Sandy Hook N.J. photography hot spot location photo magazine extra

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Sandy Hook N.J. Photography Hot Spot

Sandy Hook is a great all-around photography location. There is a $15.00 parking fee during the beach season. We like to go before or after the season to avoid the crowds and the cost. The beaches will be full in the summer months, but the birding areas and lighthouse area of the park won’t be packed.

This is a sunrise/sunset location. You can get a view of the sunset to the west over the water, with the colors reflecting quickly in this area. That’s harder to do in the northern or central part of the state. It’s suitable for sunrise as all of the N.J. beaches are.  You can get some dynamic rocks in the foreground here. We always like foreground material in the pictures. This helps the overall composition. You won’t get any docks in your photographs, but you can see the NYC skyline from this area. Take a hike up the lighthouse stairs for a tour and get some cool shots here.

The old Gunnison barracks are pretty cool to photograph from the outside while it lasts.

There are many birds here. We got our snowy owl here in the wintertime. There are osprey nests at the end of the island right before the lighthouse on the left when traveling north. There is a parking lot across the street from this area. It’s the last parking lot on the right of the main road before the fork.

Food: There are some food stands in the area by the crowds near the beach. Be prepared to park and walk and stand in line here. If you are there for photography, I would highly recommend bringing snacks and water to avoid the madness of the crowded sections.

Visitors Center – 732- 872-5970

Parking Fee: $15.00 per car Memorial Day through Labor Day

The Inlet Side of the island is Dog-Friendly, but there is no food on this side.

Sandy Hook Light House

Sandy Hook Lighthouse
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Photography Information for Sany Hook, N.J. Photography

Lens: A wide-angle lens is a must for this location. There is a lot to shoot in this area. There are a lot of birds, so having a zoom lens with you is a good idea. You might get lucky in winter and find a snowy owl as we did. But that would mean you are fortunate. They usually do not show up here. The photography Gods love us. We get lucky almost everywhere we go. 

Gear: Bring your tripod and your circular polarizing filter. The circular polarizing filter will make your white puffy clouds burst and deepen the blue around them. It will also take the glare off of the water and replace it with reflection. Bring your tripod, and don’t forget your neutral density filter. There is moving water here to shoot in manual mode and get the motion blur effect.

Gear List at a glance: Wide angle lens, zoom lens, circular polarizing filter, neutral density filter, tripod, shutter release.

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There are some food stands here but you might not find them when driving around. It’s a long island. Bring some snacks and drinks.

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