East Point Lighthouse NJ Milky Way Photography


The East Point Lighthouse in New Jersey is one of the best places to photograph the Milky Way in New Jersey. There are limited locations in New Jersey to Do Milky Way photography. In this article, we’ll give you tips on getting the best night sky photos. You can make star trails if it is not the Milky Way season.


We had the excellent opportunity to photograph East Point Lighthouse in New Jersey. We wanted to share some tips for anyone interested in photographing this beautiful location. First, East Point Lighthouse is very dark, making it ideal for Milky Way photography. There are minimal light pollution sources near the lighthouse so you can take advantage of the dark skies.

If you’re interested in photographing East Point Lighthouse, we recommend getting there early and doing sunset photography too. You must bring a tripod, a wide-angle lens, and a headlamp or flashlight to help you see in the dark.


Any time of year is suitable for general photography, but for photographing the Milky Way at East Point Lighthouse, you must go at a specific time to ensure the Milky Way is Visible. Midweek is the best. People come here to watch the sunset and most leave, but if you want the best chance of having the place to yourself at night, go in the middle of the week.

There was a complete renovation done to the lighthouse recently. The bright red makes the building look dynamic. Be sure to go there during daylight hours and photograph the building during the day. Sunset time is also a good time to go.


Brush up on the basics for daytime photography too before you follow our instructions for how to shoot the Milky Way.

Shutter Speed – Find out more about how to shoot in shutter priority. This is used mainly for moving subjects when you need to avoid motion blur.

Aperture – Shooting in aperture priority allows you to focus on your depth of field. It is mainly used for still subjects.

ISO – This controls how much light is let into your camera when exposing your picture.

White Balance – Color temperature. Cloud, shade, sun, and also custom settings.


Looking for a breathtaking Milky Way photography spot in NJ, look no further than East Point Lighthouse. This location offers stunning night sky views, and with a bit of planning, you can capture some truly incredible images. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your East Point Lighthouse Milky Way photography experience.

1. Plan your shoot around the moon cycle – The moon’s brightness can wash out the Milky Way in your photos, so it’s best to plan your shoot for a time when the moon is either not visible or is in its new moon phase. Here you can find more details.

2. Arrive early to scout out the best shooting locations – It’s a good idea to arrive at East Point Lighthouse well before sunset to have time to find the perfect spot for your photos.

3. Use a tripod – Night photography requires long exposures, so a tripod is essential for keeping your camera still and ensuring sharp images.

4. Set your camera to manual mode – This will give you complete control over your camera’s settings and allow you to experiment to find the perfect exposure for the conditions.


East Point Lighthouse is located in Heislerville, Cumberland County, New Jersey. It’s west of Cape May and Avalon, other Milky Way photography hot spots. From the north, take Route 55 south to Exit 28A. From the south, take Route 47 north to Exit 16B. Once you’re on Route 49, follow the signs for East Point Lighthouse. The drive takes about an hour and a half from Philadelphia.


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What you will need:

Light pollution map – light pollution map

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

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. Keep that in mind; 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 can 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 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. Each time you move your camera to take your next angel, you must do this.


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, which will give 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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East Point Lighthouse Area Information

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There are no fees to visit East Point Lighthouse in New Jersey. There are limited tours inside, and the lighthouse is open during the hours seen below. You can visit at any time on the outside to photograph it. There is no regular staff or offered tour guide to accompany you so be sure to plan around the hours. The closest hotel is about 20 minutes away. There is a port-a-potty here. This lighthouse is very charming. It has bright white walls and a red roof that make it stand out from the other lighthouses.

For those wishing to visit the grounds and beach are open to everyone free of charge all year round; However to tour the Lighthouse Museum and gift shop please check the schedule for available dates and times.

Fees to tour & climb East Point Lighthouse museum are: 

  • $8 for adults
  • $4 for students 11 – 18 years old
  • Free for children 10 & under


January – April

In January, February, March & April the lighthouse & gift shop are open every 1st & 3rd weekends, both Saturday & Sunday – 11:00-4:00. 

May – December  – Starting in May and running through December, the lighthouse & gift shop are open every weekend, both Saturday & Sunday – 11:00-4:00.

The best hotels while doing photography




Cape Harbor Motor Inn Information

715 Pittsburgh Avenue • Cape May • New Jersey • 08204 • Reservations (609) 884-0018

Complimentary trolley service into the Center of Cape May and its beaches  –  Motel rooms and suites are available   – All rooms are non-smoking  – Cable TV  –  Daily maid service  –  Swimming pool  Spacious sundeck  –  Barbecue area  –  Shuffleboard  –  Ice cubes for your convenience  –  Parking for one car per motel room  –  Outdoor bike rack (bring bike lock)  –  WiFi

Your hotel could be a top destination for any passionate photographer or ghost-hound! Share your hotel info with us and we will spread the word through our ad page with photos, website links, phone numbers, and all the details about your amazing hotel. Let’s get those cameras rolling and spirits soaring at your hotel! Advertise with us.




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.




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.




Don’t forget that you can use a rain sleeve on your camera if it is raining. If it is bright and sunny, you want to use a low ISO, such as 100.

If you are doing photography along with your ghost hunting on cloudy days, you can do running water or waterfall photography to avoid the glaring sun. You can also use an ND filter to get a long exposure for dramatic effects, even in the sunshine. If you ghost hunt indoors in abandoned places, be careful!

Go to our Photography Store after reading all about waterfall photography or neutral density filters.


The East Point Lighthouse is a dazzling display of history and maritime beauty, located on the Southern Bayshore in Cumberland County, New Jersey. Built in 1849, it remains an active navigational aid, serviced by the United States Coast Guard and managed by the non-profit Maurice River Historical Society. This society has fully restored and furnished the lighthouse with its beacon, which serves as a year-round museum and a spectacular light at night. The two-story Cape Cod-style building is the second oldest lighthouse in New Jersey and one of only a few land-based beacons on the Delaware Bay. It’s also registered on the National Historic Registry.

East Point is known for its views, sunsets, and history—allowing tourists, artists, photographers, and nature lovers to appreciate its natural beauty.  A picnic area and ADA ramp can be found on the premises. To learn more about this stunning site, visit their website.


Help Save East Point Lighthouse – Help save the NJ State/NJDEP-owned East Point Lighthouse from the threat of destruction!  Contact the Governor of New Jersey and the Commissioner of the NJ DEP and let them know you care about history and want to see preservation before it’s too late.  #saveeastpointlighthouse

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