Photographer Feature: Matthew Siegel (@matthewwsiegel)

Dead trees coming out of water; lake

Who are you, and where in New Jersey are you from?

My name is Matt Siegel. I founded and manage a financial planning & wealth management firm with two offices in NJ. I was born and raised in Hoboken, graduated from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, and currently live in Millstone (Monmouth County). I’m married with a teenage daughter and a dog named Cooper. 

I’ve been interested in photography for over 35-years and continue to find an evolving list of new things to learn. I am a member of the Monmouth Camera Club and currently serve as the editor of our monthly newsletter. 

What are the three best spots for photography in New Jersey, and why?

My current 3 favorite New Jersey spots are:

1. Manasquan Reservoir. There are so many subtleties depending on weather and conditions.

Want to visit? Check out our guide.

2. Hoboken for views of NYC, street photography, and historical spots (of course, I’m biased, since I started my life there).

3. The shore. Come on, it’s Jersey!

What's your camera setup?

My primary setup is a Nikon D850 with an assortment of lenses (my faves are 17-35mm, 35-150mm, 150-600mm, 90mm macro, 28-70mm, and 28-300mm (when on the move).

I have an obsession with tripods and currently own and use several, but my favorite is a Gitzo tripod with Really Right Stuff BH-55 ballhead (if it’s possible to love a ballhead, I love that one). I also use the new Peak Design and meFoto travel tripods when using smaller (lighter) lenses.

I love using my Haida ND, graduated ND, and CP filters for long exposure images. For fun, I also shoot with a Fujifilm X100F and find it’s so much fun.

Do you want to have gear acquisition syndrome like Matt? Check out our guide to the gear you need.

What's your dream piece of gear? Think big!

A private jet to take me to Nepal one day and Yellowstone the next would be perfect. If that’s thinking too big, I would love to shoot with the Fujifilm GFX 100. I think it’d suit my style, but it’s still a lot of dollars!

What's one bucket list photo of New Jersey you haven't gotten yet?

I really want the dead trees at Manasquan Reservoir poking out of thick fog. I envision a minimalist, maybe monochrome, image with an eery and moody feel. I’ve tried a few times, but haven’t quite gotten it yet. It’s my white whale.

One tip for aspiring photographers?

It’s cliche, but… patience. There’s a lot to learn and you can’t expect to be a master photographer overnight. Take your time, try to read, watch videos, attend workshops, join a camera club, participate in photowalks, and practice.

What's your favorite part of being a photographer?

I enjoy going out and shooting by myself. While I also like spending time with fellow photogs at workshops and photowalks, I especially enjoy the solitude of setting up my composition and working the scene, setting up my tools, evaluating my settings and choices, and then seeing the results (although not always good!).

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