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3 years ago 13

No, I’n not going to rant, and as far as I know, my luggage is actually headed to my final destination, Lexington, not heaven!  No actually today’s flights (so far), have been fine.  I was even bumped to first class for both return flights, so all is good. Delta must have found out I was flying Southwest a lot more!!!!  In all honesty, it would be pretty hard to get me in a bad mood this morning.  I’ve got a lot to look forward to, and had a wonderful evening last night!


Let’s start with last night.  As you know from the previous entry about ISAP, we were honored to have two of the few living Tuskegee Airman with us for the meeting.  I really enjoyed meeting them and talking with them.  You couldn’t find two more down to earth, appreciative people on earth.  We received them warmly and they more than returned our out pouring of love. We did clean and checks and both gentlemen brought their cameras over to be cleaned, one was an ancient Nikon point and shoot model from several years back, and the other man had a D70 that needed a lot of attention.  They both really enjoyed the photography programs, and professed to being “into” photography.  They wanted to learn a lot more, they were respectfully 86 and 91!!!!!   Shame on me for talking about getting old!!


So, last night before the paper airplane contest, (a much loved annual event started years ago by Fred Sisson, I’m simply the caretaker) anyway, I was thinking we give a Coolpix P7100 to the winner and I sure would love to have given it to one of them!    While I was obsessing about how I could get them new, better cameras, it dawned on me that if my bosses, Bill Pekala, and Scott Diussa had been sitting there, they would have been thinking the same thing, and they had the authority to make it happen!  I texted Scott and he said call Bill at home.   I hate to bother my boss at home, but felt this was worthwhile, so I called him, I wasn’t surprised when he said, “Absolutely, what do you think would be appropriate for them?”  We decided that the D5100 with a kit lens would be about perfect, and so, I was able to go back into the meeting and announce after the paper airplane contest that Nikon wanted to thank them for the their service with new cameras!!!


That was when it got really interesting, both came to  the front of the room and stood on either side of me, arms around me, and teared up, I teared up, and everyone in the room teared up.   It was a special moment of sharing respect and love with these great men, who gave so much for their country.  I went off to my room to pack and return home and don’t think my feet touched the ground until I was all alone in my room, where I wept for joy.


Thank you:  to Hilton and Wilk for facing so much to stand up for your country, your race, and your patriotism.  Thank you for entering a program that was designed to fail, and making it more of a success than anyone every thought it could have been!  Thank you for teaching so many young people that dreams can become reality, no matter what others tell you.  Thank you for giving me the honor of standing between the two of you, for just a moment, I’ve never felt taller!   Thank you, Bill Pekala, for being the kind of man that sees what is really important and acts on it.  Thanks for being a great boss and friend, and same to you Scott, I could not work for two better men.   Thank you my fellow ISAP members, what an honor to be in your company, learn from you, and enjoy your being a part of my life!


Thank you Father for allowing me to live this life, filled with your love, forgiveness and acceptance!  You’ve granted me far more than I deserve!


Who cares where my luggage is……… strike that, my tripod and ballhead are in there!!!


the pilgrim

3 years ago 0

I mentioned that my good friend Jim Sugar was with us at ISAP, and as usual, he shot some terrific stuff!  I thought you would like to see some of his take.




the pilgrim




3 years ago 6


I’m at one of my favorite meetings of the year but I’m grounded today!  I came down with a stomach bug late yesterday and I felt I needed to ground myself today and recover while the gang is out shooting.  I always really enjoy these field trips, but better safe than sorry.  The good news is that the Nikon prep work for future meetings never ends so I’ll have a day in my hotel room to both recover and get some work done, so it’s not a day off, but I’m not complaining.  My talk to the group went really well yesterday!  I was able to sprinkle some humor into an otherwise dry, death by powerpoint presentation.  Thank you Lord for laughter!


Scott Kelby was our special speaker and, as usual, he hit it out of the park!  What a great teacher, friend, and partner to work with. He taught on workflow techniques with Camera Raw and Lightroom 4 and they were fantastic pieces of information.  As I said in yesterday entry, this is a really special group of folks and they are a lot fun to work with. A few of my old friends from this group didn’t make this years meeting and I sure missed them, didn’t seem quite the same without them around.  No one worked harder yesterday than Francis Yeh, our repair tech.  Francis did a ton of camera cleanings, and as usual the recipients of his fine service were thrilled!


When I went to bed last night, not feeling very good, I dropped off to sleep thinking about something I wanted to share.  I was thinking about how much of my life could have been better if I had only listened to God’s voice and obeyed.  Once you tell God you want him to come into your life and live in you, He takes that invitation very seriously!  From that moment forward, He wants to guide you into what is best for you and most glorifying to His kingdom.  The hitch comes when we don’t listen or willfully choose to go another direction.  The result is always the same, failure.  God is not a “better” way, He is the “best” way!  It amazes me how often I think I understand what’s best for me and make decisions that don’t line up with His will, I always suffer from that mistake.  What is utterly amazing, to me,  is that I know better and yet, still do it over and over.  I would like to think that the frequency of my going off the reservation is reducing, but sometimes, I wonder.  God gave us free will and He refuses to stop us from making bad decisions.  I believe it is part of the learning process.  As the late Mark Twain once said, “A man who takes a bull by the tail, obtains information that will always be useful!”


Let me encourage you to take the “best” path and prayerfully ask Him for guidance in all your decisions. One thing is for sure, He loves you too much to ever steer you in the wrong direction, the important thing for us, is to listen………


the pilgrim


* Photo Note:  The AV-8B Harrier II, above, was shot at sunrise at Sun n’ Fun this year.  It was shot on one of the first days I used the new D800, which I’ve fallen in love with!

3 years ago 0

I am in Norfolk at the International Symposium on Aviation Photography, in fact was one of the morning speakers for Nikon.  What a great group of folks, many old friends and lots of new ones too!  To me, this is one of the great joys in life, spending time with people of common interests.   I ran a workshop a few weeks back filled with fellow Christians and people that loved old rusted cars, we had a blast and the common faith and interest in things old, made it even better!  I actually love to go to gatherings like car shows, fishing tournaments, gun shows, you name it, if the group is all into the same thing they will be having a blast, and I will too!  I don’t even have to be excited about what excites them, I just love to see people having fun!  I think that is one of the best things I enjoy about workshops, see people pumped to be out having fun.


Having fun is not a sin!  I thank God that He wants us to have joy in our lives! Being with people that I care about is really a great pleasure for me.  I will get into real trouble if I start making along list, because someone will invariably be left out and the last thing I would want to do is hurt anyone’s feelings, but I simply must mention a few!  Of course my repair tech, and constant companion at many events like Sun n’ Fun and the Derby, Francis Yeh, just a great guy and very fine technician.  Jose Ramos was one of the guest speakers this year and is good friend and someone I really enjoy hanging out with.  At this year meeting I had the distinct pleasure of visiting with my dear, long time, friend, Jim Sugar.  Jim and I discovered many years ago on one of our first trips together they we are almost exactly the same age!   Jim was born February the 8th, 1946 at 9:00 p.m., I was born 9 hours later, February 9th, at 6:00 a.m.!!  One of my favorite phone calls of the year is calling him on his birthday and saying, “I’m sure glad I’m not as old as you!!!”  Jim is a genuine legend in the business.  Jim was one of the very best shooters, ever, at National Geographic, and he just gets better every year.  Jim is fireball of energy and enthusiasm, and I’m always better after i get to spend time around him!


Image by Larry Grace

Jim’s great family, left to right, Jim, his son Sam’s girlfriend,  Kira, Sam, and his wonderful wife, Jan.  What a wealthy man!


Of course the great people of ISAP are one of my very favorite groups!  Such classy people, from such varied backgrounds.  At this years meeting we have the honor of two of the Tuskegee Airman at the meeting!  I will post a picture of me with them after the break!


Does it sound like I’m having fun?  You bet!!


Thank you Father for blessing me with such great friends and associates!


the pilgrim


And oh yes, my new Tuskegee Airman friends!!  Left to Right, Hilton Joseph, myself, and O. Lawton “Wilk” Wilkerson.  Wow, what an honor!