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1 month, 2 weeks ago 29
Posted in: Uncategorized

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An open letter to the NFL players,

You graduated high school in 2011.  Your teenage years were a struggle.  You grew up on the wrong side of the tracks.  Your mother was the leader of the family and worked tirelessly to keep a roof over your head and food on your plate.  Academics were a struggle for you and your grades were mediocre at best.  The only thing that made you stand out is you weighed 225 lbs and could run 40 yards in 4 .2 seconds while carrying a football.
Your best friend was just like you, except he didn’t play football.  Instead of going to football practice after school, he went to work at McDonalds for minimum wage.  You were recruited by all the big colleges and spent every weekend of your senior year making visits to universities where coaches and boosters tried to convince you their school was best.  They laid out the red carpet for you. Your best friend worked double shifts at Mickey D’s.  College was not an option for him.  On the day you signed with Big State University, your best friend signed paperwork with his Army recruiter.  You went to summer workouts.  He went to basic training.
You spent the next four years living in the athletic dorm and eating at the training table.  You spent your Saturdays on the football field, cheered on by adoring fans.  Tutors attended to your every academic need.  You attended class when you felt like it.  Sure, you worked hard…you lifted weights, ran sprints, studied plays, and soon became one of the top football players in the country.  Your best friend was assigned to the 101stAirborne Division.  While you were in college, he deployed to Iraq once and Afghanistan twice.  He became a Sergeant and led a squad of 19 year old soldiers who grew up just like he did.  He shed his blood in Afghanistan and watched young American’s give their lives, limbs, and innocence for the USA.
You went to the NFL combine and scored off the charts.  You hired an agent and waited for draft day.  You were drafted in the first round and your agent immediately went to work, ensuring that you received the most money possible.  You signed for $16 million…although you had never played a single down of professional football.  Your best friend re-enlisted in the Army for four more years.  As a combat tested sergeant, he will be paid $32,000 per year.
You will drive a Ferrari on the streets of South Be ach.  He will ride in the back of a Blackhawk helicopter with 10 other combat loaded soldiers.  You will sleep at the Ritz.  He will dig a hole in the ground and try to sleep.  You will “make it rain” in the club.  He will pray for rain as the temperature reaches 120 degrees.
On Sunday, you will run into a stadium as tens of thousands of fans cheer and yell your name.  For your best friend, there is little difference between Sunday and any other day of the week.  There are no adoring fans.  There are only people trying to kill him and his soldiers.  Every now and then, he and his soldiers leave the front lines and “go to the rear” to rest.  He might be lucky enough to catch an NFL game on TV.  When the National Anthem plays and you take a knee, he will jump to his feet and salute the television.  While you protest the unfairness of life in the United States, he will give thanks to God that he has the honor of defending his great country.
To the players of the NFL:  We are the people who buy your tickets, watch you on TV, and wear your jerseys.  We anxiously wait for Sundays so we can cheer for you and marvel at your athleticism.  Although we love to watch you play, we care little about your opinions until you offend us.  You have the absolute right to express yourselves, but we have the absolute right to boycott you.  We have tolerated your drug use and DUIs, your domestic violence, and your vulgar displays of wealth.  We should be ashamed for putting our admiration of your physical skills before what is morally right.  But now you have gone too far.  You have insulted our flag, our country, our soldiers, our police officers, and our veterans.  You are living the American dream, yet you disparage our great country.  I am done with NFL football and encourage all like-minded Americans to boycott the NFL as well.
National boycott of the NFL for Sunday November 12th, Veterans Day Weekend. Boycott all football telecast, all fans, all ticket holders, stay away from attending any games, let them play to empty stadiums!
* Note, I did not write this letter, it was sent to me by my dear friend Richard Small, however I agree with every line of it!  Please share this with your friends, and show your support by posting a message here, I am joining you in the boycott!!!
Blessings,
the pilgrim
* A personal note:  I love football, played in High School, and have followed  both college and NFL my whole life, I have watched every Super Bowl except the one year I was in the Galapagos Islands.  This breaks my heart, I used to live for this time of year, now I can’t force myself to watch even part of an NFL game! I still have college, but I don’t recognize my country anymore!!!!!  God help us!
1 month, 2 weeks ago 4
Posted in: Uncategorized

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I’ve had a number of readers and students ask me what I’m going to do about the new Fujifilm 80mm f 2.8 Macro lens?  What people are usually asking is it right for me!!!???

 

Let me set the parameters for you.  I do a great deal of close-up work and have, over the years, owned some of the most highly rated lenses out there.  I personally don’t want any lens unless it is spectacular in performance, nearly perfect!  Why?  I found long ago that unless you know your cameras and lenses are capable of making the highest quality images, you will always wonder was it me or the camera or lens that contributed to my failure in this shot?  If you know your gear is able to help you make the near perfect (technical) images you desire, when the results are less than great, “you know who to blame!”  It holds you accountable, since you know if used properly the camera and lens can deliver the goods!!!!

 

So, if you are very serious and want the best let’s look at some of the options I know best.  First if you buy a Macro lens just to shoot close-ups, really close and will not likely use it a lot for subjects at normal distances, a pure Macro/Micro lens will work well for  you.  They are simple to use, simply focus them and shoot, no need for extension tubes, diopters etc.

 

I’m assuming you shoot the Fujifilm X Series of cameras, but the basic principles will apply across the board.  If you need a lot of working distance because you might disturb your subject, if you are too close, (insects, snakes, frogs, etc) Then you will want a 150mm to 200 mm Macro lens, and if you shoot Fujifilm, you are “sorta” out of luck!!  I say “Sorta” because the  55-200, 50-140 and 100-400 work fabulously with diopters.  The 100-400 with the Canon 500D can get you to almost 1:1 (life size) and is fantastisally sharp, but it is not a Macro lens per se’!

 

For Fujifilm shooters I recommend the 200mm Micro lenses from Nikon with an adapter or from Canon, (theirs is a 180mm ).  Of course you will have to manually focus, but then in all serious close- up work you will be doing that anyway (or should!!!!)

 

If a mid range Macro will do the new 80mm Mcro f 2.8 is hard to beat, it is tack sharp and has a lot of wonderful feature!  It can go to 1:1 without accessories, takes the auto extension tubes, and can even be used with the Fujifilm teleconverters!  It is weather resistant, fast (f 2.8), and handles wonderfully.  Only two downsides are;  it is on the big side, and the cost is $1,095.  If it fits in your budget, it is well worth the price.

 

You can buy some of the long discomntinued manual focus Micro Nikkor lenses and they are very sharp and can be adapted to the Fujifilm bodies with inexpensive adapters I buy on Amazon.  They have aperture rings which makes them easy to use, and manual focus only, though the 105mm Macro AF will work as well, but is is the most expensive and does not focus as easy as the older purely manual focus lenses!

 

The spectaular darkhorse lens is the Tokina 100mm Macro f 2.8.  It has long been considered one of the very sharpest Macro lense out there and, brand new, runs less than $400.  It goes 1:1 and is built very well and focuses wonderfully in manual focus mode!  Truthfully, it is a steal if your budget is tight!!!

 

Lastly the shortest focal length is the venerable Fujifilm 60mm Macro f 2.4.  It reasonably priced, small and compact and is spectaculary sharp as well, (remember all these focal lengths should be multiplied by 1.5 to see the true focal length equivlent)  So a 80mm acts like a 12omm, a 105mm like a 150mm the 60mm a 90mm, a 200mm a 300mm,  and on and on.

 

One last alternative for the Fujifilm shooter is their wonderful 90mm f 2 (135mm equiv.)  It is not a true Macro lens but focuses very close and works wonderfully with extension tubes and diopters!!

 

You may be wondering why I have not shown images of photographs made with each lens?  You couldn’t tell them apart!!!!!!  Web images just can’t portray the differences, which are very minor, at best!!!!

 

So what am I doing?  I own the Nikkor 200mm Micro for long distance, I use the 100-400 a lot and it is becoming my favorite and sharpest way to shoot from good distances!!!!  I love the 60mm Macro and the 90mm which I use a lot.  The new 80mm Macro f 2.8 from Fujifilm is still not availale to purchase, though I tested one and loved  it.  I suspect I will pick one up when they become available!  I’ve got some time to think about anyway!!!

 

Hope that was helpful!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

 

1 month, 3 weeks ago 6
Posted in: Uncategorized

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Jack and I just wrapped up the Grand Tetons Fujifilm workshop this past weekend, wanted to share some of the images!  We had fantastic sunrise light which led to so so light in the afternoons.

 

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I’ve started making images with the iPhone (7+) to share with fmaily and friends all the shots above were iPhone shots, now some of my best with Fujifilm cameras!

 

Cabin and wheat

Cabin and tetons bright small

Color against green

Tetons schwa BEST

Storm over Grand Teton

oxbow bend sunrise

 

Another great group in another great place!!!!

 

LCD shot small

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

A new angle to an old scene!!!

 

Valley and Tetons

1 month, 3 weeks ago 8
Posted in: Uncategorized

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Like most Americans I have been near a TV since the shooting and have heard the same curious question, over and  over;  Why did he do it?

 

I have the answer, but let me preface it by sharing something.  I did not choose to write this blog, to share my faith and to extol our ultimate need for our Heavenly Father.  Once I started to post blogs, immediately I was inspsired to share what is is written here.  I sit at my computer and it simply comes to me, inspred by the Holy Spirit.  There is nothing special about me, I simply, long ago, pledged my life to Christ and submitted to His will.  It is His will that I hold up a candle in the darkness for the world to see.  My candle is not seen by billions or millions of people, maybe not even thousands, but it is is seen and God speaks to people through it’s light.  It’s not my light, it’s not my thoughts, I take no credit or want no praise, I want God’s will to be done. All glory should always go to Him.

 

TRUTH:  Why ISIS, terrorism, murder, gangs, racial hatred, bombings of innocents, and all the other horrible things we experience everyday?  Man is inherently evil.  The secular humanists will tell  you that man is basically good and that he can be fixed with the right abount of love, counseling and government programs.  It  hasn’t worked, you can’t change a heart with man’s efforts, only God can make us new creatures without the desire to serve evil.  All you need to do to confirm these words is study history, man has committed acts of hate and damnation for centuries.  You can believe this, or be a victim of the world’s fallen state.

 

THE ANSWER:  We all must ask God to guide us, to help us be peace makers, to stop first the hate in us.  We must reach out and love the lost, and heal the sick of spirit.  We must steadfastly refuse to adopt the lies of the lost that there is no God, that we have no Hope!  Life without hope is meaningless.  God does not desire for even one to be lost, He loves His creation and wants it redeemed, but He will not force you to beleive and accept Him and His everlasting love.  You must ask Him for forgiveness and to accept you into His family.  If you do that with real repentence and faith in Him, He never says no!

 

KNOCKING AT THE DOOR:   Jesus said,  “I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and answwers, I will come in and be with him.”  That knocking is happening right now, a new life, freedom from hate and destruction is no further away than your answer, “Yes Lord, please come i!”

 

Please answer the knock.

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim