Labor Day 2013

Labor Day seems to mark the end of summer.  Many schools start the day after Labor Day.  It’s the working person’s last chance for a summer getaway.  For the self-employed, it’s just another day.

Our ward had a picnic in the afternoon.  You might say, someone jinxed it yesterday by saying, “If it rains…”

Well, it rained.

We were sitting there eating while some kids were playing on the play ground.  A very close lightening strike came down and it was almost comical watching those kids run from the playground to the pavilion where people were eating.  Well, except for one child who blissfully was enjoying the playground by herself until her mom got her attention and demanded she return.

Playing Games at Ward Picnic (Elder Brown and Bro. Stover)
Playing Games at Ward Picnic (Elder Brown and Bro. Stover)

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After the rain stopped (and it poured), I managed to get a nice picture of all of the missionaries serving in Palmyra.  Transfers are next week so this might be the last time we’ll see all 8 of them together.

The Ministering of Angels

When John the Baptist restored the Aaronic Priesthood in this dispensation, he said it holds the keys of the ministering of angels. I plan to tell you about some of those ministering angels.

Elizabethe and I have both been fighting some sort of respiratory problems. We both seem to feel pretty good in the morning, but by evening, we feel congested and run-down. It has made it quite hard to keep up with the yard the last couple of weeks.

Today, the young men from Augusta, Georgia, took a list of things we need done in the yard and they went to work. At one point, two of them were sing Red and Black (from Les Miserables). At other times, I heard other songs being sung as these young men chopped at bushes, pulled weeds, hauled rock, dug holes and moved dirt.

On several occasions, various young men came and thanked me for letting them stay here. I thought to myself, watching them work, he has it backwards. I’m the grateful one. I expressed my verbal gratitude to each one and their adult advisors. I not only appreciated the service they gave helping clean up the yard, but I also appreciated the spirit they brought in to my home. I know, a lot of people would think Elizabethe and I are crazy letting a couple dozen teenage boys stay in our home, but these young men are exceptional and I’d welcome them back over and over again.

One of the projects they helped with is the old truck door.  (This is a posing prop for my studio.)  After they dug the hole, I asked the two who did the digging to pose for a picture by the door.

The Hole Diggers
The Hole Diggers

 

I was showing one of them where a stack of rocks were located. I asked if he was still in high school. He said he had just graduated. I asked if he was 18 yet. He informed me he was 19. I asked if he’s turned in his mission papers yet. He said he had not, that he only joined the church 3 months ago. He briefly shared his conversion story with me. Impressive! He said, “I am so happy I got to come see Palmyra after having just joined the church.”

Part of the Working Crew
Part of the Working Crew

They even got a good portion of the walk to the studio laid…

Laying Stones
Laying Stones
They Called Him The Puzzle Master
They Called Him The Puzzle Master
Young Men Laying Stones
Young Men Laying Stones

They cleaned up very quickly, put all the tools away, and then cleaned themselves and changed, and then they hit the road. But, before they left, I watched as they circled around, sang a hymn, and said a prayer. It was an honor having them visit Palmyra and stay at our home.

Their "serious" Look
Their “Serious” Look

Yes, you’ve just seen photos of ministering angels. They are all over, you just have to know how to recognize when they’ve ministered to you. To these young men from Augusta, Georgia, I say, “Thank You!” You were a godsend.

From Here to There to There to…

My friend Gary and I gave a blessing to one of men I home teach.  He’s heading to the hospital to have his hip replaced.  I realize people have hips replaced on a regular basis these days, but it is still a scary thought when you think about what they will be replacing.  I hope the blessing brought him peace of mind.

From there, I headed to Rochester.  I found the roads completely closed at NY SR 350 in Macedon.  I later found out someone took out 3 utility poles with their car, and Macedon was without power for several hours.

Our networking meeting (Rochester Referral Network) went well.  A member who is with Meleluca talked about their products.  And, a couple of the members gave me some real nice reviews on their head shots.  One said, “It turned out so nice I feel a little conceded.”

Next stop… Geneva for Finger Lakes Professional Photographers.  We had an outdoor meeting where a couple of members talked about outdoor portrait lighting.   It was windy, and where you could find shelter from the wind, there were mosquitos.  I wish that hadn’t been the case because I was learning a lot and I think the wind and mosquitos cut in to my enthusiasm.

Photographers Shooting the Photographer
Photographers Shooting the Photographer

The drive home was nice because of the big clouds and blue skies.  As I was driving down Stafford Road, I had to stop and take this shot…

Palmyra Temple Spire Over Farm Land
Palmyra Temple Spire Over Farm Land

How many temples do you know that are surrounded by farms?

Those of you who have not been to Palmyra, you may not realize this, but we are in the sticks.  Our little village of less than 4,000 people is where it all began.  So, I had to take this picture to show people this is New York.  That little island off the southeast corner of the state is but a small chunk of land.  This is what the rest of New York is like.

By the time I made it home, I was pretty worn out.

Beechwood Camp

It’s the First Monday and so that means taking a group of people to photograph something. Today’s venture was to Beechwood Camp State Park near Sodus Point. This is an abandoned Girl Scout Camp on Lake Ontario. We had nice weather, but the sun made things kind of contrasty.

Here are some photos…

Camp Dining Room
Camp Dining Room
Camp Kitchen
Camp Kitchen
Pool Equipment Room
Pool Equipment Room
Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario

Spring 2013 Starts Today

Spring starts today, although you’d never know it. It’s still quite cold and windy. They said we’d have a cold winter, and they were right. Last year it was like, “What winter?” The weather is making up for a lack of winter in 2012.

After the Rochester Referral Network meeting, I drove to visit one of the member’s print shop. Postersource, in Rochester, has several laser printers, a wide format inkjet, and an offset press, as well as die-sub and screen printing. The owner, John Hernandez, is friendly and helpful. He sent me home with some paper samples and I’ll be getting some marketing materials printed by them. (http://www.postersource.biz)

Elizabethe has been setting things up for a Relief Society dinner tonight. She asked me to take her over early and take some photos of what they set up…

Relief Society Dinner
Relief Society Dinner
Relief Society Time-line
Relief Society Time-line

After dropping her off, I went over to the temple to take some photos. The sky was dramatic.

Palmyra Temple
Palmyra New York Temple
First Day of Spring 2013

Sunny and Melting

I headed to the temple early this morning. It was sunny outside and all the snow was starting to melt.

After a very busy morning in the temple, I headed home in this spring-like weather. I pulled in the driveway and we must have had 5 cars parked in the circle. There was a group of young couples from Ithica there watching their kids while their spouses were at the temple.

Having a lot of work to do, I headed out to the studio to work. Next week I have a big commercial shoot and it is time to pack up the lights, backdrops and stands. It is also time to re-format the memory cards and charge the batteries. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been with other PROFESSIONAL photographers who have dead batteries or no flash cards. I’m to obsessive to do that… or at least I hope I am.)

The cards arrived for the networking group. It’s now time to get them out to the public.

Rainbow Trout

I pulled some items out of the freezer for dinner with the sister missionaries tonight. I found a pack with two large rainbow trout flanks. After cutting them in half, they were about the right size for each person. The trout went nicely with some rice pilaf and summer squash. Dessert consisted of some apples Elizabethe canned and I turned them in to an apple cobbler.

I kick myself that I keep forgetting to take pictures of the meals. Perhaps a reminder in my phone would help.

There were lots of visitors at church today. Given it is still winter, we’re getting more and more winter guests in Palmyra. That’s good. I think people miss a lot by only coming here in the summer. Granted, you can walk around in the summer (most of the time) without a jacket, you can’t see the beauty if the snow and ice. (Last year, you wouldn’t have seen much snow and ice, but this year has been a different story.)

Is it Spring Already?

I walked outside this afternoon and asked, “Is it spring already?”

Mid-60s and nice outside today.  Just last week (while I was in the southern states) it was bitter cold (so I’m told).  You wouldn’t know it today.

People are funny.  I get an e-mail from a guy who felt I was targeting the “wrong audience” with my photographic workshop.  Hmmm… I wonder what he thinks the right audience is.  Basically, I target photographers.  (Maybe he doesn’t consider himself a photographer.)

Speaking of workshops…

Here at the Beckwith Mansion, we offer a variety of photographic workshops (see www.palmyra-ny.com).  They range from the beginner to the professional.  If you, or someone you know, likes taking photographs, they will like our workshops.

Draft 1 of the Book

I completed my first draft of my book today.  Elizabethe’s reading and editing it.  I then need to make the changes, add a table of contents, index, title page, and all that stuff.  When it is done, watch the blog for it.  It will be in the categories of business, small business management, self-help, and entrepreneurship.

Weather wise, it has been a bit warmer here the last two days.  It rained yesterday, and today it sounds like rain with all the snow on the roof melting and dripping.  Next week, we’re supposed to be in for more snow.  In the mean time, this is more like a Bay Area winter day.

Rocks on the Shore at Lake Ontario
Rocks on the Shore at Lake Ontario

By the way, if you want to learn how to take a photo like the above, check out my workshops at www.palmyra-ny.com.

Happy New Year 2013

For some, this day doesn’t exist. They thought the world ended on 12/21/2012. Oh, well. Win some and lose some.

I spent the morning straightening the studio for the first portrait session of 2013. Yeah, that’s right. It’s a new year and we’re already taking portraits.

Speaking of portraits, if you, or someone you know, wants a portrait in the snow, better schedule it with me SOON.

Here’s the tricky part: Portraits in the snow may require rescheduling depending on the weather. So, don’t put it off thinking you can call the studio and schedule the session and that will be it because the day you schedule might not have snow on the ground.

Here’s the good news: We do fewer portraits when the weather is nasty. That means we have a bit more flexibility.

D. Brent Walton is a Certified Professional Photographer in Palmyra, New York. Part of what sets him aside from many other photographers is, he knows what makes you look your best, and he strives to capture the beauty in you. Hence, his business tag-line: CAPTURING BEAUTY. You can see more of his work at http://www.dbwalton.com