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2 years, 8 months ago 1

Image by Susan Scharenburg

 

You may ask why I teach workshops, I would say because I love to!  You may ask if people come to be inspired and learn from me?  I would say they may, but in the end I get inspired and learn from them!!!  I’ve been saying for a long time that great photographers are far more numerous today than ever before.  I can’t tell you exactly why, but I suspect that more people are interested in photography at a serious level today, that more opportunities to learn are present today than ever before,  and that digital photography has made the learning process easier and a lot more fun.  What ever the reason, when I teach a workshop and look at the results from my students, (more friends, and pals than students!!), I see wonderful things that, in fact,  inspire me.  This will be the first of a several part attempt to share work that was done on the recent (October), New England event.  As I look at these images they bring back great memories of having a wonderful time with terrific people, who obviously made the most of the opportunity!!!!

 

Before I let you feast your eyes on their wonderful work let me praise my Heavenly Father for giving me such a wonderful life, filled with rich experiences, in the company of such precious brothers and sisters……

 

Image by Raymond Rabola

 

Image by Lynn Rogers

 

Image by Richard Siggins

 

Image by Santiago Melians

 

Image by Kin Envoldsen

 

Image by Miles Smith

 

 

Image by Ted Thelin

 

Image by Paul Roskoff

 

A photograph is the poetry of the soul.  The unspoken vision of an artists view of his or her world.  These photographers share a glimpse of their vision with us, and we are richer for it!  Stay tune, more to come!

 

the pilgrim

2 years, 8 months ago 6

After a pretty rough early week, the weekend blossomed into a great two days!   Saturday night Sherelene and I went to a Chris Tomlin concert in our hometown.  I’m a big fan of his music and his strong stance for Christ.  It was more than an enjoyable concert, it was a deep worship experience.  As often happens when you spend several hour in worship, it really started to focus me on the task at hand.  The second thing that happened was a sweet email I received from my dear brother, and shooting buddy, Jim Haverstock.  Jim expressed his thoughts on my postponed retirement plans, and said he thought that maybe God was not finished with my ministry opportunities through my service to Nikon. Finally this morning Sherelene and I went to church and a guest speaker delivered a wonderful, thoughtful, and very timely message for me.

 

He spoke of our need to reach out to the Least, the Last, and the Lost, he called it,  looking for people that no one else wants.   All of these things came together to create something of a perfect spiritual storm in me!  I’ve made it clear what my hearts desire is, but tonight sitting in another Courtyard by Marriott in Nashville, it’s more clear than ever.  My ministry has always been about trying to live in a way that points others to my Heavenly Father, and while I have been involved in personal evangelism, it has not been on the front burner.  It is now!  I will start to pray that God will send me those people that are seeking Him.  Some time ago I prayed the Jabez prayer for several months and He sent me countless people that were seeking someone to share Christ with them.  I’m ready for another round.  I’m not talking about handing out tracks or approaching total strangers in the mall!  I am talking about asking God to make me keenly aware of those that I meet that are searching, or lost, or in need of an extra large helping of His love.  I’ve kicked plenty of doors down for Jesus, and it never works, but when He opens a door, that’s when the fun starts.  I’m pumped about a renewed commitment to serve Him more deeply, more completely, and more faithfully.

 

I want to thank, the speaker at church, Jim Haverstock, and Chris Tomlin for helping me to re-focus on my intended purpose in life.  I never lost complete sight of that purpose, but the point of my focus was beginning to get, forgive me, “blurred”.  Couldn’t resist a photography term.   Now I have a very big favor to ask to all of you that frequent this blog.  I would ask that you pray for me.  I want Him to prepare me, strengthen me, and show me through the Holy Spirit, how to be a witness for Him.  I also want to be more aware of what is happening spiritually around me, and lastly, I ask that He will send me those that He knows I can share His love with.  I’ll make a deal with you, when He starts to answer our prayers, I will share the stories of victories with you.  I will call them, Unrestrained Stories!

 

I’m excited and filled with hope about what God is about to do!

 

Thank you,

 

the pilgrim

 

The Song:     From the Inside Out

 

A thousand times I've failed
Still your mercy remains
And should I stumble again
Still I'm caught in your grace

Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame

My heart and my soul, I give You control
Consume me from the inside out Lord
Let justice and praise, become my embrace
To love You from the inside out

Your will above all else, my purpose remains
The art of losing myself in bringing you praise

Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame

My heart, my soul, Lord I give you control
Consume me from the inside out Lord
Let justice and praise become my embrace
To love You from the inside out

Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
And the cry of my heart is to bring You praise
From the inside out, O my soul cries out

My Soul cries out to You
My Soul cries out to You
to You, to You

My heart, my soul, Lord I give you control
Consume me from the inside out Lord
Let justice and praise become my embrace
To love You from the inside out

Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
And the cry of my heart is to bring You praise
From the inside out, O my soul cries out

Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
And the cry of my heart is to bring You praise
From the inside out, O my soul cries out
From the inside out, O my soul cries out
From the inside out, O my soul cries out.
2 years, 8 months ago 7

 

It was 1991 and I was embarking on one of the greatest adventures of my life, the forming of the Great American Photography Weekends.  My father had passed a way just a few years before at the young age of 66 and I was bound and determined not to work to 65, retire and then die within a few months as he had done.  I remembered how my dad, an avid fisherman, had dreamed of opening a bait and tackle shop and hanging out with fisherman for his “Golden Years”!  Well his golden years never arrived.  My dream retirement was to travel across the country and world and photograph all the places and things I had never gotten to see!

 

Starting your own business, even in better economic times, was a challenge.  Someone would have to guarantee that the family finances went on while I struggled to start a new venture.  I made a promise.  I would take some years off from holding down a regular job to chase this dream, and Sherelene would make sure we kept our heads above water while I ran the GAPW.  The GAPW was an instant success bringing in truck loads of money, however in the process of running the business we spent truck loads of money.  In some years I took very little salary in order to keep the ledger out of an iron lung!!.  Eventually, it was very self supporting, but through it all, thick and thin Sherelene kept her word.

 

When 9/11 happened workshop companies fell on hard times.  Since by then I had  investors in the company, I stepped down as the manager of events, and president of the organization and took a regular job again, being a Tech Rep for Nikon.  The GAPW limped along for another 8 years and finally went out of business early this year.

 

I have really enjoyed doing my work with Nikon, but the vigorous schedule was starting to get harder as more age piled on me.  I started to dream of retiring and doing more workshops and shooting more, and not being away from home as much.  I even started making plans to do just that.  Sherelene and I had several conversations about retirement and she encouraged me to consider working a little longer, so that we might be better prepared for the day we were on a fixed income.  Truthfully, I really didn’t want to put retirement off.  Even though my health is good and I feel capable of working longer, I was ready.

 

Then Sherelene reminded me of my promise,which I had conveniently, (for me), pushed to the back of my mind.  It was apparent that she was concerned about my hanging it up early.   This is when being a Christian means God will have a little talk with you in your spirit.  I was reminded that I “had” given my word and she had kept hers.  It didn’t take me long to know that I needed to keep mine.  So I told my boss and friends Scott Diussa and Bill Pekala that I would like to not talk about retirement for now that I would like to remain a member of the team a little longer.  To my shock they both seemed happy to hear it!  I kinda wondered if they would be happy to see me ride into the sunset.

 

Now this has all been way too much information about my life, more than you need to know, or probably could care about.  I will still teach my several private workshops a year under the His Light banner, I’ve completed my 5 course deal with Kelby Training, and I will not change anything about my website, I’ll just be at Nikon a little longer.  The important message is this; when you give your word you have to stand by it otherwise your word doesn’t mean a thing.  It also means that I deeply love, and appreciate my wife.  When I was traveling around America seeing things I never dreamed I would get to see and experience she was home holding the home fort down.  While she is great at what she does, and does love her work, her level of enthusiasm about getting up and going to work didn’t rise the level of my “chasing a dream across the U.S., Africa, the Galapagos Islands, Europe, and beyond….”   No, she was faithful to her promise, and  now, I can do no less.  If I said to her, but I want, what I want, I would never be able to look myself in the mirror again.  Before anything else in life, I refuse to disappoint, my God, my wife, and family, and those brothers and sisters the Lord has entrusted to me.  Of course, I can’t do that on my own, but with God’s guidance, strength, and help, I will make my very best effort.

 

the pilgrim

 

 

*Photo Note:  D700, 17-35 AFS f 2.8 lens, ISO 200 f22 t 1.6 seconds  HDR.

2 years, 8 months ago 2

 

Sorry, I’ve been out of commission!  I had my tests on Tuesday and it seemed things went well, then Wednesday morning I started bleeding internally.  Spent most of the day trying to figure out what was the source.  By last night we had it stopped and I was wiped out.  All is well now, last night the bleeding stopped and I think we are past it now.  I felt awful not getting anything posted, but I was under the weather.

 

I really miss reaching out when something stands in the way.  I never realized how much blogging meant to me until I was not doing in for a day and half.  When God tells you to do something, and you obey, He opens up so many wonderful blessings from it.   It’s fun to share what He places on my heart and then see when He is blessing others.  I’ve always known that it isn’t me and that the kind of repsonses that come could only be from Him, but it’s still fun to just get to ride the bench for Him.

 

Today I had to have some more blood work done and sitting in the waiting area, (I hate sitting in the waiting area), a lady asked if I was Bill Fortney, turns out she used to live in Harlan where I’m from.  She knew some of my family and I knew some of hers, we had a really nice conversation.  In the conversation she mentioned that her mother had died about a month ago.  I could tell that it was helping her to talk about her and so I listened and shared with her.  By the time she left I think her spirits were lifted, I know mine were.  Everyday God gives us a chance to reach out and comfort others and He also has people reach out to you too.   What a loving Heavenly Father we have that He knows what our needs are and places people right in the right place at the right time to meet our needs.  Some people would say those kinds of things are only a coincidence, no way, it happens way to often to be anything but he Hand of God.

 

Make yourself available to Him, to be used and to be blessed……….

 

the pilgrim

 

*Photo Note:  Nikon Coolpix P7000.