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3 years, 3 months ago 0

I had a number of things I wanted to bring to your attention on the blog today so here goes.


First, sad news from North Carolina, Snake Barrett lost his mother to cancer, and I would ask all of you to lift him and his family in prayer.  Snake is a truly dear brother and I know he and Carolyn are really suffering, please remember them!  Please know all of us are thinking of you Snake!




You may have seen the announcement yesterday about the forming of KelbyOne the new fusion of NAPP and Kelby Training.  I for one, want to say I’m very proud to be working with  KelbyOne on the training site and activities related to Photoshop World.  If you are coming to Photoshop World in Atlanta, please come by and let’s visit!  I love meeting folks that visit the Blog face to Face!


You know you are aging when you have to invite your grandson, Cade, (11) to drop by and teach you how to use your DVR!  That was one of my retirement goals, learn how to use the blasted thing!  I’ve been wanting to tape shows when I miss them and honestly had no idea!  Of course he did, and now I’m all set up, thanks Cade!


I have a favor to ask, I get emails from time to time asking for Jim and I to run another Slide Show Production Workshop, we are thinking of doing one in March, in Corbin!  The last one was really fun, each student produced their own show and we had a graduation where everyone showed their production!!!  It was a blast!!!  One evening everyone comes over to my house and we have my special recipe, Fortney’s Famous Bar B Q!  It would be a Wednesday evening through Sunday morning class, and the fee would be $499.  If you would be interested shoot me and email!  If enough respond we will seer a date!


From time to time you make a mistake, I know that is hard to believe, but it’s true!  Our Old Car City Event is a very popular and fun workshop but registrations have started very slow, we really want to do it again this year, so here is the deal,  we are going to lower the price from $799. to $599,  Yes, $200 off if you register by the end of January!  Don’t worry of you are one of those that have already registered you just saved $200. too!  Please consider joining us for what is a great Americana shoot!  Check out my KelbyOne class on photograph Antique Cars filmed at Old Car City!


Another book that is in production!  Whose Hands are at the End of My Arms, Subtitle; The Life and Times of Bill Fortney.   Through the years I’ve had a lot of requests to get some of my stories down on paper, but thanks to my friend John Gompf, this is going to be something really different!  His suggestion was to record them and do an Audio book, that way, some day my grand children and great grandchildren can hear the stories in my own voice. I’m really excited because I have hours of recording of my interviews with folks like;  Bear Bryant, Roger Staubach, Barbara Mandrell and many others, I hope to have a few audio excepts from those interviews.  I’m truly excited about this project, I hope to have it ready for Christmas 2014!


If you were at the Photo Plus show in New York last late fall and happen to drop by the Fuji Film booth you would have see five of my images in their display!  It was great to share images with the Fujni faithful!


The image above was stolen, no I took it, but only after I saw the same basic image made by Chuck Barnes, I begged him to take me to this location in Savannah, and he did, thanks Chuck!




the pilgrim


One last great thing shared with me today by Walter Rossini:


2 Corinthians 5:17 New Living Translation (NLT)

17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!



Romans 8:1,2    I am free forever from condemnation.


Romans 8:28      I am assured that all things work together for good.


Romans 8:31-39    I cannot be separated from the love of God.


2 Corinthians 1:21    I have established, anointed and sealed by God.


Galatians 2:20    I am dead to myself; it is now Christ who lives in me.


Colossians 3:3    I am hidden with Christ in God.


Philippians 1:6    I am confident God’s work in my life will be completed.


Philippians 3:20    I am a citizen of heaven.


2 Timothy1:7     I am not a person of fear, but of power, love and sound mind.


Hebrews 4:16    I can find grace and mercy in time of need.


1 Peter 1:23    I am born again.  My new life is not from my parents.


1 John 5:18     I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.

3 years, 3 months ago 11

A couple of decades ago when I was in my late 40’s a friend recommended a book called “The Second Half”.  It was a Christian book for men, tied to the football theme, to help them consider what they had spent the first half of their lives doing, thinking, and being committed to, and called on them to re-0rder their priorities.  I’m ready for the next book, “The Fourth Quarter” which to my knowledge doesn’t exist, so I might just write it myself.  If I do, this is what it will say in short form;


You’ve live three quarters of your life expectancy, and no one is guaranteed you’ll get all those allotted years!  It’s time to ask yourself the big question; “What did my life mean?”  Did I leave this world, my community, my family, my friends, any better off than they were before I came into this world.  By the time you get into your mid to last sixties, you’ve already seen a lot of your family, parents, grandparents, friends,and some, sadly, their spouses, go on.  It’s to late to have any further affect on those we’ve lost, but it’s not too late to affect those that are still with us.


How can I make a difference?  If you hope to help others you must start with helping yourself.  You may be thinking how can I become “good enough” that I can influence other’s lives?  You can’t.  As human beings, effort and commitment alone will not take us to such a high plane.  To have Christ like characteristics, we must become more Christ like!  This can’t be accomplished with good works, we must submit to the one that actually did it.  Jesus promised that if we would submit to Him, give Him our hearts and ask for His forgiveness, we could become Christ like.  It’s not a magic potion or spell, it’s a long hard walk to learn day by day how to be more like Him.  Why choose Jesus?  Because in the history of the world no single man has made more of a difference, no one man has changed more lives.  He is the real deal.


So here is a simplified action plan:


1.  Get on your knees and ask God to convict you of what you  need to confess to Him and ask forgiveness for.  He will speak to your heart and you will know it is Him, and He is right.


2.  Genuinely repent for your past life, and ask Him to make you new in Him.  Once again He will, and the change will be immediate, though the old man changes slowly, you will be immediately filled with the knowledge that God has forgiven you, and that you have clean slate to start with!


3.  Get into fellowship with other committed Christians, and get into the Word.  God inspired men to write His “manual”.  Read it and study it, ask the Holy Spirit to come into your heart and reveal the truth in it!  Start with an easy to read version like the New Living Translation.  Find other believers, you know more than you think!  Spend time with them, learn from what they have learned in their walk. Gain strength from them, and soon God will be using you to bring strength to others.


4.  Live by one of the most important lessons Jesus laid down, “Do unit others as you would have others do unto you.”  As my dear friend Scott Kelby says, ” you can never go wrong by doing the right thing!” This is the best way to learn what a Christ like walk is all about.


5.  Pray and ask God to help you as you grow and mature.  Ask Him to send you people that you can minister to.  He will, and it will deepen your faith, and allow you to bless others.


6.  Start everyday with this prayer;  “Heavenly Father, thank you for another day to serve  you.  Thank vou for those people in my life that love me, please help me be the husband, father, grandfather (you fill in the blank),  that you desire me to be, and let me do no harm, but lift others up by being obedient to you. Please keep me humble and always mindful that all good things come from you.  Protect me from getting puffed up when you allow good things to happen in my life, remind me that it is You not me, that provides all good things.  Thank you Father for loving me, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to save me, and allow me to bring others to come to know and love you too.  I ask all of this in Jesus precious name, Amen”


Now if you have never gone through these six steps the enemy is filling you with doubt, and telling you all kinds of bad things will happen to you if you listen to this crazy man that writes a blog!!  That’s a lie, God only wants the very best for you and He is waiting to hear from you. You are only six steps away from the life God has always wanted you to have!


I pray that you will take these words to heart and at the end of the Fourth Quarter, I expect to be one of your brothers that is pouring the gatorade over you as we celebrate the ultimate victory, eternity with our Lord!




the pilgrim

3 years, 3 months ago 8

© Sam Garcia 2013


Today is a very special day in the photography industry, a legend is retiring!  Bill Pekala is at the CES Show in Las Vegas at the Nikon area, please go by and shake his hand and say thanks my friend!  Bill Pekala joined Nikon almost 40 years ago, and very soon became the head of NPS, (Nikon Professional Services).  Bill set the standard for the entire industry on how to build and maintain a professional support organization.  Thousands and thousands of photographers have benefited from the division of Nikon that Bill built almost from the ground up!  NPS was in it’s fledgling stages when Bill took over.  He assembled a team that became the envy of the industry, with such hires as Scott Frier (for ten years the chief underwater still photographer for Jacques Cousteau on the Calypso!), Fred Sisson, (Award winning photojournalist and legendary Nikon school instructor), Scott Andrews, (the most celebrated rocket photographer in NASA history), Mark Kettenhofen, (two times Military Photographer of the Year), Sam Garcia, (legendary speaker, teacher and photographer in New York), Ron Tanawaki, (one of the leading forensic photography experts in America), and the list goes on!  He also had legendary shooters and teachers like  Stanley Menscher, and Bob Caruthers to lean on.  But then, he also hired me, so nobody’s perfect!


Bill was a gifted Nikon School instructor and very  talented photographer in his own right, but that is not why I will be sad for the thousands of NPS members that he is retiring after the CES show.  Though capable young talent stands in the wings, to take the helm, there will never be another Bill Pekala.  Bill ran NPS in such a way that the thousands of NPS members could count on him and the departments assistance.  The extraordinary things that have been done to keep the pros shooting would be a thousand blog entries!  My memories of working with Bill are different, he was my boss, but still my friend.  My relationship with Bill went all the way back to his earliest days at Nikon.  We met at a Nikon school where he was teaching,  and it was his, and Fred Sisson’s inspiration that led me into a lifetime of photography. Over those early years Bill and I became friends, and he did countless things to help me as I progressed through those early learning years.


Bill has been a superb asset to many shooters, but a real friend to me.  It was a great pleasure to spend the last 11 years of full time employment in the world of photography, working with him at Nikon.  Bill opened the door to many, many friendships in the industry and especially at Nikon that might otherwise not been available to me.  Bill made my photographic life infinitely better because of his many kindnesses, and the sharing of his vast expereince.


This week the industry looses a giant, and a whole new adventure starts for one of the best friends I’ve ever had, I wish you all the best Bill, you deserve it, you’ve earned it!!!


All Hail to the Chief!




the pilgrim


P.S.  Thanks to my friend Sam Garcia for sharing his great portrait of Bill for my blog entry.  It was Bill’s exposing me to artists like Sam that has made my photographic life all the richer!


3 years, 3 months ago 8


I was cleaning some old drawers in my office and found a big stack of very old Nikon brochures and literature.   In the stack was an old catalog from Norman’s Camera in Battle Creek, Michigan.  This was a dealer I bought some early bodies and lenses from and I had called them and gotten the prices on various items which are hand written above in the catalog.  The catalog is from 1970, the year I got seriously into photography!!!  Above the Nikon Photomic FTN Black goes for $244.97.  That was the D4 of that day, in today’s dollars, (calculated on 3% inflation per year for 44 years),  that would be approx. $568.33, today’s D4 sells fro $5,995.!!!!  My grandfather bought me a $5,000. car when I graduated from college in 1968, that same car today would sell for around $35,000. a 7 fold increase.  If the Nikon price had risen 7 fold it would have been, $1,714.19!  Sure would love to go back to these prices!!!!!!!


Here are some price comparisons on lenses from 1970 vs today:


20mm f 3.5 back then  $189.97  today’s 20mm f 2.8 AIS manual focus $674.


24mm f 2.8 then  $139.97  today’s 24mm f 2.8 AIS manual focus $529.


28mm f 3.5 then $124.51  today’s 28mm f 2.8 AIS Manual Focus  $499.


35mm f 2.8 then $87.  Today 35mm f 2 AF $329.95  (Manual must be bought  used)


Interestingly lens prices have not escalated as much as bodies for AF lenses, manual focus glass has increased more in keeping with bodies.  I have started to use my old Nikkor manual focus glass occasionally with the D700 body, a great combination.  When the D800 was released I took it and four manual focus lenses (24mm f 2.8, 55mm Micro Nikkor f 2.8, 105mm Micro Nikkor f 2.8 and the old classic 80-200 f 4.5 Nikkor zoom.)  I wanted to prove to myself that they were still viable lenses even on the super high res D800, below are some of the shots representing each lens.  The D700 is less demanding and these lenses look fantastic on that body.



I’ve since acquired a very rare, very hard to find, (John Gompf located it for me), 25-50 f4 AIS manual focus zoom.  This lens is really strange, it is not one of the legendary sharp lenses from Nikon, it is very sharp, but not in a category with the four lenses above, but it has essentially no Chromatic Aberrations!!!  The result is a look and color quality that no other Nikkor can match! It’s a two ring zoom which for the kind of work I do is wonderful.  While I use the Fuji X System 95% of the time, it is still a thrill to shoot this combo of manual focus glass.  I own a bunch more and my all time favorite long lens is the 400mm f 3.5 AIS, which I enjoy a lot!


Modern autofocus lenses can’t have firm focusing rings because they have to be turned by tinny motors to autofocus and the torque required for the little motors would be too much.  Most modern motors would burn up trying to turn my manual focus lens, focusing rings.  It is that wonderful tactile feeling that makes these old lenses such a joy to use. I usually use this gear when I can work close to the car.  Of course for sports and action shooters AF is a must, but for travel, landscape and Americana these old manual focus lenses are great.


The big bonus to manual focus glass is the great pricing!   These prices are from KEH, a used gear dealer, based in Atlanta, I really trust.  You can buy the following in Excellent + or Like New condition for the following prices:


 24mm f 2.8 AIS  $205


55mm Micro Nikkor F 2.8 AIS  $150.  


105mm Micro Nikkor f 2.8 AIS $339.


80-200 f 4 AIS  $94.


( this was the updated version of the old f 4.5 version which can often be found for around $50.!!!  The f 4.5 lenses are hard to find in Excellent shape though.  I own both and find them both razor sharp!!  F4 takes 62mm filters, the f 4.5 takes 52mm).  For their asking price they are screaming bargains!


If you enjoy this kind of subject matter, consider joining Jack Graham and I in Acadia, in October of this year!  Check full details at


By-the-way my first serious camera was the Nikkormat FTN above, in chrome!  Wow, this has been, and continues to be a great ride, thanks for coming along on my sentimental journey!!!




the pilgrim


If you enjoy these kinds of old gear articles and posts, please let me know!  Happy to occasionally do more!