Better But Weak

Better But Weak

I’m better but weak. By that I mean I’m over the flu, but I am so weak.  This virus really ravished my body.

We went to church today and made it through the entire 3 hour block.  I’m exhausted from it, but feel good that we went to church.

We’re also feeding the sister missionaries tonight, however, it’s all crock pot stuff with a few simple additions.

Current Projects

Now that I’m feeling better, it is time to work on my current projects.  This winter I will prepare my print competition paintings.  I’ve started working on a few.

  • Don’t Stand So Close to Me – Based on the song by the police.  It is a scene of a school teacher being pressed against the wall by a student.  On the chalk board is written, “Reading Assignment – Nabokov, Lolita.
  • The Farmer’s Daughter – an old farm couple on the porch with their young daughter talking to a young man standing on the front lawn.
  • I Shoot RAW – a parody on the old question, do you shoot RAW or JPEG?
  • She Does Her Best Work After 5pm – an office scene with a guy being seduced by his secretary.
  • Are You Coming to Bed? – A young husband wrapped up in a video game while his wife stands in the doorway.
copyright 2018 db walton
Don’t Stand So Close To Me

There are some others, but I need to create at least 4 for this year.  Anything beyond 4 will be saved for next year’s IPC.

Digital Painting

More and more I’m enjoying digital painting as much, or perhaps more, than photography.  It seems everyone thinks if they own a digital camera they can be a professional photographer.  However, painting is something most people won’t take the time to learn and develop the talent.

Recall Notice

Recall Notice

I took care of my recall notice on my 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix.  They replaced the dimmer module because, according to GM, they have been known to fail.  It was quick and painless.

The dumbest thing Ed Whitaker ever did when he was CEO of GM was to discontinue the Pontiac line.  Buick, I wouldn’t complain… I think they are ugly, but Pontiac, come on.

Route 66 Tour

I met with my traveling companion for the Route 66 Tour.  Over lunch we talked about what will make our tour different than any other.

What, you ask?

You can read my answer here:  Route 66 Update 4/24/2017

Regional Results

Regional results are in.  Northeast Print Competition results show me receiving two merits.  Here’s the breakdown along with my comments:

  • Walton D. Brent A Mermaid’s Garden 83 – I was hoping for an 80, and I’m pleasantly surprised and happy it scored 83.
  • Walton D. Brent An Autumn Walk 77 – Can’t wait to hear their comments about this one.  77 seems a bit low.
  • Walton D. Brent Married to a Bookworm 77 – If the Mermaid one was worth 83, this should have been 85 or better.  Can’t wait to hear the comments.
  • Walton D. Brent Medusa’s Spell Reversed 78 – This is another one that seems a bit low.
  • Walton D. Brent Pulp Fiction 77 – I’ll accept this, but I’m waiting to hear the comments.
  • Walton D. Brent The Dome of the Rock 83 – This is a resubmit from the artist category to photographic open.  It’s deserving of a merit.  I’m glad they saw fit.
  • Walton D. Brent The Widow 77 – My painter friend Helen Yancy will be ticked when she hears.  We both thought it should have merited as a painting, I’m wondering why it didn’t merit in the photographic category.
  • Walton D. Brent You Like it Messy? 78 – Okay… I’ll have to wait to hear what they say.

As a result, I have two guaranteed merits at International Print Comp this summer.  If I can find 6 more images to augment my case, I can hope for more merits.  This puts me 2 merits away from becoming a Master Photographer, and 4 merits away from becoming a Master Artist.

Security Cameras

I’ve been playing around with a security camera, and downloaded a generic app that supports most camera brands.  The problem is, as with most things these days, documentation.

Back when I was in college a comment was made by several professors.  “If you can write good documentation, you will always have a job.”

In contrast, nobody reads today, and so nobody documents well.  I’ve bought sophisticated hardware that came with little documentation.  Instead, I had to turn to others on the Internet to ask, “How did you get this to work?”

I’ll figure it out, but if it takes too much work, I’m asking for my $3.99 back.

Any Good

Any Good

Elizabethe wasn’t feeling well so we cancelled our plans to see the new Cinderella movie.  So, was it any good?

I ended up doing some minor repairs on a door knob at one of our rentals.  I also replaced the CO detector there too.

Time to vent…

We’ve had mostly good renters.  However, the previous renter in this one unit just trashed the place and the only way I can describe the filth and destruction left behind is to say they lived like animals.  I’m thankful my parents raised me to take care of my personal belongings, but to take BETTER care of someone else’s belongings.

Okay… done venting…

We picked up Chinese food from Happiness Garden.  I think if I could only choose one cuisine and I had to live off that one type of food the rest of my life, it would be Chinese food.

So, Elizabethe opens her fortune cookie and it says, “Get healthy.  Eat Chinese food.”

What?  A commercial?

I thought it was like the scene in a Christmas Story when he decodes the secret message and it is an Ovalteen commercial.  You don’t expect your fortune to be a commercial for Chinese FOOD.  For Pete’s sake.

Think about it… your fortune, after pigging out on Chinese food tells you if you want to be healthy you need to eat more Chinese food.

I watched a lot of the regional print competitions today.  For the most part it was good, but what really frustrated me was I had an 82 and it got knocked down to a 79 on the second round.  This entire second round thing should be done away.  You should not be able to remove a merit once it scores 80 or above.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Excommunication

Excommunication

There is so much misinformation about excommunication in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I read today that Kate Kelly, the organizer of Ordain Women, has been excommunicated for apostasy.  It is important to note that we will only hear her side of what happened.  Such excommunication proceedings are confidential, and since she didn’t attend her own excommunication, she cannot even comment on what was said in the proceedings.

It’s a sad chapter in this story.  To me, the sadness is she doesn’t understand the church or the priesthood, and she chose to continue in her fallacies rather than learn and grow.

Someone who truly believes in what the church teaches realizes that the priesthood is not controlled by man.  It is controlled by revelation.  I have no doubt whatsoever, that the brethren have prayed about the matter, and the teachings we’ve received in Conference reflect the will of God.

Someone who truly believes would take their petition to God, in prayer, and not lead a campaign in the media and through picket lines.  God doesn’t work that way.  A good example would be God’s dealings with Sodom and Gomorrah.  Look how many times Abraham petitioned the Lord to save those cities. Or, look at what happened when Joseph Smith kept going to the Lord about the 116 pages.

The logical part of my mind says Kate Kelly would, if she truly believed in what the church teaches, repent.   To quote from their own web site:

Debra Jenson of Ordain Women said, “We are deeply saddened by this news. As Mormons we recognize the gravity of this action. We follow the directive of Mosiah 18:9 and will mourn with our sister as she mourns. We regret that there is no way to predict how local leaders will react to conversations about gender inequality in the Church—-many have been supportive in these discussions, others have not. Ordain Women will continue.

(Color added for emphasis.)

One would think a penitent attitude would be to teardown the web site and disband the movement.

It’s not that Kelly believes that women should hold the priesthood.  Albeit a misunderstanding of the priesthood and womanhood in the church, it is how she has gone about her movement.

The irony of the whole thing is quite simply this…. If someone believes the church should change in this regard, that very church would cease to be the same church as we know it.  They are talking about a doctrinal, not administrative, change.  The leadership of the church does not have the ability to change doctrine.

Anyone in doubt should go read the talks of the last General Conference of the church.  (It can be found at lds.org.)

I don’t know what type of person Kate Kelly is in real life.  She may be an absolutely delightful person.  There are indications from some of the things that have been posted on Ordain Women’s web site that she’s not an active member of the church.  (By that, I mean she doesn’t attend regularly.)  Again, I don’t know, but her comment to her bishop where she says her bishop doesn’t know her leads me to believe she didn’t attend much.  But, my conclusion may be wrong.

That said, I do not sympathize with her movement.  Those involved appear to have a gross misunderstanding of how the church operates and the roll of the priesthood.   I will admit that there are some individuals in the church who are on the other end of the stick who don’t understand how women should be treated (in or out of the church), but that is totally separate (and opposite) of church teachings and doctrine.

—–

I managed to get my 4 images off to the Master Artist part of IPC.  I’ve decided, starting now, the entire year will be spent in preparation for next year’s IPC.

It is also good to know that others are very dissatisfied with how the Northeast competition was judged.  And, from some of my critiques, it sounds like some of the judges are imposing their own agenda on images.  I’m hoping IPC will prove me right on this.  If it does, I’m registering a complaint with PPA.

—–

When it comes to technology, some people… trying to say this nicely… are so ignorant.  Based on their assumptions, DiVinci was a bad artist because he didn’t use a Mac, and Ansel Adams was a bad photographer because he wasn’t using a Nikon D800 or a Canon 5D Mk III.  (Of course, neither of those existed when they were alive, but I want to make the point obvious.)

It doesn’t matter!

Someone asked me, “Don’t you want to use the best tools at your disposal?”

Well, if I could afford them.  But, those tools only offer more options, and those options are not necessarily (a) going to be used and (b) going to affect the quality of the final product.

Aye, yi, yi.

So, the next time some one asks me if I’m Mac or PC, Canon or Nikon, the answer will be to show them an image and say, “Neither.  I’m an artist.”

copyright 2014 db walton

Imaging USA 2013

Imaging USA is the annual conference for the Professional Photographers of America. I’m going this yea, and after the conference I’ll announce why.

I spent the morning making sure all my reservations were in line for the trip to Atlanta, and the conference. I’ve been asked to wear a tuxedo, so I had to fax my measurements off to Men’s Wearhouse in Atlanta. (Really? A tux?)

While I’m there, I’m going to take advantage of having someone review some of my images for print competition. This meant going through thousands of images looking for ones that (a) I have never used in print competition, and (b) were worthy of print competition.

I found myself first being too picky about the images, and then, after a couple of hours, I think I became too careless. This is just the first cut. I’ll go through them again before Imaging USA and remove any that are just not fit for print competition. There are not many print competitions that are as tough as this. It is not a “contest”, but a competition where each image is judged on 12 points. They are assigned a score by each judge and then the scores are averaged. The main goal is to get at least 80. You are only allowed 4 images in each category.

Although each print stands on its own, over the years the judges get tougher and tougher as photographers get better and better. Some of the 80+ images make it in to the Loan Collection, and are published in a coffee table book. This book is the best of the best. Not all 80+ images make it. Judges are only allowed a few nominations. A second book, the Signature Collection, is also published. Again, not all make it.

Although it would be an honor to make the Loan Collection, I’d be delighted with an 80 on a print, or two, or three, and REALLY delighted if all 4 got it.

Happy 30th Mark and Elaine

Our friends, Mark and Elaine, celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary today.  We attended their luncheon in Honeoye Falls.  It was a lovely afternoon, and the smiles and Mark’s and Elaine’s faces were worth being there.

I came home and continued to work on my print competition images.  I reinstalled painter on my laptop and finally got it working.  That really added frustration to an already stressful process.

This heat wave and dry spell are really taking toll on the lawns.  Few people have sprinkler systems in this area, so many of the lawns are starting to look brown.

——

I was reading an article regarding the Supreme Court Ruling on “Obamacare”.  This was an analytical report on its impact on the economy.  The story said 70% of small businesses report they will not be hiring new employees over the next 4 years because they cannot afford to meet the mandatory health insurance requirements.  It also said it is placing a lot of stress on people in general.  I can relate to that.  Time will tell what will happen.  I think we’re in for deeper recession, not just because of Obamacare, but because taxes are not being reduced coupled with out-of-controll inflation.

Let’s take a few examples about inflation…

I moved here on June 22nd, 2009.  I’ve been here 3 years.  On the day I moved here I noticed a candy bar at Walmart was 50 cents.  Today, that same candy bar is 80.   A loaf of the bread I like was costing about $1 a loaf.  Now, the same bread is about $4 a loaf.   Tomatoes were 99c a pound.  Now, on sale, they run $1.99 a pound.  When you consider that type of inflation on food, you have to ask, “Have my wages increased by the same percentages?”

I’m sure your answer is a resounding, “HECK NO!”

Also, you may have noticed some food items may appear to have stayed the same.  Well, take a closer look.  Sugar, for example, used to come in 5 and 10 pound bags.  It now comes in 4 pound bags.  Ice cream used to come in 2 qt containers.  It is now 1.5 qt containers.  I’ve also noticed Pepsi Co. is starting to sell 1.5 ltr bottles.  I’m sure those will soon replace the 2 ltr bottles so they can keep the price the same.

Other things that are happening on the economic front…

Have you tried to purchase a hard drive for your computer lately?

Rumor has it there is a shortage in getting hard drives from Asia.  About a year ago I paid $80 for a 2GB hard drive.  I recently went to buy one, and they were out of stock at $140 for the same drive.  You can get some great deals on Flash memory drives, but mechanical hard drives are said to be in low supply.

I don’t have time to go on listing examples, but are still in economic trouble, and I question how long we can continue down the same path before we send the message to our law makers that we need to lower taxes and encourage healthy economic growth.

Print Comp Is Coming

International Print Competition submission deadline is next week.  I’ve been spending the day preparing for print comp.  It is a very stressful and intense process.  You cannot simply pick four images and submit them.  You have to carefully analyze each one and make sure there is nothing the judges will see that will knock you from an 80+ down to a 79-.  A score of 80 is a merit and can be used towards one’s Masters, a score 79 or below is nothing.

Plus, it cost $95 to enter your four images.  And, another $35 to get a DVD with comments.  And, if you enter in Photographic Open, and Master Artist, and you want the DVD, you’re talking about selecting 8 images and paying $260.

Part way in to this process, I discover Painter won’t work.  And, their offices are closed.

Lovely.

When Elizabethe got home from work, we headed off to have dinner.  I was too beat to cook.

Only 3 Merits Shy

I am only 3 merits shy of receiving my Craftsman degree from the Professional Photographers of America.  This requires 25 merits (units, credits… whatever you want to call them), and 13 of them are a result of speaking engagements.  The other 12 are from “merit prints”, educational classes, and/or service within PPA.  I need 3 more merits from speaking engagements, and I already have those three lined up.

I spent the evening going through prints for print competition.  PPA Print Competition is a rigorous event where you may submit 4 prints per category.  The prints are judged based on 12 points.  An 80 or above earns 1 merit.  Thus, there is a maximum of 4 merits per category.  There are two categories – Photographic and Electronic Imaging.  Earning an 80 is HUGE deal.  It is not easy creating a merit print.   The 12 elements they judge on are found here:  http://www.ppa.com/competitions/international/12elements.php

So, if I appear grumpy, rushed, irritated… it happens when I’m getting ready for print competition.  Oh, and I need 6 more merit prints and I’ll have my Master’s Degree.