Long Island is a short distance from New York City and yet a world away. Filled with quaint towns, sweeping oceanside vistas, vineyards, and preserves, Long Island is a photographer’s dream. Escape from the city by planning a weekend in Long Island, then grab your camera, clear out your memory cards, and get ready to capture the spirit of the island through photographs.
The Nautical Mile
Located in the Long Island town of Freeport, the Nautical Mile is an intoxicating mix of working fisherman pulling ashore their catches of the day, restaurants, fish markets, and street musicians. Stop at one of the marinas to photograph perfect reflections of sailboats and fishing boats off the water or dig into details with photos of stacks of shellfish traps. If you are into street photography, the Nautical Mile will provide endless subjects for your image.
To make the most of your trip, book a stay at one of Long Island’s comfortable hotels. Do not forget to charge your camera batteries while you sleep!
Are you itching for some remote beauty? Look no further than Fire Island National Seashore. Fire Island is a barrier island off the southern coast of Long Island and is accessible by ferry. Bring or rent a bicycle, because it is the only way to get around! Roads are non-existent on much of the island, so transportation is accomplished via foot or wheels.
You will find no shortage of places to take a beautiful photograph, but if you need inspiration check out the Fire Island Lighthouse. Join in on a daily tour of the lighthouse and climb the 182 steps to the top, where on a clear day you can spot the New York City skyline.
Hailing from the Gilded Era, when the ultra-wealthy built massive properties on Long Island, Planting Fields is a 409-acre estate that once belonged to William Rogers Coe and Standard Oil heiress, Mai Rogers Coe. It is one of the only remaining estates that has stayed intact with its grounds and is opened year-round to the public.
Tour the stunning gardens and greenhouses before checking out Coe Hall, filled with antique furnishes that were owned by the Coe family. Photo permits are required to take professional or posed photographs, and tripods are not allowed in some of the greenhouses. If you are shooting for fun, simply heed all marked signage and snap away.
Caleb Smith State Park Preserve
For colorful fall foliage or to capture one of Long Island’s many resident bird species, do not miss Caleb Smith State Park Preserve in Smithtown. Hiking trails cross through the 543-acre property, leading to quiet viewpoints and the banks of the Nissequogue River. Before you begin exploring, stop in the Nature Museum and Visitor Center to ask the staff what is new at the park. Pink Lady Slippers and Indian Pipe bloom in season, and in the winter, animal tracks trace through the snow under the bare trees.
Long Island is full of varied beauty that can be appreciated by any photographer’s eye. Check out these four locations, then head off the beaten path to find your own favorite spot.