Category Archives: Pageant 2016

Week Summary

Week Summary

I’m not going to attempt to catch up with blog entries.  I’m just giving a week summary as I have too much else to do.

Hill Cumorah Pageant ended last Saturday, and we attended the last performance with some friends from Penn Yan.  My friend Mark brought his camera too.  I’m sure he got some great shots too.

copyright 2016 db walton

Mark Griffin Takes a Shot

Sunday was the 2nd “Pageant Sunday”, and again, the choir did an awesome job.  As soon as church was over I was off to PPSNYS Workshop.

PPSNYS Workshop

PPSNYS Workshop this year is well attended.  I’m taking a class taught by Michael Mowbray.  The workshop started out with his talking about the equipment he uses.  I felt validated as he too has gone with Godox flash equipment.

As the week progressed I learned a lot about shooting outdoors in full sunlight with a speedlight.  The instruction was great.  My only complaints are I wish we had either a few more models, and I wish the instructor would have taken control of the group shooting time to facilitate it moving along.

We shot in the worse possible conditions (purposefully) to learn how to control the light.  Here’s the instructor demonstrating…

copyright 2016 db walton

Michael Working with Model

Full sunlight is horrible for taking pictures.  Mix that with trees and you get spotty lighting, but not after taking Mowbray’s class!  See for yourself…

copyright 2016 db walton

Class Model at Belhurst Castle


The workshop ended with a big dinner as it does every year.  This year Elizabethe attended the dinner.  I don’t think they change the menu from year to year, but that’s okay.  It is always good.

Happens Every Year

Happens Every Year

It happens every year around this time.  I get a call asking if I will do a portrait in the Sacred Grove.  I explain why I don’t photograph in the Sacred Grove, and they still schedule a portrait session one I explain why.

We end up taking the portrait outside the grove,  usually with the grove in the background.  I don’t photograph inside the grove because it is a special, sacred place.  How many places on earth do you know of where God and Jesus appeared?

I can think of only a few others.  It is hallowed ground and I do my best to respect it as such.

Tonight’s family was especially fun to photograph.  A couple with their 5 adult children, their spouses, and their children had me do a big family photo and then individual family units.  Grandma and grandpa also did one with their 10 grandchildren.

What made it special for me is they were able to pull this off.  They were able to get the entire family to take time off and travel to Palmyra.  I can understand why they want the family portrait.  This is something that is only going to happen once in a lifetime.


I have to admit I was stressing earlier in the day.  I knew it was a big group, and I was stressing about the light, my equipment being ready, carrying all that equipment 1/4 mile to the location.  In the end, I shouldn’t have stressed.  It worked well.


I returned home to hear France had a terrorist attack.  Last I heard over 70 people dead.  A big truck (like a semi-truck) ran in to a crowd celebrating Bastille Day.  70 people died and many others were injured.  Police shot and killed the driver before more damage could be done.

Reading in the Book of Mormon it hit me hard.  Things like this aren’t going to change until people start keeping God’s commandments, especially those dealing with morality.

Battery Prep

Battery Prep

With all of the rechargeable devices we have these days, you need a day for battery prep.  What is “battery prep”?  It’s when you make sure EVERYTHING is charged.

I guess us photographers, ham radio operators, and other consumers of battery powered devices deal with this more often.  I have 4 different types of batteries to support 6 cameras.  That means I have 4 different types of chargers, and in order to charge more than one at a time, I have LOTS of chargers.

Today I charged them all.

Pageant Last Night

Pageant last night was the best I have ever seen it.  I’m going through the photos today and my new lens on my X-T1 delivered amazing images.

copyright 2016 db walton

Hill Cumorah Pageant 2016

I love these scene where Christ invites the children to come to him.  It is my favorite part of the Book of Mormon… and Pageant.  An artist’s paintbrush can not capture these scene as well as they have in pageant.

Christ is referenced the average of once every 1.7 verses in the Book of Mormon.  It speaks of Christ more than the Bible.  Hill Cumorah Pageant is based on the Book of Mormon, and thus, all about Jesus Christ.



I pulled double-duty at Pageant today.  My first duty was security on the hill from 1 to 6pm.  It was hot, but thanks to a friend I made the other day, he kept bringing me cold water to drink.  (For which I’m truly grateful.)

They put me at the crosswalk to Zion’s Camp.  I had shade and a chair… and cold water.  The first hour went so very slow, and then things picked up as people began to return from lunch.  After the lunch rush, it slowed down again as people headed off for dinner.


After completing my shift I went home and picked up Elizabethe and then returned to the Hill.  We enjoyed dinner at the food concessions.

copyright 2016 db walton - Double-duty

Salt Potatoes


The heat was too much for Elizabethe.  Our seats, like all of them, were in the sun.  She went over to the Visitors’ Center to keep cool.  I wandered around taking photos, but even I got tired of the heat and had to take one last trip to buy a soda.


We had two friends plus three house guests last night.  Whew, just under the 8-seat-save limit.

I ran in to quite a few folks last night.  The most interesting one was the daughter of a fellow CSM Photographer.  He e-mailed me earlier in the day asking if I would look for his daughter at Pageant.  I just happened to find her and a friend.

I also ran in to my dear friends the McBrides too.

copyright 2016 db walton

Adam and Brenda

Adam’s actual role is that of the angel in the Lehi’s Dream scene.  However, during the pre-pageant walk around the audience they wear a different costume.  It makes sense not to have people dressed as angels walking around.


Dead Dryer

Dead Dryer

We have a dead dryer.  We purchased it in 2000.  The washing machine went a couple of months ago.  Last night, our dryer died.  This means a trip to Lowe’s to replace the dead dryer.

We found a dryer at Lowe’s.  They said they couldn’t deliver it until next week.  We bought it anyway.

When they put our information in the computer, one line popped up for a delivery date and time of 7/12/2016 at 8am.  We took it.  Talk about an answer to prayers!  With Hill Cumorah Pageant guests here, the last thing we want are dead appliances.


The next big stress relief was we found a plumber who could come fix the leaks TODAY.  He came, fixed the leaks, and the cost was quite reasonable.

Beauty Dish

Then, I had time to complete the work on my beauty dish.  Everything is moving along well today.  Dryer, plumber and now finishing my beauty dish.

The only issue I ran in to is that drilling through a stainless steel bowl is really tough.  Too fast, and the drill bit turns red and the drill gets soft and doesn’t cut.  You really need a variable speed drill for this type of work.

It’s complete and I gave it a test.

Beauty Dish in Operation - Dead Dryer - copyright 2016 db walton

Beauty Dish in Operation

And, while I don’t profess to be a beauty, a beauty dish helps.  Hence, the name beauty dish.

Testing the Beauty Dish - Dead Dryer - copyright 2016 db walton

Testing the Beauty Dish


Pageant Sunday 2016

Pageant Sunday 2016

It is Pageant Sunday 2016.  Palmyra has tourist from all over the place.  Sacrament Meeting was packed to capacity.  It’s an exciting day.

This Pageant Sunday 2016 the choir sang a couple of numbers from Cumorah’s Hill.  As tradition has it, we closed with the Spirit of God.  This year during the last verse it was phenomenal.  As organist, I cannot give any earthly explanation how a tiny choir like that can suddenly produce the sound of a few hundred voices.  It is something to experience.  To experience it is to believe it.

Elder and Sister Bradford (our site directors) talked.  Sister Bradford talked about buffer zones.  She explained why the church has bought up property surrounding the Sacred Grove and other sacred sites.  She then explained how we can set up personal, spiritual buffer zones.  Elder Bradford expanded the scriptures and testified of the Book of Mormon.


Something hit me today.  When Moses, Elijah and Elias appeared in the Kirtland Temple, there has been much debate and discussion about who appeared in the roll of Elias (Elias means a forerunner and/or restorer.)  When Moses and Elijah appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration Elias is not mentioned, and assumable because he wasn’t there because he wasn’t required to be there.

I came to this conclusion, Elias wasn’t there with Peter, James, John and Christ because they had been with him in person.  Any exchange required would have been done in-the-flesh.

This lead me to think the most likely candidate would be John the Baptist.  He held all the keys to the Aaronic Priesthood, and while he did confer the Aaronic Priesthood on Joseph Smith, Jun., and Oliver Cowdery, did he confirm the keys of the presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood at that time?  Or, was that something to be done later?  Another possible candidate would be Peter Himself.  Same argument as with John the Baptist.

The argument against it being some other prophet like Noah, Abraham, etc., is simply this:  Why weren’t they present at the Mount of Transfiguration then?

I’ve read what other prophets and apostles have said, and I haven’t read anything conclusive.  While some take a single statement by a single prophet, and assume they identified Elias, when you take all of their statements on the identity of Elias, you come to the conclusion, we still don’t really know exactly who it was.


At dinner we had Sisters Ringler and Edmons, as well as Elizabethe’s cousin Linda and her daughter Mary.  I made a grilled chicken over zucchini noodles, a pizza roll, and Elizabethe made a tossed salad.  For dessert I made butterscotch brownies and they were delicious!

Pageant Sunday 2016 - copyright 2016 db walton

Pizza Roll

I’ll publish the brownie recipe.  Oh, I might as well show off my from yesterday breakfast too.

copyright 2016 db walton - Pageant Sunday 2016

Egg Sandwich

Hill Activities

Hill Activities

I went to the Hill Cumorah today to observe and photograph hill activities.  I am surprised at how dry the grass is there year.  I’ve only ever seen the grass on Hill Cumorah as green; it was a shock to see it yellow.

copyright 2016 db walton - beckwith palmyra lodging

Hill Cumorah and Yellow Grass

Most of the participants must have been off doing other activities because it was pretty quiet around the Hill.  I’m never sure whether I’m going to find a few people there or a LOT of people there, but I have all next week too.

I did run in to Sister VanKampen there.  Expressed how much she enjoyed our meals and how she will always remember having goat for dinner.  It was nice to hear that and to see her cheerful smile again.

In the Village

In the village we have the same guy who year after year stands on the corner of Main and Williams Streets yelling at people and making erroneous claims about the church.

To my friends who are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

Thank you for expressing your wishes he’d go away too.  It’s nice to hear you don’t like what he is doing either.

Thank you.


I was ready to tackle the leaking feed line to one of the toilets when I discovered we also have water coming from under the sink in that same bathroom.  Uhg.  I hate plumbing problems.  At this point, I’ve decided it is time to call in the pumber.  If I attempt the under-the-sink repairs I will probably end up re-injuring myself or making matters worse.  I might as well let the plumber fix the toilet feed line too.


Bad Move

Bad Move

It was a bad move to look at Facebook first thing this morning.  The first post I saw was from my daughter expressing her sadness about what happened last night in Dallas.

It was a bad move to look at the news feed so I could understand what she is talking about.  The news of five dead police officers and several others wounded left me speechless.  Ambushed out of nowhere, this has all the markings of a planned terrorist attack.

Going through some of the stages of grief, I became sad for those who lost loved ones.  I’m sad they left their homes to go to work not realizing they were walking in to a trap.  I felt sad their families, and the families of other police officers have to live in fear.

I became angry at the premise this is all about race.  I became angry that the media isn’t calling this a terrorist attack.  I feel anger because nobody in the news is calling this a hate crime.  I’m angry because we have people in the public eye saying the police are bad and fanning the flames of hate and violence.

Calming Down

Calming down, I got up and I ate breakfast, and got some work done around the house.  The full-time elders came over and helped move the bed from the Spring Room down to the east bedroom, and we moved some boxes down stairs.

Reading the news, I looked for something positive.  While I’m not a fan of Barack Obama, I do think he nailed it on the head when he said the attacks were “vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement.”

Moving Forward

Moving forward I fear there is a faction in this country that wants to see unrest and violence, and perhaps even martial law.  It’s a faction fueled by evil.  Like in the days of Gadianton:

And seeing the people in a state of such awful wickedness, and those Gadianton robbers filling the judgment-seats—having usurped the power and authority of the land; laying aside the commandments of God, and not in the least aright before him; doing no justice unto the children of men;

Condemning the righteous because of their righteousness; letting the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money; and moreover to be held in office at the head of government, to rule and do according to their wills, that they might get gain and glory of the world, and, moreover, that they might the more easily commit adultery, and steal, and kill, and do according to their own wills—

Now this great iniquity had come upon the Nephites, in the space of not many years;

 Evil is as Evil Does

Evil is as evil does is something I paraphrased from Forest Gump’s, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

I was having a very supportive exchange with a Christian friend when a one of his friends jumped in and began to attack both of us.  He accused us of “hiding behind Christ” because we are “haters” deep inside.  His rant went on for quite a while.  I looked to what fueled his rage by going to his timeline.  There I saw a lot of rhetoric about his definition of hatred, as well as a lot of support of immoral practices including both drugs and sex.

As Nephi wrote, “Wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.”

Neither my friend nor I said anything regarding this man’s choices.  Simply because my friend and I said we need to turn to Jesus Christ in time of crisis, this many lashed out.  He even went so far as to say we should put our religious beliefs behind and simply have love.  (This was after calling us names.)

I’m sure he was angry because my friend and I are both Christians and do our best to be good people.  His anger is probably directed at the fact that we condemn the practice of sex outside of marriage, and illegal drug use.  His anger probably arises out of his guilt.  He was probably taught he’s going down a wrong path and decided to lash out at two strangers on-line because that’s a safe thing to do.

I think we’re going to see more of this type of anger directed at peace-loving people.  Evil activities as they permeate people’s lives will make them less tolerant to people who try to keep God’s commandments.

And Now for Something Completely Different

The chores around the house took up up to mid afternoon.  We need groceries so I went to Wegmans.  As I was there I thought… I could live here if I could find a place to sleep.  Of course, I was hungry having worked all morning and not having lunch yet.

I came home and fixed a pastrami reuben sandwich and I’m about to call it a day.

Scamalot Trois

Scamalot Trois

In episode Scamalot Trois we Habi writes:

Dear sir

Happy Eid al Filtr SEASON !

Thanks for your email. I want you and I to meet at the company in Ghana, I will fly there with original documents while you are to assist me pay off outstanding tax at the company,this is why am ready to give you 15% of the total amount due me.
I will need your bank account detail but that will be after we have claimed out the deposited funds, let me know your status
I am open for discussion, please call me.

Thank you and best regards,
Ms Habiba  Abdullah Mashouid Alshosha

I couldn’t help but to respond with:

15%? Nope, it is 65% for me or your $120,000,000 can just stay put. No, make that 70%. That gives you twice as much as you were willing to give me.

I can’t give you my bank information because I don’t have a bank account. How about you give me your bank account and I’ll see if the First Bank of Brewster will take the money from your account so I can open a bank account.

By the way, how old are you? I’m 11 and my mom says I shouldn’t talk to you because I don’t know you. I told her you are going to give me $84,000,000.

Hugh Neckst

To which Habi writes back:

I’m laughing too hard to type.   I’m trying to think of a witty way to respond to having just been dumped by a scammer.

Hill Cumorah Pageant 2016

I brought Tom with me to pick up my badge for pageant.  I managed to snap a few photos.
copyright 2016 db walton - scamalot trois

Tom and Sister Jones

The first person we run in to is Sister Jones.  It was only last summer that she was serving in our ward.  Now she’s here as a Pageant participant.  I found it only fitting to get a picture of her and Tom together.

Patty Shack

 Tom and I then headed to Patty Shack for lunch.  Tom hadn’t been there, and so I thought it would be a good treat.

Getting Ready

Getting Ready

Getting ready for Hill Cumorah Pageant is a big deal.  Helpers and performers arrive this week as they prepare for Pageant.  There are many visitors at church today.  About 1/2 of the cultural hall is filled and next week it will be more.

We have a new Gospel Doctrine instructor.  Sister Reynolds is the new instructor.  She will do a great job.

Yesterday left me feeling beat.  We came home and prepared a crockpot full of soup, and then I took a nap.  I took a long nap.  I really hurt after too much paddling yesterday.


Dinner with the sister missionaries is always great.  Elizabethe and I made potato leek and ham soup.  It turned out tasty.

Dessert consisted of strawberry rhubarb sauce over vanilla ice cream.  One taste of that and I remember times with Grandma and Grandpa Knowles.  Rhubarb goes great with vanilla ice cream.


Recovering from yesterday’s excursion hurts.  Add to that a little sunburn.  The sunburn looks like birthmarks.  I’m only burnt where I didn’t spread sunscreen.  If anyone needs a way to fake a birthmark  spread sunscreen everywhere except where you want that birth mark, and then go get burned.

The fatigue and muscle aches will be gone tomorrow.  The sunburn, will be around for a few days.