filter. You will shoot in manual mode for the milky waters. ISO is always 100 or as low as your camera will allow. The aperture is f22 or the highest F-number your camera will allow. Your shutter speed will be the only variable depending on the light. Roll your shutter speed until your meter reads zero. (In the center)  Use your shutter release or 2-second timer to prevent camera movement when exposed. You will want at least a 2-second exposure to milky water. If you don’t have a neutral density filter, you may not get more than 1/15th of a second in the sun. 

How to Shoot Waterfall Photography Page

Neutral Density Filters Page



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How to Shoot Milky Way and Night Sky Photography

This is one of the few places in New Jersey you can shoot the Milky Way.  You cannot go in at night, though. You risk fines and trespassing charges.

You can stand outside on the street in front of the barn and do Milky Way photography.

What you will need:

Light pollution map – light pollution map

Camera – You will need a camera to manually control your ISO, shutter speed, and aperture.

Lens – A fast wide-angle lens of 1.4 – 2.8 is ideal. If you use a 3.5 or higher (slower lens), you will have to increase the ISO. The higher the ISO, the more grain or digital noise or grain in your photos.

Tripod – A good sturdy tripod is essential for night photography. If it gets windy, you will need a sturdy one. Remember that when you buy one, it should be sturdy enough to withstand the wind but small enough to fit in your suitcase.

Sky Map – Sky Guide is available through the iTunes Store for $1.99. It has a 5 out of 5-star rating on both the current (3.2) version (1200+ ratings) and all previous versions (8600+ ratings).

Flashlight –  Our choice is Coast brand for flashlights. The ideal flashlight will have high lumens, and you will be able to zoom in and out on the amount of light emitting from the flashlight. Get the HP7, PX45, or the G50. Ideally, go with the  HP7.

Moon Phaze Map – The best time to go is during a new moon, and you want to be in the darkest area possible. The week before the new moon, when the moon has not risen, is a perfect time to go, so check the moonrise chart to see when the moon will be up.

Remote Shutter Release – When painting with light and you want to go over a 30-second exposure, you must have a shutter release to use your bulb mode. When exposing your pictures in general, you can use the remote release or your camera’s built-in two-second timer.

Use a Tripod – First, you must be on a tripod. A good sturdy tripod is necessary if it is windy. If the tripod moves, your picture will blur.

Focus – Use live view. Use your camera’s live view to focus in the dark, hit the zoom button, and focus on a bright star. You can also use the infinity setting on your lens but do several test shots to determine accuracy. It can be off a little on some lenses. You can also light it up with a flashlight, focus, then gently, without touching the focus ring, put the camera in manual focus so it will not search for the focus. You must do this each time you move your camera to take your next angel.

Camera Settings

ISO – Start with ISO 1600 – 3200. This is a common starting point, and you will adjust from here.

Shutter Speed – Remember, the earth is rotating. If you leave the shutter open for too long, you will see star trails that will not make for a crisp image. We want crisp non-star trail images. Here is the formula to avoid star trails—the 500 rule – Divide 500 by the focal length of your lens. So, if you have a 24mm lens on a full-frame camera, you will set your shutter speed to 20 sec. (500/24 = 20.83). If you are using a crop sensor camera, first do the math of the crop sensor to find the focal length. Cannon is 1.6, and Nikon is 1.5. Convert to full-frame focal length, then use the formula. Nikon 18mm x 1.5= 27mm – 500/27 = 18.51 seconds.

Aperture – Depth of field isn’t critical in these shots, but letting the light into the camera is; therefore, you should shoot wide open. If the depth of field is essential to you, try not to go too high. (wide open =the lowest aperture your camera will allow). You will have to increase the ISO some, giving you digital noise.

White balance suggestion: Use live view mode to change your white balance settings and see what it will look like. You can shoot in shade or cloud mode as a standard setting and adjust things later.


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Batsto Park Information:

Telephone: 609-561-0024  Fax:609-567-8116  –  Postal address: Batsto Village & Wharton State Forest, 31 Batsto RoadHammonton, NJ 08037  –  Electronic mail:

Visitor Center: Daily:   900:am to 4:00 pm


Self Guided Village Tour:

Visitors may take a self-guided walking tour by following the numbered map on a Batsto Village brochure, which is available at the Visitors Center. The buildings and sites are numbered and briefly described for the visitor’s benefit.

Guided Village Tours:

There are no regularly scheduled guided tours of the village. However, groups and schools can arrange in advance for special tours led by the State employees’ Resource Interpretive Specialists. Groups must make arrangements at least five days in advance. No reservations will be accepted on Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays.



Where To Camp Near Batsto Village?

Do you want us to send our photography and ghost-hunting friends to your campground to stay during their ghost-hunting trip? Put your campground information here. We will put a picture of your establishment, the website link, the phone number, and the information on your campground to make it easy for our photographers and ghost hunters to find you. They are good at getting there in the dark.

Would you like to be featured in an article as a place to stay while doing photography or ghost hunting? If so, please send us an email. You will be surprised at how affordable our prices can be.



Add Your Restaurant Near Batsto Village Here!

Do you want us to send our photography and ghost-hunting friends to your restaurant after their ghost-hunting trip? Put your restaurant information here. We will put a picture of your establishment, the website link, the phone number, and the information on your restaurant to make it easy for our photographers and ghost hunters to find you.

The best hotels while doing photography


Add Your Batsto Hotel Information:

Place your business here.

Do you want us to send our photography and ghost-hunting friends to your hotel for their photography or ghost-hunting trip? Put your hotel information here. We will put pictures of your hotel, the website link, the phone number, and your hotel information.

Would you like to be a featured hotel like this article or this one?  Please send us an email.  You will be surprised at how affordable our prices can be.



Batsto Weather:

For this location, Read here.

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