A note from Sam…….

1 year, 6 months ago 6
Posted in: Uncategorized



I got a  photo, postcard, Christmas Card, Seasonal wish from Sam Garcia.  It is a self portrait and a good one.  The accompanying letter was, as Sam’s communications always are, cryptic, funny and touching.  Sam does not take compliments well, but that never stopped me!  For the 11 years I worked at Nikon and for decades before that, I counted Sam as one of a handful of pbotogpraphers that really affected my work.  As would be expected from a guy who is best firends with Jay Maisel, Sam is a remarkable shooter.  I’m not bragging, o.k. maybe a little, but I’ve worked with and become close to many of the greatest photographers of our era.  Sam is among the best I know.  His vision and his ability to reach well beyond the obvious is a talent I truly admire and long for.  It was once said of Karsh, the famous portrait photographer, that he, “could captute the person inside the subject.”  When Sam photographs those he knows best, he can do the same.


One of my only regrest about my time at Nikon is I missed tha last big gathering of the NPS team just before I retred.  At  that assignment Sam made portraits of our closest friends in the department.  He produced a little book (The Last Picture Show in Texas),  for each of us and only 20 copies were made.  I’m the fortunate owner of 1!   I leave it on my desktop and pick it up frequently and leaf through it to remember the great friends I worked with at Nikon and knew for years before that.  I want to show off Sam’s revealing portraits, but I cannot fail to mention some loving thoughts about each of these imporant people in my life.





Bill Pekala was my boss at Nikon and for many years before,  a dear friend,  I couldn’t begin to tell you all the great things Bill did to help me through out my career.  We still stay in touch and I cherish his friendship more than I can say, he’s a great shooter too!




Mark Kettenhofen is my brother from a different mother, which is what he calls me too!  We had a lot great times together and shared our sorrows and victories, our faith and our adventures.  Twice Military Photogpraher of the Year, Mark is an exceptional shooter and wonderful guy!  I miss him a lot.





Scott Diussa was my direct report for half my time at Nikon and I really enjoyed working with him.  He was a great teacher and photogpaher and he really enjoyed the fun of being an NPS manager. We got along great but I know it was a relief, for him,  to see me retire so we wouldn’t have to wrestle my passwords anymore!!!  I really appreiate Scott!




Mike Corrado is a very talented shooter and NPS rep.  I met Mike many years abgo during the GAPW days (early 90s) and we have remained friends to this day, I love him and his family, they’re great people!





Steve Heiner was a manager at Nikon.  I met him back when I met Mike Corrado (they were Nikon School teacher who worked together), and attended GAPW events. One of the funniest, nicest and most classy people I have known.  Steve always addresses me as, “Mr. Fortney”, which I’ve always appreciated, I respect him a great deal!  As you might suspect, a great shooter too!





Ron Taniwaki – Where should I start?  More hair-raising stories have been told about Ron than anyone I’ve ever known, many people doubt they are true, but I’m here to tell you, they are!!!  Ron is one great guy, and blast to hang out with, a cigar, and trout fishing expert and one of the best forensic folks in the photo industry!  Another real force as a shooter too!


So, thanks Sam for the memories!




the pilgrim


Note:  All images are copyrighted to Sam Garcia.  They have all been used with out his permission!  Sam, your attorney knows my address!

6 Responses

  1. THANK YOU for sharing this. I met Sam Garcia once — 20 years ago at a lecture. One thing hit me then and I remember it now. It was of Sam telling of the only connection he had with a grandfather is one photograph. Now with all the photography stuff I’ve remembered, forgotten or ignored over the years this was one of those things I never forgot. One photograph to make a connection. Not a roll of 36 or a near infinite cache of digital images. Fast forward maybe ten years when a computer glitch wiped out my master hard drive AND backup (during backup). It took two days to restore everything from CDs. The only thing I lost was the folder of images I shot with Joel Sartore from National Geographic including one of my favorite “spring” shots. Turns out that the one I liked the most still existed in a JPEG conversion. All of the raw files gone, only one image left and a JPEG at that. That was the only physical piece left of the day I spent with Joel. Kept thinking of Sam Garcia’s comments about the shot of his grandfather. Good lesson.

  2. Bill Pekala says:

    Thanks for the memories Mr. Bill – I too am the proud owner of one the books. Just looked at it a few days ago in fact. Fond memories

  3. David W. says:

    Thanks for sharing the images and the short comments on each one. I recall seeing some replies from a number of these names. I think I saw a few words from Mr. Peleka on this blog post. From your words today and a number of posts over the years, this is a great group to be associated with.

  4. admin says:

    They truly were and are!!!!

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