Wilder Side of New Jersey

A supplemental guide for Sparta Camera Club on beautiful places for nature photography in New Jersey. Leave a comment here or email me at dave@daveblinder.com for any additional questions.  Be sure to also follow me on Facebook.

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Wildcat Ridge WMA
Rockaway Township, Morris County NJ

Scenic area, good for birding, macro, landscapes, mammals. Other activities including hiking, hunting, mountain biking. Hikes can range from easy to strenuous

Area info – http://www.wcrhawkwatch.com/kiosk.html

Bat Cave Parking Lot – https://goo.gl/maps/XmYQ4eAT7vcUfjaT6

Hawk Watch Parking Lot –


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Jonathan’s Woods
Denville/Rockaway, Morris County NJ

Includes wetlands, forest, small meadow. Good for birds, macro, possibly landscape. Walks go from very easy to moderate difficulty. Free guided hikes by the POWWW organization visit http://powww.org or http://facebook.com/protectourwetlandswaterwoods for upcoming events.

Area info – https://www.morrisparks.net/index.php/parks/jonathans-woods/

Parking Lot –


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Great Bay Boulevard WMA
Little Egg Harbor, Ocean County NJ

State open space, VERY good for photographing birds (Osprey, warblers, sparrows, sandpipers). Also for good for landscapes and maybe a few butterflies to be found as well. Most of the journey is a scenic drive on maritime road which ends at a beautiful natural sand beach that should be walked.

Area info –

Parking –


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Franklin Parker Preserve –
Chatsworth, Burlington County NJ

11,000 acre nature preserve in Pine Barrens. Outstanding wetlands for landscapes. Also very good for macro photography and botany. Abundant wild blueberry as well. Not many services nearby, bring lunch with you.

Area info – https://www.njconservation.org/preserve/franklin-parker-preserve/

Parking –


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Double Trouble State Park –
Berkeley, Ocean County NJ

Easy gateway to New Jersey Pinelands nature, close to Garden State Parkway. 8,000+ acres. Walks are very flat and level on sand trails. Very good for landscapes, dragonflies, birding. Also outstanding kayaking on Cedar Creek.

Area info –

Parking –


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Ken Lockwood Gorge WMA –
Lebanon, Hunterdon County NJ

Scenic peaceful walk along South Branch of Raritan River. Very good for landscapes and also some birds. Walking trail is broad and level. Can also be good for bike riding.

Area info –

Parking Area –

Macro Photography Program in Warren County

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Just putting the finishing touches on slides for my photography program on Macro Photography tonight in Oxford NJ
There’s still time to sign-up and attend

The shortcut to becoming a better photographer

“The shortcut to becoming a better photographer”

An opinion essay by Dave Blinder

Bird Photo

A gull is silhouetted by golden sunlight in late afternoon in this #nature #photograph

The shortcut to becoming a better photographer


I’ve been asked many times by friends, acquaintances, and strangers what lens and camera they should purchase to take better photographs.  Often times I will recommend they purchase nothing at all, except for a few books or even pay to attend a photography seminar.  Unfortunately this is rarely the answer anyone cares to hear, and it could be interpreted as a facetious statement.

There certainly are times when aspiring photographers should upgrade their equipment when they can afford to do so. However, no equipment can compensate for photographing in harsh mid-day light or taking all photographs handheld with your camera at eye-level. The shortcut to becoming a better photographer is… realizing that there are no shortcuts. The shortcut is waking up at weekends at 4AM to arrive on-location before sunrise. The shortcut is having the discipline to always put your camera on a tripod and investigating all possible angles of view.

The shortcut is taking advantage of all photography learning sources available and attending every major seminar you can. Seek experienced constructive critiques and have the strength to let go of your weakest images. Take a few of your straight out of camera images, skip the digital darkroom, and put them right on the internet. Don’t shoot subjects in the shade and expect to boost the shadows. Study the qualities of natural and artificial light and learn how to capture and mold the light.

Purchase a rain cover for your camera and be willing and even enthusiastic to photograph in cold and wet weather. Figure out what all of your peers are taking photos of and then figure out what they are not taking photos of. Stop making excuses not to shoot, make excuses to shoot. The shortcut to becoming a better photographer is to avoid shortcuts, get started today.

– Dave Blinder, 12/2014

Words and image by Dave Blinder, Denville, New Jersey.  Feel free to circulate or share but please leave text and photo untouched.  Thank you.