Parvin State Park Photography



What To Photograph at Parvin State Park

See my photos of Parvin State Park below and consider what types of photography you can take. This post will give you the tips on what and when to photograph the Parvin Lake area as well as helpful tips on how to photograph it. Next, you can dive into what are the good photo ops at Parvin.

Flora (Plants) 

Parvin State Park has unique and abundant biodiversity.  You can photograph vibrant wildflowers in spring and summer and take photos of the amazing fall colors at their peak, usually starting late October or early to mid November.

Parvin Lake PickerelweedParvin Lake Pickerelweed

Hiking Trails

 At Parvin you can hike along miles of picturesque trails, capturing the tranquility of nature in every frame you shoot. In the photo below I was hiking the southern section of the 3-mile Parvin Lake Trail and thought the soft morning light striking the trees was a pretty scene to photograph.

Hiking trail at Parvin State ParkSoft morning light on hiking trail at Parvin State Park

There are 15 miles of trails in Parvin State Park. You'll be able to shoot a variety of landscape photos in the forest,  open meadow areas, and swampy spots.


Break out your macro lens for the close-up photographic subjects. There are fascinating insect species residing within the park's meadows and woodlands waiting for you to photograph them.

Scenic Lakes

There are two lakes to photograph with the Parvin State Park area.  Parvin lake covers about 92 square acres, givng you the opportunity to capture interesting reflection photos like the one below.

Thundergust lake is much smaller and there is a 3.5 mile loop trail, where you'll encounter very few people. This smaller lake is more secluded, and it's a great place to photograph wildflowers and birds.

Parvin Lake sunrisePhoto of Parvin Lake Sunrise from fishing dock

Wildlife (Fauna)

You might see white-tailed deer and various small mammals to photograph. There are an estimated 180 species of birds that visit or live in Parvin State park, including wood warblers, tanagers, orioles, wild turkeys and a New Jersey threatened species, the Barred Owl.

Pair of Barred OwlsPair of Barred Owls

BE RESPECTFUL: "Due to population declines and habitat loss, the barred owl was listed as a threatened species in New Jersey in 1979. The New Jersey Natural Heritage Program considers the barred owl to be “demonstrably secure globally,” yet rare in New Jersey” -

When To Photograph Parvin State Park

Like many other areas in the Northeast region of the United States, New Jersey has a diverse range of photo ops as the weather shifts through four seasons of change. Parvin State Park offers the same dynamic spectacles to photograph.

  • In the Spring you can photograph the reawakening of plants, birds, and other wildlife.
  • In the Summer you have the lush vegetation, active insect population and changing weather conditions for capturing with your camera.
  • In the Fall, you 'll see vibrant warm hues and vivid colors explode into tapestries and patterns.
  • Winter brings a unique stark beauty to landscape photos of the park.

Mute Swans at Parvin State ParkMute Swans at Muddy River Creek in Parvin State Park
(Photographed with a long lens from my kayak)

5 Tips On How To Photograph Parvin State Park


Compose your photos from different vantages points. The perspectives you take to shoot your subjects has a big effect on how it is perceived. Shoot a variety of angles, high and low, left and right, and zoom your lens in and out.

Consider renting or borrowing a kayak or a canoe to get vastly different perspectives than you get from the shoreline.


The hours before sunrise and sunset often give you sweet "golden hour" lighting. This is when the light is soft and flattering, The shadows are sometimes long and dramatic. 

Also, wildlife is more likely to be spotted during theses early and late periods.


Whatever camera you choose, the best one to use is the one you always have with you when you visit the park. A zoom lens that goes wide for scenic compositions and telephoto for wildlife and close-ups is best. A tripod is best for dimly lit scenes and macro photography.


One of the biggest mistake you can make when photographing Parvis State Park is to only shoot landscapes of the entire scene. Shoot detail shots within each wide scene you photograph. Zoom in and shoot several different smaller scenes within the overall area you're in.


 You won't get dozens of winning photos from just one short visit. Visit a few times and spend a few hours enjoying this relaxing recreational area in South Jersey. You'll encounter different lighting and weather conditions which will give you a bigger variety of conditions to photograph in.

What You Can't Photography At Parvin

Commercial photography prohibited at Parvin"Commercial photography"
is prohibited

It's a state park service regulation, so it applies to all state parks that commercial photography is prohibited. Don't panic. The key word is commercial. You can shoot all  the photos of Parvin State Park you want for fun.

The area known as Parvin State Park was an ice-covered tundra 15,000 years ago.  That view of this scenic area is long gone. When glaciers retreated from New Jersey, the land became a habitable forest.

Native American ancestors of the Lenape hunted and fished in the Muddy River Stream which feeds Parvin Lake. They are long gone , too.

There were once a number of structures and mills on the Parvin property including several mills along the Muddy Run in Pittsgrove Township. There is nothing left to photograph in terms of the various structures that have existed in the history of Parvin State Park

The only remnants of barracks in the camp used in 1944 for German prisoners of war is the fireplace foundation from the recreation hall. Everything has been overtaken by the forest, but remember the forest is full of photo opportunities.

Parvin Lake Park at dawnParvin Lake Park at dawn

Despite the absent historical landmarks,  today Parvin State Park is known by many New Jersey photographers, and other traveling photographers, as a great natural, recreational location for photography.

Bruce Lovelace portrait

Bruce Lovelace is the publisher of Bruce shot portraits full time for over 35 years. Now he shoots more travel photography.  Read more about him on the About Page. He also publishes how to articles and camera gear reviews at the  Photography Tips and Canon Geek websites.

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