Black Widow

Black Widow

My newest painting is titled, The Black Widow.  My goal was to create a painting showing a bunch of people at a funeral, and the sexy widow is already hitting on a guy at the funeral.  I was explaining this to Elizabethe and commenting how I want there to be some indication that she’s the black widow.

Elizabethe came up with a great idea.  She suggested I paint her wearing a black bolero with a red shell under it.  The bolero is buttoned in the front and the jacket forms two converging triangles creating a red hourglass shape.

Bingo!  She nailed it.

I started working on it while we were at Focus NY, and today I spent hours getting it to a point where I’m seeing it all come together.

Catching Up

I spent half the day catching up on work I couldn’t do while at Focus NY.  It’s funny, I’ve heard people comment how the conference is such a great deal.  Well, let’s see… There’s the drive there and back, the hotel, meals away from home, oh… and time away from your business.

I figure it cost about $12,000 to attend.  If I bring this up at the next meeting it might wake them up as to the actual cost.

Hmmm… workshop… Now we’re talking about $14,000-$15,000.

Continuing Education

Continuing education isn’t cheap.  Photography isn’t just owning a camera, it’s huge investment of time and money.

 

 

 

Focus and Priestcraft

Focus and Priestcraft

It may seem like an odd combination, Focus and priestcraft, but the one got me thinking about the other.  Focus NY is PPSNYS’ annual convention.  Priestcraft, as defined in the Book of Mormon is receiving money for preaching for the sole purpose of getting gain and popularity.

Outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, priestcraft is seen as something entirely different.  The diction basically defines it as what priests do.  Well, by the Book of Mormon definition, priest in other churches engage in priestcraft — not all, but many.  They get paid, and the more popular they are, the more they get paid.

What Got Me Thinking

What got me thinking is this… if a professional photographer spends more time on the road speaking to other photographers, creates most of their images at the workshops they teach at, and are in the business of being popular by making people feel good… I guess that fits the definition.

Here’s how the Book of Mormon defines it, “He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.”

When I pointed this scripture out to my wife, she commented that Oprah Winfrey fits that definition.  I have to agree.  There are many others too.

Focus

It wasn’t all the speakers at Focus NY that gave me this impression — just one.  I intentionally didn’t go to one of their programs, but chose the alternative because I remember the last time I heard them speak I had an uneasy feeling.  I couldn’t remember why, I just remembered that I did.

Then, there came a point when there wasn’t a choice, and so I went, and now I remember why… it was more of a sermon than a photographic presentation, and a lot about that person.

I just went to their website to read about their workshops.  It uses words like “nourish”, “spirit”, “meditation”, etc.    The page confirms the impressions I got, and why I get a cold feeling around this person.

Learning

I attended Focus NY to learn about my trade, and not for a substitute for religion.  I’m a deeply religious and spiritual person (and the two go hand-in-hand because you cannot have one without the other.)  So, what did I learn?

From Michael Mowbray I learned more things I can do with my MoLights, and I can’t wait to try them out.

From Rick Friedman I learned that I should buy a roll of cinefoil.  I’m not sure why I haven’t yet, but after watching his presentation, I need to buy a roll.

From Marilyn Sholin I learned ideas to market my art.

From all the others rolled together, I picked up a few ideas here and there.  Rick Friedman’s presentation impressed me the most.  He’s a master of manipulating light.

Annual Physical

Annual Physical

The annual physical is something I don’t look forward to.  While I’ve never had a bad experience, going to the doctor isn’t enjoyable.  At least they don’t make you strip to your undies and sit on the cold table waiting.

I am fortunate to have a good doctor.  She listens and explains the options.

Speaking of options…

So, I’ve started to reduce my chocolate intake.  A couple of years ago I reduced my caffeine intake.  Because of this, the doctor thinks it has caused my heart rate to drop.  She says it is too slow.

Well, she’s making a slight change to my medications to see if my blood pressure medication can be reduced and if that will bring my heart rate back up without raising my blood pressure.

FLPP

Attending the FLPP meeting this afternoon I noticed I was on time and nobody was there.  Right at the start time, another member came.  We were both worried that our speaker would be talking to an audience of two.  Fortunately, more people showed up.

The speaker was a delightful man who had a long career in photography.  He basically reviewed his career, talked about challenges we now face, and showed his work.

He and his wife joined us for dinner.  Neat people.  I hope I run in to them again.

In February, Paul and I will do a Route 66 presentation.  It will be fun.  I will tie it in to business opportunities as well as education.

We discussed why young photographers are not joining PPA and the affiliates.  The two theories that make the most sense are 1) they are not socializing face-to-face, it is all online, and 2) they are subsidized by mom and dad.

Garage Sales

Garage Sales

Elizabethe and Becky went looking for garage sales today.  I stayed home and worked on photography stuff.  Most of the morning they garage sale hunted and in to the afternoon.  I wonder if we’re going to have to add on to the house to store all the bargains they return with.

Everything right now is about faerie houses.  Yup.  My wife looks at something and says, “That would make a nice door knocker for a faerie house.”

As a result, it is my duty to photograph them.  I don’t mind, but I may just end up painting a picture of one with beautiful little faeries of my own creating.  I’m sure my idea of what a faerie looks like and my wife’s idea are two different things.

Chill-n-Grill

We took Becky to Chill-n-Grill where I ordered a sundae.  It was too much ice cream.  Blah.  I can’t handle large amounts of food any more.  Add sugar to that food, and I just feel yucky.

I am not 17 any more.

Church Tomorrow

I haven’t even seen the hymns for church tomorrow.  I hope they are ones I know.  If there was an email, I don’t remember seeing it.  As a result, I’m a little stressed.  I am also too tired to go look in case I missed the email.

 

Cataracts

Cataracts

I learned today that I have cataracts in both eyes.  That’s the no-so-good news.  The good news is the doctor says they probably won’t need surgery in my lifetime.  Still, though, for a photographer, that’s not the news you want to hear.

My eye doctor is really in to photography.  He pumped my brain about how I sell my images and how I obtain business.

Lawn

My day started with a bank run.  I had lots of deposits to make.  I got them deposited, grabbed a quick bite at McDonalds, and came home to mow the lawn.

The lawn mowing took me hours. It took 4 hours without the grass catcher this time.

I cooked a late lunch/early dinner.  I grilled eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers and chicken marinated in balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Except for the chicken, it was all out of our garden.  (And, if the village would allow chickens, that could have been from our yard too.)

The lawn always looks nice after it is cut.  I also trimmed some bushes back and whacked some weeds.

Republic Wireless

Republic Wireless is onboard as our Route 66 official voice and data provider.  It is fun seeing the list of advertisers grow.

Streets of Geneva

Streets of Geneva

It wouldn’t be a course on street photography if you didn’t get out on the street.  Today we went to the streets of Geneva, New York.  Geneva is located about 40 miles southeast of Palmyra at the top of Seneca Lake.

Our instructor arranged for models to meet us there.  While I wouldn’t call that true street photography, it’s a better way to control the group as a whole.  However, I do wish he would have turned us loose to simply shoot.

Plastic Suit of Armor

I saw this plastic suit of armor in a store window, and I took a picture.  It seemed so funny and yet, cool.

copyright 2017 db walton
Plastic Suit of Armor

That’s part of street photography… looking for the unusual on the street.  This was unusual and it was on the street.

First Half of the Day

The first half of the day was looking at slideshows.  While the instructor does great work, I was anxious to get out and shoot.  By the time we did, we only had a few hours and the day was gone.

copyright 2017 db walton
Real Street Photography

While they had models there, this guy was walking through the alley and agreed to let us photograph him.  There’s a lot of character going on there and it was fun capturing an actual candid on the street.

Hauling Gear

Hauling Gear

My quest today – find something for hauling gear.  Photography bags are just so expensive.  Suitcases aren’t built for heavy stuff.  I’m going to Lowe’s and Home Depot to see what they have.

Lowe’s

Lowe’s has a Stanley stacking toolbox for $80.  It’s all strapped together so I can’t look at it, so I’m off to Home Depot.

Home Depot

Under their brand of Husky, they had the same tool box set for $80.  Both stores only had one in stock, so I’m taking this one.  They also had an add-on unit, so I got it too.   As a result, I have a 4-box unit that should hold lots of photography equipment.

Organizing It

When I got home Elizabethe said she would help me organize it.  I’m glad because I would have made a mess of things.  As a result, I let her do it and she had fun doing it.

Elizabethe managed to get everything I wanted in it, and there’s still some empty space.  It’s a beast.  It stands over 3′ tall, but now there is a place for everything.

Labeling It

The next step is to label everything.  We put tape labels on each section.  Now, if something is missing, I know what is missing.  And, if I’m putting stuff away, I know where to put it.

Let’s see how long this lasts.

Concerns

My concerns are it is so big (and now heavy) that it will be difficult transporting it places.  In the studio, it should work just fine.

Business Changes

Business Changes

Business changes are normal.  A business must evolve in order to keep its competitive edge.  Change is good, as they say.  I’m not posting this on my photography site.  It seems to be more of a topic for my friends, and not so much for potential clients.

I found myself saying, “I don’t do weddings,” the other day.  While, I will do weddings for people I know, I’m tired of doing weddings for strangers.

Here are some reasons why…

  • Tired of drunken wedding party members.  It’s hard enough to get people to cooperate when they are sober.
  • Disrespectful behavior towards the significance of marriage.  I’m talking about smashing cake in your new spouse’s face, vulgar dances during the reception (I’m talking about twerking).  As a side note:  Many of the weddings I’ve photographed where the couple smash the cake in each other’s face have ended in divorce.    Three of them within the first year!
  • Disrespect of my craft.  “Oh, we don’t want anything retouched.”  “Can we get all the images on a CD?”
  • Rude guests who pull out their camera, tablet or phone to take a picture.  Or, should I say, guest who do not respect my craft.
  • Nickel-and-dimers.   It cost the photographer a lot to shoot a wedding.  A day of their time, lots of wear-n-tear on their equipment, batteries, etc.   The after-wedding work is intense too.  Converting 1,000 images from RAW to JPEG, and to do it well, takes time.

While I have fun photographing some weddings and receptions, I have more fun doing a fine art portrait.  It’s time to simply concentrate on my craft.  I am also going to concentrate on landscape and travel photography more.

copyright 2016 db walton
Portrait of my Granddaughter

Part of this change is I will no longer do business with nickel-and-dimers.  My prices are my price and my profit margin is quite low.

With that said… I’m off to attend my Finger Lakes Professional Photographers meeting.

 

Too Warm

Too Warm

I’m sticking to my original prediction of the first snow.  (No, the freezing drizzle does not count as snow, nor was it measurable.)  It’s too warm.  Tonight a lot of people were in a panic saying, ‘It’s going to snow on Sunday.’  I’m predicting it will not snow Sunday… or Monday… or anytime during Thanksgiving week.  (This only applies to Palmyra, New York.)

Like the weatherman, I can be wrong.  It seems they are wrong quite a bit and still keep their job.  I’m simply a weather-watcher with no meteorological experience.  I go by my gut feeling.

Macro

I never quite understood why they call closeup photography macro, yet if you get REALLY close, it is micro.  Logic dictates that macro is the opposite of micro and therefore telephoto photographer would be macro… but it’s not.

Some of the proceeds of my sold equipment has gone to replacement equipment.  Once such replacement items is a macro lens.

While I don’t have much time to do anything serious with it, I did play with it a little.  (Here’s my comments on my photography blog.)  I am VERY impressed.

Speaking of snow, I can’t wait to get some pictures of snowflakes.

More Patrons

It was very slow at the temple tonight.  While it is cool outside, it is dry and decent weather.  You’d think we’d have more guests.

Here’s a challenge… instead of trying to double your attendance, try to increase it 25%.  So, if you go once a month, try to go every 3 weeks instead.    If you go once a week, throw in another visit each month.

 

Shoot-n-Play 2016

Shoot-n-Play 2016

We had our Shoot-n-Play 2016 today.  It has been a LONG time since I hosted one.  (A shoot-n-play is where models and photographers get together and do a big group shoot.)

 

Four models, three photographers and a makeup artist converged upon the Beckwith Mansion and Estate.  For 6 hours models posed, photographers photographed, and the makeup artist did hair and makeup.  The results are rewarding.

copyright 2016 db walton
Model Angela and Photographer Paul Bardotz

Palmyra Photographic Workshops

Part of my business, photography by db walton llc, is educating other photographers and models.  Working together in this manner is a learning experience by itself.  Consequently, it is fun too.

Photographers have hired me to teach them about posing.  To do this, we contract with a model.  While it is easier to work with a model, many new models are like working with off-the-street clients.

Mark’s Pizza

Paul Bardotz, the guy I’m going with on Route 66, and I went to Mark’s Pizzeria to video a sample promo.  The promo is about Route 31 and Mark’s Pizzeria, however we will also use this to promote our Route 66 tour.  The hard part will be pulling it together.  I am not a video guy.