Once a week, we interview one of our Patrons or a photographer from our Slack community on NJspots.com!
We hope that you learn a new spot or new camera setup!
Who are you, and where in New Jersey are you from?
Greetings all! I’m Matt Baron and I’m originally from Upstate New York, but now reside in the Toms River area.
My favorite locations to explore as a kid were the Adirondack Mountains, but I have visited many other locations globally that I’ve also grown to love. A few of my absolute favorites are Hong Kong and the coast of Maine.
I first got into photography when my parents bought me a 35mm point and shoot camera upon graduating 6th grade, I bought my first DSLR upon moving to India in 2011.
You’ll find me exploring all over the state of NJ, I keep a list in the notes on my phone of all the places I’d like to visit in the state.
What are the three best spots for photography in New Jersey, and why?
It’s hard to choose just three, anywhere on the coast would certainly make for a favorable photo in my opinion, but if I had to choose three, they would be as follows:
1. Sandy Hook/Atlantic Highlands area. I love how raw and beautiful the park is. For those into history, there is Officer’s Row/Fort Hancock and all the batteries. If you’re into nature and landscape photos, you won’t feel left out here either in those aspects. Of course, you can’t forget about the lighthouse and views of the NYC skyline!
I also have to include the Navesink Twin Lights, as they’re nearby, as is Mount Mitchill Scenic Overlook and the Atlantic Highlands Marina.
2. The fall foliage season in North Jersey. Growing up in Update New York and living in Maine for a bit, fall-time has always been a favorite season of mine. Unfortunately, the Jersey Shore/Pine Barrens don’t have much to offer for fall foliage.
I love visiting places like Ramapo Valley Reservation, Cheesequake State Parks and some of the many other mountainous parks (including Bear Mountain, which is technically New York).
When fall foliage time rolls around, check out our fall foliage map!
3. New Jersey’s lighthouses and lighthouses in general — I have a Google doc of all the lighthouses I’ve visited!
We have that too, Matt! Check out our lighthouses map here.
What's your camera setup?
I’m currently shooting with a Nikon Z6, which I love! I made the upgrade last spring from my almost 10-year-old DSLR, which was nearing 100k shutter actuations on it.
My Lee Filters are always in my gear bag as well. Paired with my Z6 are a 14mm f/2.8, 24-70, 70-300 and a 500mm and hopefully soon a Nikkor Z 14-30 f/4 S.
What's your dream piece of gear? Think big!
Well, I’d like to complete the holy trinity collection for my current camera system (14-30mm 2.8 (not yet out), 24-70mm 2.8 and 70-200mm 2.8) and perhaps add a Z7, or yet to be announced Z8/9, to pair with my Z6. I certainly wouldn’t turn down the insanely priced ($8k) 58mm .95 NOCT lenses either.
If I were to get a whole new camera I’d probably want to check out the new Fujifilm GFX 100 or one of the high-end Hasselblad cameras.
What's one bucket list photo of New Jersey you haven't gotten yet?
One tip for aspiring photographers?
Keep on learning (take your camera off auto!) and don’t let the lack of IG likes hold you down.
What's your favorite part of being a photographer?
“Photographer Feature” is an ongoing segment featuring our Patrons and Slack community members. Contact editor Abbey Dufoe for more information.