Photo Guide: The Best Spots At The Delaware Water Gap

For those of you who call New Jersey home, this guide to the Delaware Water Gap will give you the tools necessary to practice your craft and get great portfolio-level shots in the Delaware Water Gap and surrounding areas.

Photography in the Delaware Water Gap differs from photographing the huge touristy spots out West like Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon in one major way you need to work harder for your images. There are many shots of the Watchman from the Bridge, the Towers of the Virgin, and countless other local icons in the area, where the only real iconic view of the Gap comes from the summit of Mount Tammany. But this isn’t a bad thing! This means that exploring for yourself and using local knowledge is much more important than working for your compositions. 

This guide is by no means an end-all, be-all to photographing the area it’s simply my two cents on some of the shots and locations that I love!


Mount Tammany

Time of day: Anytime, but for best results, sunrise or sunset

Mount Tammany is one of the best short hikes in the area, without a doubt, and great for sunrise and sunset photography. If youre hiking for sunrise, one of the best views is a vista about halfway up that you can see below. – Read the complete hiking guide ?

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Mount Tammany Lower Vista: 16mm, f11, 1/2s, ISO64

I love this view for a few reasons. Route 80 is a beautiful leading line through the whole frame; the trees in the foreground provide great separation between the rest of the frame, and the image leaves plenty of room for a spectacular sky to shoot wide angle or pull in a little tighter and shoot a short telephoto. To make this shot even more unique, look for cool weather patterns like fog or this cloud inversion, or even shoot at night!

Below is the view of the Delaware River from the summit (at sunset) and one of my favorite shots. The golden light from the sunset is gorgeous, and the river snakes through the scene like it was made for a photographer. There are plenty of unique compositions and options for foregrounds, focal lengths, and subject matter. Just remember youll be hiking back in the dark! Heres the shot!

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Mount Tammany Upper Vista: 35mm, f8, 1/30s, ISO200

I’ll leave it at that because NJspots has a full guide on Hiking Mount Tammany.

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02/18/2024 06:02 am GMT

Crater Lake & Blue Mountain Lake

Time of day: Crater Lake (sunset), Blue Mountain Lake (sunset or sunrise)

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Crater Lake Reflections: 30mm, f8, 1/10s, ISO64

Crater Lake: This place is a helluva lot of fun for kayaking, hiking, picnics, and of course, photography. I’ve been here for sunset more times than I can count, and here are a few of my favorite shots! The different types of shots you can get are limitless.

Framing up different rocks and trees can allow you to get unique shots you can call your own! If the sky is more impressive, pull in on the tree line at the back of the lake and show off the sky. When it comes down to it, I’m a real sucker for lake sunrises and sunsets! This place is perfect for that, and a great hidden gem for photographers.

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Figure 3 Crater Lake Golden Hour: 24mm, f16, 1/320s, ISO64

Blue Mountain Lake: Blue Mountain Lake is also a great hidden gem for photography. Head up in the morning for some gorgeous golden light and glassy water, later in the day for a sunset, or during a dramatic cloudy day for a drama-filled image. This drive is much easier on the car than Crater Lake, although the hike is a bit longer. 

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Blue Mountain Lake Sunrise: 24mm, f8, 1/100s, ISO64

Dingman’s & Raymondskill Falls

Time of day: Anytime, when cloudy for smooth water effects

BONUS: NJspots guide: How to Shoot Waterfalls

Dingman’s Falls: Parking is easy, and the path is a gorgeous boardwalk passing another local hotspot, Silverthread Falls. Getting to the bottom of the falls isn’t the end, though! Of course, there are vast, wide shots at the bottom, but plenty of unique compositions of the falls from the top of the falls of fast, flowing water.

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Dingman’s Falls: 24mm, f22, 1/3s, ISO31

To someone that likes waterfalls as much as I do (which I think is everyone), this spot is a must!

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Dingman’s Falls Base: 24mm, f22, 1/8s, ISO31

Raymondskill Falls: Raymondskill Falls is about a 10-minute drive from Dingmans Falls, and if the weather cooperates, the hikes are plenty short to do on the same morning or afternoon. There are two main areas to make sure you check out here.

The first is the main viewing area. The trail leads right here, and there are a few benches on a wooden platform nice for relaxing underneath the sounds of crashing water.

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Raymondskill Falls: 20mm, f22, 0.5s, ISO31

The second area is where the magic happens. A very faint dirt trail off the main hike will bring you down to the bottom of the whole series of falls. This hike can be a little more treacherous than the main hike, but unless things are wet, slippery, or frozen, its not too bad at all; so much opportunity for different types of shots.

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Buttermilk Falls & Van Campens Glen

Time of day: Any time, any weather

Buttermilk Falls: The possibilities are endless at this iconic New Jersey waterfall. In addition to the Bottom-Up view at the base of the falls, there is also a steep hike to a top-down viewing platform that is really out of this world.

the delaware water gap, Photo Guide: The Best Spots At The Delaware Water Gap

Van Campens Glen: This was one of the areas that got me my start in photography. This spot is a bit of a local landmark not only for its well-balanced hike, beauty, and no shortage of waterfalls/rivers but also for the swimming hole in the middle of the trail.

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Van Campens Glen: 155mm, f8, 0.6s, ISO64

Viaducts and Overpass

Time of day: sunset

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Delaware Water Gap Viaduct: 125mm, f8, 1/13s, ISO64

Portland-Columbia Walking Bridge: My favorite place to photograph time and time again in the entire Water Gap and its not really that close of a contest. This shot is 100 percent, a classic must-shoot sunset shot. You can shoot this area from moderately wide (24, 35, or 50 mm) to telephoto at 200mm or even more if you have the glass. Additionally, you can shoot this spot in all weather conditions, from sunny, to slight wispy clouds, to deep storm clouds; this location has a shot and composition to be made.

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Walking Bridge Golden Hour: 105mm, f16, 1/13s, ISO64
Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6
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Canon RF100-400mm F5.6-8
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Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6
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I-80 Overpass: Not a little-known structure, but a little-known location for photographers. Ive never seen another shot from this location and have no idea why! The bridge is a perfect leading line through the Delaware River into trees and the sky. This spot is just off Old Mine Road, down the embankment, so get there early (or late) to snag a parking spot. See for yourself or better yet, shoot it for yourself!

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I-80 Overpass: 24mm, f22, 8s, ISO31

Jacob F. Bryant is a travel and landscape photographer with a longtime base in the Delaware Water Gap. Currently, he resides in Del Rio, TX serving in the United States Air Force while working part-time in his photography business, shooting whenever he gets the opportunity.

If you are interested, please see more at his website here: www.jacobfbryant.com

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