5 Picturesque Nature Spots in NYC

While it’s a few months away, I am already thinking about PhotoPlus Expo in New York City. I throughly enjoyed going last year and am thinking about a return visit. By far the best part was meeting fellow photographers and talking shop. Well that… and time with the camera! On my last visit, I stayed urban, walking the streets, taking in Grand Central Station, that kind of stuff. If I make a return this year, I want to capture more landscape-style photos.

So… that got me thinking…. What are some great spots in NYC for the landscape photographer? My research begins… and there are so many great places. Why not share my research!?! Here are 5 nature spots in NYC that bubbled to the top of my list, along with some resources that have even more.

Prospect Park Boathouse Fall by Eli Mergel, Flickr

Prospect Park

Prospect Park is the biggest green space in Brooklyn. It’s home to hundreds of bird species as well as various bridges and waterways. It’s no surprise it’s a great place to get lost in nature in NYC - the park was designed by the same two men that designed Central Park. I’d definitely want to capture a photo fo The Boathouse for myself. There is also the Lullwater Bridge for a breathtaking view of the waterway against a backdrop of the bridge and foliage. Another place to find picture-perfect spots is to take one of the hiking trails through Midwood, one of the city’s oldest remaining forests.

Sunset Manhattan Skyline from Jamaica Bay by William Avery Hudson, Flickr

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Within sight of NYC’s skyscrapers, the Jamaica Bay Wildlife refuge reveals a totally different side of the city. The wetland has numerous trails, and it’s one of the best places to catch the sunset. Find a spot where you can watch the setting sun reflecting on the tranquil waters.

Tropical Waterlily by Raymond Bucko, Flickr

New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden is a vibrant location hosting an array of beautiful flowers, walking paths, and some sweeping views, too. I’d like to try this location to work on more minimalistic compositions. Also, it’s a popular place, so the more sweeping views will likely have lots of foot traffic. Although… not a problem with after a little retouching in ON1 Photo RAW.

Central Park-Bow Bridge by gigi_nyc, Flickr

Central Park

It is impossible to write a list on the most picturesque nature spots in NYC without mentioning its most famous park. I’ve been to Central Park many times, although not in recent years. While the park has be photographed thousands of times, the mark of a true photographer is finding something new. Challenge accepted!

New York Family notes how Central Park is a pocket of pure nature (I love that phrase!) that offers charming views around every corner. Even most locals haven’t fully explored the wide expanse of nature within the park. The winding paths and hidden waterways will make you forget you’re in the skyscraper capital of the world. There is just so much to choose from. I might try going to lesser visited areas of the park, such as North Woods.

There are many ways to photograph the famous park, but the most popular is from a rooftop looking down over it. That got me researching buildings. A long form post by Yoreevo reveals that NYC has over thirteen thousand buildings that are six stories or more, with many of the most famous structures overlooking Central Park. Taking advantage of New York’s height will allow photographers to take their own version of the classic Central Park landscape.

Staten Island Greenbelt

The Greenbelt in Staten Island offers some of the best foliage in the whole of NYC. Especially in autumn when the trees turn into red, orange and yellow hues. I hope the fall color hangs on later into October this year. The tranquil Lake Orbach also serves up breathtaking reflections of the fall trees, and the lily pads just add to the overall atmosphere. Staten Island's Greenbelt should definitely be visited with a camera.

I’m not certain I’ll make it back to NYC this year for the expo. If I do, I know I have plenty of choices for my camera.!