The Barnegat Jetty, Barnegat Light City, NJ « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Barnegat Jetty, Barnegat Light City, NJ

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This image shows the jetty and the lighthouse in front of a very pink pre-dawn sky. The image was made with the 24-105mm IS L lens hand held at 58mm with the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/20 sec. at f.11. If you head to a new spot to photograph birds it is always a great idea to create a few establishing shots that show the place or a few folks birding. Such images are great for slide programs and can help sell an article or two. Don’t think of this B-roll stuff as “just snapshots.” Look for wonderful light, design a pleasing image, and take as much care as you would with an image of a hard to photograph sea duck.

The Barnegat Jetty, Barnegat Light City, NJ

Though I lived in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area for nearly two decades as a birder and bird photographer (and for 46 years in all), I never made it to the famed Barnegat Jetty until last December (2009). Why famous? It is the best place in the Northeast to view and photograph a variety of sea ducks and wintering shorebirds most noticeably Harlequin Duck and Purple Sandpiper. When I got there, a 26″ snow storm sent me running back to my Mom’s home in Holbrook, Long Island, leaving the motel in Ship Bottom at 3am. Yikes! I returned a week later and with Denise Ippolito as my guide, created the wonderful images that you see here plus quite a few more.

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This Harlequin Duck drake was photographed with the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the 1.4X II TC and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/250 sec. at f/8.

The jetty is very long. And very dangerous. Denise, who spends many days each winter season on the jetty, knew right where the birds would be, took me right to them, and gave me more than a few tips on how to avoid killing myself.

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This image was created with the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 500. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/50 sec. at f/5.6. You gotta love the 4-stop IS system on the 800.

It was sunny and bright on the day that I made this image. As I hate high contrast situations I simply went looking for a bird on the shady side of a big rock. And found one 🙂 Purple Sandpiper was my second most wanted Barnegat species. I can’t wait to get back there this December.

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Denise Ippolito has written a fabulous Site Guide for the Barnegat Jetty. (I helped out just a bit :))

Denise’s Barnegat Site Guide will make your first visit to this great bird photography location productive and safe. She explains the effects of the winds and the tides and the light on the photographic opportunities. She lets you know what birds you will find there and where and when you will find them. She shares her favorite conditions and her tricks for getting close. And she will keep you safe while you are there, the same way she kept me safe.

The Barnegat Site Guide (6190 words, 68 images) is available from BIRDS AS ART by e-mail as a PDF for only $22. You can call Jim with a credit card in hand at 863-221-2372 or send us a Paypal to . If you prefer the convenience of ordering through the BAA On-line store you can find the Barnegat Guide here.

Just for the record books Barnegat is located on Long Beach Island less than 30 minutes from Manahawkin, NJ.

Shopper’s Guide

Here is a list of the gear that I used to create the images above.

Canon 24-105mm IS L zoom lens
Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens
Canon EF 1.4XII teleconverter
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body

And from the BAA On-line Store:

Gitzo 3530 LS Tripod
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head

If you are considering the purchase of a major piece of photographic gear be it a new camera, a long lens, a tripod or a head, or some accessories be sure to check out our complete Shopper’s Guide.

8 comments to The Barnegat Jetty, Barnegat Light City, NJ

  • Ben Tebbens

    Wonderful work here!! Was searching net for info on the famous ducks and came across your nice piece. The pictures are just stunning, so so good in every way;) God bless, Ben of Lincoln, DE.

  • Billpclausen

    The lighthouse photo is from the jetty that goes out along the south side of the inlet!

    The bay is in the background! Been there many many times!

  • robert weir

    For the image of the lighthouse, which jetty were you on, north or south? I think it is the south jetty at high tide. I need to visit the inlet more often, since i live nearby.
    Beautiful images.

    The south where most folks go to photograph birds. artie

  • Nate


    I am definitely going to pick up the guide, but I was wondering if there are shorebirds (oystercatcher, turnstone, sanderling, etc) here during the winter months (December-February)?

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Nate,

      There are lots or Purple Sandpipers, Sanderlings, Ruddy Turnstones, and Dunlin there during the winter. And Denise explains the best tides for them and suggests several good photographic strategies as well to help you get the best images. She also mentions that American Oystercatcher is seen rarely at the jetty during the winter.

  • Nice images, especially the Harlequin Duck.

  • Thanks for all the kind words Artie. I am so happy that it is finally done.:)

  • Bill Clausen

    Early in the day is great there. Also sunsets (the sun sets behind the lighthouse) are very nice. Different times of the year provide very different conditions. In summer long days and summer gulls and egrets are plentyful.
    The rock are very slippery after a rain or wind and a hight tide.

    Great spot!!