Tag Archives: 2015

We Still Call It

We Still Call It

We still call it Pageant Sunday even though Hill Cumorah Pageant ended last night.  With the large number of visitors the choir sings hymns of the restoration and it is well attended.

Talise met Sister Ferreira who served here.  She actually spoke Portuguese to her!  I think I was more excited about the two of them meeting than they were, but that’s okay.  At least they got to meet each other.

After church I headed off for a quick nap, and after my nap it was off to Geneva for me to register for my workshop.  All this week I’m taking a workshop out at William and Hobart Smith Colleges with Michael Barton.


I’m back from registration.  We had a cafeteria-style dinner and an instructor orientation.  Michael is a character, but I’ve known that ever since I met him about 7 years ago (or however long ago that was).  I think we’re in for an entertaining week.  And, since Michael is darn smart, some of it better rub off.

He’s got all of these 110v electrical cords with brass light sockets on the end and E27 bulbs screwed in to them.  I’ve seen him demonstrate this at an affiliate meeting, but it will be fun to see what we are going to do all week with them.

As he handed me one, he exclaims, “Don’t touch the metal!”

Too late.



Pageant 2015 Ends Today

Pageant 2015 Ends Today

Hill Cumorah Pageant 2015 ends today.  We won’t be there because Elizabethe, Talise and I are going to Watkins Glen for the day.

We first headed to the NEW Sauder’s Store.  Wow, is it VERY NICE.  If you haven’t been to Sauder’s lately, you owe yourself the visit.  The sandwich department has in-store dining now, it is bigger, roomier, and so cool looking.

After a big Sauder’s sandwich, we drove out to the Whitmer Farm so Talise could take the tour.  From there, we headed to Watkins Glen.

Going to Watkins Glen on a Saturday in late July is like going to Disneyland on a Saturday.  It is pure nuts.  I don’t know what I was thinking.


copyright 2015 db walton

Talise at Wakins Glen

We had to push and shove our way by hoards of tourists.  For Talise, this was nothing given how often she goes to Brazil where the norm is to push your way through a crowd.  I just hung back and took my time in the single-file line down the canyon.

After ice cream at the Hershey’s Ice Cream parlor it was back home for the evening.

We’ve had a fun day with our niece.

Traffic Safety

Traffic Safety

I believe my job at Hill Cumorah is traffic safety.  I always get assigned to the position to keep traffic operating smoothly up and down the hill.  I don’t mind the job.  It’s a nice location to work.

I am very surprised at how few people visit the Hill Cumorah on the Monday during pageant.  Please take note at what I am about to say…



The cast is off doing other activities that day and you are more free to wander the hill.  You can spend time without feeling crowded or hurried.  Also, the other sites are less busy too.  You can visit the Sacred Grove and the E.B. Grandin building with fewer crowds.

Please, take your time when you visit Palmyra.  Schedule a few days to enjoy the sites.


I’m greatly concerned about the number of people who think Bernie Sanders is such a great candidate for president because he is espousing free college.  While this sounds like a great idea (like “free” medical insurance), he wants to finance this so-called free college on the backs of retirees and future retirees.

Let’s face the facts.  If you are poor, and you want to go to college, you can get grants and financial aide now.  We don’t need any additional laws to pay for education for low-income people.  If you are poor or have a disability, chances are with a little effort you can get your education paid for now.

If you’re middle-class, it is a bit harder, but why give away your future retirement to pay for your college.  You’ll only regret it when you get to be around 60 years old.

Sanders’ plan is to tax increases that come from stock gains and dividends.  While this sounds like a great plan to sock it to those who make fortunes on stock winfalls, those winfalls are few.  Where the money will come from to finance Sanders’ plan is from retirement plans, 401Ks, IRAs, and even 529s.  The majority of these plans are financed by, yes, that’s right, stock gains and dividends.

The plan also hurts non-profit organizations.  Organizations that are humanitarian often purchase annuities with contributions to smooth out their cash flow and to provide a buffer.  I was on the board for a non-profit that received a large lump-sum donation from an estate.  The put the money in a certificate that was based on stock performance.

I find it difficult to believe that Sanders really cares about the impact of his plan on you and me as much as he wants to buy the votes of the illiterate with this half-baked scheme.  Yes, it sounds fine and dandy, but it will really hurt anyone under the age 75.  (If you’re over 75, you won’t be alive long enough to be financially harmed by this scheme.)

The other side of this is his plan does nothing to curtail the costs of education.  I’ve worked in two private colleges.  Those colleges do something voters don’t realize:  They court the low-income students because they know if they hold their hand through the process, the state will pay their tuition, books, and other fees.  This puts more money in their pockets and by charging more, they can get more from the tax-funded programs.

Like the Affordable Health Care Act, a lot of people will get suckered in to this program.  The government is already so heavily involved in the education system, this is just a further ploy to tax you more heavily.

Pageant Sunday 2015

Pageant Sunday 2015

It is Pageant Sunday 2015 and this is a big deal in the Palmyra Ward.  It’s like a stake conference in the number of people who come to church, but it is business as usual with larger than normal class attendance too.

Our small choir is always assisted by heavenly voices on this Sunday.  I know how they sound, but something special happens during Pageant Sunday.  Voices come out of the air that one cannot describe unless you’re sitting there and hearing more voices sing than people present.  No words can describe it.

After church, Elizabethe’s cousin’s son called.  He is in pageant and was at the hill and asked if he could come visit us.  We drove to the hill to pick him up and bring him to the house.  We had a nice visit and dinner.

copyright 2015 db walton

Jarom and Elizabethe

Also at church today, I ran in to a group from Sao Palo, Brazil, that I ran in to in Harmony, Pennsylvania.  We were both excited to see each other again.  I managed to get a picture of them in front of the building in Palmyra…


copyright 2015 db walton

Group from Brazil

The last few days have been quite busy.  Elizabethe and I spent a quiet evening watching the Woman in Gold – a movie about the Klimt painting and a woman’s fight to get it returned after the Nazis stole it in WWII.  Great movie!

So You Know

So You Know

This falls under the category of So You Know.  If you are planning a trip to Palmyra during Hill Cumorah Pageant, this are things you should know.

The Hill Cumorah Pageant runs for 7 days.  This year those days are Friday, 7/10, Saturday, 7/11, Tuesday, 7/14, Wednesday, 7/15, Thursday, 7/16, Friday, 7/17, and Saturday, 7/18.   However, the tech crew is already here, and cast begins to show up this weekend.


Lodging is scarce.  There is one hotel, the Palmyra Inn, and rooms run about $160 to $220 per night.  There are a couple of Bed and Breakfast Inns – The Liberty House and Canaltown B&B.  They run about $100/night (plus or minus) depending on the room.  And then there is us, The Beckwith Mansion.  We run about the same as the B&Bs.

The difference between us and a B&B is this… A B&B feeds you breakfast.  We do not.  However, you may use the kitchen for preparing food, AND you may use our laundry facilities (you must provide your own soap).  While some find breakfast is a nice addition, many of our guest appreciate the included laundry facility use – especially if you have driven some distance or have small children.

New York State Laws limit how many people can stay in a room.  Always inquire as to the legal limit when reserving a room, or tell your host how many people are in your group.  Again, lodging is scarce.


Plan, plan, plan in advance.  This is especially so when it comes to lodging.  We’ve had tourist call begging to sleep on our floor or sofa.  We legally can’t allow that.  While there are campgrounds in the area, you will want to do your research well in advance.

This is NOT a region where you can drive through and find a room always.  This is especially true during Hill Cumorah Pageant.

Also, if you want a family portrait while you are here, that’s my specialty.  (See www.dbwalton.com)  Many families contact me for an outdoor family portrait to remember their trip to Palmyra.  We can go on-location or take the portrait in my studio (located on Main Street in Palmyra, New York.)


copyright 2015 db walton

Family Portrait (Sacred Grove in Background)


When attending pageant, I recommend on the day you attend that you eat at the Rotary/Lions tent.  Those proceeds go to local services.   They usually have BBQ chicken, sausage with onions and peppers, burgers and a few other things.  They also have a regional favorite called “salt potatoes” (they aren’t real salty, it is how they are cooked.)

The other meals I encourage you to visit our Palmyra restaurants.  We don’t have a lot, but the ones near the Book of Mormon Publication site are:  Happiness Garden (Chinese), Mark’s Pizzeria and Nima’s Pizza.  A little further down the road you will find Chill-n-Grill (ice cream, burgers and hot dogs), Acropolis (diner with some Greek dishes), Athena’s (diner – burgers and sandwiches).  Going the other direction you will find Yellow Mills Diner.

Time Commitment & Sightseeing

If you have never been here, and you are coming during pageant, I would budget at least 3 days:

1 day for the pageant and Hill Cumorah and the E.B. Grandin (Book of Mormon Publication site) Building
1 day for the Sacred Grove and to attend the Palmyra Temple (very close to each other)
1 day to see the Peter Whitmer farm and while you’re out that way, visit Sauder’s (a Mennonite store) and drop down and see Watkins Glen (it’s non-church related, but you’ll be glad you saw it.)

copyright 2015 db walton

Watkins Glen State Park

I could give you a list that would keep you busy for TWO WEEKS while staying in Palmyra, but I realize most people don’t want to budget that sort of time to one place.  (Sad, but true.  This place is rich in family adventure stuff.)


I spent the day cleaning my studio and office.  When Elizabethe got home from work it was a trip to the bank to do the deposits, and then dinner at Chili’s.  It has been a busy day.

Springs Last Day 2015

copyright 2015 db walton

Palmyra Farm Land

Springs Last Day 2015

It is springs last day in 2015.  There was a while at the start of this year that many of us wondered if we would ever see spring again.  It was a cold harsh winter.

The day has been spent dealing another occipital headache.  While it isn’t as bad as they were a couple of weeks ago, it is still burdensome.

I drove out to Marion, New York, to pick up a framed print.  I managed to get a few pictures along the way.  Even then, I thought it would help relieve some of the headache… it didn’t.  So, I’m calling it quits for the day.



Youth Theme Session

Youth Theme Session

For lack of a better title, I did a youth theme session today with 4 youth from the Pittsford Ward.  Without going in to details, we had an assignment to take some pictures with very specific scenarios.  This four youth did a wonderful job.

Earlier in the day I had my MRI on my lower back.  It amazes me how loud those machines are.  It sounds like a jackhammer.

They sent me home with the CD and I checked out the images.  It’s kind of cool being able to see in to your body like that.  Some of the slices I’m not sure what some of the stuff is, but for the most part I can make out things like my colon, my kidneys, my spine, etc.

Oh, for this MRI they wrapped me in a cage with coils mounted to it.  It in turn got plugged in to the MRI machine.  When they first brought it out, I thought, “That doesn’t look comfortable,” but it wasn’t bad.  They made sure I was nice and comfortable before the procedure started.


MRI Snapshot

MRI Snapshot

The images are pretty grainy, but still, considering what you can see it is pretty amazing.

By the time my photo session was over, I was left with about 2 hours of preparing the images, and another hour of uploading them.  So, I get in the house and it is already almost 10pm.

It’s been a long day.

Conference 2015 Closes

Conference 2015 Closes

General Conference 2015 closes today.  It was an uplifting conference.

Watching conference there was a heavy emphasis on families.  With the growing trend of the entertainment world spreading the propaganda that family are your friends or the people you work with, it was refreshing to hear the leaders speak of the nuclear family – a father, mother and children.  As one speaker aptly pointed out, a same-sex marriage cannot produce children.

I think I’ve blogged about this before.  I love the TV Show Blue Bloods because every episode they show an extended family around the Sunday dinner table.  During their meal, they have a rule that it is family time.  Thus, no phones, texting or railroading the discussion by bringing non-family issues to the table.  It’s a great show in that respect.

Many of us deal, or have dealt, with issues within our family that disrupt that feeling of unity.  I like General Conference because they address such issues.  I would encourage you to read D. Todd Christofferson talk when it is made available at lds.org.

Between conference sessions we fed the sister missionaries.  I made waffles using stuffing, and we topped them with mashed potatoes and turkey and gravy.  My daughter Amber said it sounds like Thanksgiving leftovers.

My response was, “Do you have a problem with that?”

Happy New Year 2015

Happy New Year 2015

Happy New Year 2015!  It’s hard to believe it is 2015.  Goodbye to 2014 and hello to a new year.

I spent a good portion of the day working on backups.  Yes, I did that yesterday too.  I have a lot of data to back up.  Being a professional photographer I create a lot of large files.  When you consider a single wedding might yield as many as 4 to 12 gigabytes of data, it all adds up.

One of the projects I have slated for the new year is building a grab-n-go kit for my photography work.  Right now, if I have to go on location I have to take everything down in the studio and then set it all back up again when I get to the location.  That’s a lot of work.  If I can save 2-3 hours in a single shoot I can pay for this kit.

Today I ordered some of the parts for the kit.  Once I get it done I will be blogging about it on my photography web site at http://blog.dbwalton.com.  But, basically the kit will contain everything I need to do a location portrait session, including a backdrop.  Right now it looks like it will be 3 bags – camera, lights and hardware.

2014 Comes to an End

2014 Comes to an End

2014 Comes to an end and it definitely had its highs and lows.  Time goes much too quickly these days.  I guess that’s all part of growing older.

2014 started off with a trip to NYC, picking up B&H and LensPen as sponsors for my workshops, a most wonderful trip to Israel for two weeks, giving several firesides about Israel, going on a 4-city speaking tour in Tennessee, a trip to Texas for Texas’ baptism and many other great things.  While I won’t dwell on the bad stuff, 2014 has had its tragedies too.

I also attended the PPSNYS School this summer and took a class from Richard Studevant.  It was a great class on doing composite images.  I haven’t practiced what I learned, but some of that isn’t due to any fault of my own.

During the year I’ve also been working with the Macedon-Palmyra-Walworth Chamber of Commerce on a re-branding project.  We want to make the chamber a viable business resource in the area and worked hard all year to do that.  Next week it will all come in to play when we have our annual meeting.


2015 is just a few hours away.  In 2015 I want too…

  • get back to being able to walk unassisted
  • teach more workshops
  • build a passive solar heater for the upstairs bedrooms
  • get my Route 31 book ready for publication
  • take more photos

I want to make the best of 2015.