I had an interesting conversation with a friend yesterday after I got back from the power lunch. He asked me if I ever thought I was, “sticking my neck out” , being so open about my faith? I understand the question and to be honest it has crossed my mind that all actions have consequences, but I don’t do much more than think of it that way. I said, “May I ask you a question?” He said sure, so here was my question to him, “Pretend that you were in grave danger and someone came to your rescue, and lost his own life in a successful attempt to save yours. Now
his family has asked you to speak at his funeral and tell the assembled people, what a courageous thing he did for you, would you refuse?”
There was a lot of silence after the question, he finally said, “I think I see your point!” Do you risk people being turned off when you openly share your faith? Sure, but when you consider that God sent His only Son to die for me, and Jesus willingly did, how could I not be a witness to that fact?
It’s more than that though. We all want to be loved and God loves us with a love that goes well beyond our understanding. I’m reading a devotional book with my wife called, Extraordinary.
This wonderful book is all about the extraordinary life God wants you to have. The author brings up a wonderful point in one of the first chapters. It is hard for us to believe that God really loves us as much as He does. I know who I am, and knowing that it is almost impossible to believe that
God, “could” love me that much. The author said, it would stand to reason that God would not make a bad deal. He would never give up His only Son to die for us if He didn’t think we were worth that kind of ultimate sacrifice. A stunning thought! That God loves you so much that He was willing, and in fact did, allow His Son to die so that you could be forgiven and given eternal life.
What kind of love would lead to that decision, the kind God has for you.
Am I sticking out my neck? Not near as far as Jesus did………….
Have a blessed weekend,
*Photo Note: Giraffe in East Africa, Nikon F100 camera and 300mm lens, Fuji Velvia.
Image processed with, you guessed it, Nik Color Efex 3.0 – Glamour Glow.
This entry was posted on Friday, July 22nd, 2011 at 5:49 pm
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Today I ran up to Georgetown to meet with three professional photographers that have been working with me on a very special project. Above, from left to right, Jim Begley from Corbin, Ken- tucky (my home town also), Jim Haverstock, from Bloomington, Indiana, the pilgrim, and Chuck Summers, from Pikeville, Kentucky. It turns out Jim H. was attending a meeting in Covington,
Kentucky which made all of us only a couple of hours away from each other so we agreed to have a planning meeting in Georgetown, where of course, Fava’s happens to be. More on Fava’s later.
We had a great meeting in a coffee shop that used to be a bank, above we are seated in the best place to meet, the vault…..
We had a great meeting and
no one had to drive an excess-
ive distance. While we met
about the project and talked
about cameras and lenses, we
also got a chance to shoot some
cool stuff in the coffee house.
I love the coffee mug to the
right, oh how true. Meeting
in a bank vault was a first for
me, certainly felt safe.
The meeting was important
business, but the fellowship was
all pleasure. I’ve been working with these three men for some time and the work we are accomplishing has been wonderful, and the friendships have really deepened. Just in case you
are not aware of who these guys are, please let me tell you a little about each of them. Jim Begley is one of the top HDR photographers in America and a great teacher. He has worked with me on
several workshops in the past and will be involved in many more. Jim Haverstock is a former
police detective, and now a very successful freelancer specializing in travel, nature landscape,
and Americana subject matter. It’s good to have former law enforcement involved with a group like this! Not sure what the guy in the green shirt does? Chuck Summers in a very successful nature photographer with three books to his credit, his most resent, Kentucky, Unbridled Spirit, has been
a very successful release.
In spite of a serious meeting, we never let work stand in the way of great burger, and Fava’s is the best in the east. Mine today was pushing really hard to top the 4.85 pickles it got during the NASCAR assignment a couple of weeks back. When there is work to be done, do it with friends,
and then enjoy life! On the way home Jim and I stopped by Murphy’s Camera to talk about a future program they have requested. Keeping in touch with clients, and friends doesn’t have to be boring.
Thank you Lord for a job that let’s me work with great folks, like these guys….
*Photo Note: All images with the Nikon Coolpix P300.
This entry was posted on Thursday, July 21st, 2011 at 6:16 pm
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It’s July, and in Tech Rep terms, that means, very few meetings or conventions, it’s vacation season for most of my clients. Other than some phone calls, emails ,and calling on some papers, and other pro calls, it’s the second slowest period of the year, the other being mid to late December. Everything in your office that has been put off for months now gets some attention. This is a project, that I will start today, but will mostly complete on my own time. Facing on the inevitable, what to do with 42 years of images. Except for the last nine years of digital work, you’re looking at the net photographic result of one man’s photographic career.
This is my projection/editing room in my up stairs offices of my home. Two four drawer file cabinets (filled to the brim), 16 boxes of paged slides, and 53 slide trays of 35mm color slides that have to be sorted, scanned, (only a small percentage), and finally carried out to the trash. Keep in mind these are supposed to be the edits, the keepers, over 50,000 color transparencies. In a closet nearby are over 15,000 Black & White negatives. This process is going to be a major trip down memory lane for me.
With every page of slides the memories of great shooting trips, workshops, students long lost from my life, friends, and associates, all of whom, like myself have gotten much older, some are even gone. Even with all of this you see before you, I can still remember, the first time I pressed a camera to my face and squeezed the shutter release. In the past 42 years, I’ve driven over a million miles, flown three quarters of a million more. I’ve photographed in virtually every one of the 50 United States, many times, add Africa, The Galapagos Islands, South America, Europe, Canada, Nova Scotia, the list goes on. I’ve shot underwater video around the Caribbean, flown 500 feet above the ground in ultralight airplanes, logging over 150 hours in 90 locations from coast to coast. Photographed 6 sitting Presidents of the United States, Photographed and or interviewed over 70 celebrities including, Johnny Unitas, Paul Bear Bryant, Barbara Mandrell, Red Skelton, Harrison Ford, and many more. I’ve been to multiple Masters Golf Tournaments, Shuttle Launches, Air Shows & Races, sporting events, the Pan Am Games, many NFL football games, numerous college football and basketball games, countless other major events. During the GAPW days I was honored to teach with and become friends with; John Shaw, Art Wolfe, David Middleton, David and Mac Muench, John Netherton, Galen Rowell, Jim Brandenburg, Jack Dykinda, Jeff Foote,Tom Mangelsen, Cliff Zenor, Rod Planck, Lenny and Len Rue, George Lepp,
Bob Krist, Bryan Peterson, Moose Peterson, Joe McNally, Scott Kelby, Matt Kloskowski, RC Concepcion, Pat O’hara, Larry West, Chuck Summers, and Jim Begley. Then there is the Nikon NPS team, Scott Diussa, Bill Pekala, Fred Sisson (now retired) and the rest of the great group I call my work family. Add to that list wonderful friendships with Charles Stanley, Chuck Summers, Jim Begley, Don Nelson, Stan Burman, and Ricky Skaggs, the blessing are really mounting up…… The list could go on and on but I will spare you.
Please believe me, I’m not bragging, I’m praising God. When I start looking through these slide pages and trays, I know memories will well up in me that will bring a lot of smiles and a few tears. I am no one special that should have deserved this kind of life, I didn’t do anything to warrant these kinds of blessings. My life as a photographer has been a blessing of grace, from God. Early on in my career, after surviving cancer at age thirty five I dedicated the rest of my life and work to honoring Him. In turn He gave me this great gift called, a photographer’s life.
He wants to do the same for you, all it takes is turning it all over to Him, and asking that everything good that comes into you life, would cast the glory onto Him.
Start your adventure today,
*Photo Note: Nikon D3s, 16-35 AF-S VR with a bounced Nikon SB-900 Speedlight.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 20th, 2011 at 8:37 am
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First an admission, I’m a photo gear tech-no-nerd. I love photography and I love the gear. I spend way too much time researching and studying it. Well, maybe that’s what I’m paid to do, but I still find myself obsessed with it. This will be an entry to try and help you not fall into my trap, and help me climb out of it.
Let’s start by setting a few important ground rules:
1. Cameras and lenses are made to make “PICTURES”, not be tested (o.k. it’s alright to test them, but that’s not their prime focus in life – sorry for the pun, I know that was lame…..). O.K. got that off my chest. It is natural to want to know all the details about the equipment that we trust to help us make images. It’s also reasonable that with money in short supply, (for most of us), we want to invest it wisely. All good reasons to want to know as much as we can about the gear we plan to buy.
2. For any photographer, one of the most valuable things he or she can have, is to have confidence in their gear, once we feel our gear can do anything we need it to do, we will stop thinking about the gear, (a good thing), and start thinking about making photographs (a great thing). Remember the image, is the final goal…….
3. If you’re going to invest a considerable sum in cameras and lenses, you might as well get the ones that will work great for you, and keep working for a long time.
O.K. I read reviews frequently from Thom Hogan http://bythom.com/ and Ken Rockwell http://www.kenrockwell.com/ and I am a frequent visitor to DP Review http://www.dpreview.com/
I also read reviews written by most of the major magazines, Popular Photography in particular.
By-the-way, I think Thom Hogan is very good photographer as well, I tend to trust his thoughts because he actually uses the gear, himself. Though I often agree with their evaluations I sometimes have a different take on them as well. I’m not suggesting they are wrong, but that I have a different way of interpreting the results they are reporting.
What I hope to learn from a review is trends. If I read ten reviews of a new camera, take the D7000 for instance, I think the overall response to the product will reveal a lot. Since you know, if you come here often, I’m in love with the D7000, naturally I wondered how it was getting reviewed. I printed off ten reviews from online yesterday and then thoroughly read all of them.
The bottom line was that all of the reviews gave the camera very strong marks, not a surprise to me. The interesting difference in the reviews was how they saw the High ISO noise performance.
All the reviews gave it good marks, but a couple thought it was not as good as some of the others
claimed they had determined. How can this be? It’s easy, different reviewers see that one function of a camera as more or less important than another reviewer. Another thing is the experience of the reviewer with other cameras. When I shoot the D7000 for a few days I see not serious problem with noise in the High ISO range (for me up to 1600 ISO). However, if I use the D3s for a day or two, the noise in the D7000 doesn’t impress me as much as it did, standing alone. The D3s is a fully professional DSLR made for speed and low light performance. It truly is not fair to compare a $1,200. mid range DSLR to a $5,000+ Pro DSLR. When asked what the extra $3,800. dollars buys you, that’s one of the answers. Does that make the D7000 less of a camera? Not for me. I just know if I must shoot at 6400, I’m going to be happier with the images from a D3s. I find the D7000 easy to cary, very responsive, and I think in 98% of my photographic situations, it delivers superb results.
The reason I bring this up is that the new website, coming soon, will have a Tech Talk section where I will review and evaluate gear and compare gear. My reviews will be just as likely to show my own prejudices as do all the other reviewers. I will try to maintain a very unbiased stance, but we are all human and our leanings slip into everything we do. I will state up front my parameters, and how I see the review process, which I hope will at least clarify my remarks.
The bottom line is that we all need a good place to go and get, honest, factual information about our photo gear questions. I’m hopeful that when I get started in this venture you will enjoy joining me, just as you do reading the thoughts of the other reviewers.
The image above was chosen for a reason, and you’ve seen it many months ago when I posted it the first time. Some time back I got an email request from the New York offices of Nikon to make some images with the 18-55 AF-S kit lens, for a brochure. To be honest, I had not ever used the lens. It came on some of our less expensive DSLRs and because it is a lighter duty lens, I had set it aside and used lenses I had more experience with. I took the lens out and Jim Begley took me to a neat place to do some testing. When I downloaded the images and started to edit them, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I even checked the EXIF data to be sure the shot was really made with the little 18-55! Sure enough, it was, and I sat down to a big slice of humble pie. I got one more lesson in the field of, “don’t assume you know everything”, category.
Testing can be valuable to establish just what your equipments capabilities are. Once you know you have no excuses. if a camera and lens once made a technically wonderful shot, the process should be reproducible, if you use great technique and work carefully…………
So read, study, test, evaluate and once your settled, go shoot some great images!!!!!!! I’ve said it before, but this might be a good time to repeat it, “If you’re shooting any of the current better cameras out there today, and you’re not getting spectacular results, it’s probably not the camera…….”
*Photo Note: D90 with the 18-55 AF-S VR kit lens. Reminds me why I loved the D90 so much.
He is no fool who gives that which he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. Jim Elliot
Great quote sent to me form Rodney Smith
O.K. let’s kick this off right, This is my first comparison test. Here is the premise, I love the D7000 and the D3s and i know without running a test that the D3s is the better camera to keep noise down when shooting at high ISO. But, how much better is the D3s really? There is one way to find out, let’s run a test.
Everyone has their own definition of what a “big” print is. For me my normal big print is a 24X36 so that is the size I blew the files up to then pull out a small piece to compare. Look closely at the first image and remember it is a file blown up to 24” X 36” I then went in on a very small portion of that rather large size print to check noise, here goes;
O.K. I’m thinking the same thing you are, I can’t tell anything yet, so lets really go in really radically and see what we can see. The picture above shows the new tiny, tiny crop. I took each file and enlarged it again to 24 X 36, it was, remember, a crop of only 6X8 inches, So now this is a crop from a print bigger than 4 X 6 Feet!
Alright, finally we can see some things to make some assumptions from. Yes the D7000 has more noise than the D3s, wow, big surprise, but, it’s not really relevant until you get to ISO 1600. From then on up it definitely shows up. One thing that does show up, that I didn’t expect, is that the 16.2 mega pixels of the D7000 definitely has more bite than the 12.1 of the D3s. So what am I saying, the resolution of the D7000 will make images look crisper at almost any size, if some minor noise is not your cup of tea, the D3s will still probably make you happier and remember we are only talking about noise, if a big buffer and lots of frame rate are on your need list the D3s is definitely your camera.
But if you don’t make really big prints on a regular basis, don’t need a camera you could drive nails with (meaning super, super tough build), or 9 frames per second, the D7000 would make you a really happy camper.
* I hope this kind of report will be helpful to you, this is what’s coming in October with www.billfortney.com.
Lens used for the test was the 35mm f 1.8 DX. All images were shot hand held. My goal is to make all my tests, real world, the way we actually make images, warts and all……..