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New Jersey Edwin B. Forsythe, National Wildlife Refuge
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Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge Photography Hot Spot

The Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

The Refuge protects more than 40,000 acres (162 km) of southern New Jersey Coastal Habitats and tidal wetlands. 6,000 acres (24 km2) of the refuge are designated as a wilderness area, meaning that public access is limited or even entirely prohibited at times. These areas include Holgate and Little Beach, two of the few remaining undeveloped barrier beaches in the state. Here the rare piping plover and other beach-nesting birds raise their young.

The beach areas provide fragile ecosystems for birds whose populations have already been impacted by development, so Holgate is closed to all public during the nesting season; Little Beach is closed all year except by special permit for research or education. Almost 90% of Forsythe Refuge is the tidal salt marsh, interspersed with shallow coves and bays. Each year thousands of ducks and geese, wading birds, and shorebirds concentrate here during spring and fall migration, making the Refuge a good site for birdwatching, nature photography, and related activities. More than 3,000 acres (12 km) of the Refuge are woodlands with a wide variety of tree and plant species, thus also providing vital habitat for a variety of upland species such as songbirds, woodcock, white-tailed deer, and box turtles.

Primary access to this refuge is by automobile and bicycle. While there are no specific guided programs, visitors may drive an eight-mile (13 km) long trail over dams guided by a brochure that points out the various features. Foot travelers can walk one of four trails which range from 1/4 mile (0.4 km) to 4 miles (6.4 km) in length.

Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge Hot Spot

800 Great Creek Road, Galloway, N.J.

Be sure to go to the main location and drive or walk/bike the eight-mile loop out into the ocean. There are several different areas that are considered the refuge but you want the main loop road.  BEWARE! In the humid hot summer days, the green fly’s come out to get you. Bug spray is not enough. We do not recommend going on a high humidity day. Our green friends love humidity.  The bugs bite and it’s not fun. We like spring when all the birds come back. Snowy Owls come here sometimes in winter. You can call and see if there have been sightings since the snowy owls don’t always come every year.  We have photographed peregrine falcons, eagles, great egrets, and all the other smaller birds. It’s just a great overall bird photography location.

Sunrise and Sunset photography location – check out our sunset image below.

Refuge Main Information page: Vist website here

Refuge brochure:  Download here

Shutter Priority Mode is used when our main priority is getting the right shutter speed. Shutter speed controls how fast the shutter opens and closes and is responsible for stopping action and getting crystal clear images when our subjects are moving. To read the basics of shutter priority Go to the Shutter Speed Page.

Shutter speed is used to get the milky water look on moving waters but the best way to do it is to also control your aperture and your shutter which is done in Manual mode. You can read about How to Shoot Waterfall Photography here.

During the day you would also need a neutral density filter when trying to blur the moving waters. Go to the Neutral Density Filter page and read about how to use them.

Aperture Priority Mode is used when our main priority is controlling the depth of field. It is often used for macro or close-up photography on things such as flowers so we can blur the background. It is used in school class photos when we focus on the first row and we want the 3rd row to also be in focus.  If you are not familiar with shooting in aperture priority you can read our Aperture Priority Page here.

Shooting in manual mode is a little more difficult. You will have to adjust your shutter speed and your aperture instead of only setting one and letting the camera do the other. It is used for waterfall photography, night photography, portrait photography and a few other things.

You can read more details about waterfall photography here. You can read about night photography here. They both explain the basics of shooting in manual mode.

Shooting night sky photography is actually very simple. It may appear to be complicated at first glance but if you read our section on Dark Sky Photography you can see how it is not as overwhelming as you would think.

There is also some good information that will be useful on our Dark Sky Photography Information page.

Find a workshop near you. Go to our Photography Workshops page and see if there is something for you. 

Shooting waterfall and milky waters photography require a tripod and some knowledge in shooting in manual mode. We have simplified it for you and you can read all about blurring waters here on our Waterfall Photography page.  You may need a neutral density filter for daytime waterfall photography and you can visit our page on Neutral Density Filters here.

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The Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge is a United States National Wildlife Refuge located in southern New Jersey along the Atlantic coast north of Atlantic City, in Atlantic and Ocean counties. The refuge was created in 1984 out of two existing refuge parcels created to protect tidal wetland and shallow bay habitat for migratory waterbirds. The Barnegat Division (established in 1967) is located in Ocean County on the inland side of Barnegat Bay. The Brigantine Division (established in 1939) is located approximately 10 miles (16 km) north of Atlantic City along the south bank of the mouth of the Mullica River. The two divisions are separated by approximately 20 miles (32 km). The refuge is located along the most active flight paths of the Atlantic Flyway, making it an important link in the network of national wildlife refuges administered nationwide by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Forsythe Refuge is a part of the Hudson River/New York BightEcosystem and The New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Route. The refuge is named for Edwin B. Forsythe, conservationist Congressman from New Jersey.

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