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1 month ago 3
Posted in: Uncategorized

 

I have been a fan of National Geographic almost my entire life, but my real interest started in 1968 when I fell in love with the craft of photography!  I went to the local Toyota dealer this morning to have a bulb repalced in one of my fog lights and while waiting, I found this old copy of National Geographic from 2013,  their 125th Anniversary.  I was engrossed with the articles and images and it re-sparked my love for this wonderful craft and hobby!  When I was a young photographer I admired the shooters for this magazine immensely!  Later in my career I got to know a number of them personally and I benefited greatly from their friendship and knowledge!  Now that I have been a student and teacher of photography for over 50 years, looking through an issue devoted to some of the great images that have appeared in this magazine, I saw them with different eyes!  So much of what I’ve learned and taught through the years are in full exhibition in these pages!  Armed with only the most important basic principles of photography,  these images jump out as sterling examples of doing the craft extremely well!

 

This  magazine articles are broken into catagories of what they believe their images do:

 

WITNESS

 

PROVE

 

RELATE

 

REVEAL

 

CELEBRATE

 

PROTECT

 

I believe their images and countless stories have accomplished those goals through the years.  It gave me the opportunity to see if my work, that is not photojournalism, which theirs are, have any other attributes?

 

I hope my work has:

 

INSPRIRED

 

DOCUMENTED

 

SHARED / TAUGHT

 

GIVEN INSIGHT

 

ENCOURAGED HOPE

 

Now, while I acknowldege that Natuonal Geographic has more than met their goals in their catagories, it is not for me to say whether or not I have.  I can only continue to see, capture and hope my goals are being met!  I do thank God for the great example of excellence they have set before all of us, and I continue to learn from them, and share that learning with you!

 

What a privilege it is to go through life holding a camera!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

 

1 month ago 8
Posted in: Uncategorized

 

After a great summer with Sherelene and my family, Tuesday it’s back out on the road.  I will pickup Jim Haverstock in Bloomington and we will head to the Badlands to start our scouting for the tour in about a week from now. We have 7 great people and I expect to have a great time in a  fantastic place to shoot!  I will try to post some images each evening, or two, for you guys!

 

This has been a great summer of spiritual inspiration, wonderful teaching from my pastor, good reading and lots of prayer.  I feel energized to get back in the field and spread His love!  I really am looking forward to getting back out there, and….I hate to leave home!  Does that make sense?  It does to me!  I love my family and I love being home, my own bed, my own kitchen and my own TV for football games!  No matter how nice the scenery, all that, out there, is just not home.  In spite of how much I miss home when I’m away, I do love the time I get with my photography friends, and all my students that want to be friends, become friends, even if for just a short time, it’s still a sweet, good time!

 

So, the rest of September it’s the Badlands, Black Hills, and Spaerfish.  Most of October it’s the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and Acada National Park.  Finally the first two weeks of November it’s the Great Smoky Mountains!  Then…..Home sweet home for the winter, until March and Route 66.  Lots of time with Sherelene, family and of course Chester, who should arrive in early December!  It’s a good life.  I wouldn’t change a thing!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

 

1 month, 1 week ago 8
Posted in: Uncategorized

 

 

 

When I decided to dump my Nikon gear and go mirrorless 6 years ago, mirrorless cameras were in their infancy.  Only a few manufacturers were producing mirroless cameras and only 3 were making a interchangeable lens cameras.  Now in 2018, with Nikon and Canon joining the parade, we have many choices of great mirrorless cameras. I’ve had more than few people ask me if I am having second thoughts about my choice of the Fujifilm’s X-Series?

 

I constantly evaluate my choices and think about if a system change might give me a significant advantage, all serious shooters do.  To answer that question for you and myself I need to go back to the reasons I switched to Fujifilm in the first place.

 

Number 1:  Size and weight.  My Nikon full frame sensor gear was just to heavy.  I had shoulder surgery and the aftermath was a great deal of discomfort lugging around heavy full frame bodies and lenses, I had to get something lighter, I had no choice!

 

Number 2:  Quality Images:  If I was gong to give up the quality of files I was getting from my Nikon’s I wanted a system that had lenses just as good and sensors that could produce equal results, but in a smaller form factor.

 

On the basis of those two requirements I went with the Fujifilm X-Series. After 6 years I can say that the Fujifilm bodies and lenses have given me just what I wanted, a high quality set of bodies and lenses that are smaller and ligter than their Nikon equivalents.

 

Do any of the new offerings tempt me?  I really like the Olympus OMD-1 MK II, but the smaller sensor would cost me the exceptional high ISO, low noise I get from the APS-C X-Trans sensor, so that is a “no go” for me.

 

The Nikon and Canon offerings look nice, but though smaller than conventional Nikon and Canon bodies, the lenses are still huge, so nope, their not going to work for me either.

 

I think Pentax makes great stuff but their supporting system is just not as vast.  So, it’s not going to work for me.

 

Sony has a lot going for it and seems to be in the forefront technologically over it’s two competitors, Nikon and Canon, but once again, big sensor, big lenses, no thanks.

 

Frankly I love the controls of the “throw back” designed Fujifilm bodies, the quality of construction and magnificent optical performance of the Fujifilm glass,  I especially love the number of fast single focal length lenses Fujifilm offers, I love them all and own them all!   The wonderful firmware update system that keeps improving their bodies, and their responsiveness to what Fujifilm owners are asking for, and getting.  They offer an affordable medium format camera and are about to offer, (rumor), a second body, that will be even more affordable!  The addition fo the 200mm F2 and converters makes for a very complete system!

 

  • In case you’re listening Fujifilm, we still would lov ea 120mm f 2.9 Macro, a tilt/shift lens, maybe a full frame fisheye and my personal greatest desire, a 70mm f 2.5 Fujicron, that would be a 105mm f 2.5,  anyone remember that!!!!  It worked fantastic for Nikon, you ought to give it a try!!!!

 

So no, I am staying right where I am and this is not a knock on any of these fine brands and their gear!  I’m sure for many photographers there will be a lot of happy campers with other brands!  Every photographer has personal likes an dislikes and the Fujifilm gear fits me perfectly, but it may not fit you the same!

 

What is happening in the camera industry is healthy and will give us more choices and more choices is never a bad thing.  It also raises the bar as each of these companies keep improving focusing, exposure, color quality, low noise at high ISO, and build quality, it also keeps everyone on their toes, competing and that is a great thing for you and I!!!!

 

So, no, I’m staying right where I am, but it’s exciting to watch!!!!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

1 month, 1 week ago 24
Posted in: Uncategorized

 

On Monday, about mid-day, I noticed that I had a area in my right eye, my shooting eye, that seemed blurry. When I placed my hand over my left eye, it became apparent that a triangular pattern with rough edges extended from the left border of my eye to the center of my eaye, a kind of grey opaque area which blocked any detail behind it, as illusrated above.  I tried eye drops and splashing cold water in my eye, but to no affect.  About 23 years ago I had a detached retina in that eye and my first thought was another detached retina, but the pattern was all wrong for that.  My next thought was a tear in the retina and that made the more sense.

 

I was to speak in Nashville on Tuesday night, so I first, sadly cancelled that, and then headed to Lexington to see a retina specialist.  After lots a drops and internal photographs of the eye I met with the doctor.  She said, “well your retina is fine, no tears and no detachment.  What you do have is a tiny piece of plaque lodged in a very tiny vein in the eye and it is blocking blood flow to the area of the eye that has gone opaque.”  She explained that there is not a procedure to physically dislodge the blockage.  I was encouraged to use eye drops, provided by her, to reduce pressue in that eye, and to keep taking my blood thinner and baby aspirin in the hope that it would dislodge the plaque.  So far it has not and it is likely that the area of the eye has been starved of blood long enough, now, that it will likely, not recover.  I still hope and pray, but so far no change.

 

Blessings and drawbacks;  A number of years ago I had cataracts in both of my eyes and had intra-ocular implants placed in both eyes. My right eye, the one affected has a lens focused at reading distance and my left eye at infinity.  With this arrangement I could drive or read without the need of glasses, though glasses did improve both functions.

 

I am a right eyed shooter, but I will now have to learn to shoot with my left eye, the one with no obstructions.  I’ve already tested my cameras adjusted now to my left eye and I can see fine, it will be a small, but I suspect short learning curve, to get used to shooting left eyed.  A real blessing is optical accomodation!  With both eyes open the greyed out area, of no vision, seems to disappear and be only very slightly notiable as the information from both eyes is integrated by the brain and the deficient area is filled in!!!  It is only very noticeable when I close my left eye revealing the blocked area of vision in the right eye.

 

So, “Just Deal With It!”  Would I prefer that this not have happened?  You bet, Would  I like for it to just clear up?  Yes, I would love it.  Can I live with it if nothing changes?  Absolutely, I have no choice, and I accept the challenge!

 

Let me make this a witnessing opportunity.  What is the first step, we should take, when things go wrong?  Find the good part!  The good part is the vein that was blocked was not feeding blood to the macular nerves which would have rendered me completely blind in my right eye!  That is definitely a blessing!  Second thing to do is praise God for the circumstances!  Do what!!!!?????  Years ago I read a wonderful book by an Army Chaplain called Prison to Praise, it was book about this pastor who found that what God wants us to do is praise Him in all circumstances, even when things to go all wrong.  Why on earth would you do that?!  If we believe that God only wants what is best for us, and that He will never allow anything to happen that does not help us, make us stronger and more able to serve Him, then we can live without fear of whatever we may have to face.  It seems impossible to feel that way when bad things happen, but if we can’t trust God completely, then do we really trust Him at all?

 

The most important part of my physical body, beyond my heart and brain, is my eyes!!  I use them for my craft and my passion, but I trust God with them and I know something will be learned through this expereince.  Today begins a new chapter in how I function as a visual artist, maybe slightly impaired, but still ready to climb back up on the horse and make adjustments.  With God’s help and strength, I will “just deal with it!”  “Deal with it” means knowing God has a plan, and I’m in the middle of His plan, and I would not want to be any other place!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

 

Today’s Prayer:   Heavenly Father, while I do not understand the need for this test, I accept that You will teach me through it.  I know You will give me strength to offset my weakness and will use this to deepen my relationship with You.  For any way that You want me to serve You, You will make a way.  May I face this with confidence in You, and the faith to know it will be overcome, through my reliance on You.  May all the good that comes from this bring Glory to You!  I pray this in Jesus precious Name, Amen.