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2 months, 1 week ago 6

Today’s message is short and sweet!  Everything you are looking for, every question you have about life, every problem you face, every fear that chases you.  The answers are in the Word of God.  I’m sure you spend time in the Word, but if you don’t, please take a simple challenge, try to read a few chapters a day and let the Holy Spirit reveal the rich truth you will find!  I am amazed at how personally God speaks to me about whatever is on my mind!  The simple truth is He loves you more than you could ever know, and He knows you better than you know yourself!


Give Him a chance to speak to you, you will never be the same!




the pilgrim

2 months, 1 week ago 18


The 5 reasons I wouldn’t go back!!!!


1.  My back doesn’t hurt anymore!


Almost everything in my bag, is at least half the weight of my former full frame DSLR system.  Generally almost every body and lens takes up half the space!  So far, I see no reason to believe that my Fuji bodies and lenses are not just as well made, and rugged as the bigger DSLR system.  Frankly my Fujinon lenses “feel” more rugged than many of the plastic lenses of this modern day!  My old (3 to 4 decades old), Nikkors have that same old world sweet smoothness!  I still use them on the X-T1 with an adapter and get fantastic results!  The wide angles are not of much use because of the APS-C sensors 1.5 factor, but the long glass and midrange zooms get a lot more interesting!  The Nikkor manual focus Micro lenses are insane!



2.  I simply love the operational design of the Fuji X System cameras!  


I grew up with a “real shutter speed knob” and a “real aperture ring”!  Mechanical controls,  (Now I know these mechanical controls make electronic changes, but they operate “mechanically!!!”)  I like the ISO knob on the XT-1 (also a “mechanical” knob), and actually like that it locks!  Some have complained that it could be faster without a lock, and while that is certainly true, I like getting and keeping the ISO I set in the first place!  I fired my D700 the other day and was shocked at how loud and vibration prone it was, I then picked up the XT-1 and fired them side by side.  The difference was remarkable, the XT-I was quieter than a Leica, and with no mirror slap vibration (no mirror!).


3.  Cameras are for making images, and I’m taking the best in my 45 year career!


This one is purely subjective, but I can tell you with a completely straight face that my work has immeasurably improved, both in technical and aesthetic terms!!!!  I think the biggest reason is that I’m like a kid again in respect to my excitement and desire to go out and make images!!!  A big part of that is covered in point # 4!!!  It probably helps that I’m retired!!!!!


4.  Features I didn’t have in a DSLR!


Working with the Fuji X System and in particular, the XT-1, several features have made me a big time believer in mirror-less;


A.  While the EVF of the XT-1 is not quiet like looking through a D4, in some ways it’s better!  It’s brighter in low light, ( it’s a video image and it can brighten up so you can see better!), and it shows all your menu items settings actual affects when you half press the shutter release, yes you read that right, you see what the resulting image will look like!  If that were not enough, immediately after you make the image, it appears in the viewfinder exactly as it will appear later on your computer screen!  You can turn it off if you like, but I love it!  One more thing for manual shooters you can select a histogram to be live in the viewfinder as you make exposure adjustments!


And this is the “BIG” one!  Focus peaking has made manual focusing easier and more accurate than any other system I’ve ever used!  Now you can enjoy using many of the hundreds, maybe thousands, of older LEGACY manual focus lenses!!!!  It has breathed new life into Nikkor Micro lenses, moderate zooms, and especially, long glass!!  Imagine having a 600mm, f 3.5, that focuses close!!!  I’ve got it, and it didn’t cost $12,000.  (the old 400mm f 3.5 IF-ED manual focus Nikkor lens)


B.  You can set a menu item that allows you to see “real time” the depth of field as you stop down the aperture ring!!!!  No more depth-of-field preview buttons and impossibly dark viewfinders!  You would be surprised what a big deal this is after you use it!


C.  When you dial in compensation, ( yes Virginia, it’s a metal knob with click stops!!! (conveniently right next to your shooting thumb!!), you can see the affect it has on exposure, just how the image will look.  I shoot Aperture Priority and tailor exposure with the compensation dial, it works great.  By-the-way, the Fuji’s are like every other camera I’ve used in years, for my taste .3 or .7 minus compensation is needed to get to what I think is “affective exposure”, who knows what correct is!!!!????  The exposure comp dial is = or – 3 stops!


D.  My favorite feature is film type bracketing.  The Fuji’s allow you to pick three film simulations and then every time you make a shot, it processes three separate files in those film types!!!  Choices are;  PROVIA (standard color), ASTIA (soft, great skin tones, and rich color), VELVIA (high contrast palette of richly saturated colors), PRO NEG HIGH (great for outdoor portraits, slightly higher contrast), PRO NEG STANDARD ( great subtle skin tones, perfect for studio portraits under controlled lighting), MONOCHROME, (standard, full range, beautiful Black & Whites),  MONOCHROME YELLOW FILTER, (slightly higher contrast), MONOCHROME RED FILTER (higher contrast-great for spectacular landscape with blue skies and clouds), MONOCHROME GREEN FILTER ( good for outdoor portraits), SEPIA (sepia toned monochrome images.)   Most of the time I have mine set to PROVIA, VELVIA, AND MONOCHROME.  I do also use, ASTIA and MONOCHOME RED FILTER, pretty often!  90% of the time the Monochromes need almost no post!  They look spectacular!



5.  Even cutting my camera bag weight in half, I haven’t give up the image quality I crave!


I’ve selected some images, some of my favorites from this past year, all with various Fuji X cameras and Fuji XF lenses and a few with Nikkor manual focus adapted glass: ( I will give the technical data!)


Fuji X100s   ISO 1600  1/12th of a second handheld   In camera Monochroime!



Old Service Station Canonsburg Village   Fuji X-E1  180-55  ISO 200



Colored Pencils   –  Fuji X-E1  60mm Micro lens ISO 800



Licence plates on wood wall   –  Fuji X-E1   18-55    ISO 1600



Model T in Sprague, WA  Fuji X-T1    55-200  ISO 400



Fold in the earth Palouse WA  Fuji X-T1  Nikon 300mm f 4.5 IF-ED     ISO 800




Any downside??  Yes, if Fuji is reading this, (and I’m told they do!!!), here is my wish list:


1.  Firmware update to give 9, 7, & 5 stops of exposure bracketing. (for us HDR guys) You can add in improved focusing speed with the 60mm Macro!


2.  A 100mm Macro lens that goes 1:1 !!!!????  I know I’m pushing my luck, but a 150mm would be even better!  The current 60mm is spectacularly sharp, but won’t go 1:1 and focuses painfully slow compared to all other FX lenses.  It does play nice with Diopters though!

I sure hope rumors of a fast 90mm are true!


3.  Almost as good as a longer Macro lens would be a set of three Automatic Extension tubes, this is very doable!!!!  Those and the 56 f 1.2 would be a dream come true!!!  Some third party ones exist but they are very poorly finished out!


4.  Make sure the soon to come 120-400 is a constant aperture f 4 or no slower than f 4.5,  PLEASE no variable aperture!!!!  This is the lens that will really complete the Fuji XF line, don’t release it until it is drop dead spectacular!!!!!!  Lots of folks think this is a lens you can’t make as fantastic as your others, I’m betting they’re wrong!!!  By-the-way, I would be happy to test the prototype for you in Yellowstone this fall!!!!  Hint, hint!!!


5.  Ask the battery guys what can be done to beef up the battery life!!??  While on that subject, thank you so much for not making third party batteries incompatible, others have done this, and it’s not playing nice!  At least good reserves are purchasable reasonably, and they have given me good service!  Since they are small, it’s easy to carry a half dozen extras!


6.  While I’m bragging on you, thanks for handling the few complaints you’ve gotten the right way!  You stepped up to the plate, admitted mistakes, and made repairs or adjustments, quickly. Three cheers for treating the customer like you really care, which I believe you actually do!!!!!!


7.  Re-release the 55-200 in a slightly heavier build quality with a tripod collar, don’t touch the optics, they’re great right now!!!!  Not holding my breath on this one, but Canon did that with their hot selling 75-300 and it has been very well received!  People are willing to pay a premium for more structural strength, I would be too!


8.  Please don’t feel the need to go full frame, the size and extraordinary quality of the X Trans Sensor brought you to the dance, my advice is keep dancing with her!!!  She is, after all, beautiful!!




the pilgrim



2 months, 2 weeks ago 13


HIS LIGHT  Workflow & Image/Music Show Production Workshop

February 4-8, 2015  (Wednesday-Sunday)

Corbin, Kentucky  Limited to 10    $699.    Team:  Bill Fortney & Jim Begley


Learn a clear concise workflow system to post process your images quickly and effectively, HDR and One Stop HDR.  In the second half of the workshop you will learn how to produce image synch shows.  One night Bill will have the group as guests in his home for his “Famous Fortney Bar-B-Que!”



HIS LIGHT  Exotic Reptiles & Florida Birds Workshop

February 18-22, 2015  (Tuesday – Sunday)

Fort Myers, Florida   Limited to 14    $1,099.    Team: Mike Matthews,  Bill Fortney & Jim Begley


Join Mike, Jim, and I for an incredible opportunity to photograph exotic animals that would require traveling to every continent on earth and even then you might not be able to find them.  At our workshop you will shoot  them under controlled conditions on the plants where you would find  them around the world.  Mike Matthews is a expert on these animals and you will learn a great deal about them!  In the second half of the workshop we will capture Florida birds in prime season, Mike has intimate knowledge of the best bird photography spots!!




Arches & Canyonlands   A Jack Graham Workshop

March 26-29, 2015  (Wednesday – Sunday)

Moab, UT    Limited to 12    $995.    Team: Jack Graham & Bill Fortney


Explore America’s premier Red Rock country parks, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.  From deep canyons to fantastic arches, and rock formations!  Let Jack and Bill open up a whole new world of landscape photography for you!  If this were not enough join Bill at one of very most favorite burger joints!  Milt’s Stop and Eat!




HIS LIGHT   The Old Car City Workshop

March  25-29, 2015  (Wednesday – Sunday)

Cartersville, GA    Limited to 12    $799.    Team:  Jim Begley


If you love old rusting cars and trucks and want to step up your fine art portfolio, plus learn some incredible post processing, join Jim and Bill for one of our most popular workshops, join us for all the fun!




HIS LIGHT  The Great Smoky Mountains in Spring Workshop

April  15-19, 2015  (Wednesday – Sunday)

Townsend, TN    Limited to 12    $899.    Team: Bill Fortney & Jim Begley


The Great Smoky Mountains are a sheer paradise int he spring, wildflowers, full  streams of crystal clear water, the multiple shades of spring green, yes a paradise!




 HIS LIGHT   Memory Lane Workshop  

May 6-10, 2015  (Wednesday – Sunday)

Kingsport, TN    Limited to 12    $899.    Team: Bill Fortney & Jim Begley


When I had my first opportunity to shoot at Memory Lane in Rogersville, I could not believe what an incredible Americana collection Mr Eldridge has preserved.  If you are into our past, especially the 1950′s and before, you are in for the treat of a lifetime.




The Grandfather Mountain – Blue Ridge Parkway Workshop    –    A Jack Graham Workshop

May 27-31, 2015  (Wednesday – Sunday)

Banner Elk, NC   Limited to 12    $799.    Team: Jack Graham & Bill Fortney


For the second straight year we will experience the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and the crown jewel, Grandfather!  Great Streams and waterfalls, mountain vistas, and the coolest old country store in America!




The Palouse     -    A Jack Graham Workshop

June 8-14, 2015 (Wednesday – Sunday)

Colfax, GA    Limited to 12    $799.    Team: Jack Graham & Bill Fortney


If you love old rusting cars and trucks and want to step up your fine art portfolio, plus learn some incredible post processing,  join Jim and Bill for one of our most popular workshops, join us for all the fun!




The Oregon Coast    -    A Jack Graham Workshop

June 25-29, 2015 (Wednesday – Sunday)

Colfax, GA    Limited to 12    $795.    Team: Jack Graham & Bill Fortney



Explore the beautiful coast of Oregon with one of the most knowledgeable guides, Jack Graham!





HIS LIGHT   Nova Scotia

October 6-11, 2015   (Wednesday – Sunday)

Halifax    Limited to 12    $995.    Team: Bill Fortney  & Jim Begley


Hold on for more details….




Ohio Amish Country   -    A Jack Graham Workshop

October 21-25, 2015 (Wednesday – Sunday)

Colfax, GA    Limited to 12    $795.    Team: Jack Graham & Bill Fortney


Travel through the wonderful Amish country of Northern Ohio.    Part of our workshop is a day on a real Amish farm with lots of photographic opportunities and a really wonderful Amish dinner!




The Southwest Tour   -    A Vinny Colucci Workshop

November 4-8, 2015 (Wednesday – Sunday)

Page, AZ – Bryce Canyon,UT, – Springdale, UT    Limited to 12    $899.    Team: Vinny Colucci & Bill Fortney


Join Vinny and Bill for the famous Golden Circle Tour, Lower Antelope Slot Canyon in Page,  Bryce Canyon national Park, and Zion National Park.   Add to that a trip into the Paria Wilderness area, and a fabulous Bar B- Que dinner at the Paria Outpost!




HIS LIGHT   Christmas in the Smokies

December 2-6, 2015 (Wednesday – Sunday)

Townsend, TN    Limited to 12    $799.    Team: Jim Begley & Bill Fortney


Start your Christmas season with Jim and Bill in the beautiful Cades Cove area in  the quiet season.  Deer will be in the rut, and their coats and racks beautiful, lots of fellowship around the fire place and a great way to get your Christmas celebration started!


Personal Note:  I will be doing Workshops under Three separate companies this year:

His Light

Jack Graham Workshops

Vinny Colucci Workshops

I may add more under my own name later  Bill Fortney


* This is an initial schedule, much more details will be revealed soon!!!  Please join us somewhere next year, actually pick a few!!!


2 months, 2 weeks ago 2

What makes a great photographer?



There are four main components that make up a great photographer:


  1. Technical knowledge. This includes the foundations of photography such as light and posing, knowledge in the basics such as shutter speed, white balance, aperture, ISO, and incorporates the technical theory and know-how in making a great image.
  2. Technical follow-through. This is the physical application of the technical knowledge above. It’s knowing how to set the shutter speed, aperture, how to focus, meter, and so on.
  3. Artistry and creativity. This is the artistic expression of the photographer, and includes composition, lines, mood, feeling, storytelling, and so on.
  4. Personality. We all know that you can be technically the greatest photographer, but if you want to take pictures of people, then you must have the right personality for it. You must make people feel comfortable, warm and welcome in front of the camera and therefore it’s a big part of the equation in the discussion of people photography.



The list above is from an excellent article by Bryan Caporicci on Thomas Menk’s Fuji Scoop It site, and he wrote a great article about the on coming mirror less revolution, but that is for another entry, I want to deal with the four issued above!


Number One is a given.  You have to understand and be able to use the basic principles if you want to become a great image maker!


Number Two is vital.  It truly is the vital application of those principles that will allow you to make the images you want to make!  Once you fully understand the controls, you can solve any of the problems you will have to work through.  Photography is problem solving and knowledge and application are the two key


Number Three artistry and creativity.  This is where the rubber meats the road!  Artistic expression is you, how you see the world and how you apply your knowledge of composing, storytelling, and expressing your feelings in your work.  Artistry is art, skill, talent, brilliance, and flair, all rolled into one!


Personality is how you show up  in your images!!   Bryan is referring in this one about photographing people.  He is right, but your personality also factors into how you approach all subjects!  While your personality doesn’t have much affect on an old rusting car, it does have a big affect on how you photograph.  I know I’m loosing you, but trust me there is a point in here somewhere!!!!!!  I believe your outlook is vital to how you see.  Are you open to new ideas, do you have a strong work ethic?  Why does any of this matter?  Because your willingness to stay on top of the process will result in your staying “in the process”.  Even in art, sticking with it, can determine how far we go!  If your personality is to stay positive and never give up, you will make the journey with a lot more success!


Thanks Bryan for a very interesting article filled with great information.  Here is a link to his article:




the pilgrim