Do I hear Israel calling? I do. I hear Israel calling my name, “Come to me… Come to me…”
So, I’m going.
I have some wonderful friends. Some how it was assumed I was going to be somewhere, or something, but anyway, I’m pleased with what happened. Here it is in a nutshell…
John comes to pick up some portraits. He says, “I understand you’re going to be joining us in Israel.”
Me: I am? (I’m really kind of confused at this point because I had written it off for early 2017.)
John then got confused and I basically told him I would if I could swing it. Then, a couple hours later Matt calls, “Hey, buddy,” (which is how he always starts his conversations with me). He then apologized for any confusion and invited me to join them in Israel.
I asked him to email their itineraries and if I can, I will.
Good Fortune on my Side
Good fortune is on my side. I give God credit. (And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments. — D&C 59:21)
When I checked the other day, the week was sold out at the one hostel. Not only did they have a room, it was about 1/3rd the price. The same thing happened with the other hostel. Then, when I went to book a flight, while it was a tad bit more than before, the savings on my lodging more than made up for the difference.
I’m so excited!!!
One of My Plans
One of my plans while I’m there is to take some of my Book of Mormon Action Figures (Lehi, Nephi, Laman, Lemuel) and photograph them at various locations in the Holy Land. While this may sound strange to you, I’m jazzed about it.
I don’t plan to do a lot of them, just a few. After all, most of the Book of Mormon stories take place here. It’s only a few that take place in the Holy Land.
Tonight’s adult session of Stake Conference was very nice. They started with a few speakers, and then called some people to come bare testimony. One of them had that happen to her a year ago. I especially enjoyed Sister Evan’s talk.
Winter is almost here, and it is time to figure out my winter concentration area. I think I will concentrate on sketching and painting again. Last year I had a goal which went by the wayside when the weather got warmer. I’m okay with that.
Next year, I will break things in to winter/indoors and summer/outdoors. My winger concentration will be stuff I can do sitting in my studio, while summer will involve getting out and walking around.
I have enough reference fodder to take me through the winter. Plus, I have ideas to carry me through. Themes for my winter creations will be fantasy, steampunk, and artistic portraits.
I’ve built quite an arsenal of paintbrushes for Corel Painter. Half of them I’ve created, the other half I’ve purchased. Between the two I hope to find my favorites and master using them.
I need to work more on composing for excitement. Take the above image. She’s looking out the window in a seemingly empty castle. It doesn’t tell much of a story, and isn’t very exciting. In this case, I’m not sure what I could do. Maybe paint an older lady (her mom), of to the right looking like she’s concerned about her daughter? It needs something.
Our model today was Sophie. She braved the humidity and heat while we took outdoor natural light portraits. While this wasn’t exactly what I thought we would be doing, it was okay. Model Sophie was pretty and did a good job.
The shooting was a free-for-all. I wish instructors would take charge so everyone would have an equal shot at things. When I teach workshops, I have photographers get in line and each person gets 3 shots, and then lets the next shoot. If there’s still time after everyone gets their three shots, we go through the rotation again.
After class I went straight to the stake center where I participated in a focus group. A couple of guys from the church curriculum department ran a focus group. I can’t discuss what was asked and discussed, but it was interesting and I’m glad I was able to participate.
Because it is Hill Cumorah Pageant, the temple closes for the evening. Thus, we do not have our temple shift tonight. Which is good, because this is one busy week.
Becky arrived around 3am this morning. As a result I managed to get a little sleep in from about 5am to 6:45am. I’d be too beat if we did have our shift tonight.
Don’t get the wrong impression from this title. I’m shooting missionaries with my camera. That’s just what I do.
This evening Elizabethe and I went to Hill Cumorah where the temple missionaries asked if I would photograph them (hence, shooting missionaries). I got them all arranged and posed in the Christus room where we did a group photo, followed by pictures of each couple.
What a wonderful group of people. I love each one of them. The English vernacular of “shooting” people should change. We need another word. Hmmm… I guess I did that with my business tag line… Capturing Beauty. I wasn’t shooting missionaries, I was capturing their beauty.
And, here’s a sample of one of the couples (Pres. & Sister Miner of the temple presidency).
The painted mural of the Christus room makes for a good “Palmyra” backdrop. (The mural is of the Sacred Grove.)
From there we went to do our bank deposits and used a 2-for-1 coupon at Subway. The Macedon Subway sure has good customer service. They young man who waited on us was polite and cheerful. It was a nice way to end this date with my dear wife.
First Monday Event
My day started with the First Monday Event. We did a model shoot with a model and makeup artist. 5 other photographers attended which was a good number given we were all in my tiny studio. (The First Monday Event is part of Palmyra Photographic Workshops.)
In between the the two I had an appointment and then I was able to squeeze in a short nap.
Class cancelled this morning. Nobody registered. I thought it might work out that way, but such is life. The day after Christmas (note to self) is a bad day to schedule a new camera class. I think in the future I’ll schedule it for the first Saturday after New Year’s Day. No more “class cancelled”.
Because class was cancelled I had the morning free. My daughter and her husband want me to photograph their family, so it all works out. Spencer (my son-in-law) came out to the studio and got things set up for me. All I had to do is hold the tiny remote and push the button thanks to his help.
We had Christmas dinner today because nobody was hungry enough for dinner yesterday. We baked the ham, made scalloped potatoes, baked some butternut squash and made a salad. It was a nice Christmas-day-after dinner.
Jennifer’s family packed up to head back to Pennsylvania because they have church assignments tomorrow morning. It was sure fun having them here for Christmas.
I warned my grandson that if I find any Nerf bullets I was going to put them in my Nerf gun.
“You don’t have a Nerf gun Grandpa,” he said in disbelief.
I went out to my studio and grabbed my Nerf gun. I returned, picked up all of their stray Nerf bullets, and demonstrated that I not only have a Nerf gun, it also works.
He laughed. I’m not sure if he was laughing because Grandpa has a Nerf gun, or if I’m a good shot. Either way, knows I’m serious about keeping any stray foam bullets. (He probably didn’t recognize it because I had painted mine to look like it was made of gold, bronze and silver with a Steampunk theme.)
With the house all quiet again, Elizabethe and I settled down for the night. Class cancelled for the night.
Searching for people to help with some self-assigned photography projects is a difficult task. When you have something specific in your mind, a vision of the finished product, you want people who look a certain way. Therein is the difficult part.
There is not a lot of difficulty finding people who want their picture taken, but finding people who look the way you envision things. Then, once you find someone who might, they might not know how to act in front of the camera. (If I had a nickel for every young lady who thought they could ‘model’ and could not, I’d be rich.)
Modeling is like acting frozen at 1/125th of a second. I laugh inside every time I hear someone say, “How could anyone take a bad picture of her?” Well, if that model can’t deliver a good expression, then yeah, it is hard to get a good picture. And, if the photographer can’t capture a good expression, the same can be said.
My job is to capture good expressions from ANYONE I photograph, but I digress.
I think it would be fun to post a picture of some random person on my Facebook page and announce, “If you know anyone who looks like this, send them my way.” I wonder what type of response I would get.
Enough about my frustrations with my self-assignments.
I actually have fun photographing people — no matter what they look like. My aim is to make them look their absolute best. Hence, my tag line — Capturing Beauty. And, I’ve had people tell me, “I don’t like getting my picture taken,” and then after the session they’ve said, “That was fun. You made getting my picture taken fun.”
So, what type of projects do I have going on?
1) I’ve been working on this one for years. I’m looking for successful women to have their portraits done wearing a black dress. The theme is empowered women and everyone is being photographed in a black dress.
2) Photographs of young adult women wearing dresses my wife has made.
3) Lips – this is a new one. I want closeup images of lips with lipstick with creative colors and/or designs. Model(s) have to have nice teeth and lips and good complexion.
4) Steampunk – male or female, if you have a good steampunk outfit and look, call me.
5) Film noir – yes, that 1940s look in black and white.
Author D. Brent Walton is a Certified Professional Photographer and Photographic Craftsman. He and his wife own the Beckwith Mansion where his studio is also located. photography by db walton llc specializes in portraiture, but not your usual portraiture. While his studio does traditional portraits, he also specializes in portraits that are unique, bold and artistic. To schedule a consultation (free) and receive an estimate for a portrait session, call (315) 226-3292.
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.)
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.)
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.
The Canal Connection Chamber of Commerce had its business after hours at NAPA Auto Parts. It was nice to meet the owner.
The new chamber of commerce has a business networking event monthly. A few of us were commenting on how so many struggling businesses are missing out on a great opportunity for MORE business through the chamber and its networking events.
Like they say… you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.
Speaking of networking, after my morning networking meeting, I headed to Wegman’s for grocery shopping. They had these little pita breads and I thought those would make for some amazing sliders. So, I picked up a bag of them.
They also had deli sliced ham for $4.99 a pound. That put me in the mood for a ham sandwich. After I got the groceries put a way, I made a nice ham sandwich for lunch. It made all the limping around in Wegman’s worth the effort.
With spring coming, I’m looking for portrait customers. If you know someone who needs a portrait, wants a portrait, or wants to give a portrait session as a gift, send them my way.
D. Brent Walton is the owner of photography by db walton llc (www.dbwalton.com) which is located in the cottage at the Beckwith Estate (www.beckwithmansion.com). If you are traveling from out-of-town, stay with us and have your session the next morning. We’ll give you a discount if you do both. We are not the only photographer in Palmyra, New York, but db walton IS the ONLY Certified Professional Photographer and Photographic Craftsman in Palmyra, New York.
What does a photographer do when he can’t shoot? He designs a custom backdrop on his laptop.
So, here’s the deal…. a 5×7 backdrop runs around $100 for starters and who knows how many photographers end up with the same 5×7 backdrop. I decided I would investigate and find a place that will do the 5×7, double sided, based on my designs. I found one and bingo! It arrived today.
This is the last part of my grab-n-go kit. I now have all the pieces. I’m so jazzed.
The backdrop is actually a very heavy jersey material. It’s a lot like what quality sweat pants are made from. Only, this is a big 5′ x 7′ blanket that on side is a traditional cloudy pattern, and the other side are grungy tiles. While, I don’t have any portraits to show you, I can show you what the overall look is like…
The above side will look cool with some splashes of light – like a bright red, blue, purple, etc. It’s more contemporary
This side is more traditional. It can have its color changed by my splashing it with blue, teal, orange (for a brown look), etc.
The funny thing is, no photography was involved in the creation of these backdrops. Yeah, it’s all artwork done on my computer. I’ve got about 8 more designs I want to produce.
What is more cool is that they roll up so tightly. My grab-n-go kit easily has room for 4 of these 2 sided backdrops.
Pepper heat is measured in scoville units. Habanero peppers run 100,000-350,000 scoville units. While a Jalapeno runs 2,500-8,000. I only added 4 habanero peppers to my sauce I made the other day, and thus far, both people (besides me) who have tasted it have said it has just the right amount of heat.
Sisters Featherstone and Flores came to dinner tonight. Although one of them couldn’t try the sauce, the other commented that it had just enough heat.
I made all the fixings for burritos for dinner tonight. (The picture from above was last night’s loaded nachos.) For dessert I got this great idea of a lemon merengue cookie. I took graham crackers, topped them with merengue, made a pocket, baked the merengue off, and then filled the pockets with lemon marmalade.
The cookies turned out quite well and it was like eating a lemon merengue pie without all the fuss. The hot fudge on the side was an added bonus of sweetness.
We had a guest join us the other night. A young man from San Diego contacted the sister missionaries wanting to know of a place that night have rooms for rent. They contacted us and it worked out great.
The Beckwith Mansion is a Tourist Home located in Palmyra, New York. Located only 1/4 mile from the Book of Mormon Publication Site, it is central to many historic sites of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Room rates and information can be found at our main web site at www.beckwithmansion.com. You are reading the owner’s blog. The Beckwith Estate is also home to photography by db walton llc — a portrait photography studio that does studio as well as on-location portraiture — both photographic and painted. Wedding services are also available, but limited to those who have already been promised our services and/or weddings at the Palmyra Temple.
The Beckwith Mansion rents rooms by the night, week or month. Special rates are not available during Hill Cumorah Pageant, and the week before pageant. We also offer one room during the fall/winter that is a room-and-board special for young adults who would like to exchange work for room and board. Contact us for details.