Category Archives: Business

Lessons from Pat Baker’s landscapes every photographer should learn

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Pat Baker’s career in photography started with rugged Texas vistas and mountaineering and now includes lessons everyone can adapt to master landscapes. 

TEXAS, August 7, 2022 —  Texas photographer Pat Baker found his way to his career as a 16-year-old who purchased his first camera to document his adventures in mountaineering. For the teen, it was a way to continue sharing the journeys following the untimely death of his dad — his earliest partner in adventures. 

Pat Baker of Texas embraces photography full-time

As time passed, photography became the primary hobby, and Baker started branching out into new styles and jobs, including a cover story for a reputable media outlet in his first year as a professional. 

By 1980, photography was a full-time career, and capturing rugged landscapes was a passion. 

Lighting and landscapes

An essential element of Baker’s photography is capturing changing light on rugged vistas with the optimal camera placement.

This can vary based on the environment, but always consider a view that shows the magnitude of the space. Capture the vastness of the landscape. A common way to do this is to include a natural element that provides scale — a tree, a rock, a bush or an animal can help the eye establish perspective and make the surrounding scenery soar by comparison.

Focal length

Pat Baker’s toolkit includes an assortment of lenses to help find the best view for a landscape photo. For some, a wide-angle lens can be best, but in locations with compelling details or a focal point further away, the trade-off of shrinking backgrounds isn’t worth it. 

In these instances, Baker shares a telephoto lens is handy provided a portion of the field of view can be sacrificed. With careful zoom on the subject, the resulting photograph shows the scale of the landscape while strongly centering the focal point within its environment. 

Consider display

For landscape photos, the ultimate purpose can be helpful for establishing the shot. On a shoot for traditional media or a third-party, more careful consideration of focal length and scale is key. 

When shooting for personal satisfaction or prints, the photographer controls the final product and can consider print size, production across multiple panels, development techniques and digital editing to help showcase landscapes. This allows for greater flexibility in composition.

Vincent Barletta Discusses How To Reside in Portugal for $1,000 Per Month

Many people, especially the newly retired or those with a job that allows them to work from anywhere, think about relocating to a relatively inexpensive country compared to their home country. For people in North America, this might include certain Southeast Asian or Eastern European countries. However, according to experts such as Vincent Barletta, Portugal is an often overlooked location that boasts a high quality of life, beautiful scenery, and low cost of living. Here are some tips and tricks for residing in Portugal for $1,000 per month. 

Talk to Others

It is helpful to talk to others who moved to another country due to its lower cost of living. Ask them about their experiences and how they complete such tasks as making a budget and saving for emergencies. Residents of Portugal are also a good authority to talk to since many of them live on around $1,000 or less per month, as the minimum social security payment is just above the equivalent of $700 per month in Portugal.

Locals are good resources regarding the best places to shop for food and other necessities and what to do for fun when your budget allows. Getting to know someone with whom you can share resources is also beneficial to saving money. 

Look Outside of the Cities

Like in most countries, the major cities of Portugal tend to be more expensive places to live. While moving to a city such as Porto or Lisbon might be tempting to experience their shopping and nightlife, your money will go further in a smaller town. If you enjoy cities, look for a village with a train station or easy access to those more populated areas. As someone who appreciates culture, Vincent Barletta knows how important it is to balance living costs with access to places like libraries and museums. 

Consider Ditching the Car

One thing that might give Americans moving to Europe some sticker shock is the price of gas. Fortunately, it is easier to do without a car in many places in Europe than it is to do so in the United States. For example, a quick search on Google Maps will show you that it takes even less time to go from Lisbon to Porto by train than by car. 

Vincent Barletta Bio

An author and professor, Vincent Barletta, teaches Comparative Literature and Iberian and Latin American Cultures at Stanford University in California. Barletta has an affinity for learning languages and can speak Portuguese and Spanish as well as English. He taught English as a Second Language while serving in the Peace Corps. He previously served as an assistant professor for the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

Karen Swanson and the Importance of Community Involvement

Karen Swanson believes in giving back to your community, understanding that getting involved is the best way to stay connected with others. She is dedicated to educating others and is an award-winning educator and administrator with over 30 years of experience. Her community is important to her, and she is always looking for opportunities to get to know others.

Karen Swanson spent 11 years, from 2009 to 2020, as the Chairperson for Iowa Tech Prep Coordinators, leading other educators by example. In this role, she was able to coordinate a group of community college coordinators at the state level. This group works with high school students and technical preparation programs to further their education to pursue careers in the field.

Swanson is a leader, and when she gets involved in any organization, she ends up taking a role as an officer. She volunteered in the Iowa Association of Career and Technical Education, which is designed to help prepare individuals for careers in the field.

Karen Swanson knows that staying connected with others builds a strong network of support within any field. She understands the importance of teaching people to go for their dreams, no matter what age they are. With the right network, it is possible for people to succeed in the field of their choice.

By giving back to their community, Karen Swanson is able to share her skills, and offer advice to those just starting out in their career. She is a lifetime educator, and mentor, and is willing to help others who are ready to make a career change.

Connection to others is essential for success in competitive industries, and Karen Swanson believes in building a strong network of connectivity. With her guidance, many students have moved on to successful careers. As a person who is always optimistic, Karen Swanson is a strong influence on others and helps people find their talents.

Is a Reverse Takeover a Smart Play Right Now?

The traditional path to a public offering of ownership and investment in a company is a long, rigorous approach with a heavy amount of scrutiny, and it takes a significant play by capital movers to bring to fruition. As a market entry expert, Konstantin Lichtenwald, Vancouver, thinks there is a far easier alternative, however, known as the reverse takeover strategy. In essence, it follows the old, familiar saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them.”

For the RTO approach, a private company wanting to go public avoids the traditional path and instead just outright buys a controlling share of a company that is already public. In doing so, and merging with the public company, the private company gains public market status by default. Konstantin Lichtenwald notes this approach avoids the whole capitalization launch, and instead it works within the shell of a company already in the public realm.

Under previously “normal” conditions, the RTO strategy would be a cost-saving strategy of entering the public market at a time when generally things are operating strong, there’s plenty of liquidity in the market to provide opportunity, and a new player even in the guise of an old one would get attention. However, in the last few months entering the summer of 2022, things have changed dramatically.

Konstantin Lichtenwald reminds folks that the current U.S. economy has quickly changed the landscape for investment. Inflation has skyrocketed to historic eyes, the power of the consumer dollar has eroded badly, and now investment dollars are running for the exit doors as the public markets contract. No surprise, the landscape seems to have turned negative towards new entrants.

However, a contrarian argument could push the premise that mid-2022 is an ideal time to pull off an RTO. First off, there will be plenty of companies that provide prime targets for a controlling takeover with depressed stock prices and available opportunities for a new private player to step in and take over via default ownership. Second, the market will be looking for and needing an active presence. Konstantin Lichtenwald points out that as existing players contract, the overall environment will need something to fill the vacuum. Otherwise, the resulting contraction hurts everyone involved.

Secondly, a proactive RTO can create a catalyst for a significant and fast company expansion as new capital comes flooding in with a public presence, a bit like a shining light in a market that is depressed and desperately needs a new actor to show the way out of the slump. Having a new player come in strong, Konstantin Lichtenwald argues, can create its own following with investors, much the same way as a viral hit on social media generates an exponential audience.

So, an RTO strategy right now in 2022 may just be the ticket for a company looking to take itself to the next level but not wanting to get lost in the mud and quagmire of a long, extended traditional initial purchase offering. Instead, Konstantin Lichtenwald suggests by slipping into a public position via an existing company shell, a formerly private company can reshape itself quickly and effectively, focusing valuable activity on full investment instead of losing steam on the IPO process.

How to Choose a Great Electrical Contractor

Terrence Schehen Explains How to Choose a Great Electrical Contractor

The Right Electrical Contractor Doesn’t Just Keep You Up to Code, Terrence Schehen Says, But Also Becomes a Great Maintenance Partner

Whether you are just doing a lighting retrofit or rewiring your entire office building, finding the right electrical contractor ranks near the top of the list of things you need to do to keep your property safe. Commercial electrical work is not the same as its domestic and residential variations, Terrence Schehen says. Commercial electrical work requires different skills, different tools, and different experiences. Terrence Schehen advises that finding the right professional electrical contractor saves you money and makes your life easier.

Here are Terrence Schehen’s top tips for finding a great electrical contractor.

Get Recommendations

No one in your community is likely to know more about local electrical contractors than the electrical supply stores. There is a good chance that they have a short list of contractors that they recommend to their customers. You can also ask other owners of commercial properties or if you know one, private building inspectors.

Ask About Their Experience with Commercial Jobs

You don’t want to provide an electrician with their learning experience, Terrence Schehen says. It is always a good idea to ask a potential contractor about their experiences with jobs similar to your own. You can also ask your local Chamber of Commerce or local property managers about their experience with a candidate company.

Be Sure to Get a Written Estimate, Terrence Schehen Says

We have all heard horror stories about electricians who pad their bills with unexpected costs, drawn-out timeframes, and excess charges. Terrence Schehen advises you to get price estimates in writing. Good contractors don’t charge hidden fees.

Ask About Warranties and Guarantees

The best electrical contractors offer “satisfaction guaranteed.” Ask for a written copy of the company’s policy and promises regarding issues that may come up after the job is done.

Get a Firm Timeline for Completion of Your Project

Buildings don’t do a lot of good if they don’t have electricity. Your contractor may not commit to working on your project 24/7 until the work is complete, but you should have a clear timeline for the completion of the contract.

Check Insurance and Licensing

In nearly every state and municipality, electrical contractors must carry insurance to maintain their licenses. If you confirm with your state licensing board that a contractor is licensed, they will have at least minimal coverage that protects you in case they make a serious error. You also need clarification about who is responsible for worker injuries that may occur on your property. Coverage by worker compensation insurance takes care of injured workers and insulates you from accident claims.

This means that if your contractor uses day labor, they must be on the contractor’s payroll. Undocumented workers could have a claim against you in case of injury. 

You Don’t Want to Be Your Contractor’s “Biggest Job,” Terrence Schehen Says

You want your electrical contractor to be able to complete your project with ease, Terrence Schehen says. And you certainly don’t want an electrical contractor who needs a large down payment or who asks you to pay for materials yourself.

Haley Zelenka on A New Perspective on Acromegaly

People Who Have Acromegaly Can Lead Meaningful, Fulfilling Lives, Mississippi Attorney Haley Zelenka Says

Living with any chronic disease can be a trial, Mississippi healthcare and family law attorney Haley Zelenka says, but people who have rare conditions confront a plethora of uniquely difficult challenges. Just getting an accurate condition can take years, and many people who have poorly understood illnesses like Zelenka’s acromegaly struggle with loneliness and isolation.

But some people with rare, challenging conditions learn how to overcome them and live great lives.

Many people who have acromegaly, a chronic condition caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland in the brain, suffer a baffling variety of symptoms. The classic symptoms of acromegaly are continued growth of the hands, feet, tongue, and nose after adulthood. The growth that doesn’t quit can cause problems with vision, breathing during sleep, taste, and coordination.

Acromegaly also changes appearances in many of the people who have it. Add to these problems complications such as the increased risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, goiter, and precancerous growths in the colon.

Acromegaly is used to presage an early death. But with modern treatments, most people who have acromegaly can expect a normal life expectancy. Some people with acromegaly can live very meaningful lives even with their disease.

Haley Zelenka is a native of the Gulf Coast. She currently lives in Gulfport, Mississippi.

Ms. Zelenka earned a bachelor’s degree in English at Mississippi State University and her JD from the University of Mississippi. Zelenka devotes most of her professional energies to her work as Vice President and General Counsel of Memorial Hospital in Gulfport, but before she went into healthcare law, she was an attorney for the Eighth Chancery Court District of Mississippi. The chancery court, among other things, hears cases involving adoption and family matters. She developed a passion for child advocacy. She remains close to the families she helped adopt children.

One of the social workers who knows Haley Zelenka professionally described her this way:

‘Haley is both passionate and compassionate. Moreover, she is ridiculously smart. You couldn’t have a better lawyer in your corner.”

She carried that same passion and comparison to her service on the inaugural Board of Directors of the Acromegaly Community.

Haley was diagnosed with acromegaly while she was still in college, in 2002. The Acromegaly Community came along in 2005. It offers a variety of services to the 2800 people living with the condition in the United States.

It takes an average of 10 years for the average acromegaly patient to get an accurate diagnosis. The Acromegaly Community helps people get an accurate diagnosis and gives them information on surgery, radiation, medication, and how to pay for them. Most importantly, The Acromegaly Community helps its members find the emotional, financial, and physical resources to live with their condition.

In her spare time, Haley is also a pet parent to two rescue cats and keeps up with six nieces and nephews.

How to Approach an IRA if 2022 Goes Into a Recession

Folks might be thinking 2022 is a lousy year to put money into an individual retirement account or IRA, but there’s never a wrong time to do so, even when older. Barry Bulakites has seen this same question play out again and again with each recession.

An IRA is one of the few tax shelters allowed by the government that anyone can use. It’s a great way to park long-term savings, avoid more income taxes than necessary, and build up reserves for one’s later years all in one package. Unfortunately, IRAs get a lot of bad reps because they take a long time to build up; the government limits how much one can deposit in an IRA per year, which is the downside of the financial tool.

With the 2022 market in the doldrums and the word “recession” whispered in every corner, many folks might feel keeping extra funds in a savings account or in cash is a more intelligent move. In fact, it’s probably the opposite, argues Barry Bulakites. After taking care of living expenses and emergency savings, leftover funds kept in basic savings of cash form are essentially eroding and losing value thanks to a double-whammy of income taxes and inflation. Always present, even in good times, Bulakites reflects that inflation continues to chip away at the value of a dollar, which is why that 25-cent comic book you remember as a kid now costs over $5 to buy today. Instead, folks have two choices: put their money in an account that avoids taxes as long as possible, gaining the maximum value of the income when it’s finally pulled out, or investing it to increase the value more than it is.

Barry Bulakites reminds folks an IRA does both for a saver. First, IRAs can be combined with investment platforms to allow owners to market play, increasing their IRA value while waiting for the eventual withdrawal. That in and of itself allows the funds to grow considerably with the right investment choices and timing. Secondly, pushing the withdrawal out to one’s later years means a lower tax bracket, also producing serious savings on those funds when actually withdrawn versus income taxes now while earning.

Some might argue that an IRA makes no sense for those who are older and have a shorter span before needing retirement funds, like folks in their 50s. In reality, people are living much longer. Granted, even if 2022 went into recession, the likelihood is that many people, thanks to medical advances, will still live decades longer. And that means funds saved in an IRA will come in very handy in those late and later years.

Where possible, contribute the maximum amount possible each year, put to $6,000 in 2021 and 2022. After age 50, eligible account holders can also contribute an additional $1,000 catchup amount, for a total of $7,000 per year. As a couple, both could contribute up to a combined $14,000 total per year with this feature. And that starts to become a real nest egg after a decade or so, Bulakites says.

So is 2022 a rough year so far? Maybe, but it is no reason not to keep contributing or even starting an IRA. Instead, it’s a vivid reason why an IRA makes so much sense. Barry Bulakites notes good times and recessions will come again in the future.

Griffith Littlehale Discusses Top Five Tips for New Graphic Designers

Graphic design is an art that demands both creativity and logical thinking. It also requires patience and an eye for detail. Whether you’re just getting started or you’re trying to improve your craft, here are some steps you can take to become an even better designer, says Griffith Littlehale.

1. Show your skills

Your portfolio is a representation of your skills as a graphic designer. It is a display of your design work that shows off your capabilities and your ability to meet client expectations. 

Your portfolio should be more than just a collection of your best work. Instead, it should be a visual representation of your career progression, explains Griffith Littlehale. So make sure it showcases the skills you’ve acquired while working at your current firm or during your internships and student placements.

2. Don’t Stop with the Fundamentals

As a beginner, you will find yourself trying to learn everything at once. We know you want to build your skills as quickly as possible, but you have to remember that you can’t do everything at once. 

Instead, it’s important to start slowly and work your way up. You have to master the fundamentals and build a solid foundation for yourself. But don’t stop there! Keep up with industry trends and push boundaries with your work. 

Many designers do one or the other–what will help you stand out is innovative work that is built on a mastery of the basics, says Griffith Littlehale.  

3. Stay Up-to-Date with the Latest Design Trends

The best graphic designers are the ones that are up-to-date with the latest design trends. You should be keeping up with what’s popular so that you can incorporate those ideas into your work. 

Being up-to-date with the latest design trends will help you create unique designs that are relevant. Remember, graphic design thrives on new concepts and fresh interpretations of the world. The last thing you want is for your designs to be labeled as “dated.”

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

As a beginner, you may find yourself focusing on getting the basics right. Form, color theory, composition – and these are all important- but don’t be afraid to branch out and try something new, says Griffith Littlehale

If you’re nervous about shaking things up this early in your career, try the 70/30 approach. When you’re creating mockups, let 70% be solid basics based on the client brief. But let 30% be something new, creative, and fun. As your clients are drawn to your more creative offerings, it will give you confidence and allow you to grow a customer base that believes in your vision.

5. Know Your Tools

As a beginner in the design field, it’s important for you to learn about the tools that you work with. You should not just learn the basic tools but also the advanced ones. Knowing your tools inside out will help you create designs that are unique and original.

From software to drawing tablets, dive into the functionality and hacks for every tool that you use, advises Littlehale. You’ll be surprised how learning about the quirks and possibilities in your tools inspires creative and unique work.