Five “Must Shoot” Photography Locations in Maryland

One of many beautiful photography locations in Maryland.
Hunt Valley, MD.

If you’re interested in discovering some excellent photography locations in Maryland, this article is for you.

Maryland is one of the most photographically diverse states in the entire country, which is impressive given its diminutive size.  If you made the six hour drive from Ocean City into West Virginia, you’d be treated to a myriad of uniquely interesting places to photograph.  Some of these photography locations in Maryland, however, are “must-sees” for anyone with a camera.

No matter if you seek engagement photos, portraiture, landscape photos, or architecture photos…here are five photography locations in Maryland you must visit: 

1) Annapolis.

Among all the photography locations in Maryland, the Annapolis City Dock should be written in stone on your bucket list.  In the heart of the historic capital of Maryland, simply head down Main Street to Church Circle.  You’ll discover an endless number of photographic opportunities of all kinds.

The photojournalist will have a field day walking around on the quaint brick and stone streets. Eccentric shops, art galleries, pubs, and outdoor dining paint a very photogenic scene.  The City Dock is also home to all kinds of public events, such as the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show, Fourth of July party (with pyrotechnic displays), St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and Military Bowl Parade.  For more information on the Annapolis City Dock, click here.

Church Circle as seen from City Dock.

Ego Alley is heaven sent for portrait, waterscape and landscape photographers.  You could literally spend days capturing all sorts of unique scenic background imagery as boats constantly sail into and out of the dock.  And, it’s also an ideal spot for engagement photos.

Cross the Spa Creek bridge, and you can track down the perfect spot to shoot a westerly view of the harbor.  From there, the sun sets over the capital building while sail boats pass by in the foreground:

Spa Creek in Annapolis

It doesn’t really matter whether you’re a photographer or not, Annapolis is a must see for anyone.

For more information on the city of Annapolis, click here.

2) Jonas Green State Park.

Jonas Green State Park.

A stone’s throw from Annapolis, Jonas Green State Park is located on the iconically scenic Severn River.  Simply put, this park is a gem for the landscape or waterscape photographer.

The Naval Academy Bridge splits the park into two sections:  On the south side of the bridge there’s a restaurant and boat piers along the shore.  And, you can view the Navel Academy across the river.  On the north side is a fishing pier and a rocky beach, with a spectacular view of the Severn’s natural beauty.

Regardless of the composition, there’s a better than average chance you will be dodging fisherman perched over the dock or along the beachside.  Or you can make them part of the scene.

Many photographers choose to include the Academy bridge in their images, which provides some interesting architectural spice into an otherwise purely natural landscape.  If you choose a night where Mother Nature cooperates with the setting sun, a memorable experience at dusk is likely.

Jonas Green presents an excellent opportunity to shoot some ultra-wide perspectives.  Furthermore, the park provides a beautiful background for engagement photos or portraits.

For detailed directions on how to get to Jonas Green Park, click here.

3) The Late-Summer Sunflower Fields.

 

You can’t have a conversation about great photography locations in Maryland without mentioning sunflower fields.  Every summer, these beautiful farms litter the Maryland landscape.  My favorite sunflower field is in southern Harford County, on the corner of Jarrettsville Pike and Hess Road.  It’s situated directly across the street from the Royal Farms gas station.

If you go, bring a self-standing ladder and walk to the top of the hill.  You will be awestruck by the enormity of the seemingly endless rows of sunflowers.  To get a shot of the landscape, a ladder is very important.  Without one, you won’t be able to get the camera high enough over the tall sunflowers.

On the images above, I stood atop a 7 foot ladder and held the camera over my head (I am average height). I needed several shots to get the composition right.

Furthermore, it’s a great place for a family photo to put on the next Holiday card.  And, the kids will have a great time running through the maze of flowers.  You will have an even better time trying to keep up with them.

Another great opportunity for an ultra-wide shot.

4) The Federal Hill Skyline.

The National Aquarium and World Trade Center.

Any list of photography locations in Maryland must include at least one spot in Baltimore City.  Baltimore offers all kinds of interesting landmarks to photograph.  One of the most accessible is the skyline of downtown Baltimore from the top of Federal Hill.  Simply park alongside any of the roads in the Federal Hill neighborhood, and walk up the steps to the top of the hill.

Baltimore from atop Federal Hill at sunset.  11 shot panorama.

Late afternoon/early evening is the ideal time to shoot here. At these times, you can grab the sun setting behind the skyscrapers on the left.  Sunrise is cool also.  The sun rises off to the right, away from the skyline.  Those fresh rays of light cast a gentle and pleasant warm glow over the architecture.

East Baltimore from atop Federal Hill at sunrise.

If it’s a partly cloudy day, try a long exposure photograph.  A long exposure adds the element of movement as the clouds will appear to be “stretched” out.  And, a long exposure at night will transform moving cars into laser beams across the streets below.

For more information on Federal Hill, click here.

5) Kilgore Falls.  

If a waterscape is what you seek, stop right here.

Of all the photography locations in Maryland I’ve visited, Kilgore Falls is my absolute favorite.  Kilgore is located inside the northern portion of Rocks State Park, a couple of miles northwest from the village of Street.

#5 of my photography locations in Maryland: Kilgore Falls
Kilgore Falls from downstream.

A small parking lot off of Falling Branch Road makes parking convenient.  From there, walk a quarter mile along the easily navigable trail.  Then, you’ll be treated to a beautiful waterfall offering many different vantage points to photograph.

In my opinion, the best location to shoot from is downstream (see above photograph).  Additionally, close up shots like the two images below are possible with a wide-angle lens, and some careful footing (those rocks are perpetually slippery).

kilgorenew-2
This is a several minute exposure.  Three swimmers were wading in the water here, but the long exposure made them disappear.

A unique perspective of the falls is available from upstream.  Over the years, I have seen very few photographs from this angle:

kilgorenew-4
View from upstream.

The best times to shoot Kilgore are during the golden hours.  This will give you some nicely diffused, warm lighting.  The park closes after sunset, so arrive early enough to give you ample time.  Autumn is the ideal season, when foliage will grant you a colorful wide angle image.

You’ll want to bring a wide to normal zoom lens (i.e. a 24-70mm) for the downstream perspective.  If you wish to get a close up shot, you’ll need a wider lens (ideally, something wider than 24mm).

Kilgore is most definitely a must see attraction for photographers.

For more information on Kilgore Falls, please click here.

kilgoreoldnew
Kilgore Falls from downstream.
Honorable Mention: Loch Raven State Park.  

Loch Raven is a Baltimore County treasure for anyone who enjoys the outdoors. Regardless of the season, it’s a great place for all kinds of activities, especially for the landscape photographer.

If you head into the park driving by Peerce’s Plantation restaurant, go about a mile or so past Peerce’s then park on your right, before you get to the bridge.  If you pass over the bridge, you went too far.  Once parked, you will see a small beach off to the west of the road.

From there, it’s maybe about a 100 yard walk to the beach.  With a westerly view, it’s an ideal spot to capture a sunset.  Even if the sunset isn’t photogenic, it’s still a very nice spot to relax and take in the scenery.

For more information on Loch Raven State Park, click here.

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Happy shooting!!

 

 

11 thoughts on “Five “Must Shoot” Photography Locations in Maryland”

  1. Excellent information here, Jeb. I am an amateur photographer who like to shoot landscape and impressionistic type. , I am new to this area (Maryland), and didn’t know where and how about this area. However, tremendous information about cameras, post processing, locations, and along other helpful tips you provided here are very good that helps me in a great deal. Thank you.

  2. Matt Brighton

    I’m in Annapolis and I intend to see if I can re-create your shot of downtown. I don’t have a 58, but I’ve got a 50 and a D750 so I’m fairly sure I can do it. If not…life goes on.

    1. The 58 was a little tight for the scene…ideally I would have preferred a 50 or 35 for that shot. Please feel free to share the final image…it’s cool to see other perspectives on the same scene.

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