Composition

Composition

The First Monday Event has the subject of composition.  There were only two of us – me and Gary Morse.  But, we learned a lot about composition.  I know Gary and I aim to make my photographs better.

We watched a couple of real good videos.  It amazes me, almost to the point of disgust, that photographic instructors don’t teach this concept.  Perhaps it is too difficult for the average person to grasp, so they over simplify things down to the Rule of Thirds (in most cases.)

My 2018 crusade is to educate my fellow photographers on composition!

Bug?

I had a flu shot this year, but I’m feeling like I am coming down with the flu.  And, it can’t be because of the flu shot because that was a couple of months ago.  When I went to bed last night I felt like crap.  My muscles all ached and I felt feverish.   It could very well be an infection too.

Let’s see if I feel better tomorrow.

Reschedule

Elizabethe called to get her surgery time and was told she wasn’t on the hospital schedule, however, the surgeon had it on his schedule.  Oops!  Some dropped the ball.

So, we waited and waited for them to call back.  She finally called them and got a time.

Macro Meetup

Macro Meetup

You can say I held a macro meetup today.  Two other photographers came over and we took macro photographs in the pub room.  I photographed a watch and some other odds and ends I have around the house.

My light table and light box work well for this stuff.  Add my Carl Zeiss macro lens and I’m ready to take on any tiny project.

copyright 2017 db walton
Macro of a Tiara

 

copyright 2017 db walton
Beadwork Macro

The First Monday Event is something I do on the 1st Monday of each month.  From 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. I gather a bunch of photographers and we take pictures.  It’s open to anyone with a camera, and it is usually free (unless there is an additional cost like lunch, paying a model, entrance fee to a museum, etc.)  Visit Palmyra Photographic Workshops for more information – www.palmyra-ny.com

Palmyra – An Impressive Place

Palmyra is an impressive place.  Some people drive through and think we’re just another hole-in-the-wall podunk village on NY State Route 31.  Members of the Church of Jesus Latter-day Saints come here thinking the only thing to see are the church historic sites.

There’s a lot of untapped potential in this town.  A lot of local folks don’t see it.  They see the 2 weeks during pageant as a windfall for some businesses, and after that… nothing.

I moved here hoping to make a difference.  I think I have to a small degree, but I still butt heads with many local folks.  I’ve joined the Chamber of Commerce and I’m now 1st Vice President of the chamber, but it is hard to get people excited about volunteering on the chamber.   We can’t change things for the better unless others get on board with this idea.

What Palmyra Needs

Palmyra Needs a few more anchor businesses.  We’re rapidly becoming a haven for 2nd hand, antique and consignment shops.  That’s okay, but let’s step it up a bit.  Let’s bring in some businesses that will keep people walking Main Street and spending money.

Here’s my wish list for the Village and Town of Palmyra…

  • A mid-scale restaurant like Olive Garden, Chili’s, Longhorn, Denny’s etc., located on the corner of Temple Road and NY SR 21 – next door to the Palmyra Inn.  (The biggest complaint that I hear about the Palmyra Inn is there is no place to eat close by.  And, even though they offer breakfast, some guests want more than they offer… like a hot breakfast.)  It’s close enough to I-90 that with some signage it could draw business a couple of miles north.
  • A fast food restaurant on the east end of the village – Taco Bell, KFC, Wendy’s, Burger King, McDonald’s, etc.
  • A local sit-down sidewalk cafe in the 200 block East Main Street.  Someplace with ample seating inside and free WiFi, and during good weather, outdoor seating.  Mark’s Pizza is good, but let’s add some variety and class it up a bit.
  • I’d like to see Lock 29 move, or class it up a bit.  They could start by not allowing smoking on the sidewalk in front of their building.  The group that hangs out in front having their smokes are a deterrent to many who walk down that street.  I’ve even had my tenants complain about the cigarette smoke coming from the Lock 29 loiterers.  Ideally, I’d like to see them move on to one of the side streets.
  • I’d like to see street performers in the 200 block during the summer.  It’s a beautiful village.  Why doesn’t the Village sell permits based on an audition tape or YouTube video and let them come and perform for tips.

That’s enough for starters.

IPC Ready

IPC Ready

I’m IPC ready.  I submitted my 8 images (4 photographs, 4 paintings) to ICP today.

I found myself asking, “Why am I doing this?”

Is it for the honor of men?
Will it help bring in more clients?
Is it worth it at all?

To let a panel of people decide whether or not your image deserves a merit is, when you think of it, kind of strange.  One of the best photos I have ever shot did not receive a merit at IPC.  In fact, it upset other Master Photographers more than it did me.  After all, they already had the credentials, and then to have spurred me on all year proclaiming mine was not only a merit print, but should be added to the Loan Collection only discounted their opinions too.

At this point, it would be silly to drop out.  I’m 3 merits away from being a Master Photographer, and 7 from being a Master Artist.  That would be like attempting to swim across the English Channel, getting almost there, and then swimming back because it is too far.

copyright 2016 db walton - IPC Ready
Title: Lips – a Loan Collection Image

Emotionally Vested

An artist is emotionally vested in his/her work.  That makes it difficult to see little things the judges might catch.  You miss these little things because the image provokes an emotional response when you look at it.  They have no prejudicial emotion and so they see things you don’t.  I get that, and that is what makes choose the images so hard.

Sorting Magazines

Every once in a while I have to go through and sort magazines.  I think I spent about 2 hours doing that today.  The library is in for a big donation of recent magazines.  (I keep getting free subscriptions.  While some of them are free, many of them I have to write and tell them to stop sending them because their content is stupid, evil, or both.)

Either way, I’m ending this day being IPC Ready.

GQ Magazine

GQ Magazine

I picked up a copy of GQ Magazine thinking it would be about style and fashion for men.  Instead, what I got was a rag which would appeal to an immature 12 year old boy… if at that.  Disappointed and disgusted I won’t be buying another GQ Magazine.  (And shame on Condé Nast for publishing this trash.)

What’s my beef with GQ Magazine?

Let’s start by talking about GQ.  (I am not going to provide a link to the magazine’s website because it is not worth going there… especially if you are a gentleman (or lady).  It stands for Gentlemen’s Quarterly.  Perhaps at one time it came out quarterly, now it is a monthly publication from the folks at Condé Nast (a large publisher of magazines).  It is supposed to be aimed at men’s fashion (or style as they call it) and culture (both of which are greatly lacking and I’ll explain why.)

When I was a young boy, I my grandpa wore a Stetson fedora.  He seldom left the house without it.  He taught me, through example, that a gentleman always removed his hat indoors and in the presence of women and as a sign of respect.

On one occasion we were at the barbershop.  A man walked in with a cowboy hat.  I turned to my grandpa and said, “I thought you said cowboys remove their hats indoors.”

I’ll never forget his reply.  It has taught me a lot about being a gentleman.  He said, “They do, and that’s no cowboy.”

To me, a gentleman was tough and strong (like a cowboy), well groomed, and well mannered.  Grandpa was all of those and more.  I never heard him swear.  Never.  Not even damn or hell came out of his mouth.  Yet, years after his death, people in that town revered the man known to many as Joe Knowles.

My first beef with GQ is with the use of the f-word.  The articles were riddled with the f-bomb and I simply stopped reading.  No gentleman would use the f-word, especially not in public, and especially not in writing!  It is the most vile and disgusting word in the English language and does dishonor to anyone who uses it and shows a lack of respect to those within hearing distance (or those who read it.)

My second beef with GQ had to do with the editor’s opening article.  It praised Bill Clinton as being right up there with FDR.  I won’t go in to FDR, but Bill Clinton is not a gentleman.  Gentlemen don’t cheat on their wives (and do it repeatedly).  The man was an embarrassment to the office of the president and gentlemen all over the world.

Thirdly, repeated photographs of men who were shabbily dressed.  Pictures of men who haven’t shaven (or even trimmed their beards) in days, shirtless, looking like they just came out of spending two weeks in the jungle without soap or a razor.  Even on the better end of things, pictures of guys who looked like they slept in their suits, hair all messy, and forgot to look in the mirror before leaving the house.

copyright 2016 db walton - GQ Magazine
Beards are Scruffy

Number four has to do with grooming.  It’s been said beards will be the mullets of the 2010s.  My wife says that hardly any man looks good with a beard.  While I couldn’t tell you what makes a guy good-looking or homely, I can say that beards make them look scruffy.  No, not manly, but to that immature 12 year old I mentioned earlier, it might.

I think 4 is enough.  I stopped there because I dropped the magazine in the trash, for trash is what it is.

Perhaps it is the trend of our times.  I recently saw a very well dressed lady in her late-20s/early-30s exit a restaurant by herself.  She wore a knee-length dress, while form-fitting, modest, a nice necklace, earrings, high heels, and her hair was done nicely.  About 10 seconds later, a very scruffy looking man about the same age came out.  He was wearing khaki shorts, boat shoes with no socks, and an old t-shirt, untucked.  He hadn’t combed his hair all day and hadn’t shaved for at least a week.  He walks up to her and puts his arm around her shoulder, kisses her on the lips, and the two walk away while he’s draped over her shoulder.

Gee whiz!  If she’s going to go to all that work in looking pretty for you, shouldn’t you at least shower, shave, comb your hair, put on some pants, socks and nicer shoes and a shirt with a collar?

And, to the young lady…   Really?  While I’m only judging by what I saw in those few short seconds, the guy didn’t even hold the door open for you upon leaving the restaurant.  And, while you were trying to walk lady-like in those pumps, he wasn’t making it easy on you the way he was draped on your shoulder.

Perhaps this was an off day for the young man, but I repeatedly see scenes similar to this in public.  Perhaps she likes him looking like that (in which case, she probably needs some serious counseling.)  And, while he may have a job where he gets dirty and messy, he could have still ducked in to the restroom and combed his hair (and he could have shaved before leaving work.)

I’ll admit I’m not the fashion plate guy, and with my curly hair, I don’t always notice when it is out-of-place.  But, I do bathe and shave daily — especially if I’m going on a date with my wife.  My clothes are clean and I do my best to dress appropriately.

Perhaps truly gentlemanly stuff doesn’t sell magazines.  On behalf of all gentlemen everywhere, I call upon GQ Magazine to remove any reference of the word gentlemen from their publication if you continue to publish such trashy content.  Gentlemen use respectable language, have heroes who themselves are gentlemen and respect women, dress clean and neat, and groom themselves accordingly.  A gentleman is a person a woman feels safe and comfortable when in his presence.  He opens doors for not only women, but children and others.  He is dignified.

Hmmm… Are there enough prepubescent teenage boys to keep GQ Magazine in print?  Or have men simply become less mature?

Solo to Watkins Glen

copyright 2015 db walton
The Falls in Color

Solo to Watkins Glen

In spite of my best attempts to find someone to go with me, I went solo to Watkins Glen.  I took over 320 photos.  Many were long exposures in color, others were infrared and some pinhole.

copyright 2015 db walton
Me at Watkins Glen

And, here’s an infrared from my X-T1… amazing what that camera can do…

copyright 2015 db walton
Infrared Photo of Watkins Glen

It was a delightful sunny day, and there were LOTS of tourist at the glen.  Most of them were middle school students on a field trip along with several groups of Chinese tourists.  At times, I would have to wait for the crowds to pass to take the picture, but because some of them, like the above B&W infrared were very long exposures, people tend to blur away.

I took two trips back to the car to exchange cameras and/or lenses.  That equates to three trips up the canyon.  Yes, I got some exercise, but I also got some great shots.

Here is a pinhole shot I took.  The problem with pinhole is you can’t see anything through the viewfinder and so you’ve got to kind of work blindly.  If you notice, the pinhole and the infrared are shot near the same location.  Both were about 30 second exposures.

copyright 2015 db walton
Pinhole Shot of Watkins Glen

A lot of people think because a pinhole is so small the images are razor-sharp.  Well, they aren’t, but they do allow for some VERY long exposures.  (The above was about 30 seconds.)

Finally, at about 2:30pm, I decided I should get some lunch.  I went to the Burger King just the other side of the river and they are CLOSED!  Instead I ended up driving to Geneva and going to Taco Bell where I waited for nearly 20 minutes for a couple of tacos.  (Yeah, they were back there yacking and texting.  I think if I owned a franchise the rule would be no phones on your person while working.)

One last stop before I went home and that was at Hill Cumorah.  I spent some time chatting with the missionaries there and got a couple of good photos…

copyright 2015 db walton
Sisters Showing the Map of the Trails

Time Flies Aim High

Time Flies Aim High

Time flies aim high was what the fortune cookie said.  I like it.  It’s got hidden meaning.

Time does fly and today was no exception.  It seemed that the day just disappeared before me.

Elizabethe and I had lunch with the networking group in Rochester.  After the meeting, we had a one-on-one with a guy who is a professional mediator.    As a result, I now know the difference between mediation and arbitration.   (Any friends interested in using this guy’s skills, send me a private message and I will provide you with his contact information.)

That backdrop I received yesterday is very nice.  Here’s a picture of Elizabethe sitting in front of it.

copyright 2015 db walton
My Wife – Elizabethe

The background turned out nice and I’ll probably order some more.  The nice thing is the fabric is so wrinkle resistant.  It’s like sweatshirt material so it doesn’t crease much when stuffed in to my grab-n-go bag.  I love it.

I wanted to go to the GRPP meeting tonight, but when I remembered it was tonight, it was already past the meeting start time.  So, I looked at my phone and remembered I silenced my phone during the networking meeting.  Reminder to self, turn your phone back on after meetings like that.

The problem is, you can’t set a reminder on the phone to remind you to take it out of silence mode.  Crazy isn’t it.  I can just see a day when I silence my phone and days later wonder why I’m not getting any calls.  Yeah… technology.

Saturday Class

Saturday Class

This has become a tradition that I hold a Saturday class after Christmas for people who have new cameras.  Five people attended my little class today.  Teaching is something I can do from a chair, so it worked out well.    I call the class, “So You Got a New Camera for Christmas.  Now What?”  Visit http://www.palmyra-ny.com or http://www.dbwalton.com

If you have never taken a photography class, well, why wait?

I have been teaching photography for several years now.  I can explain the functions of your camera and when to use them.  Besides… it is fun.

I remember one of the first classes I took as an adult.  I was hoping it would allow me to use the college dark room.  Well, it didn’t, but I stuck with the class anyway.

It turned out to be quite fun.  It forced me out of my comfort-zone and had me taking pictures of things I would have never taken pictures of had I not taken the class.

After the class was over, I did not feel like waiting for dinner to be cooked so we used a gift card my daughter sent us.  We went to Chilli’s.  At first we were going to go to Olive Garden, but the wait was an hour.

Seriously?  Waiting an hour to eat a Olive Garden?  Not worth it in my opinion.

We drove down the road and as we passed various places, the closer to the mall, the more crowded the parking lot looked.  We got to Chilli’s and only had about a 10 minute wait.

Wedding Booked 2 Years Ago

Wedding Booked 2 Years Ago

It is not often a photographer does a wedding booked 2 years ago.  Today was a first for me.  This couple came to me in 2012 and we did their engagement session in 2013 and now their wedding.  Talk about anticipation, but also talk about planning.

The job came to me through the Tri County Networkers, which is a networking group I belong to.  (http://www.tricountynetworkers.com/) The Bride’s uncle came to me a couple of years ago with a referral.  I met with the bride and her mom and we all hit it off.

To this bride’s credit, she is the most organized bride I have ever met.  She could write a book on how to plan your wedding correctly.

The wedding was beautiful, and like any wedding, there were a few glitches, but none of them interfered with their wedding.

Some of the cool things they did that I, as a photographer, really liked are…

  • Bubbles instead of rice or birdseed

    copyright 2014 db walton
    Bride & Groom (with Bubbles)
  • For favors, a fruit stand for guest to grab an apple or snack
    copyright 2014 db walton
    Fruit Stand Favors

     

  • A cake that was so amazing I don’t have time to describe it, nor am I going to post a photo here.  (I’ve got post-wedding work to do).
  • Autumn decorations that just really made you think autumn.
  • A trolley car for the bridal party

I could go on, but those were the main things that were fun for me as a photographer.

Now, here’s the amazing part.  I was doing most of the reception shooting on my Fujifilm X-E1.  It’s a great low-light performer.  Right as the night was ending, the battery was starting to show a “low” warning.  I checked my bag, and there were not any batteries in it!!!  (Remember yesterday… I charged them… but not for this camera.)  The amazing part is I finished the night with power left to spare on my battery.

There’s a God.  If there weren’t, my distracted brain would have caused me to self-destruct long ago.  Nobody is that lucky.

Oh, and then I left my camera bag outside the church earlier.  It didn’t get stolen.  That too is a miracle and evidence that God watches out for me in spite of myself.

Waiting for the Sunset

Waiting for the Sunset

I was waiting for the sunset tonight.  I was hoping for something dramatic, but it was a little on the bland side.

In college chemistry they expected us to be able to explain why sunsets are orange and the sky is blue.  All I can remember of that exercises is that light reflecting off at right angles allow the transmission of the blue end of the spectrum while particulates filtering the light (i.e. straight on, zero degrees) allow the transmission of the lower end of the spectrum.  (i.e. red/orange light).  Either way, you need a lot of particulate matter (like dust and smoke) in the sky for a good sunset.

Even trying to fake it with Cokin filters doesn’t do the same job as nature.  But, a good airbrush and some paints and I can create some beautiful sunsets on canvas!

I got a Google Alert telling me my name was mentioned on a web page.  I went there and I discovered my patent was awarded back on June 3rd, 2014.  Click here for a link.  Yeah, it’s a lot to decipher, but basically it is for streaming video prior to the main event.  In other words, those little commercials they play before a YouTube video, or any other larger video, that allows them to download more while you’re watching the video is what I invented.

Hate me for it if you like.  I don’t like watching them either.

I have so many ideas in my brain I wish I knew how to sell them.  When it comes to patents, you can’t openly discuss your idea with others as it can invalidate your ability to patent them later.  So, here I set, laden with great ideas that could make someone rich, but unwilling to tell anyone in hopes that either (a) some day I’ll have the money to patent them, or (b) someone comes along and pays me for those ideas.

Speaking of which, being a photographer, I’ve got a few great ones.  I’ve been trying to get the attention of someone who works with some of my favorite camera manufactures, but that’s harder than trying to get a personal audience with a celebrity.

Genius is a curse.

There was a time when I got paid pretty well to just come up with ideas.  I think fear kept me from reaching out and saying, “You want the rest?  Then pay me for what they are worth.”  As a result, I kept them, and still keep them, locked up in my brain.

Perhaps I need an agent.  But, even then, you’d have to trust the individual immensely.  And, they would have to be one heck of a good negotiator so that both him and me would benefit financially.

At some point, age is going to make me forget those ideas.  Perhaps I should write them in a journal and keep them in a safety deposit box at the bank.  Then, when I’m dead and gone it becomes my heirs’ issue as to what they should do with them.  I don’t know that that’s a good idea.  Imagine the fights that would create among siblings.

Let me give you an idea of what I’m talking about…

Back around 1980 I had an idea that those who were converting VW bugs and Harley Davidson motorcycles in to high powered tricycles had it all wrong.  Their designs were unstable at best.  First, they should have two wheels in the front, and the single wheel in the back.  Imagine my surprise when a few years ago I saw the Can-Am Spider.  Oh, well.

Eventually, any good idea will be discovered.  It’s just… why not sooner than later.

In 1979 I had just switched majors from Mathematics to Computer Science.  I was working as a printer and my boss’ husband was an electrical engineer.  We had a discussion one day that went like this.

Me:  As a mathematician, I know that any pattern can be defined by a mathematical formula.
Him:  So, I’ve been told.
Me:  This means it can also be compressed to a large degree.  Why not compress musical patterns, store them in bubble memory (that was the forerunner to flash memory), and then play them back through a D to A converter.
Him:  You realize that would take so much bubble memory it will never happen.
Me:  I think it will.

Today, how many people walk around with MP3 players playing compressed music (MP3 files) from flash memory?

You don’t have to believe I had those ideas when I did.   And, for all I know, patents could have been in the making during those times.

My point is this… I wish I knew how to market what’s in my brain.  I gave up telling people a long time ago.  (Basically, I gave up when I told a mechanical engineer about my motorcycle design idea back in 1980 and had him poo-poo it.)  And, besides, I’ve learned that you tell people and you give up your right to patent it (as well as risk the idea being stolen.)

Perhaps I’m just waiting for the sunset with all that particulate matter rolling around in my brain.

Going Live

Going Live

I’m in hopes that the new church history web site is going live today.  I want to see it so I can share it.  This is exciting news.

My first task for the day was the lawn, but when I went to load the string in the weed eater I discovered the kid at the hardware store told me wrong.  He sold me 0.095″ string, and this thing takes 0.065″ string, and has a big caution:  USE ONLY 0.065″ STRING.  Off to the hardware store I went.

Upon getting inside, I decided to look for a roll-around battery-powered sprayer for the weeds.  This pump sprayer method is too time consuming and inefficient.  I found one that is not only battery powered, but rechargeable too.  So, I bought it.

I came home and sprayed the weeds, weed whacked, and mowed the law.  Now I am beat.

—–

E-mails arrived from two different people at the church history department.  One wanted more pictures, and the other had a link to the new web site.  It is LIVE!

lds.org
The Church History Landing Page Announces New Site

(Click on the above screen shot to visit the Palmyra site.)

So, I immediately posted the links on Facebook and sent some e-mails, and then I headed out the door to go to the Smith Farm to work on some more photos.

At the Smith Farm, one of my goals was to get some isolated trees.  Do you realize how hard it is to even find an isolated tree there?  Without going in to all of the technical details, I’m going to have to find some isolated maple, cherry, and beech trees in the area.

Another goal was to get some wide angle shots.  Again, the close proximity of the trees makes it… not difficult… but for an interesting view.

copyright 2014 db walton
Panoramic of the Sacred Grove

Although the human field of view is close to 180 degrees, most of that is considered peripheral vision.  The above photo is about 180 degrees, but our eyes only see about the middle 1/3rd as the “view”.  So, when we look at a panoramic like this, it seems a little odd.  There is a lot we don’t notice until it is presented in this manner.

Interesting, eh?

I will have to upload some photos for them so they can comment as to what works for their project and what doesn’t.

D. Brent Walton is a professional photographer residing in Palmyra, New York.  (See www.dbwalton.com)  Brent and his wife Elizabethe operate the Beckwith Mansion, a Tourist Home.  Brent’s work is widely published and he is available to do portraits if you are near or visiting Palmyra.  (By appointment only.)  His landscape work is also available for purchase at www.FineArtbyDB.com.