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2 years, 7 months ago 7

This mornings devotional was a wonderful reminder of the vital importance of obedience.  The scripture below tells a wonderful story of obedience and it’s wonderful result.


Luke 5:1-7

The First Disciples

 1 One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. 2 He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon,its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”

 5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” 6 And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7 A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.



Simon Peter was tired, he had fished all day, and caught nothing.  Then this man came along and asked him to let him teach from his boat, even move it further out in the water.  Peter was busy washing his nets, but he said “Yes”.  The result is that  many were fed spiritually.  Then Jesus turned to Peter and said go back out and lower your nets again.  Peter was pretty sure this was not such a good idea, after all he had fished all day and has had no success.  In spite of his doubts, Peter and his crew went back out and cast their nets, again.  The scripture above reveals the result, they caught so many fish that their nets began to tear.

What does this have to do with us today?  If you are in communication with God through prayer and through an active attempt to listen in you spirit for Him, He will speak to you.  He will reveal what He wants you to do.  Obedience is nothing more than saying,  ”Yes” when He calls.  Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes a lot harder, but it never comes back void!  God has a plan and He wants you to get to be a part of it.  Could He do it without you?  Of course, but then you would miss His incredible blessings, and He doesn’t want that to happen.


Listen for His voice, and say “Yes Father!”  It will lead to incomparable joy and blessings…….


the pilgrim


*Photo Note:  D7000, 24-120 AF-S VR lens   Sponge boat in Tarpon Springs, Florida.


2 years, 7 months ago 9



Join me for the search for the elusive perfect cheeseburger.  Follow the pilgrim as he scours the country side for that best greasy delight, the All-American Creation – The Cheeseburger!


After years and years of travel, I decided I had to find something interesting to do!  Since I truly do love cheeseburgers, I started to wonder if I could find the “Perfect  Burger” So the search was on.


To name a perfect burger you must have a standard and a rating scale so first here is my standard, notice I said “my”!   You can make your own standard.


A Cheeseburger must be several things:


1.  The meat should be hamburger meat not “lean ground beef”.  Lean means less fat and the fat is what make a great cheeseburger, juicy and greasy.  Avoid places with pre-made frozen patties.  * I never said this was a healthy article!


2.  A great Cheeseburger must be cooked on a flat steel top grill.  Even more important the cleaning process for the grill should be nothing more than scrapping it off with a steel spatula.   The taste of the burger is highly affected by the grease build up on the grill!


3.  No matter what the health department says, if a burger is well done it is best used to delight the stray dogs that hang out around the garbage cans out back!  Medium only – Remember Juicy!


4.  The bun needs to be buttered (not margarine), and slightly toasted.  Hey this is serious stuff!


5.  The only acceptable toppings are; Mayo, mustard, ketchup, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, or pickles.  Bacon is for breakfast, chilli is to be served in a bowl, mushrooms are to top steaks, o.k. you got it, this is a purist thing. In fact,  I take mine with cheese and mayo only  ( Hellman’s REAL Mayonaise! No substitutes! )  Light Mayonnaise?  ” Come-on’ Man!!! ”  Do you really think mayo with 20% less fat is really going to help you out here????!!!!  Health wise, this is a lost cause already……..  Disclaimer, I don’t eat burgers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!  Sometimes, I have something else for breakfast……


6.   American Cheese only – Hey this is an American Creation.


O.K. keeping these requirements in mind here is some of my ratings so far, based on my ” famous ” 5 Pickle Scale.


Five Pickles  =  Perfect (Not yet found)

Four Pickles  =  Truly wonderful…A testament to the craft!!!!!!

Three Pickles  =   A good  solid burger, just not what it could’ve been!

Two Pickles  =   Just so-so,  only if you’re really, really hungry!

One Pickle  =  Shame on them for calling it a Cheeseburger!


The Ratings:


CURRENT # 1 Williams Campus U-Tote-Um in Ellenburg, WA, 4.96 # 2 Smash Burger in Las Vegas, NV, 4.95 # 2 ties Bobcat Bite, Santa Fe, New Mexico  4.93       Move Over Bobcat Bite, believe it or not, I just had a burger in Henderson, Kentucky at Five Guys, yes that’s right Five Guys, I love Five Guys, but they are not usually up in this rarified atmosphere, this one was, so for today  Five Guys ties the number three burger  4.93…….




CURRENT #4  S & L Restaurant, Lakeland, Florida  4.92 


CURRENT #5  Three way tie:  4.91 Pickles:  T-Rays Burger Station, Amelia Island, Florida  FLASH a new Tied for Number five Alcoa Tennessee’s Hot Rod’s 50′s Diner comes in at 4.91 as well, so we have another tie, 4.91 pickles for Burger 21, in Tampa!  That’s three tied for the number 5 spot!!!




CURRENT #6:  4.9 Pickles:  Fred’s Texas Cafe, Fort Worth. Texas



CURRENT #7:    4.87 Pickles:    Shake  Shack, Times Square, New York City, New York  



CURRENT # 8 & 9   4.85 Pickles:    Milt’s Stop & Eat in Moab, Utah and Fava’s in Georgetown, Kentucky.  These are two truly great burgers!  *Just went back to Fava’s (1/20/12) and confirmed they are still a solid 4.85!!! FLASH another 4.85 Pickle burger was found today in Bar Harbor, Maine!!!  Jordan’s is best known for, and deservedly so,  their fabulous Blueberry Pancakes and great breakfasts, but I had their burger today, and it was very, very good!  Way to go guys, join the ranks of the top  5 burgers in America!  Tied with Fava’s!


CURRENT #10    4.7 Pickles:  Hut’s Austin, Texas  -  Pappa’s Burgers in Houston, Texas     Among the best!


CURRENT #11    4.65 Pickles:  The Camellia Grill, New Orleans, Louisiana


CURRENT #12     4.65 Pickles:  The Urban Stack, Chattanooga, TN 


CURRENT #12 (tie)      4.65 Pickles:  Bartley’s Burgers, Harvard Square, Boston, MA.


CURRENT # 12-17 (group)     4.5 Pickles:  Cheesburger, Cheeburger in Sanibel Island, Florida  -  Billy’s Giant Burgers, Jackson, Wyoming  -  Five Guys (Varies) I’ve rated Five Guys Burgers and Fries, burgers, anywhere from 4.0 to 4.5.   Bill’s Bar and Burgers, Rockefeller Center, N.Y  N.Y. 4.5 (with Sherelene along it’s a 4.6!)   Rotiers in Nashville, Tennessee a solid 4.5 and maybe a 4.6 if eating one with Ricky Skaggs!  *Rotiers makes a patty melt, but it’s still great!!!   Latest 4.5 burger from The Backyard Cafe’ in West Columbia, South Carolina, great folks and a really good burger.  Another addition to the 4.5 pickles club;  Smashburger!

THAT WAS THE TOP Seventeen!!!!!  


The Best of the Rest all the way to the Worst!!!!!



4.4 Pickles:  Believe it or not Steak &* Shake (anywhere) usually very consistent!  The best Fast Food burger that’s easy to find!!! –  Cheeseburger in Paradise in Reno (Sadly now closed) Also the one in Maui is excellent.



4.3 Pickles:  Fuddruckers, most locations, varies from 4.0 to 4.3.   The Blue Goose, Hendersonville, TN  4.3 Pickles;   was discovered with the suggestion of Ricky again, Cheeseburger buddies forever…..



4.0  Pickles:  Hamburger Heaven, Palm Beach, Florida  -  Bobcat Bite, Santa Fe, New Mexico  -  Margaritaville, Key West, FL  -  Most Fuddruckers.   Applebee’s  -  Ruby Tuesday’s  * Latest 4.0 entry  Kodiak Jacks in Oshkosh.  New Entry CJ’s Bistro, Marco Island, FL 4.0



3.8 FLASH a new entry, believe it or not the new Wendy’s larger Hot and Juicy falls right under the Steak & Shake Steakburger!  This is an impressive comeback by Wendy’s, Dave must be proud!, up there!
3.4 Pickles:  White Castle (watch out for these little bad boys, they don’t call them sliders for nothing!


2.1  or less:   McDonald’s, Hardee’s, Backyard Burgers, Carl Jr’s


.25  Burger King, Clown Burgers, Big Top Burgers and any burger in a Marriott (Room Service)


.10  Shame on you Westin in Atlanta, you are now my worst burger ever, even a Marriott burger is better, Dry hard bun, cheddar cheese after asking for and being told American was no problem, meat tasted funny, not in a good way!!  To make things worse they had Kraft Mayo, ugh!!!!!  In fairness the hotel was great nice people, nice room, but their burger drive?!,  out of your way to avoid this one!!!!



























































A Cheeseburger Adventure in New Orleans

One of my favorie places to heck out a burger is Camellia’s Grill in New Orleans, a classic dinner style eating expeience with a high end 4.6 burger to boot!  Enjoy some images from this trip!  By the way having the right company for this lunch was the kicker!!!!










2 years, 7 months ago 2


Welcome to the very first Learning Center post for the new website.  This is an article that ran in the Pilgrim’s Chronicles blog back some time ago but I wanted to update and thought this would be a good lead off session.  I’ve struggled for years with how to be ready for any situation in the field and yet have a small enough package that I didn’t feel burdened with too much to carry.  First I want to keep my bag or pack to below 25 lbs., actually as far below as possible.  My current field kit comes in complete at 23 lbs.  That’s good enough for now.  the older I get the further down it will have to come.


To put together a kit you need to identify what you need the gear to do, here is my list:


1.  I need a camera body that has sufficient resolution (at least 12 mega pixels) and all the features I use like mirror lock-up, etc.. For me the D7000 at 16 mega pixels and all the needed features works fine


2.  I need to cover focal length equivalents of from 20mm to over 400mm.  With the Nikon 12-24 AF-S  WA zoom, the Nikon 24-120 AF-S VR Mid-range zoom, and the Nikon 70-300 AF-S VR longer range zoom I get everything from  18mm to 450mm covered in three lenses.  And of course my trusty Len Baby Composer with close-up lenses as well!


3.  I really want to be able to shoot close-up to 4 times life-size.  The handy, compact,  and very sharp (and reasonably priced), 85mm Micro-Nikkor AF-S VR f3.5 lens is perfect, add to that 3T and 4T diopters and you have a killer close-up system.  I also carry the Canon 500D for the 24-120 and Automatic extension tubes and I’m more than good to go.


4.  The Lowe Pro Stealth Reporter 400 AW or the Trekker 300 AW backpack each hold all this gear and stay in my weight range (the backpack is a hair heavier but is easier since you carry it on your back.


5. Tucked away in either bag is a Nikon Coolpix P300 for those grab shots when the gang and I are whoofing down a burger!


6.  In the illustration above the 85mm Micro Nikkor is replaced with the 85mm f1.8 lens when I need to work in low available light.


7.  Polarizers for all lenses, a Singh Ray Variable Neutral Density filter, a small table top tripod, charger and spare batteries, mini flash light, plus cleaning supplies and allen wrenches and you’re good to go!  To pad things in the bag I also stuff in a dozen or so micro fiber cloths.


8.  Of course a full size tripod and ball head are salted away in the back of the vehicle.


9.  A spare body, a D700,  and it’s dedicated wide angle, the Nikkor 16-35 AF-S VF f4 lens will be packed with the computer roll on bag.
So there you have it, a full compliment of lenses and a very capable body ready to tackle almost any subject.  Since I won’t be worried carrying it all I will get better images!  At least that’s the plan.  This is the system I will use in New England in two weeks, we’ll see how it does!


2 years, 7 months ago 6

Thanks to my dear buddy R.C. Concepcion the river of information that flows between you, I, and our Heavenly Father continues.  Welcome to the new website and home of the Pilgrim’s Chronicles.  Make no mistake, the number one purpose of this website will always be to bring encouragement and hope to those that come here to seek it.  The Pilgrim’s Chronicles has become a wonderful place for me to explore what God is teaching me and then sharing it with anyone who cares to listen.  The new website will also, secondarily, be a clearing house for lots of information I want to pass on to you.

Let me walk you through what you will find here, and please keep in mind that the site, while up and running, is still under construction, so everything promised will not be here for a while, but will get here eventually.  Along the top you will see several pull down menus.  First (will be)


Welcome.  This is where you will see a small portfolio of my rather diverse work.  It is also where immediate news items and links will reside.  This page also features a calendar and a short history of blog entries.


About Bill Fortney.  This is a very short introduction to me.  I say short because I have decided to scale way back personal information from my previous website.  I feel the purpose of the website will be best served if it’s less about me and more about you!


My Blogs.  This is the meat of the site.  Here you will find the daily Pilgrim’s Chronicles where we will explore God’s love, His forgiveness, and His compassion for us.  As always each blog entry in the Pilgrim’s Chronicles will feature a new image, (this is after all a blog aimed at the photography community).  The next blog down the list is His Light Workshops where you can find out how to attend workshops, tours, lectures, and receive one on one training.  This blog will keep you up to speed on all our offerings.  The next blog listed is Cheeseburgers In Paradise, and of course this is where you can join with me in the ongoing search for the perfect cheeseburger.  You can see the places I already recommend and I will blog here when  new burger is reviewed.  You can even join in the fun by offering up your favorites cheeseburger places!  The next soon to be added blog will be called The Learning Center.  This is where I will post articles on all things photographic, from how to articles, scouting reports on great places to shoot, equipment reviews, and lots of photography techniques and philosophy!


My Galleries.  This is where you can view my work, the catagories now are:  Nature/Landscape  -  Macro  -  Fine Art/Travel  -  Aviation  -  Americana  -  Coming soon…..  Black & White  &  Aerial Landscape.


Contact Me.  If you wish to reach me, and I hope you do, please use the email, address, and phone numbers listed here, if I don’t answer any of these sources I’m with the Lord!


I hope the new website encourages you, inspires you and helps you.  Please let me know how I can make it better!

Lastly, thank you Lord for giving me this voice to serve you…….

the pilgrim