Recent Posts
2 months, 2 weeks ago 10



I’ve seen this done a lot better, but it is still a thrill to see the light cast these shadows in my own yard!


Better?   What does that mean?  I look at the work of lots of other photographers and I often say, “man I wish I’d shot that!!”  Just the other day I was looking at Rick Sammon’s work, “Wish I had shot that!”  Then some of Ian Plant’s wonderful landscapes, “Sure wish I had seen and shot that!” Jack Graham and Guy Tal, you bet, same response.  So what’s the point?


I can tell you what the point isn’t, outshooting any of these folks!  The world doesn’t need another Guy Tal, or Jack Graham, Ian Plant or Rick Sammon, there is already one of each!  When I was younger I wanted to be John Shaw, or at least as good as John Shaw, but what’s the point?  It finally dawned on me that I need to be Bill Fortney, and the best Bill Fortney I could be.  You see, being the best “you” can be is fun, it’s not a competition, it’s as series of growth experiences, sometimes you fail, sometimes you win, and it’s all fun.  You never loose, and you never come in second in that contest!


The questions is “do you make photographs to impress others, or because you enjoy the process?”  I’m not judging, I used to make images in hopes they would be appreciated by others, now I make them because it’s fun!  The real of joy of not worrying about the other guys or gals work is you can genuinely be happy for others when they make great images.  In the past it was maddening to see others out shoot me, now I’m happy, and I actually get inspired by them!


Look at this way, in a great old western movie I love, “The Fastest Gun Alive.”  came one of my favorite quotes, “there’s always a faster gun!”  If you were to become the best photographer in the world today, in 15 minutes someone would surpass you.  Seems kind of pointless doesn’t it!?


Striving to be the best you can be is a good  thing,  just don’t tie your expectations to what others are doing!  Trust me it will be a lot more fun when you do!




the pilgrim

2 months, 2 weeks ago 17



This is a call for prayer.  We are in dark days!  When forces of pure evil start murdering Christians just because they represent the Cross, we are in dark days indeed.  In the midst of this travesty, our leaders are holding a summit to explore how we can change the minds and hearts of the terrorists!   The focus is on why they do what they do, and if helping them get jobs might lift them out of poverty and change their minds.  This is the most unbelievable of many  ridiculous turns of events out of this current administration.  It is hard to imagine that anyone could even think that is a solution!!!!!!


The secular humanist movement has long preached that people are not truly bad they just came from bad circumstances.  Folks, it’s time to wake up and face the music.  There really is pure, adulterated, evil in the world and you are seeing it now.  These people will stop at nothing until they eliminate everyone that does not adopt their religion.


I hate war and death and all that comes with it, but when someone burns people alive by the dozens and beheads their enemies, it’s time to eliminate that enemy, not try to help them.  You can’t negotiate with this threat!  If I were the president I would start tomorrow to wipe the earth clear of this evil.  The peace loving Muslim community needs to join with the rest of the world to help us rid ourselves of this pure evil menace.  I do not believe all Muslims are evil, but these radical terrorists truly are.


It brings me no joy to say this, no joy at all, but if we do not take care of this problem while it is contained in the middle east, we will soon be facing it here!


Please pray for America and our leaders, a wake up call is needed……..


the pilgrim



2 months, 2 weeks ago 14



Sorry about that Trey!  Actually I’m stuck in Berea, Kentucky at the Fairfield Inn!  Actually Sherelene is the Nurse Practitioner at the Baptist Health Express Care Center and we could see y yesterday that this weather system was going to trap her here, so I came up and will stay with her until this weather passes through.  We have 6 inches of snow now, and are predicted to get 18 inches!  For us that is a big snow!  *(Stop snickering Bill Pekala!)  Snow and bad weather is all relative!  In Minnesota this would be called a break in the weather!


So I’m setting up office in my room here for a few days.   I have some things I wanted to share so here goes:


(1)  You asked for it and it’s coming.  The Fuji X-System Guide Part II is on the way.  I will go deeply into the Firmware updates for the X-T1 and X-E2.  I have a lot of new info about how to do hassle free HDR bracketing.  I have ton of new tips about getting the most of the X-T1.  I also want to do a full test of the new and very spectacular 50-140 f 2.8 zoom and info on upcoming products from Fuji.  Hope to have that out in the next few weeks!  Since it is a major update it will be value priced at $4.95!


(2)  A future His Light Tour!  I’m scouting Route 66 and hope to offer a tour of the section between Albuquerque and Las Vegas to include  day in Nelson Ghost Town! This section of the Mother Road is filled with great photo pops and I think it would be a great week long tour.  I will post images in March when I scout the area, stay tuned, but my bet is it will be on the 2016 schedule!


(3)  A reminder that we still have openings in two upcoming workshops.  March 20-21, Jack and I still have a few openings for Nelson Ghost Town just outside of Las Vegas Nevada.  this is Americana treasure trove!  Contact Jack at:     His Light’s April 8-12 Workshop at Memory Lane in Rogersville, Tennessee (near Kingsport) is a trip back to the fifties in a killer re-bult town.  Finally Fred Sisson and I will hold a Americana workshop in Roanoke, Virgina April 29 to May 3rd.  We will visit the amazing Winston O. Link Museum the legendary train photographer of the 1960′s, we will visit and and photograph the Transportation Museum of Virginia and shoot countless great Americana subjects in  Old Roanoke!    And Jack and I w ill return to Grandfather Mountain and the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in Spring, May 27-31.  This is one of my favorite locations in the east, consider joining us!


(4)  Will Canon’s current lenses support 50 mega pixels?  When Nikon released the 36 mega pixel D800 back when I worked for Nikon, a number of lens updates came along with the new camera.  I am sure that Nikon knew that the lenses for the D800 had to b able to keep up with that resolution.  I am wondering out loud how Canon plans to deal with tis dilemma.  It is an optical fact of life that the more resolution we attempt to use the more demanding it is on the glass.  I will be interested in seeing how this in handled.  As the new Canon is released, I imagine you will see more and more on this subject.


Well that covers it for now, be safe, and I hope you are warm wherever you are!!!!!




the pilgrim

2 months, 2 weeks ago 18




It’s been snowy and cold in Kentucky, but today has at least been warm in our hearts, Sherelene and I celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary today, Valentines Day!  We’ve had a good day and it’s not over!  I wanted to share a few blessings and says thanks to a few people, not the least of which is my Heavenly Father.


First up my friend and photo buddy Rick Samon.  On a couple of occasions I’ve taught at big event the year after Rick was the speaker, it has always made me little nervous, because  though I didn’t know Rick personally (and that is important to the rest of the story!),  I knew of his reputation as a good guy, really great shooter, and effective presenter, nobody likes to follow that!!!!


Anyway when I finally met Rick a couple of years ago at a Photoshop world he turned out to be all the things I hoped it would be, a truly nice guy!  So recently when i decided to drive the entire 3500 miles of my upcoming March events I wanted to drive down as much Route 66 as I could and I had seen some of Rick’s incredible work from Route 66!   I wanted to know some of his favorite spots, but honestly I’ve gotten mixed reactions over the years when I asked some other shooters to share their secrete spots, some have been nice and some have declined. I was pretty sure that Rick would be helpful.  When I called him and asked, he went way out of the way to give me lists of locations, describe where some of his favorite shots on his website were taken, along with tech tips on time of day, and other valuable scouting info!  He even had a student send me the actual day by day schedule of his workshop!  I was very impressed with his spirit of sharing the journey.    Here is a couple of his shots that I love!



I won’t copy his work, but I sure will try to do the subjects justice!!!!   Thanks Rick for being a such a nice guy!


Under the Heading of God cares about all the little things, whether you believe it or not!  I’ve been facing replacing my trusty old 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser with 244,000 miles.  I thought about keeping it but I felt as much travel cross country l do and plan to do more, it might be time.  I had finally settled on a 2015 Subaru Outback.  I think they make a nice car and they’re reliable. I wanted something sorta luxurious but really could’t swing it.  I went by the Toyota dealer to see if I could get  my oil changed before taking it to trade and I noticed they had a late model Lexus RX-350 on the lot.  I went over and looked at it,  it looked like a new one and was loaded, I figured it was way over what I could afford, so I drove back home.  Later I thought about it and called a guy I know the dealership and asked him what they were asking for it, he told me all about it which made things even worse, (this had been  my dream vehicle for years, but even though it was 2012 year model, it only had 26,000 mile on it,)  his price was still over my head.  He said bring your FJ in and let me see if I can make it affordable.  I did and I took it for test drive which made things even worse, now I was praying he would make a really good offer!



He did make me a very good offer!  So the next time you are looking for me somewhere don’t look for a silver FJ Cruiser, look for silver Lexus!  Now I really can’t wait for my 3,500 mile out west and back.  Thanks for the countless blessing Lord!


Under the heading;  it never ceases to amaze me how nice some people are.  A former student of Jack’s and mine, Justin Ruiz, reads my blog and will be joining in Arches/Canyonlands.  It turns out he has just driven some of the Route 66 parts I’m headed for next month.  He sent me and email with some great sample pictures and some of his favorite locations on that stretch of the Mother Road!!!  Wow, thanks Justin, I will definitely check them out!  Here is one of his shots that knocked my socks off!

The Painted Desert Rim





Well, I think I’ll go throw another log on the fire,  and cuddle up with my sweetheart of 45 years and watch the snow fall!




the pilgrim