Timothy Sedor's Newsletter "Photographs of the Month"
Timothy Sedor - 1967 - Los Angeles, CA
Book of Mormon Explorer
January 16th, 1999, George Potter, Bruce Santucci and I set out from Aqabah to follow Nephi’s written directions to the Valley of Lemuel. We traveled south along the shore of the Red Sea (Gulf of Aqabah) until we ran into the shoreline mountains that ran directly to the sea blocking any possible passage by camel or 4X4. We were forced, like Lehi would have been, to detour to the east through a valley where he could have taken his camels thru the mountains. We made the left turn and traveled 6 miles through this mountain valley that we found to open unto another valley heading again southward.
The picture of the month (retrieved from our film “Discovering the Valley of Lemuel”) is the remarkable view that Lehi and his family saw once they emerged from their detour in the mountains. A “U” shaped mountain pass that became the Wadi Tayib Al Ism (Valley of the Good Name) that took Lehi and his family directly to our candidate for the Valley of Lemuel and River of Laman.
This month’s photograph shows George shooting some footage for our film, “In Search of the Real Mount Sinai,” in Egypt. The story behind this photo is that 3 days prior - George, Susan and I, found us near Port Said on the Mediterranean after a week of exploring the Sinai Peninsula. I was finishing up my last shoot as the sun was closing for the day. The structure that we had parked our car near, we took to be an abandoned daycare center with its walls of several faded pastel colors with remnants of a rusted swing set in a rat-tailed wire enclosed play yard - turned out to house a small Egyptian military garrison.
Within a few minutes of an alarm that was sounded, we were surrounded by 13 young soldiers nervously shuffling AK47s in their hands, brushing sleep from their eyes as it was apparent they had been taking a nap and now were beginning to take us seriously. A senior member of this band of brothers used his walkie-talkie to call his commander as within minutes two senior Army officers approached in a military vehicle.
After an informal interrogation in the field and an explanation that we were filming on a military reservation (There were no signs in Arabic or English indicating that it was a restricted area) and this was forbidden, I was asked to turn over my cameras. The commander assured me that my cameras would be returned to my hotel in Cairo the next day.
There was still some daylight left as we headed for the ferry to cross the Suez Canal. Driving in Cairo during the day is an unforgettable experience but can not compare with driving the streets at night. I was able to give George directions through the maze of headlamps and honking horns, following the breadcrumb trail on my worldwide Magellan Map 410 GPS that contained the streets of Cairo to our hotel.
The next day we visited the American embassy in Cairo to report the incident. They promised to forward my cameras to the Dhahran consulate in Arabia as I had made arrangements with the hotel for them to bring my cameras to the embassy if the cameras arrived after I left for home.
So this is the rest of the story of why we find George shooting footage in this photograph.
Did I ever get my cameras back?
"Firm, and Steadfast and Immoveable," the title of this photograph of the opening of the Vallely of Lemuel unto the Gulf of Aqabah. Just as Father Lehi used in his analogy for his son Lemuel of the valley which they stood.
Every professional photographer has a very short list of favorite photographs as do I and this one is on mine.
This photo can be seen on the cover of our DVD, "Discovering Lehi's Trail" and in the title screen on our online "Nephi Project Discovery Store."
Taken in January 1998, we see the last rays of the setting sun over the Sinai Peninsula on the other side of the Gulf of Aqabah, reflecting down the lower portion of the canyon, to the valley wall, whilst a very good friend of mine, John, raises his arm in salute to this wonderful scene.
To give you an idea of how tall are these canyon walls (over 2,500 feet straight up), see if you can find John on the valley floor.
(Pentax, KodaColor, 28mm, f2.8, 1/30th sec.)
Shazer (1 Nephi 16:13, 14). This photo, "Road to Shazer," was retrieved from our film "Discovering Lehi's Trail & Shazer." We had the honor to be the first LDS explorers to travel down the Gaza branch of the Frankincense Trail.