To Shoot, or Not To Shoot? That Is The Question.

Really? No, not even close. The question is “When can I shoot?” followed by “Where should I shoot?” You won’t find it in any medical journal (at least, I don’t think you will) but I believe “photography addiction” is real and I have it bad. No, I am not seeking treatment. (Note: The above was written in tongue-in-cheek and I don’t want anyone to think I am in any way minimalizing addiction. Addiction is a serious problem and not to be taken lightly. If you, or someone you know, are struggling with an addiction, please seek professional help.)I’m sure there are a lot of you out there who are thinking, “Why am I reading this when I could be out shooting?” I don’t blame you, if I could I would stop writing and go out myself. I find that when I am not shooting, I am thinking about it; where should I go, what should I shoot, etc…. Whether I have the camera in my hand making images to support something I am writing or just in search for the next perfect moment to capture, I love to shoot. We’ve all had “those” days when nothing goes right and you just want to crawl back into bed until it’s over. How do you get through days like that? I find that nothing works quite as well as losing myself in the woods with camera in hand or maybe sitting by a lake, again with camera near by.

To read the rest of the post in it’s original form see To Shoot, or Not To Shoot? That Is The Question. on Niume.

My Responsibility as an Experienced Photographer

I recently read an article that someone posted on Facebook titled “4 Questions Amateur Photographers Need to Stop Asking”; it sparked a debate and got me to thinking. When I saw the title I thought it was about amateurs pestering professionals about how to make money with photography. That is not even close to what the article is about – a more meaningful title would have been “4 Questions Novice Photographers Need to Stop Asking.” I am an “amateur” because I make very little money through photography, this is despite having more than 40 years’ experience. Having said that, I can honestly say that I still ask “What are you shooting?” when I come across someone with an interesting camera/lens. I don’t mean it to be “Gee, if I had that I could make better pictures.” but rather “I would love to know what you think about your gear.”

To read about the “dreaded” questions and what I think about them, check out the full article My Responsibility as an Experienced Photographer on Niume.

Hiking Through History: Historic Allaire Village

The next stop on my “Hiking Through History” tour is Historic Village at Allaire in Wall Township, New Jersey. The village dates back to the early 19th Century when James P. Allaire established Howell Iron Works, a bog iron furnace and a self-sufficient village around it. The village operates today as a “living history museum” demonstrating how life was when the village and iron works were operational.

Get the full story here – Hiking Through History: Historic Allaire Village

All photos are copyright Joseph S. Valencia All Rights Reserved They may not be used in any way without express written permission of the photographer. If you wish to use any of the photos, you may contact the photographer at

“My Portfolio” – Free For Adobe CC Subscribers

So, back in January I wrote a post titled “Niume Is Not A Photo Gallery” where I implored photographers and other creatives to write about their work here and not just use Niume as a personal gallery. I had a partial list of sites offering free, and paid, hosting for your work. It was only a few days later that I was watching an episode of “The Grid” with Scott Kelby where he mentioned that anyone with an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription was entitled to a free on-line portfolio. I have a subscription to the “Photographers” package so I decided to build my portfolio. I could not be any easier. They offer eight different layouts, all of which are customizable. I chose “Lukas” for it’s simplicity and I am quite happy with it. You simply choose your layout, add content and publish. It will also automatically update your Adobe Behance website, if you have one. (Note: Behance is another free service provided by Adobe – check it out, “Gallery” or “Project” pages are great and easy to work with but when I tried to add an “Artist Statement” page it got a little awkward. You can add text, images and media but you cannot edit the physical layout – for instance, I wanted to have an image of me on the left side with my “artist statement” to its immediate right. You cannot do that, the image stands alone with the text beneath. I deleted the image and made the page text-only. Now, there may be a way to do it but so far I haven’t been able. The next page to be added will be an “About Me” page. Yes, I am going to have two pages – Artist Statement and About Me. What’s the difference, you ask? I asked the same thing and here is what I discovered:Artist Statement – brief (maybe a couple paragraphs), written in first person, should evolve as you evolve as an artist, should make people interested in you and your work.About Me (Biography) – essentially a resume written in prose, written in third person, contains your past – education, exhibits, awards, etc…, contains background on your influences – whether other artists, your family, upbringing, etc…., updated as you gain more experience, where you have lived and currently live. The biography is typically longer than the artist statement but if it is too long people will tend to skim or just not read the whole thing.The portfolio is “live” ( but it is also a “work in progress”, as I am adding images and galleries when I get some time. Once the site is fairly mature I am planning to use it in conjuction with Niume; when I add an image to my portfolio I will write about it on Niume with a link to the photo in my portfolio. I am hoping that the blog post will spark interest in the photograph and that the reader will want to see more of my work.

Source: “My Portfolio” – Free For Adobe CC Subscribers

There Is Pleasure In The Pathless Woods

This is somewhat of a follow-up to an earlier post titled “There is a rapture in the lonely shore….” and just one of many inspired by a poem or quote that I have come across over the years. The full quote is:There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more. – Lord Byron If you have been following me for a while you know how fond I am of wandering around in the woods. If I had to spend the rest of my life in just one environment, this is what I would choose and so when I saw this poem it immediately went into my “inspiration” list.  I would miss the ocean – the sound of the crashing waves and smell of the salt – but I derive far more pleasure hearing the sound of a babbling brook and the smell of the forest floor. There is nothing like the smell of the woods in autumn – except for maybe the smell of a baby…. 🙂

You can read the post in it’s entirety here – There Is Pleasure In The Pathless Woods

All photos are copyright Joseph S. Valencia All Rights Reserved They may not be used in any way without express written permission of the photographer. If you wish to use any of the photos, you may contact the photographer at

Re-energize your soul… Walk with Mother Nature. – Anthony Douglas Williams

Re-energize your soul… Walk with Mother Nature. – Anthony Douglas Williams

I have a growing collection of quotations – mostly of nature and photography – and sometimes I go to them for inspiration. I do not know when I added this quote to my collection but I knew immediately that it was going to be the title of a blog post some day. I love nature, I particularly love being in the woods. I live at the end of a dead end street and have a large woods bordering two sides of my property. I can walk out my door and within minutes be on a trail. A few years ago, I was having a discussion with a woman about religion and going to church. I pointed to the woods and told her she was looking at my “church”; there is no better place to be in order to become one with your spiritual guide. I think it took her by surprise at first but after a few minutes, she understood. Alone in the woods is the best place to be to reflect on life and to “re-energize your soul.” I did an interview* a few months back and was asked, “What do you think about when you’re by yourself?” I found that to be a very interesting question and after giving it some thought I answered it. I finished the answer with “When I am out for a hike in the woods I try not to think but to listen.” No one had ever asked me that before and I never gave it much thought but it is true. I’m not even sure that “listen” is the proper word because it is more than that. My hearing is quite poor so listen is more of a metaphor because I am using sight, sound, smell and touch to learn about what is happening around me.

For the rest of the story and accompanying images go to Re-energize your soul… Walk with Mother Nature. – Anthony Douglas Williams

Leaf Cluster Close-Up

I used to take walks at lunch and after work nearly every day and most of those walks were at Thompson Park. I still enjoy getting out with my camera but lately circumstances have prevented me from getting out as much as I would like. I was going through some of the older images this morning and found one from November 2011. This embedded time is 5:27 PM which would have been almost 45 minutes after sunset. The two images here were created from the same RAW file with the major editing done in Lightroom with NIK collection installed. The finally cropping and minor adjustments were made in Photoshop.

I started with some basic adjustments – exposure, color balance, highlights, shadows, whites, blacks and clarity. I then created a “virtual copy” which I used to make the black & white image.

To learn more about how the images were created, check out the original post at Leaf Cluster Close-up.

All photos are copyright Joseph S. Valencia All Rights Reserved They may not be used in any way without express written permission of the photographer. If you wish to use any of the photos, you may contact the photographer at