Pennsylvania is home to some renowned photographers, and it’s no wonder why! There are so many key locations throughout the state that are perfect for capturing the state’s ambience. The Keystone State, situated in the perfect climate to capture unique and interesting photography regardless of the time of year, is filled with landscapes, cities, and landmarks that would keep any photographer busy. Here are some of the most popular locations, and also included are a few secret spots throughout Pennsylvania where you’ll be able to take the best pictures possible.
Pittsburgh has earned a few nicknames over the years, such as The Steel City and the City of Bridges. Downtown Pittsburgh is nestled between three rivers – the Allegheny, the Monongahela, and Ohio. Where these three rivers meet is referred to as the Point, and it’s a great spot to take some panoramic views of the areas around Pittsburgh. From the Point, you can see Heinz Field, PNC Park, both of the inclines, the Carnegie Science Center, and a lot more.
But what if you want to take a wide photo of downtown Pittsburgh, Point included? For that, you should ride up one of the inclines to the Mt. Washington area and set up a tripod on one of the overlooks. From this vantage point, you can capture all of downtown Pittsburgh, the rivers, the Point and its mammoth fountain, the stadiums, and more. In fact, many of the photos of downtown Pittsburgh that you can find searching online were likely taken from Mt. Washington.
This is where key moments in US history occurred. Anyone who is a Civil War buff (or even anyone who just stayed awake in history class) knows a thing or two about what happened at Gettysburg. Scenic farms surround a National Military Park, which comprises of some of the battlefields that Gettysburg is known for. Aside from many different cannons and monuments spread throughout the area, which make for interesting landscape photography, the countryside found here is quite breathtaking.
Additionally, you can take photos of historical landmarks, including the Jennie Wade House Museum and the David Wills House, or snap images of the battlefield from the perspective of the soldiers.
The Ben Franklin Bridge, Philadelphia
The City of Brotherly Love offers a wealth of locations for interested photographers. Not only is there amazing and historical architecture spread throughout the city, but the parks and the zoo provide creative opportunities to show juxtaposition in your photography. Of course, there are awesome landmarks, too, like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, which means you could easily spend an entire week shooting in Philadelphia and still not capture everything there is to see.
But what if you want to capture the city itself? One of the best ways to capture the spirit of Philadelphia is to walk across the Ben Franklin Bridge. From this vantage point, you’ll be able to see a decent portion of the city, including its the city’s great skyline. With the bridge’s walkway leading you into town, you can create an engaging photo in the evening with some light trails from the cars that will add a sense of dynamism into your photos. You can also frame your skyline shot to feature the bridge in the shot from the riverside.
Delaware Water Gap
If you want to get some great picture showing how Pennsylvania fits into the countryside alongside adjacent states, then the Delaware Water Gap is an ideal photography location. This national recreation area has parts of New Jersey brushing up against Pennsylvania as the Delaware River cuts a path right through the Appalachian Mountains.
With more than 70,000 acres of trails, mountains, river, and waterfalls, this is a dream come true for anyone looking to photograph the beautiful Pennsylvania landscape (the waterfalls, in particular, are extraordinary, with several in close proximity to each other so you can get several in a single shot).
Hickory Run State Park (Including Boulder Field)
Located in Hickory State Park, which is on the eastern side of Pennsylvania as part of the Pocono Mountains, this location is a magnificent sight to behold. This field of boulders is 18 acres long, so you know how it got its name! Some boulders are as big as 25 feet long, presenting a very unique area to photograph.
This is a prime example of Pennsylvania being much more than a rural landscape in the middle of the state with major cities to the east and west. Boulder Field is worth revisiting at different times of the years so you can capture the changes from winter to summer.
Other notable locations within the park include Stametz Dam, Hawk Falls and Sand Spring Lake.
Pine Creek Gorge
If you’re up for a little off-roading and feel like traversing a massive area in central Pennsylvania, then you will undoubtedly find some incredible wildlife and scenic areas to photograph by going to Pine Creek Gorge. This incredible gorge is about 50 miles long and 1,500 feet deep, which has earned it the nickname of the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.
If you hike up to the top of Leonard Harrison and Colton Pont State Parks, then you are in for a spectacular view that cannot be replicated anywhere else. Imagine taking one shot overseeing the gorge, and then hiking to the bottom to get the opposing view! If you take the Turkey Path on the way, then you’ll be able to see some great waterfalls, too. Just be sure to take a map, because this is a very dense area and it’s easy to get lost among the foliage. The best time to photograph this area is in the fall where the colours of the leaves can give fantastic results.
No visit to Pennsylvania would be complete without taking a trip back in time to a period where horse and cart was the main mode of transport. Where windmills were the main source of power and when people lived simpler and a slower pace of life. Head to Lancaster County to photograph America’s oldest Amish settlement and capture a time that many have long forgotten.
Whilst it may not be the first photography location you think of in the US, Pennsylvania has pretty much anything a photographer could ask for if you’re willing to look in the right places and do a little travelling. So why not make the Keystone State your next photography destination. You might be surprised by the results.
Photo credits: Dreamstime – All rights reserved. No usage without permission.