Muggy Sticky Day

Today has to be the muggiest day I’ve ever felt.  The air so thick a fish could probably survive out of the water.

It made for a sluggish walk downtown.  (Oh, dang… that just reminds me I need to fix a lock… random, as my kids would say.)


Canaltown Days is Coming
Canaltown Days is Coming

I took a walk down to the village and here’s how Mark’s is looking…

Mark's Pizzeria Progress
Mark’s Pizzeria Progress

The garden is enjoying this hot, damp weather.

Banana Peppers
Banana Peppers
Swiss Chard
Swiss Chard


I’ve been thinking about writing a list for LDS young women entitled, “How to tell if you found a winner.”  I don’t know if I have enough to write a book, but who knows.  I may start on it and discover I do.  But, that’s a later project…  I’ve got to go fix a lock.

Keeping Focused

Last week on a phone call with the folks in the creative department at the church said they needed photos related to canning. Yeah, I mentioned that to Elizabethe. She’s been asking since Tuesday as to when we’re going to do the canning shoot. Well, today’s the day.

One of the biggest challenges about being self-employed is staying focused.  When you have a boss, you have someone who can aim you in the right direction.  When you are the boss, you have to keep yourself aimed.

Elizabethe started me on a project before I even had breakfast.  It was one of my projects, but it wasn’t the project I had planned on starting the day with.

Last week on a phone call with the folks in the creative department at the church said they needed photos related to canning.  Yeah, I mentioned that to Elizabethe.  She’s been asking since Tuesday as to when we’re going to do the canning shoot.  Well, today’s the day.


I got the photos taken, and then it was off to the office to work on what was my original first task of the day…. preparing invoices for clients.

Got them all done, and decided I would take a walk down to the village.  Mark’s Pizzeria is coming along well as you can see in this picture…

Mark's Pizzeria Construction
Mark’s Pizzeria Construction

Back at the studio, I commenced retouching high school senior portraits.  Retouching is rewarding work.  You get to see the progress.  Sometimes, I’ll sit there and click the before and after to see the transformation.  My goal is always to keep the people looking the way the should, but in the best way.  After all, you don’t want someone looking at a photo saying, “That’s not you.”

16 Years

It was 16 years ago today that Elizabethe and I were married.  We’ve never had a fight and she’s my best friend.

Elizabethe - Flim Noir Style
Elizabethe – Film Noir Style

I took my car to Macedon Auto Center because I couldn’t figure out how to get to the headlight to replace it.  I figured I’d get my oil changed and have them tension the emergency brake cable.  Well, it wasn’t the cable, it was the back calipers had froze up in the clamped position and wore the pads out and the rotors.  Uhg.  At least the mechanics there are good, fast, honest and reasonably priced.

Pinterest and Copyright Infringements

I have a real problem when people steal.  Copyright infringement is stealing and Pinterest seems to encourage such behavior.  So, when people ask, “Are you on Pinterest?” I tell them I am not and that I don’t believe in supporting copyright infringements.

I have a real problem when people steal.  Printing an image off the internet and then using that image on a flyer, brochure or even a web site, is stealing.  Copyright infringement is a form of stealing.

I have a real problem when people steal.  Using copyrighted music on your web site or in a video, without paying the author, performer, recording company, etc., is copyright infringement and copyright infringement is a form of stealing.

You’re saying, “Whoa, Brent, take a breath.  Chill, man.”

I guess it becomes a sore spot when you make your living selling your intellectual property.  My art, book, course material, are all things I create and I count on people paying for them.  So, when I see another photographer, stilling work and posting it on their web site to promote their work… I get a little hot under the collar.  (If it were my work they were using, I’d be on the phone with PPA’s legal department asking for a cease and desist letter.)

So, here is the deal… if you have an image displayed on your blog, your Facebook page, your web site, etc., and you did not get permission to display it, you’re breaking the law.  For example, I saw a local photographer who had photos from a clothing catalog on his web site.  He was advertising that he could make you look like that.  (Hmmm… if he can, why doesn’t he have examples of pictures he took?)  Example two:  I saw a photographer who had images form a clothing manufacturer’s web site on her photography page under the section about what to wear to your photo shoot.  Again – a blatant violation of copyright laws.  Oh, and she also has COPIES of work by other photographers as examples!!!  (It makes me want to pick up the phone and call and say, “Hey, did you know so-n-so likes your images sooooo much she uses them on her web site to draw clients?”

Yeah, I’m venting… still with me?

Here is what they don’t realize…

In this digital era, companies are starting to do web crawls looking for copyright infringement.  When they find it, they come after businesses with a vengeance.

Remember Napster?

If you do, I think you understand my point.

My digital files embedded data that I can use to prove they are mine.  Also, the Library of Congress has, on file, a copy of them.  (It’s called copyright registration.)  If little ol’ me can do that, imagine how easy it is for a big giant like Victoria’s Secret (i.e. the photographer I previously mentioned), or the too-numerous-to-mention copyright violations by the other photographer.

I think the next big Napster-like bust is going to be on image and text copyrights.

Personally, I subscribe to a Code of Ethics.  Actually, I subscribe to several of them.  One being, “I believe in honoring and sustaining the law.”

District and Client Meetings

I was invited to attend a “district” meeting for a new service missionary program.  It was exciting and informative.  I’ll write more about it when everything is official.

After that, I met with a client to select their senior portraits.  I love it when clients come prepared knowing what they want.  It goes so smoothly.


We started the day going to the temple for a session, and ended the day working at the temple.  With the two meetings in between, the day just flew by.

Peaches, Pickles and Pot Roast

A church member had a surplus of peaches and dropped off three 500 pound containers of peaches.  I was surprised at how quickly they went.  That’s a lot of peach jam.

We fed the elders tonight.  I made a pot roast with potatoes and onions.  The last time I did this, the meat (purchased at Walmart) was tough and stringy.  This time, I bought the meat at Wegman’s and it was very tender.  (I don’t believe Walmart’s commercials about their meats or produce.  For the same price or cheaper, you can get better quality at Wegman’s.)

I had picked a watermelon from the garden hoping it would be ripe.  It wasn’t fully red inside and not very sweet.  (It tasted okay, just not what one would expect.)  Part of the problem might be that we haven’t had a lot of sun light – just a lot of rain.  So, Elizabethe is going to turn the rind in to watermelon pickles.

How To Dress

I did an assignment from today about how to dress and how not to dress for a job interview.  The plan is for them to use these at Deseret Industries when teaching people how to get a job.

How Not, and How to Dress for a Job Interview
How Not, and How to Dress for a Job Interview

They didn’t want the “how to” picture to have a jacket and tie.  When I asked about it, they said many of their clients cannot afford a jacket and tie.  So, we went with business casual for the “how to” picture.  The model and I had fun with the theme.

I took a walk in the grove.  I ran in to Elder and Sister Hansen who were literally conducting their last tour of the Smith Farm as they return home soon.

Elder and Sister Hansen
Elder and Sister Hansen

The grove was nice tonight.  The temperatures in the grove were nice even though it was a little warm in the sun.  It was a nice evening for a walk through the grove.  (See yesterday’s post about planning a trip to Palmyra, and how much time to budget for your visit to the Smith Farm and the Grove.)

The Sacred Grove
The Sacred Grove

Pink Salt and Church Sites

We took a trip to Sauder’s today and one of the things on my list was “pink salt” for curing meats.  We found it, and it was in these tiny 1 oz. packets.  (I was expecting a big 1 pound salt box.)  However, 1 oz. treats 2.5 pounds of meat.  I was expecting something more like 1 cup for a few pounds of meat.

I remember back in chemistry class tasting the stuff.  The teacher had a bunch of chemicals that were safe to taste.  Thinking back, the taste method of determining what chemical you’re dealing with is kind of stupid.  It’s like the 70s cop show where the guy takes a bag from a criminal, tastes the content, and says, “Pure horse.”  What had it been pure potassium cyanide? Stupid.

Now that I’ve got enough pink salt to do 10 pounds of meat, I’m watching for sales on pork.

We took our Sauder’s sandwiches and drove to the Peter Whitmer Farm and ate our lunch there.  They have a few picnic tables along the parking lot and it’s a nice quiet place to have a picnic.

While there, I got thinking about all the people who just rush through this area.  Personally, I think they are doing themselves a huge injustice by not taking enough time.  Here’s an example of how the conversation goes…

Me:  Hi, where are you from?
Them:  We’re from _____________ and here visiting the church sites.
Me:  What have you seen so far?
Them:  We’ve seen Smith Farm, and we’re now on our way to the Whitmer Farm.
Me:  Have you seen the Grandin Building yet?
Them:  No, we just got here about an hour ago.  We’re on our way to Niagara tonight so we don’t have a lot of time.

I was talking about this same subject to some of our sister missionaries.  I could hear the disappointment in their voice too.  One of them commented that you really can’t visit the Smith Farm and Sacred Grove and only budget 30 minutes.

I agree completely.

When visiting this area, I strongly recommend that you budget a minimum of 2 full days for this area.   I’ll give a sample itinerary:

  • You arrive in Palmyra around 10am, and the first thing you do is you visit the Smith Farm.  You enter the welcome center, and the missionaries ask if you want to see the Log and Frame homes (say, “Yes”, as they are important.)  You can only see the homes when accompanied by a full-time site missionary.  Allow about 1 hour to see both homes.
  • It’s now 11am, and you wander through the barn and cooper shop, and down the trail to the Sacred Grove.  Wander all the trails in the grove, and take time to sit and ponder what took place there.  It is hard to feel the spirit if you just rush through.  After all, next to the Garden of Gethsemane, this is one of the most historically significant places on the face of the earth.
  • As you exit the grove, you’ll probably notice that it’s 1:30-2:00pm.  You’re probably ready for lunch.
  • You make your way down to the village, and there you grab a pizza at Mark’s or Nima’s, or Chinese food at Happiness Garden.  By the time you finish this late lunch, it’s about 3:00-3:30pm.
  • You could see the Grandin Building while you’re down there, but let’s keep things in chronological order for this area, so you drive the 5 miles to Hill Cumorah.
  • It’s now close to 4pm, and you tour the visitor’s center and then you make your way to the monument at the top of the hill.  (If you’re fit to hike the trail, it’s a wonderful hike.)  While on top of the hill, I’d recommend reading Mormon’s account of the great battle and ponder the significance of what happened there.
  • It’s a beautiful place to watch the sunset.
  • You’re pretty tired out for the day, so you check in to your room for the night, and you catch a late dinner.
  • The next day after breakfast, you make your way to Alvin Smith’s grave, and you ponder the hardships that the Smith family endured.
  • From there, it is a short walk to the Grandin Building, where you take the tour.
  • It’s now lunch time, so you grab lunch there, or you can head to Sauder’s in Seneca Falls, browse this one-of-a-kind store, and then off to the Whitmer Farm with your Sauder’s sandwich.
  • After touring the Whitmer Farm, it’s mid-afternoon.  Take a short drive down to Watkins Glen and visit the waterfalls there.

I just gave you two FULL days, and you haven’t even been to Harmony, PA., yet.  (That’s a day trip from Palmyra – so if you plan to do that, plan 3 days at Palmyra.)

This is not to mention things like the Corning Museum of Glass (another full-day), the George Eastman House (1/2 to full day), Artisan Works, Strong Museum of Play, etc.  Plus, if you want to visit the temple, you should add 1/2 a day to your schedule.

Don’t be fooled in thinking you can see Palmyra in an afternoon.

We Survived

Someone sent me a link to a video talking about how we survived living in an era with lead paint, no seat belts, and so forth.  We were a generation that welcomed technology and change, but I think we let it get out of hand.  After all, it is our children’s generation that is struggling with moral issues.  The question is, “Will they survive?”

Recently I read a response in an advice column where the young people were advised not to have sex on the first meeting.  Wow!  When I was that age, the advice was not to kiss on the first date.  The writer went on to say that if you do, make sure you’re clear that it is just sex and it doesn’t mean anything.  He then went on about how he was “having regular sex” with a girl, and she thought they were “dating”.  He said this bothered him because they “weren’t dating”, they were just “having sex”, and he didn’t want her to think they were dating because he was having sex with other girls too.

If this is the type of advise floating around in the rising generation, they are in trouble.  I say they because I’ve already lived about 66% of my life compared to their 25%.

Years ago I interviewed with a company owned by Ross Perot – EDS.  They did a lot of background checks, and shortly after my interview, a newspaper article came out about Perot’s background checks.  It seems someone had got really upset because Perot had is private investigators investigate an affair the man had.    The spokesman for Perot’s company explained that if someone couldn’t be trusted with their marriage contract, how could they be trusted as an employee.

I believe their is a link to marrital commitments and, in general, trust.  We’ve drifted away from the two-fold purpose of sexual relationships:  1) to propagate and rear children  – teaching them strong values and morals, and 2) to strengthen the bond between a husband and wife.  After all, the first commandment given to man was to ‘multiply and replenish the earth.’  God then commanded Adam to ‘cleave’ unto his wife.

What does this have to do with survival?

Two things:  1)  The reproductive rate of the human species requires about 2.7 children to come from each couple.  Thus, 1 or 2 children, and eventually that line will die off; 3 or more and that line will survive.  Scientific models have shown that it is virtually impossible for the human race to maintain an even population.  It is either going to expand or become extinct.  2)  Moral (sexual) decay brings about additional moral and social problems.  History is full of examples on an individual basis and on a societal basis.

Photoshop Training

I had a delightful evening teaching a medical doctor how to use Photoshop.  He wanted to learn a good workflow and some techniques, and this was right up my alley.

We took a photo he had shot, and took it from start to finish.  I showed him how to put on some finishing touches, turning the photo in to a Christmas card.  He seemed quite pleased and before I left, he suggested the topic for tomorrow’s session.

(His wife gave him the lessons as a Christmas present.  Anyone wanting to give such a gift, you can purchase the gift certificate here: .)

The nice thing about one-on-one training like this is that the student gets to dictate the curriculum and the pace.