Among New Jersey’s many gems is Grounds For Sculpture, a botanical garden and art exhibit in one. Located on the former NJ State Fairgrounds, it features larger than life pieces of art that will make you feel tiny in comparison. With 42 landscaped acres and over 270 sculptures to explore, it’s easy to get lost, but that’s arguably the best way to explore. You might even run into some wildlife along the way!
NJspots was started by the founder with the purpose of showing more people what New Jersey is all about and bashing stereotypes that the Garden State has. As the years have gone on, the NJspots community has continued to share amazing places around the state that are worth visiting.
Tips on Finding Places to Fly in NJ (& Any Other Place You Travel To)
Living in NJ for a majority of my life and growing up doing photography here, you’d think I would run out of places to shoot. I have to be honest, I feel like I have but at the same time I continue to look for more and more places every day. I’ve heard from a lot of people say that NJ is boring and that there’s nowhere to really shoot. I’ve heard that you have to travel to take good pictures and all these other wild things that aren’t true at all. My theory is that if you look hard enough, you can find a lot of very interesting things to shoot.
I wrote the article attached to this one to show how I go about taking some of the photos I do. It may not seem like the easiest process but it is super helpful to be able to do this before going out to some of the places I have. Over the years, I have become picker than ever with my work, so I like to make sure if I travel somewhere, I can make that trip worth it. If I like what I see there but I think the photo can be better, I usually plan to go back until I get everything just right.
New Jersey is a bigger state than I had ever thought it was. I drive over the entire state for work, let alone my own personal aerial photos. Google Maps has also probably been my biggest help here in the sense that I can get an idea of what the land looks like from the satellite view before I set out to go fly there. Of course technology has its ups and downs, sometimes I find things on google that aren’t actually there anymore or things that have changed since they were last put up there. However, most of the time, Maps is very reliable and it has become an essential tool to me for aerial photography.
With all that being said, don’t get down on yourself because you can’t find places to shoot. Take the time to use the resources you have and find new places you think would be interesting. If you have to, go to them beforehand, scout them out and get an idea of what you really want to shoot there. When you have the time, the weather is how you want it and you can make it there at the right time of day; give yourself some time to get out there and enjoy some shooting because it’s a great thing to do. I always say that we are the ones to create excuses for ourselves and I think that is very true. There is so much to see in Jersey alone, but it’s just a matter of finding those spots and shooting them in a way that means something to you.
Location is super important for me when it comes to shooting with the drone. I always want to make sure a spot is worth it to fly so I constantly search Google Maps for different places. I remember where these places are because I simply pin them and them save them to a list on Google Maps and bam! I can see them on both my computer and phone. How convenient. All I have to do is get in the car, open maps, tap my spot and drive there. This has been huge for me lately because I haven’t been able to go out and shoot as much as I’d like, but by doing this I’m able to travel for a longer period of time and shoot more when I plan things correctly…continue reading.
Weather is absolutely essential to check. This could make or break the shoot and when you drive a solid distance away only to find out that you can’t fly there, you may be pretty disappointed. Remember, this is 100% your fault because all you had to do was check the weather. In fact, I made the same mistake the other day and I could not fly at any of the locations I went to. The winds were consistently blowing 20+mph and if I did take my drone up, it wasn’t safe to fly it more than 100ft away from me because it was so hard to get it back. Because of that, I didn’t want to risk losing my little drone and I decided to just put it away and surrender to the weather. I was definitely mad, but I learned my lesson and ended up scouting a few of the locations so I could go back and shoot them another time…continue reading.
Selecting a Drone
Owning two drones, you’d think my decision would be easy. Am I flying the Inspire 2, X5S and whatever lens I want, or am I flying my Mavic Pro? The easy answer is, probably my Mavic. I have found this drone to be so portable, convenient, and reliable since I have purchased it. The drone obviously has its flaws here and there but wit’s its working, it’s working very well and I love it. The main reason I use this drone is because it has a really good range. Most of the time when I fly, I have to park further away from the location in a spot I can actually park. Having that little bit of extra range is beyond useful when it comes to shooting…continue reading.
Personal Connection – Be Creative
This is probably the hardest one to explain; every time I shoot something for my own personal work, it has to be something that means something to me. I either have an interest in the location, an idea, concept or something I just feel the need to create. Water, railroads, textures, seasons, and so many other things have caught my attention over the years. Being mainly a real estate photographer and videographer, composition has become one of the main things I focus on. Whenever I go out to a location to shoot, I always make sure I nail the composition. Lighting, time of day, colors, look, and all that jazz comes second. Not to mention editing is a process of its own after the shooting is done.
When I first got my drone, all I wanted to do was fly. It felt like I had complete freedom to shoot whatever I wanted. I could fly it thousands of feet away and take photos from a perspective I never could before. When I first started flying, I really had no idea what I was doing let alone getting myself into.
Just 30 minutes outside Princeton, NJ lies 1,000 acres of dense forests, wide fields, and lakeside views — the Plainsboro Preserve. The Plainsboro Preserve is owned and operated by NJ Audubon and is free and open to public from dawn to dusk.
Don’t let that name intimidate you, its true name is Round Valley Reservoir, located in Lebanon, NJ. It’s one of the largest and most deep lakes in NJ, with that being said there have been quite a few people that have gone missing in this body of water, still have yet to be found to this date…hence the creepy “Bermuda Triangle” nickname. (more…)
I remember the feeling of awe as I held our “Cardiac Chargers” Heart Walk poster standing next in a crowd of over 2,000 people at 8am on a Saturday morning in early November. The morning air was particularly frigid, a cold front blew in unexpectedly the night before and many of us forgot to wear layers of scarves, gloves, sweaters, jackets.
One of the best views of the Delaware River is waiting at the Thomas F. Breden Preserve in Milford, New Jersey. Tucked away in between Holland and Milford is an enjoyable mix of forest hiking and open field wandering that leads to breathtaking views of the Delaware River reaching out into the distance. (more…)