Two years ago, I drove around the lower half of Somerset County, the county in which I have lived for almost 25 years, photographing various historical buildings that were featured in the "Weekend Journey through the Past". One of the areas on the "tour" was the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum in Skillman, Montgomery Township, just a few miles from my home.

It was a rainy day when I visited, and the ground was soggy. Parking was challenging, but I found a spot on Hollow Road, a dozen yards so from the entrance to the property.

The church restoration project started with the efforts of two African American women, Beverly Mills and Elaine Buck, who sit on the advisory for the Stoutsburg Cemetery Association, to establish a burial place for Private William Stives, a Revolutionary War veteran and one of the first African American settlers in the Sourland Region.

Their research led them to discover that the region had a richer past regarding African Americans some of whom were their ancestors, and the two women decided to co-author a book, If These Stones Could Talk, to tell the stories of African Americans and their lives in Hopewell Valley (and surrounding area).

In 2014, after a lecture, entitled "A Proud Heritage", at the historic Hopewell Borough Train Station organised by The Sourland Conservancy as part of their Train Station Series, they sparked a partnership between the Stoutsburg Cemetery Association and the Sourland Conservancy. The product of that partnership was the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum. The land for the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum was acquired by The D&R Greenway Land Trust in collaboration with the Sourland Conservancy.

These photos have sat in my Adobe Lightroom Catalog for the last two year, unedited, unprocessed, simply because I was too tired to process them. I was dealing with Graves Disease and after a day of driving around the county taking photographs and I had very little energy the next day. I had forgotten about the pictures until now.

Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR | f/8.0
Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR | f/8.0
Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR | f/9.0
Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR | f/9.0
Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR | f/9.0
Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR | f/9.0
Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR | f/9.0
Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR | f/9.0
Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR | f/9.0
A chart depicting the American Slave Trade | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR | f/4.0

Boathouse Row, Schuylkill River, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Tuesday Photo Challenge – Age by Frank JansenFrank Jansen (Dutch goes the Photo!)

With Age comes wisdom and, like many a great wine, things can get better with Age!

This image was captured in 2016 during a field trip to Philadelphia's Boathouse Row with the Princeton Photo Workshop and instructor Richard Sherman.

My sensor must have been dirty that day. I removed at least ten of them using content-aware fill in Photoshop. I also removed a number of hot pixels. I then applied the Reflector Efex filter using Color Efex Pro 4. I didn't do any tweaking beyond this and I like the result.

Sometimes it is worth it to go back to an image taken in the past, images that I didn't get around to processing, images that I may have processed previously but could benefit from new techniques that I have learned. I think photography is one of those art forms where the techniques can be easy to learn in the beginning but it takes time to become skilled at its use. But even then, being skilled is not enough. The photographer must continue to experiment to hopefully develop the wisdom to what to do and when to do it. I am still on that journey and personal wisdom, the sort that comes with age, tells me that I must focus on the destination while also enjoying the journey. Modern psychology agrees, "those who focused on the future were less likely to be depressed".

A balance between the past, present, and future is needed. And a balance between the self and others. Where you’ve been, where you are, and where you are going are all important. And who you’re with.

Doing this is especially important given my recent challenges with Graves' disease and how it has impacted my energy and my ability to get outside with the camera. And perhaps this will allow me to rejoin Frank's weekly photochallenge.