Recent Posts
3 years ago 2

On sale, right now, on ebay, is a Nikkor 13mm f 5.6 lens!  Asking price?  $45,810. U.S.  Seriously? Was the 13mm a great lens, well sure, is it the widest lens ever commercially made for a DSLR, that is not a fisheye?  Yep.  If you are an Arab Oil Barron can you afford it, well sure……

 

Before you make a bid or write a check consider this, with the same money you could buy:

1 D4

1 D800

1 Df

14-24  Nikkor zoom

24-70  Nikkor zoom

70-200 f 2.8 VR II Nikkor zoom

200-400  f4 VR II Nikkor zoom

600 f4 AF-S VR Nikkor zoom

4 SB-910 Speed lights, a full compliment of Think Tank rolling cases and bags for the above,

and have enough money left over to spend a month traveling to every major National Park!

 

Just in case you were wondering, my entire FujiX system which consists of three bodies and seven lenses only came to $8,500.!!!!
Want to know where to spend your money wisely?  Early this week we will announce the newly revised workshop list for His Light, myself, and Jack Graham for 2014!!  We have 14 exciting events!!!   By-the-way skip the 13mm lens and you could attend every one!!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

 

3 years ago 17

 

I got this question from yesterday’s blog and it made me want to set the record straight…..  I really appreciate the question!!

 

 

This starts with a short story.  In my early years as a photographer I used to love to read articles, and publications from a photographer named George Lepp.  George was one of the original columnist of Outdoor Photographer Magazine, and still is!   When I first met George he was a Nikon shooter, he later switched to Canon and is highly supported by them. That didn’t keep him from being honest when evaluating equipment or products, he called it the way he saw it, which I’m sure did not always please Canon, but he was honest!   I came to trust him because I knew he had integrity.  My late father stressed to me that when it is all said and done we have nothing more valuable than our character, integrity, and our faith. I’ve tried very hard to always adhere to my father’s advice and follow George’s lead.

 

So to the answser to the question above is;

 

I worked for Nikon for 11 years as their NPS tech rep for the southern U.S.  I did my very best to always be honest with my customers and give them the best guidance I could.  Nikon paid me a salary and provided benefits, and I very much appreciate all they did for me.  However, that never affected what I said when I offered advice, I always told the truth. Fortunately my telling the truth was never a disadvantage to Nikon.  I believe my customers thought more of Nikon because they provided that kind of service to them, through me.  If I ask for some ones help, I  expect them to tell me the truth, and that is what I do.  I do the right thing, because I said I would.

 

I no longer work for Nikon.  I now write a blog, teach classes for my own company, for Jack Graham, and Kelby Training.  I appear before audiences all across America, and I only want to do one thing, make their lives better, because I was in it for a brief moment.  For my entire career I’ve believed that almost all companies in the photo industry make good products, some are better than others for their intended purpose, but most companies make very serviceable, cameras and lenses.  What you buy is up to you, I don’t benefit either way, I hope to offer my opinion, and they are only that, my opinions.  I do however have 43 years of industry experience to back up my opinions.

 

Do I work for Fuji?  No.  Do I work for Nikon?  No.   Do I work for Singh Ray filters?  No, or Think Tank, or Lowepro?  No.  I want to keep my position as a neutral source of information so I may be of real help to you!  Let me tell you how far I’ve gone to do that.  In late July I was contacted by Fuji and asked to send a photo of myself and a testimonial about how much I loved the Fuji X system for use in a 2 page spread, national ad.  I thanked them, but declined.  It was way to soon after leaving Nikon to appear in a competitors ad, even though I was happily using Fuji cameras. I wouldn’t do that to my friends at Nikon, I respect them to much, I owe them better than that, and I don’t want to be perceived as on the payroll for Fuji, which I am  not.  By-the-way, every piece of Fuji equipment I own was paid for, nothing has been given to me.  I was offered the chance to be used as a featured speaker representing Nikon yesterday, I said thank you, but no thanks, I am a free moral agent and I want to keep it that way.  Both of those decision cost me money, a lot of money, and some good exposure which for a blogger and workshop leaders is a valuable commodity, but it isn’t worth it to me.  I want people to come to this blog and know I will be honest in my evaluations of products, that matters more to me than the money.  Money can’t buy integrity, that must be earned.  While we are on the subject, some of the sponsors of my workshop company do provide some products for us to use and evaluate, but I receive nothing that I have not paid for to own long before I was sponsored by those companies.  In other words, if I promote a product, I first bought it with my own money, free stuff could not buy my loyalty.

 

Have I turned my back on Nikon?  No, I still own a significant amount of Nikon gear and still love it.  When I can have it handy, I still use it, I just can’t comfortably carry it in the field as I did when I was a younger man.  Do I still think Nikon makes great gear, you bet, 95% of everything I’ve shot in my career has been with Nikons going back to the Nikon F.  Do I think Fuji makes great gear, you bet, I am using it 95% of the time now and I’m getting wonderful results from it.  I can hear someone saying how can that be???!!!  Let me ask you a question, do you have children, more than one?   Do you love all of them?  Do you love them each in different ways, but all equally?  There you go.  My cameras and lenses are my photographic children, each are different and I love them all.  Are they equal, of course not, each have their own strengths and weaknesses but I still love them.  I also think Canon, Olympus, and Sony, Panasonic and Leica and many other camera companies make great stuff too!

 

I do this blog for two reasons; to spread my belief in and love for my God, and to share my great enthusiasm for photography and the wonderful people it has brought into my life.  One thing is for sure you can always come here knowing I will shoot straight with you, as best as I can.  I hope you believe me, but then, that is your call.

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

3 years ago 4

 

I love this time of year, Thanksgiving is right around the corner and boy do I have a lot to be thankful for!  I’m a big child about the Christmas season, so needless to say this is an exciting time of year for me, but for more reasons than just the holidays!  Winter is a time for me to recharge my batteries, get my tires changed, and get fueled up for Spring!  My last workshop was with Jack Graham out in Death Valley.  Before we started we had an afternoon and morning in Las Vegas and we drove out to Nelson near Eldorado Canyon.  Nelson is a Ghost town that is very much like Old Car City, but more than just cars and trucks, though they have that too!  I love Americana subjects and Nelson is really a terrific place.  The great thing about Nelson is there is every kind of subject from buildings, to small close-up possibilities.

 

When you get off the road and in for the winter, I have some suggestions about things you can do to get ready for Spring shooting;

 

1.  Winter is a good time to update all your computer software and firmware in your cameras.  If you want to be able to use your post processing more effectively, this is a great time to be a member of Kelby Training,  they have tons of great classes on all the major processing programs, especially Lightroom and Photoshop!  

 

 

2.  Winter is a great time to go through your files and empty some of the gigabytes of images you’re never going to go back and work on! You might also organize your files so when you  need that killer shot, you know exactly where to go and retrieve it! This is preaching to the choir here, I need to do this myself, big time!

 

3.  If any of your gear is having issues this is the time to get them in for repair or just a check-up while you don’t have to have them. Sensor cleanings, re-lubricating any lenses, and cleaning you tripod leg locks are all maintenance that can be done in the down season.

 

4.  Any good trip is worth doing right, so use your winter months to do your research and planning for your trips when the weather breaks!  Google websites, print out maps, calculate driving times and when you can be for the best light, it will all add up to better production next year!

 

5.   Time to get inspired!  Take a class, read a few photo books, attend some gallery shows, all this will get your appetite prepared for going after those prize winning images you will make in 2014!

 

Within a few days, just in time for the Black Friday madness, I will announce all the new addiitons for the 2014 season!  Stay in touch, we will offer some special offers for those that get enrolled by the first of the year! Nelson is on the list!!!!!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

 

 

 

3 years ago 9

Have you ever noticed what the blog says in the upper left hand corner?  Bill Fortney, Photography & Faith.  I try to always strike that balance, but I know sometimes I get pretty excited about the photography side, I hope I never fail to keep faith first!  Sunday afternoon I attended a funeral at my church.  A woman that Sherelene and I have known for over thirty years had passed away.  Her husband died ten years ago and we watched, with amazement, how well she adjusted, and poured herself into her church and family. I didn’t know here extremely well, but I always stopped to talk with her and ask about her when we ran in to each other.  When two former pastors of our church came to perform the service, and various family members spoke, I was struck with something I already knew, but was profoundly reminded of, what is most important in this life.

 

I’m sure she had many talent, and was known to do certain things really well, she was, after all,  a successful woman.  None of that was mentioned, the overwhelming description of her was how selfless, and giving she was.  How much she gave to her friends, brothers and sisters in her church family, and her children, and grandchildren.  It was a real celebration of a life well spent, and a thankfulness that she was now with her husband and family members in Heaven.

 

I thought a lot about what I had heard and experienced when I got home, I dreamed about it last night, and thought about all day today.  I feel confident that I know what God’s message was to me, and I know it is worth sharing with you!  Our lives are not about us, they are not about our honors, what we are known for, or what we have accomplished, or attained, but what we leave behind.

 

It’s easy to get caught up in thinking what the world thinks of us, matters a lot, it doesn’t!  It’s what people know in their hearts about us, because of our sacrifice for them!  You wouldn’t know this woman’s name, even if I shared it with you, she didn’t make an impact on your world.  She did make an impact on the world God gave her to serve, and serve she did.  I would have lived a very meaningful life if that could be said of me someday.

 

That will only happen if I let go of the vestiges of self, and trust the Lord to show me where and how to serve!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim