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2 years, 8 months ago 1



“Life is a journey, not a destination.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson.  I’ve actually found that quote attributed to many people including the late Steve Jobs,  Whoever said it, said a mouthful!  It’s easy to see our lives as leading somewhere, and they are, but to forget the moment to moment joy of this life is criminal.  When you make it to your mid 60′s you may have only one advantage over younger folks, you’ve already been there!  As a photographer you get a pleasure that few enjoy in life, you edit your work.  You look at what you shot, and you remember where you were, who you were with, and the joy of those fantastic experiences.


Your life is an opportunity to experience all you can, touch all the lives you can, share the Good News with everyone you come in contact with, through your words and deeds.  When I found this luggage tag I had to place it on one of my bags.  As a reminder to take full advantage of the privilede and honor of being able to be on this journey.  The destination is already arranged for, all there is to do for now, is live out the journey!


the pilgrim

2 years, 8 months ago 5



Well it’s officially the Christmas season and I have another suggtestion for you!  It’s not like you really need my suggestions, but humor me, and if you take the time to watch some of these films they will brighten your holidays.  I love Christmas movies and I have a pretty vast collection, but these are the dozen plus one that  I have to watch every year.  I’ve broken them down into several categories, so here goes:


Just for fun, laughs, and enjoyment;

1.  Christmas Vacation –  This classic with Chevy Chase is all about the ups and downs of Christmas, and family.  No matter how many times I watch it, it always brings great laughter.  The opening car/truck chase sequence always cracks me up!


2.  A Christmas Story – This great tale takes us back to the 50′s when I was this same age as the main character.  The great book by Jean Shepherd, “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash.”  is wonderfully adapted!  Darren McGaven was wonderful as the dad!   Peter Billingsley was perfect for Ralphie.


3. & 4.  Home Alone & Home Alone 2 –  Rarely does a great movie have a great sequel but this time it worked.  Both are great films that the kids always love.  They also have wonderful messages of Christmas love.


5.  The Santa Clause –  Tim Allen’s classic Christmas movies has spawned several sequels but none are as good as the first!


6. Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas –  A family favorite at the Fortney house has always been this great film.  My daughter Catherine cans still recite every line while watching the film before it’s spoken!


7.  Miracle on 34th Street (the 1947 original) –  This is a great film best viewed in the original black and white version.  This is a wonderful film was made one year after I was born!


8.  Holiday Inn – This classic Christmas movie with the great music of Irving Berlin stars Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and Marjorie Reynolds.  A film that is an entertaining the 50th time you watch it, as the first!


Christmas films about redemption and values:


9.  A Christmas Carol -  Many wonderful adaptation have been done to  this classic Charles Dicken’s story.  this version made int he 1951 with Alastair Sim is on e of the most faithful to the original story and most touching, though I own every version I am aware of.  this is a great story of redemption and change.  I watch it several times a year to remind me of what God wants my heart o see and embrace.


10.  Scrooge – A modern adaptation fo A Christmas Carol with Bill Murray.  Filled with good laughs and a great ending of change.


11.  It’s A Wonderful Life – Frank Capra’s great film about a man and his life and what a man’s actions lead to in the end.  One of the greatest films ever made.  Jimmy Stewart;;’s best film and a must see,  once every year!!!!  What would life have been like if you never existed?  This film will give you a peak!


12.  The Bishop’s Wife  (1947)- A lovely story of God’s intervention into the  lives of His servants.  A classic not to be missed.  It stars Carey Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven.


13.  Mr Krueger’s Christmas – This storty adapted into film for the Seventh Day Adventist starrying Jimmy Stewart is worth watching if only for the scene where Mr. Krueger (Stewart’s character), show up at the stable and encounters the baby Jesus.  A very  powerful moment, for all of us!



Merry Christmas,


the pilgrim

2 years, 9 months ago 2



Let me challenge you to do something really important!  I was sorting through our Christmas movies on DVD over this weekend and found a copy of Christmas Vacation.  It’s a really funny film, but my favorite scene is when Chevy Chase is locked up in attic and he find the box of old 8mm films and starts watching his times at Christmas when he was a young boy.   The last time I had all my family together at home back in late July we planned an evening of looking at old slides and videos from when they were all young.  My oldest son Scott is 41, my middle son Wesley is 38 and my youngest, Catherine is 35, and  we have six grandchildren ranging form 14 to 3.  Everyone loved that evening, everyone laughing at how we all used to look in years past.  It may have been one of the most enjoyable evenings we’ve had as a family!


As you gather with your family this Christmas season, dig out the old films, pictures and videos and spend a little time remembering together the history of your family.  I will be privileged again this Christmas to have everyone home again for the holidays.  We will plan a lot of activities that will have us all down in the floor, around the fire, celebrating the other great gift, each other.


I will also take time to read the Christmas story to my grandchildren and we will attend the Christmas Eve candlelight service at our church.  I plan to take every individual aside during that week and thank them for all that I appreciate about them.  Some day I will not be here to do that, so I will do it while I can.


Here’s my suggestion; take time this Christmas to share your love with everyone you come in contact with, because in sharing your love, you are sharing His love!


Sherelene and I have been getting our Christmas decorations up over this weekend and with every wreath we hang and when we lit the Christmas tree last night, I’m more filled with that warmth and excitement that I’ve had ever since childhood about this wonderful magical season.  Share that magic with others.  When shopping, open a door for some one wish people a Merry Christmas, find countless ways to share the love that He brought into the world!


My friend, Scott Diussa, introduced me to a great Christmas song a couple of years ago, let me share the words with you now.


“I Celebrate The Day” by Relient K


And with this Christmas wish is missed
The point I could convey
If only I could find the words to say to let You know how much You’ve touched my life
Because here is where You’re finding me, in the exact same place as New Year’s eve
And from a lack of my persistency
We’re less than half as close as I want to be

And the first time
That You opened Your eyes did You realize that You would be my Savior
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever


And so this Christmas I’ll compare the things I felt in prior years
To what this midnight made so clear
That You have come to meet me here


To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
In the hope that what You did
That you were born so I might live
To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me


And I, I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life



My first Merry Christmas wish for you!


the pilgrim

2 years, 9 months ago 4


For years I’ve tried every conceivable way to carry my gear, and on many occasions a photo vest is the right solution, that’s probably why I own five!!!!  Well two were gifts, and I’ll get to that later.  I break vests down into two categories, stylish and utilitarian.  The most commonly seen vest is the Domke vest and for good reason, it doesn’t scream “Photo gear!”.   It can actually look fairly nice.  I have a second that is very much like the Domke but is special to me for another reason entirely!    It was made by Banana Republic back when they made “real” outdoor clothing.  This is the story; My wife and I were at Hilton Head on a summer vacation with the family.  I was tagging along with her while she shopped, not my favorite activity.  She drug me into a Banana Republic, and while she was checking out the women’s clothes I saw this great photo vest, and fell in love with it.  She could see how much I wanted to get it, but unlike herself, she insisted I didn’t really need it.  After a lot of discussion I walked out of the store without it, admittedly a little disappointed.   Six months later sitting around the Christmas tree she handed me a clothes box size package, I wondered as I opened it what she would have bought me in the clothes line, as I seldom let anyone buy my clothes, but myself.  Of course you know what is coming, I opened the box and to my shock found the vest she has slipped and bought me back in the summer.  She said, “You are impossible to surprise, but I got you this time!”  She had, and that vest will always be my favorite!


I think the Domke and “special gift” type vests are best when you want to carry just a couple of extra lenses and some small accessories or filters.  They distribute the weight well and as I said,  you don’t look like a pack horse in them.


The utilitarian type vests like the Leonard Lee Rue and Vested Interest vests above are best when you have to carry a substantial amount of gear and you want it well protect, and frankly you don’t care what you looks like, after all, photography comes first!   The Vested Interest vest has great padding and hold lenses in pockets that are easy to work our of, and is constructed to last for decades!  The Leonard Lee Rue, is a cross between the Vested Interest and the Domke, slightly less bulky than the Vested Interest but well made and very roomy.  I got mine from the son of a friend who died recently, he found it in his Dad’s closet and suggested he would like me to have it.  I’m honored and will keep it in his dad’s honor.  I also happen to love Leonard and Len Rue, two of the nicest people in photography!


Below is one last solution that is not commercially available though several other brands are, a photo jacket.  This one is one of only four in existence,  it’s the Bill Fortney Photo Parka, another of my great ideas???!!!  I made it for photojournalists in the 70′s.  The coolest feature is the tan color is 18% reflectant!  Oh well, not every idea goes over so well!  Only four prototypes exist.  Bill Pekala, Ned Beatty, Don Nelson, an I have the only four.

When you don’t want to carry a shoulder bag or back pack this may be the answer!!