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1 year, 2 months ago 24
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On Monday, about mid-day, I noticed that I had a area in my right eye, my shooting eye, that seemed blurry. When I placed my hand over my left eye, it became apparent that a triangular pattern with rough edges extended from the left border of my eye to the center of my eaye, a kind of grey opaque area which blocked any detail behind it, as illusrated above.  I tried eye drops and splashing cold water in my eye, but to no affect.  About 23 years ago I had a detached retina in that eye and my first thought was another detached retina, but the pattern was all wrong for that.  My next thought was a tear in the retina and that made the more sense.


I was to speak in Nashville on Tuesday night, so I first, sadly cancelled that, and then headed to Lexington to see a retina specialist.  After lots a drops and internal photographs of the eye I met with the doctor.  She said, “well your retina is fine, no tears and no detachment.  What you do have is a tiny piece of plaque lodged in a very tiny vein in the eye and it is blocking blood flow to the area of the eye that has gone opaque.”  She explained that there is not a procedure to physically dislodge the blockage.  I was encouraged to use eye drops, provided by her, to reduce pressue in that eye, and to keep taking my blood thinner and baby aspirin in the hope that it would dislodge the plaque.  So far it has not and it is likely that the area of the eye has been starved of blood long enough, now, that it will likely, not recover.  I still hope and pray, but so far no change.


Blessings and drawbacks;  A number of years ago I had cataracts in both of my eyes and had intra-ocular implants placed in both eyes. My right eye, the one affected has a lens focused at reading distance and my left eye at infinity.  With this arrangement I could drive or read without the need of glasses, though glasses did improve both functions.


I am a right eyed shooter, but I will now have to learn to shoot with my left eye, the one with no obstructions.  I’ve already tested my cameras adjusted now to my left eye and I can see fine, it will be a small, but I suspect short learning curve, to get used to shooting left eyed.  A real blessing is optical accomodation!  With both eyes open the greyed out area, of no vision, seems to disappear and be only very slightly notiable as the information from both eyes is integrated by the brain and the deficient area is filled in!!!  It is only very noticeable when I close my left eye revealing the blocked area of vision in the right eye.


So, “Just Deal With It!”  Would I prefer that this not have happened?  You bet, Would  I like for it to just clear up?  Yes, I would love it.  Can I live with it if nothing changes?  Absolutely, I have no choice, and I accept the challenge!


Let me make this a witnessing opportunity.  What is the first step, we should take, when things go wrong?  Find the good part!  The good part is the vein that was blocked was not feeding blood to the macular nerves which would have rendered me completely blind in my right eye!  That is definitely a blessing!  Second thing to do is praise God for the circumstances!  Do what!!!!?????  Years ago I read a wonderful book by an Army Chaplain called Prison to Praise, it was book about this pastor who found that what God wants us to do is praise Him in all circumstances, even when things to go all wrong.  Why on earth would you do that?!  If we believe that God only wants what is best for us, and that He will never allow anything to happen that does not help us, make us stronger and more able to serve Him, then we can live without fear of whatever we may have to face.  It seems impossible to feel that way when bad things happen, but if we can’t trust God completely, then do we really trust Him at all?


The most important part of my physical body, beyond my heart and brain, is my eyes!!  I use them for my craft and my passion, but I trust God with them and I know something will be learned through this expereince.  Today begins a new chapter in how I function as a visual artist, maybe slightly impaired, but still ready to climb back up on the horse and make adjustments.  With God’s help and strength, I will “just deal with it!”  “Deal with it” means knowing God has a plan, and I’m in the middle of His plan, and I would not want to be any other place!




the pilgrim



Today’s Prayer:   Heavenly Father, while I do not understand the need for this test, I accept that You will teach me through it.  I know You will give me strength to offset my weakness and will use this to deepen my relationship with You.  For any way that You want me to serve You, You will make a way.  May I face this with confidence in You, and the faith to know it will be overcome, through my reliance on You.  May all the good that comes from this bring Glory to You!  I pray this in Jesus precious Name, Amen.


1 year, 2 months ago 16
Posted in: Uncategorized



You’re never too old to be a child again!  This is Chester, my new American Golden Retriever puppy, sorta, kinda!  Actually, Chester hasn’t been conceived yet, and I hope it’s happening soon!  I have two breeders that are expecting puppies by mid to late November and I’m going to bring an 8 week old male puppy home with me then from one of those litters, then Chester will be a reality.  I’ve wanted a Golden for years!  My son Wesley had two and I loved both of them dearly and of course the legendary Roscoe, Jack Graham’s buddy for years, (we lost him a few weeks ago to hip displacia)!  Oh how I loved Roscoe, and I truly believe he loved me too, but then Golden’s love everybody so I probably should not be so confident about that!


Anticiapation is a great thing!  I have been getting ready, I have a puppy bed, crate, feeding bowls, chew toys, pull toys, collars and leashes.  Dog shampoo, flea collars, nail clippers, stuffed toys, doggy tennis balls, etc. etc!  I’ve watched a bunch of of dog training videos and cute Golden Retriever puppy, youtube videos.  It is safe to say that I’m excited.


Chester, why Chester?  A number of years ago I saw a film that had become one of my favorites, The Kid, a Disney film starring Bruce Willis. It was a comedic and serious role for him and, I think, one of his best roles! A Golden Retriever named Chester was a big part of that film and that added to my desire to have one as my friend.


Why not before now?  Well, Sherelene is working full time as a nurse practioner, and as you guys know I have  traveled a lot most of my career. Sherelene’s deal with me was that when I started to really slow down, we would be ready for a dog.  Next year I’m only doing 7 events with Jack and I have all this winter off, until March, so there is time to give Chester all the time and attention a puppy needs to adjust and get trained.  So this is the right time!  Can’t wait!



I will blog photos and videos when the blessed event happens!




the pilgrim





1 year, 2 months ago 7
Posted in: Uncategorized


Well, finally, Nikon got into the mirrorless game!!!!  Before I start let me share that this is not  review, the only cameras out there right now are Pre-Production with “not finished firmware” so until anyone gets a “real” camera it is going to  be hard to get super specific, we can, however, talk about this development!  First a hardy congratulations is in order!  Ir certainly appears that Nikon got a lot of things right!



First, the new Z camera sports a new larger mount with a short flange distance, (like Fujifilm’s), that makes them able to use a ton of lenses that can be mated to the camera after mounts are made and lots of mounts will be made.  For Nikon owner the great news is all their older Nikkor lenses,  millions of them, will work with almost all the new features including 5 Axis image stabilization!!!   This is a brilliant move as Nikon has a lot of great lenses and this leaves no one out in the cold even though the mount has been updated!  Way to go Nikon!



While smaller, lighter and thinner than Nikon’s DSLR line, it is still has a grip and ergonomics that should fit great for Nikon shooters.


My First Impressions:  It is long overdue for Nikon to enter the mirrorless race, but it looks like that they have a nice contender with the Z series.  Two things stand out as a little odd, the one card slot taking only a QXD cards, and the limited number of shots per battery charge, around 350.  The battery issue is already something Fujifilm owners have had to live with so that, for many, will not be so hard to deal with, after all,  it is mirrorless and our cameras eat batteries like candy!!!  Honestly it appears Nikon has checked almost all the boxes, now the real question is can it compete with the Sony A 7RIII.  Canon still seems to rule the roost for Sports Shooters, but there are not enough of them to keep any camera company alive!  Nikon has a good base of dedicated users and I think this camera will be just what they have been waiting for!


Will it lure away Canon or Sony, Fujifilm, Panasonic or Olympus shooters?  Only time will tell.  My guess, and it’s only a guess, is that it will do very well with already Nikon folks, and get a few converts, but Sony already has a 6 year head start and is producing some pretty remarkable products, that is tough mountain to climb for a brand new system.  Making things even harder are rumors that Canon is hot on their heals with their own new pro grade mirrorless camera coming soon, should be fun to watch!!!


How does any of this affect me, in case you wondered?  Not a bit, I love the Fujifilm system, their glass is stellar, their size and weight perfect for me, their not approached color and monochroime performance.  I’m heavily invested with them, four bodies and lots and lots of lenses,  I will be staying where I am, but hey, if you’re a Nikon shooter, this looks like the next great thing from them!!!!  I truly wish them a lot of success! I have a lot of friends still there!!!




the pilgrim





1 year, 2 months ago 5
Posted in: Uncategorized



For 29 years I’ve had one constant companion as I’ve discovered America, Robert “Bob” Hitchman!  Well, Bob has not been on the palne or in the SUV with me, but his knowledge, experience and insight have guided me!  When I started the Great American Photography Weekend in 1990, my dream was to take people to all the great National Parks and nature locations across America and I had one problem, I hadn’t been to very many of them mysef!!!  How was I going to guide others???  Early on I read books and guides, talked to friends and went to new locations a few days early to find the right spots.  Then I discovered the greatest tool of all, Bob’s Photograph America Newletters!


Through out those early years Bob visted, scouted and studied many of the locations I wanted to ake students to and his guides were perfect for pre-scouting locations.  Bob was not only a sharp guy at scouting he was a amazing shooter himself so he truly understood about light, position, and the seasonal affect on each location.


Before I go any further, here is where to find out about his newsletters:


If  you do not have any or only a few of his great newsltters here is the way ot go!  He offers all his newsletter on a thumb drive.

Complete Collection of all Newsletters
(PDF files on a rewritable FLASH Drive with 2 GB Data Storage)
Over 1,800 pages of detailed directions to thousands of wonderful places to set up your tripod and photograph rain forests, desert slot canyons, autumn color, wildlife refuges, and landscapes across North America.

For $140. you will have all his newsleter with complete decriptions of 146 great shooting locations!



Just look at all the places you can have scouting reports on!



This is how I use them, I print out (they are PDF files) the pages for the locations I’m travleing to and study it on the plance or in transit.  When I arrive at my locatuions I have  a perfectly worked out plan to am and pm shooting loations and places to stay and eat! This is an invaluable way to make the very most of your trip and get better photographs!


If I was a nature, travel or Americana ashooter and I wanted a leg up when I traveled to new locations, this is the best $140. dollars I can imagine spending!!!  After you buy the thumb drive subscribe for all the new one’s Bob produces!!!!


…..and on top of all that Bob is a great guy!




the pilgrim