Recent Posts
3 years, 9 months ago 0



In late September (23rd-28th) we are going to do a tour of an fantastic part of America, The Badlands, Custer State Park, The Black Hills, and Spearfish Canyon!  Last year I was honored to be the keynote address presenter at the Black Hills Shootout, which was a blast by-the-way!  I went early to spend a few days in the Badlands and then toured around the region and found a wealth of great things to shoot!  The Badlands is so much like the Palouse, just brown, instead of green, a graphic feast for composing interesting images!  The area all around the Badlands is a great region for sharpening your landscape skills.




Custer State Park has the largest herds of Bison in America, and the Black Hills are unique and beautiful!




We will be in the region just in time for their beautiful fall colors!



And the water scenics in Spearfish Canyon are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever shot!






This small group workshop (limited to 10) will be a wonderful trip, and we have a few spots open, so if interested, give me a call and I will fill you in on the details!  (606)-528-6119




the pilgrim



3 years, 9 months ago 5


IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


Guard this with your lives.




the pilgrim

3 years, 9 months ago 12


“There are two kinds of tripods; those that are easy to carry, and good ones…..”

                                                                                                                    Bill Fortney


This once “infamous” quote is getting revised, because Really Right Stuff has finally made a big, solid, sturdy tripod that is , well, easy to carry!  After years of admiring  Jim Haverstock’s, and Jack Graham’s and many others Really Right Stuff tripods, I made the leap and bought my own!!!  Why am I so excited?  Because this is the one thing other than a camera, lens, and memory card that you must have to make tack sharp images, and RRS has made it possible to have a serious tripod without breaking your back to get it to where you want to shoot.  I’ve owned Manfrotto, Gitzo, Induro, and many other brands, and I think all are good, all are better than not using a tripod, for sure, but honestly this is the finest tripod I’ve ever owned!  I had a Gitzo 1348 which served me very well for many years, but it has the old style twist locks that over time will give you great looking forearms if you really want a workout!


On the recent trip out to the Pacific NW, I got to play around with Jack’s RRS TVC-33 Series 3 and simply fell in love with it.  It works smoothly, is rock steady and shockingly light!  I had to have one, and now I do.


I topped it off with a new BH-55 LR ball head.



I have owned one of these bad boys for many years and it was still working perfectly but was getting pretty beat up, so I treated myself to another and will gets the original refurbished and I will mount it on another tripod, not sure why though, since I doubt much of anything else will get used now that I have the new TVC-33 Series 3.  I do have an Induro CT-214 when I want to go very light, but I see a smaller version of the TVC-33 in my future!


Why such an emphasis on tripods?  No matter how steady you think you are, or how high a shutter speed you can shoot, you will still introduce some movement into the image, and that costs you sharpness.  Then there are the times you want to shoot slow speeds to show motion rendition, and you certainly can’t do that hand held.  No, if you want critically sharp images you must use a solid tripod!


Really Right Stuff is a sponsor of my workshop company, and it is the tripod and head I bought with my own money!  That is the most ringing endorsement a person can make!




the pilgrim


Extra advice:  I bought extra feet (just in case – I have seen folks loose them), and used a little Loctite (the Blue kind) on the threads of the rubber feet to add a little additional protection from loosing any of them.  It’s not a bad idea, whatever tripod  you use, to occasionally check how tight the rubber feet are!  You can buy Loctite at your Auto supply store, Hardware store, or Walmart.


One last thing:  I’m adding a set of LegCoat pads to make throwing it over the shoulder easier.


3 years, 9 months ago 18

I’m starting to get  pretty steady stream of emails about the Fuji X-System.  I certainly don’t mind, but I want to be very clear, I have no official relationship with Fuji.  I love their products and admire how they conduct business, but I’m not on their payroll, and do not receive anything from them for free.  Every piece of Fuji gear I own was purchased just like you would buy it!  Some folks have interpreted my enthusiasm as a relationship, but that is simply not the case


So here are some of the questions I’ve gotten.


Question:  “I’m still trying to figure out how you can get such great results from a camera half, or less than half, the resolution of your former D800?”


Answer:  The result from any imaging device is a lot more than the sum of it’s parts.  Let me speak directly to the comparison you brought up.  The D800 (now D810) is a technological miracle, the highest resolution 35mm sized DSLR on the market.  It has extraordinary resolution, dynamic range, and is built like a tank.  It weighs as much as a tank compared to the X-T1!  No matter how much cool stuff the D800 can do, if you are uncomfortable carrying it….. it is irrelevant. The Fuji X-T1 is capable of doing anything I need to do, I don’t need the capabilities of the D800 that exceed those of the X-T1, it as simple as that.


Question:  “You’ve said you really love the Fuji lenses, are they really as good as the Nikkors you always used?”


Answer:  Lenses focus light on the sensor.  They are designed based on the size of the sensor, and the sensor in the Fuji X System cameras are APS-C size so the lenses can be smaller and the ability to make corrections in the optics is enhanced because of the size of the elements.  The bottom line is can a lens yield exceptionally sharp images, free of distortion, and chromatic aberrations.  Both Nikon and Fuji make such lenses, Fuji’s are smaller and lighter.  I do not feel Iam giving any thing up with the Fujinon lenses.


Question:  “You’ve stated you are very happy with the images from the Fuji, do you think it will holdup long term like your Nikons did?”


Answer:  In the short time I’ve been using the Fuji X cameras I believe them to be very well made and the X-T1 especially is very well designed.  How they will hold up under heavy use, over time, is still undetermined. Based on my 45 years experience with cameras, I think the chance is very good that they will prove very reliable.  So far, so good!


Question:  “Of the lenses you have, which are your favorites!”


Answer:  The three zooms; 10-24, 18-55, and 55-200 are the most used, along with the 60 Micro.  The 23 f 1.4, 35 f 1.4, and 56 f 1.2 are the most stellar, optically, and the fastest, but the zooms are so incredibly sharp I never worry about it.  By-the-way the 14 f 2.8 was the first wide lens and is still the single best super wide lens I’ve ver shot!


Question:  “How about the video on the Fuji X cameras?”


Answer:  It is the weak link of the system, it is usable but not anywhere near the quality of the major players.  For me that is not an issue, I am not a video guy.


Question:  “Nikon has the Creative Lighting System, does Fuji have anything that compares?”


Answer:  No.  If you need sophisticated portable , automatic, camera controlled flash, for now, seek it somewhere else.”


Question:  “Do you have any regrets about making the switch to Fuji and would you advise others to do so?”


Answer:  I have no regrets, the Fuji X System is meeting my needs wonderfully and I love using the system.  I would never advise anyone to switch unless they can identify that it would benefit them.  All of us have different needs and requirements of a camera system, that is a highly personal decision, and one which they must decide other own.


I hope that answers one of the questions you may have.





the pilgrim