Category : Uncategorized

2 years, 8 months ago 2
Posted in: Uncategorized

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Shot at Old Car City  X-T2 / 18-135 in Acros with a red filter


I got a bunch of email questions about the previous blog entry so I thought I would answer them!


Question:  When do you prefer to use the X PRO 2 and the single focal length lenses?


Answer:  First, it is the tactal experience, I simply love hand holding the X PRO 2 with any of the single focal length lenses, second for some subjects the quality of the glass just screams with wonderful images!!!  60mm Macro below!



red leaf



Question:  I notice you don’t have either the 18-55 or the 16-55, I remember you had and sold a 16-55,  why do you own neither one?


Answer:  Actually you are right, I own the 18-135 which covers the range of both   It is slower and maybe just a very tad less sharp, but enormousely useful and plenty sharp enough.  I had both and found I rarely used them after getting the 18-135.  From time to time I am tempted to re-purchase one of the two, if I did,  it would be the 18-55,  if I find a good deal on one I would still like to have it for travel.  The image below should kill all debates over if the 18-55 is “sharp enough”!!!


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Question:  How would you use the 16mm f 1.4 for greatest affect?


Answer:  Actually the image below, is a great exanple of extreme shallow depth-of-field and close focus ability of the 16mm!  These kinds of lenses help us make a statement that can’t be accomplished with any other lens!



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Question:  I read a test report on E PHOTO Zone that said the 18-135 was not very sharp, any comments?


Answer:  I read the same report and I generally have a great deal of trust in their test reports, I think they are very fair minded and thorough.  One thing I know is that all lenses vary in quality on rare occasions.   If they had tested five lenses I would bet  a bunch that the other four would have gotten much higer scores.  I truly beleive and know that  the two I have owned are both very sharp and of the highest quality, proof below!






Question:  I’ve considered the 100-400 but wonder if it is really that good?


Answer:  To be honest, I felt the same,  I really worried about if a zoom of that much range could be good enough for critical work.  When I tested it for Fujifilm, I was astounded.  The image below was the one that sold me!



Emerald Boa



So at least that is a few, more to come!




the pilgrim



One last point, we worry too much about the gear!  Guess what this was shot with?




How about the original Fujifilm X10, a $600. high quality point and shoot!  Hand held no less!





2 years, 8 months ago 19
Posted in: Uncategorized

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If you’re tired of seeing my latest plans for packing gear, just skip this one, but don’t hope that this madness will end soon!!  I finally figured it out.  You buy gear, and more gear and more and finally you have more gear than will fit in even the largest bag that any two men can lift!!!!  O.K. it’s not quite that bad, but you do end up with a lot “specialized” things that won’t fit in a resonable size bag.  For me a rasonable size bag can’t weight more than 30 lbs.  That is the limit of what I’m comfortable putting in the overhead bin.  So the most recent plan is as follows.  If I go somewhere and expect to shoot a wide variety of subjects, like a nature workshop or travel assignment I will take my rolling Think Tank Advantage bag that weighs in at 29 lbs (illustrated above).  It contains the following  gear:


2 – Fujifilm X-T2s  (one with Power Booster)_

The folowing lenses:

14mm f 2.8

10-24 f 4

23mm f 1.4

18-135 f 3.5-6.6

56mm f 1.2

60mm Macro f 2.4

55-200 f 3.5-4.6

200mm Micro Nikkor f 4

100-400 f 4.5-5.6

1.4 Teleconverter


For  coverage of from 15mm to 840mm and Macro work!



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The second bag is a Lowepro Flipside Sport 10L AW that hold my “Speed System”  This would be used where single focal length lenses and rangefinder type cameras work best; travel, street, people and family  images.  This is also my go to system when working in low or available light.  This bag weighs in at only 10 lbs, and contains:


2 – Fujjifilm X PRO 2 bodies

16mm f 1.4

23mm f 2

35mm f 2

50mm f 2

90mm f 2


For a coverage of from 24mm to 135mm


All bag plans are simply experiements and using them in the field will tell if it is the right combination and what, if anything, is missed in the field.   Just to be specifiic I also have a 8mm fisheye, 27mm f 2.8 and 35mm f 1.4  and when driving I will have them salted away, but none made the cut to be a primary tool in these two bags.


Hope that was helpful, if not forgive me for my never ending obsessions!!!!




the pilgrim

2 years, 8 months ago 4
Posted in: Uncategorized

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We had our first Summit in the Smokies and we  had a terrific group, and they had a great time!  Unfortunately they did not have  the conditions above!!!!  It was the worst early April I’ve ever seen.  Streams were flooded, the foliage was not really out at all, but our group soldiered on.  Jack and I have another group at the end of April and the conditions should be much improved.  So why tell this story!?


Because as a nature shooter you know conditions can often be something less thana what  you wanted, what do you do?  You do what my folks did, they went out and found something selse to do, and did it well!!!


This is the joy of having great students in a gerat location….  When they do what real photogrpahers do!  They work it out!!!!




the pilgrim

2 years, 8 months ago 18
Posted in: Uncategorized


Joe Portrait small


I just had the pleasure of hanging out with Joe McNally for a couple of days at my home in Corbin, (yes, I’m bragging!).  Well, we weren’t at my home much, we were doing coal miners portraits in Bell Couinty, Kentucky.  O.K. “we” weren’t doing portraits, Joe was, I just made the contacts and helped him with his gear, and that is o.k. because it gave me something, very precious to me, time with Joe.  Let’s get one thing out of the way, Joe McNally is probably the world’s finest magazine photojournalists, a master of lighting, but what means the most to me, a man of genuine integrity, chracter and filled with grace.


I’ve said many times, there is no such thing as a famous photographer.  Elvis was famous, Bob Hope was famous!   Photographers, at best, are just known or respected by their peers, Joe McNally is both known and  highly respected by his peers!   Very few of us are ever stopped in an airport and asked are you, “fill in the blank”, and if we are, it is 99% of the time someone that has taken a class with us, watched a video class, or bought one of our books.  So let’s get this clarified, among our peers,  Joe is famous, very famous.  Settled, moving on.


What is much more important to those of us that are fortuante enough to call him a freind, is the man, Joe McNally.  Who is that Joe McNally?  He is a truly caring individual that quickly and eagerly becomes a part of the lives of his subjects.   Joe has countless friends from the 911 Project because he not only photographed them at a critical time in their lives, he became a part of their family, he went through the experience with them, suffered their loss and really cared about those people.  They are still close friends and he keeps in touch with them too!  I could go on, but trust me when I tell you 54 coal miners in Eastern Kentucky made a new friend over the last two days.  Around the world there are famous people, leaders, athletes, and common working men and women that Joe has touched with his genuine, caring concern and admiration for them.


If you spend time with Joe you see that he really does care, he really does try to look into the real lives of his subjects, he respects them (that is why I can’t share anything he shot here) at least not now.  He gave his word to the miners that they would see the images first, and that was the right thing to do, and he always keeps his word, so I will too.  Trust me the few I’ve see on the computer screen truly capture something far deeper than just a portrait!  Why?  Well, because he is Joe McNally.   I could have used his lights, set up by him and made images and I know they would not be anything like his.  He connects at a deeper level, and it results in truly wonderful images that capture the real subjects.  People that he interact with trust him, because they sense that they know they can.  I wear a wrist band that says “Becasue I said I would”  it remind me to keep my word.  Joe, doesn’t need one, that’s who he is.




Joe and mallory small



I’m very careful who I invite into my world, the world of these miners and the mountains that I love so deeply.  Many have abused the opportunity and made me regret sharing this place with them.  Joe did the opposite, he respected these men, he showed his genuine concern for their lives, their families the trials and tribulations of working miles under a mountain  in coal you can barely stand up in.  He left us with a deep respect for these people, my people.  He also captured their spirit, their grit and determination in his images, and I can’t wait to take the  resulting prints back down to the mine and share them with them.  They all will get prints of themselves, it’s a Joe McNally thing, starting to get it? 



Joe inthe crt small



Thanks Joe, for being who you are,  not the famous photographer, not the globe trotting super star, not the guy that has rubbed shoulders with people few could ever imagine meeting, but for being a decent, humble man, a great husband to Anne, a true treasure to those of us who are honored call you a friend,  and yes, for being a man of Integrity, Character and filled with God’s Grace.


 It was a good two days!





the pilgrim



  •  A very special thanks to Sandy and Leo Miller, Dave McCarthy and the great people of Rock Hampton Energy, especially Rex Fought and Johnny Evans, for making us feel so welcome and working so hard to make Joe’s shoot possible!  A very special thanks goes out to the 52 incredible miners that let us into their lives for a few hours, a few hours, that we will always remember!


SPECIAL UPDATE ON WES:   Wes started his second round of Chemo today and the blood work came back very positive, his Doctor was elated at how his blood had recovered this time, please keep praying, and thank you so much!!!