Walking and Shooting at the Same Time

Please join me on July 15th at 8am for a 3 hour photo walk. The cost is $20 which includes a signed print (worth $20 right there!) Pick up photo tips, as well as historic tidbits about Palmyra.

I do odd-ball things when it comes to my photography.  If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got.  Well, so it is with photography.

So, to be a little different this morning, I put my shutter on a few seconds, opened it, and just walked through the Sacred Grove.  The results might surprise you.

Walking with Shutter Open

It’s all in the walk.

Speaking of walking…

Please join me on July 15th at 8am for a 3 hour photo walk.  The cost is $20 which includes a signed print (worth $20 right there!)  Pick up photo tips, as well as historic tidbits about Palmyra.

Here’s another walking shot…


Walking in the Grove

For you, my friends, I hope you can feel what I feel as I walk the grove as you look at my images.

Walking in the Grove

I love walking in the Sacred Grove.  I get there about the time the sun is starting to break through the trees.  I love hearing the birds sing and the quiet solitude I find there.  

Often, I take time to ponder what happened here.  


I find myself wondering why the world doesn’t recognize the importance of that single event.  Whether one believes or not, I wonder why people who do not believe do not find it important to take the time to find out if it is true.  And, for those who do believe, I often ask why it does not motivate them to action.  

I marvel at trees that may have stood on that glorious day.  They stand as quiet witnesses to the greatest event since the resurrected Lord appeared in the meridian of time.  

A Silent Witness

There are those who may never have the opportunity to visit the Sacred Grove.  For them, I hope my images bring them some taste of what it is like.  Others have been there, but may never get to return.  I hope my images bring back memories for them.  Then there are those who hope to come visit.  May my images whet your appetite.  Finally, there are those who are not sure they want to visit.  For you, my friends, I hope you can feel what I feel as I walk the grove as you look at my images.

"Suddenly a Light Descended"

Note:  You can purchase many of my images (and 11x14s are on sale for the remainder of this year!) at http://dbwalton.smugmug.com/Photography/2010-in-2010 .  You may also visit my web site at www.FineArtbyDB.com .

Some Things Don’t Make Sense

Some things just don’t make sense.  One of them is this…

If you have been faithfully paying your mortgage, and the interests rates drop, why does a bank have to go through all those hoops to refinance your home at a lower rate?

It seems to be a low-risk, no-brainer to me.  Hmmm… they’ve been paying $1700/month faithfully, and at the new rate, we can lower their payment to $1500/month.   Oh, wait!  The loan to value equity is too high.  I guess we can’t do it.

I think I see an oportunity here for a non-formula-based bank.  Imagine a bank, rather than having canned rules that apply to 100% of the cases, has people with actual brains who study each situation and decide if the benifit out weighs the risk.

After getting turned down on one property, I did get a call (today – same say) from another bank.  This bank has some brains.  They said they will at no cost, drop my interest rate. 

I guess the latter bank has some people saying, “Hmmm… let’s call our good customers and lower their rate before they refinance with someone else. “

Choir Coming Together

Today at choir practice the songs started to come together.  We are singing some difficult selections, and today it finally started to sound like we’re catching on.

It was my turn to be organist today.  It was one of those rare days when my fingers cooperated with the signals from my brain.  I really don’t know how people like Diana Krall do it.  I can practice a song until I get it down, and I am still going to make mistakes.  Yet, I listen to Krall play and I wonder if she ever makes a mistake.

I also was organist at Stake Priesthood.  It is always enjoyable playing for the priesthood.  I love the sound of hundreds of men singing.  (One of my favorite movies is Hunt for Red October.  I love the sound track.)

Rain and Cameras

Primary Children at the Temple

Rain and cameras do not mix.  I am not sure where I left my brain this morning, but I went to the temple to photograph the Primary children.  While shooting, I was smart enough to put an umbrella over my camera.  I will give myself that much credit.  However, I left my bag, face up, open, in the pouring rain.

I did not notice this faux pas until I got all done and went to pack up.  We’re talking a LOT of water.

So, I rushed back to my office, took everything out, and removed everything from the cameras.  I placed the equipment in front of a space heater turned on full blast with the fan going full speed.  I turned the air conditioning on full blast, and I hoped the a/c would dehumidify the air, while the heaters evaporated the water from the camera equipment.  As far as I know… my technique saved everything.  (I still feel stupid.)

 Aside from that, Elizabethe and Stephanie got a lot weeded out of the flower beds.  I harvested some peas and beans.  We’ve got a LOT of peas.

A Day at the Office

I’m glad I got to start my day off with a walk in the grove.  It is one of the many things I cherish about living here.  I hope I never take it for granted.

Dew Graces the Daisy Petals

 Some mornings, I wish I didn’t feel rushed to hurry off to work.  But, retirement will get here soon enough.  For today, I will enjoy what little time I had to walk through the Sacred Grove.

Smith Log Home from the Grove

Every day at the office starts off with good intentions.  You have this and that to get done.  Before you know it is lunch time.  Shortly after lunch, you all of a sudden feel as though you cannot wait until 5pm to roll around.

Today was no different.

On the way home, Elizabethe and I decided rather than cooking dinner, we’d go to TGI Friday and get dinner.  We had a $25 gift card and it was just what was needed to avoid an hour slaving over the stove.

User Groups

The Internet gave birth to a whole new organization – the user group, or SIG (Special Interest Group) as it is also known by.

Tonight I joined a user group for Smug Mug.  It was their maiden meeting in Pittsford, NY.

Smug Mug is a photography hosting web site that allows people to show their photographs and for professionals to sell their photographs.  I have been using them for about a month.  (visit http://dbwalton.smugmug.com/Photography/2010-in-2010 and while you are there, buy a photo or two!)

Unlike SIGs, which are typically completely on-line, user groups get together for face-to-face meetings, or sometimes they also do electronic web meetings.  In this case, we had people who had been professional photographers for 50 or more years, and people who just take pictures for the fun of it.  Aside from being a good way to learn about a topic, it is also a good way to meet and make new friends.


Stephanie moved in tonight.  Stephanie will be a senior in high school and she’s going to stay here for the summer and help out around the yard.  An intelligent young lady, she also has an interest in photography.  You’ve seen her brother Johnathan in my blog last summer.  He helped remodel the office and build the wall upstairs.

One Year

I just completed my first year living in Palmyra.  Yes, I still love living here.  No, the winter wasn’t anything like the locals said it would be (and according to NOAA it never has been – that’s the reason for my Season Watch page in my blog.)

In one year, I’ve got a lot done around the estate.  I’ve completed the remodel of my office.  It used to be the “dog house” where the previous owners kept their prize-winning dogs.  Now it is an air-conditioned office for my studio.  I began painting the studio.  In the main house, I built a wall creating a hallway to the two dormer rooms in the west-wing.  I refurnished the dining room table.  And, I’ve managed to maintain a lot of little preventative-maintenance things.

Business-wise, things have gone well, especially this spring.  I did a big job for the Friend Magazine.  Wall art picture sales have been good, and I’m starting to get requests for senior and family portraits as well as weddings.

Life is good.


On another topic…

I never thought I would see the day when our rights are being so eroded.  I never thought I would see the day when we (our government) stand on the brink of collapse.  But, I’m seeing it and I want to share with you an example.

Roseville, California, a place where I used to ride my bicycle to, a place where I had friends, and the place where my mother passed away, is the home of such a constitutional abuse.  The Galleria Mall in Roseville has decided to create a “Don’t Talk to Strangers” rule.    Now, as kids, parents would tell us, “Now, go straight to Johnny’s house and don’t talk to strangers”, but who would have thought it would be carried to this extreme.

It appears that if you enter the Galleria Mall wearing a T-shirt that says, “Jesus Saves”, or “IMLDSRU?”, or “Vote for Joe”, or a shirt bearing a cross on it, you CAN be arrested !!!  A Placer County judge ruled that the mall can have people arrested who violate the mall’s “Don’t talk to strangers” rule, and that rule applies to shirts with religious slogans or POLITICAL messages. 

I’m sure I could walk in to the mall wearing an Aéropostale(tm) T-shirt and nothing would be said.  Or, I could wear a W W E RAW T-shirt depicting someone being slammed into the ropes.  But, if I wear something with the Nation’s Motto on it, “In God We Trust”, I can be arrested because some Nazi-oriented rent-a-cop takes offense and decides it violates the mall’s rule of “Don’t Talk to Strangers”.

To think someone can be arrested for violating a mall’s rule is beyond comprehension.  Since when are laws made by mall owners?  Since when are mall rules enforceable by anyone other than the mall management?

I could see being asked to leave.  I could see police being brought in if someone refused to leave.  After all, it is private property.  But, to be arrested for wearing a t-shirt that says, “Glenn Beck”, or “Rock the Vote”, is beyond anything I could have imagined.

 There is hope.  Pacific Justice Institute has stepped up to the plate to fight Placer County and the Galleria Mall pro-bono.  Oral arguments are to be heard in the 3rd Appellate Court in Sacramento, California, on Monday, June 28th.

You say, “Who cares?” 

You will when they arrest you for driving a Ford because Ford didn’t accept bail-out money.  Or, when you are arrested for bowing your head at McDonnald’s to say grace over your food.  Or, when you’re arrested because you disagree with the president’s policy on oil drilling.

Do you care now?

First Full Day of Summer

And, at one point, I did hear music ringing through the grove. I stopped to listen thinking it was someone with a boom-box playing it a little too loud for 6:30 a.m. It wasn’t; it was the birds. It was quite a cacophony of bird sounds.

Today is the first full day of summer.  I decided to take an early morning walk through the Sacred Grove.  (Note:  This time of year, put on insect repellant and wear a hat.  The bugs would not leave me alone.) 

The bees were definitely humming and the birds were singing.  And, at one point, I did hear music ringing through the grove.  I stopped to listen thinking it was someone with a boom-box playing it a little too loud for 6:30 a.m.  It wasn’t; it was the birds.  It was quite a cacophony of bird sounds. 

Sunlight Skimming the Ground


As the sun broke over the hills, it skimmed the ground and formed lines towards the center of the grove.  It was a wonderful sight to see as it pointed deep into the grove. 

Sacred Grove Path
Hathaway Brook - Smith Farm
First Day of Summer in the Grove

F.H.E. with the Hales

So, I coached him on how to remove it using the clone tool. Because of the randomness of the leaves on the grove’s floor, the clone job turned out very well without evidence that it had been done.

Summer started this morning around 7:40-something-a.m.  It was warm, but not as warm as it has been.

After work Elder and Sister Hales came for Family Home Evening.  Elizabethe read excerpts from a book about Willard and Rebecca Bean.  She had picked some highlights of their time here in Palmyra.  It was a nice review of Palmyra’s history in the early 1900’s.

After F.H.E. and some delicious dessert Sister Hales brought, I sat with Elder Hales tutoring him on Photoshop Elements.  He had a wonderful shot of the Sacred Grove that had a lens-flare he wanted to remove.  So, I coached him on how to remove it using the clone tool.  Because of the randomness of the leaves on the grove’s floor, the clone job turned out very well without evidence that it had been done.

I do love the Hales.  Elder Hales and I have had some fun times taking photographs together.  They have been a wonderful addition to the area.