Most people who live outside New Jersey seem to think the whole state is like how it looked on The Sopranos. Of the places I've been to and photographed at, these are my top 9 places, in no particular order, to photograph in New Jersey:
Great Falls of Paterson
Paterson was selected by Alexander Hamilton as the first planned industrial town. The falls were formed during the last ice age approximately 13,000 years ago. The Falls are viewable from Overlook Park on the south (this is the view where most of the images of the falls are taken) and Mary Ellen Kramer Park on the north. A footbridge over the Falls gorge also serves as an outlook point from which many have captured the Falls rainbow.
A restored 19th century canal town featuring an inn, blacksmith, general store, and church. During Canal Heritage Days, which occurs the second and fourth Saturdays in July through October, the blacksmith, general store, and gristmill are open.
Hacklebarney State Park
There are several different trails to traverse, including one which focuses on the waterfalls and another which follows the river.
Located on over 2,700 acres, Duke Farms is the former home of the family of J. B. Duke, including his daughter Doris. There's plenty to photograph, from waterfalls and flowers to historic buildings and sculptures.
Liberty State Park
Liberty State Park has spectacular views of the New York City skyline and Statue of Liberty. There's also the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal. The track area is still fenced off but you can access the main building and photograph into the tracks.
This family owned farm has one of the largest fields full of sunflowers I've ever seen. They have over 40 acres of sunflowers. The best time to go is the end of August to early September when they offer tours. The absolute best time of day to go is at sunset. There are several ways to get there at sunset - find a Meetup group going there, find someone (like Unique Photo) offering a workshop there, or find somewhere to park and walk along Airport Rd until you find the sunflowers.
The mill has been around for over 200 years and is located on the Raritan River. It was originally used to process wool. Later it was used to grind flour, graphite and talc. The red color of the mill stands out, especially when the ground is snow covered.
The main photographic opportunity here is the annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning. From twice daily mass ascensions of up to 100 special shape and sport hot air balloons, to headlining concerts, fireworks, a balloon glow, and more, the festival is jam-packed with plenty of stuff to photograph.
Branch Brook Park
Branch Brook Park, the nation's first county park, is located in the Newark, though a portion of the park is located in Belleville. The park has over 4,000 cherry blossom trees, whereas Washington D.C. only has 3,000 trees.
There are a few places in Jersey that other photographers recommend going to but I just haven't had the chance to visit.
Leonard J. Buck Gardens
Grounds for Sculpture
The Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge