#WhyCV Photo Spotlight: Valee Hatcher

valee hatcher spring

Hello! My name is Val Hatcher and I live in Gardnerville, Nevada. I’ve been in the area for 40 years now. I have two grown daughters and three grandchildren that live in the valley. My grandson is in the Army based in Colorado. My son lives in the Bay Area, so he’s not that far away either. I enjoy spending time with all of them of course, but second in line to my family is photography.Killer tumbleweed valee hatcher

I got my first camera when I was 10-years-old. Don’t remember what brand it was, but it was a little plastic camera and you had to pop a flash cube on the top of it to take pictures indoors. It was such a thrill from the moment my first set of photos came back from the drugstore. Which by the way, took about two weeks so you had a lot of anticipation wondering which ones would turn out, and you also found a lot of disappointment at the ones that you screwed up. Nonetheless, I was hooked. Of course, everything was black and white back then. From day one, I pretty much always had a camera with me everywhere.

In high school I took photography for a couple of years and loved being in the dark room watching my photos come to life. I was born and raised in Iowa but moved to Sunnyvale, California in 1975. My first job was as a receptionist at Olan Mills portrait studio. After a few months, the photographer noticed that I couldn’t stay away from the camera. I was constantly in there practicing all different kinds of shots in between studio time. They decided to start training me to be a photographer, and before long that’s what I was doing full-time. The head photographer there had a dark room at her house and I was over there constantly learning new techniques.

snow storm valee hatcher


Unfortunately, I don’t have any fancy equipment, so all of my photos are taken with my iPhone. Maybe I should put a new digital camera on my Christmas list!

Photography is more than just capturing the moment. It is really therapy for me. If I’m having a really bad day and can’t seem to get my head straight, I’ll get in my car and take off down the road somewhere to see what I can find. Every time I go out in nature and take photos it puts me in such a good mood. Fall is one of my favorite times of year to capture shots, as it is with many people. However, I’m also a storm freak and have been since my youth. Love getting out there when it’s raining or snowing and see what magnificent things Mother Nature has to offer for me to capture. Since we don’t get a lot of rain in this area, the rare occasions allow me to get some great images!

While the digital world of photography is awesome in so many ways, such as being able to see your photo immediately and editing it to look exactly how you want, I do miss the old days of sitting around with the family flipping through photo albums. Almost everyone I know hasn’t put a photo in an album in probably 10 years. They are all stuck in their phones and everyone has to crowd around and look at a tiny picture to see the outcome. It’s just not the same. Even when you go someplace to have a few of them printed, it can take hours. It is a blessing and a curse at the same time.

Killer tumbleweed valee hatcher

Killer tumbleweed

My third passion is estate and yard sales. I spend way too many hours shopping but oh the treasures you can find! Things for my family and my friends and myself and I’m always amazed at the gems found for a fraction of the cost. The people in my circle are happy to be the recipients of my treasure hunting and I always brag about the great deals I get. My family equally values the stories I find from the back of a lens.

Anyway, I’m sure there’s something I need to take a photo of right now so I best get going. Take care.


sunset valee hatcher

Spectacular sunset

sunset valee hatcher

Sunset through a tree

snow storm valee hatcher

Snowy day

valee hatch sleeping beauties

Sleeping beauties

smokey sun valee hatcher

Neon pink sun during summer fires

community center valee hatcher

Winter outside the community center

valee hatcher

valee hatcher

Old school travel

valee hatcher

Young and old. My eight-year-old granddaughter with my 101 year old neighbor

valee hatcher

Winter reflection

vallee hatcher parade of lights

Waiting for the parade of lights

vallee hatcher

valee hatcher spring

Spring splendor

valee hatcher storm


Smokey cabin valee hatcher

Smokey cabin

fire puddle valee hatcher

Fire puddle