Recent Posts
4 years, 9 months ago 4

It is often the way we see the world, as if through a glass darkly…..  I spent a perfectly delightful day testing equipment int he Smokies, and visiting with my old, and dear friend, (he loves when I write teat!!)  John “Forest” Gompf Jr.  John and I met many years ago at a Great American Photography Weekend and our friendship has grown over the years.  Today I was honored to meet and get to spend some time with his son Chris.  We shot some images which i will share and just traded stories as i went about my field work.



We finished our day with a trip back to the 50’s Rock n’ Roll Diner in Maryville for another of their killer cheeseburgers, better than ever, and the company was too!  We traded stories and had a lot of laughs, and in the end it came full circle to me again that we are blinded in this world by way too many things t hat are not nearly as important as family and friends!  Today I got to spend time with a great friend, who is very much a part of my family too!  Enjoy the takes for the day!


Idea stolen from Jim Begley!!!




the pilgrim


4 years, 9 months ago 2

Bare with  me, I really do have a point to all this!  One of my great interests in the past was motorcycles.  In my 20’s and 30’s I raced dirt bikes in 100 mile cross country races.  We road up steep hills, forded rivers, road up creek beds, and through sand.  It was a blast, and some of my friends from the past know how much I enjoyed cycling, and occasionally someone will call and say “I want to buy a motorcycle, what kind would you buy?”  Wow, that is a question that takes a lot of study, and research.  The first and most important question is what are you going to do with it????  Let’s have a very quick lesson in the kinds of motorcycles, maybe very simplified, but none-the-less pretty complete.  Illustrated above; Upper left corner, The Street Long Distance Cruiser, made for long distance travel, with comfort, smoothness and every conceivable creature comfort.  Upper right, the Street/Crotch Rocket, for the thrill seeker, fast and nimble, the closest thing a civilian can get to and all out race track bred,  motorcycle.  Lower left, the Street/ Trail is a combination of a trail machine and a street machine, a compromise, not great at either but usable on or off the pavement.  Lower right, the Street Cruiser, very popular for the short trips and cruising mountain roads, in a  relaxed state, you see a lot Harley’s in this category. Center bottom, The Dirt Bike, a no holes barred, designed to go in the dirt, machine.


Now what you need to know is that each of these kinds of motorcycles excels at one thing, the street/trail doesn’t excel at either but does have dual purpose.  The point is that if you do long trips and want to do it in real comfort the Street/LD Cruiser is the absolutely best ticket!  If flying around mountain curves with extremely high speed, really leaning into the turns is your passion, the Crotch Rocket is  “the” ticket!  The Dirt Bike will do just about anything you have the skill to try in the dirt, sand, and water!  The Street/Trail will get you off road and do an o.k. job there, it will also ride on the street, but don’t try taking sharp curves leaned to far over!!!


So what on earth is this all about???  Let’s talk cameras and lenses.  Over the next few months I will be describing the retirement decisions I’ve made about what gear to use from this date forward.  The same kind of logic you would use to choose a motorcycle is how we will determine what gear will do the best job at what we plan to do.  I’m doing this, not only to share some very hard decisions I’ve made, but to help you when you need to work through the same kinds of choices.  Stay tuned, this will be a lot more fun for you than it has been for me!




the pilgrim

4 years, 9 months ago 7

Yesterday I found a visitor in my yard, a common box turtle was making his way to somewhere as he crossed my property.  I went in and got a camera and micro lens and went out to make some images of him.  When I laid down in the grass to see him eye to eye, he pulled back into his shell and closed up.  I waited for a while and finally I could see his shell just open up a little, then a little more.  It took some time, but finally he was comfortable enough to stick his head out enough to find out where I was.  I remained very still with my face hidden behind the camera.


It struck me how intensely he starred back at me.  I shifted very carefully until he was looking directly at me through two blades of grass.  I really enjoyed the game, I’m not sure whether he felt the same!?  He was never in any danger, because I meant him no harm.  Once again I doubt he knew that either!!!  The box turtle has a natural defense mechanism, if it senses danger it simply goes inside it’s shell and closes the door.


We are guilty of doing the same thing.  When we are in a situation where we are unsure of what might happen, we pull back into our emotional shell.  I had something funny happen some time ago that relates perfectly to this little example.  I was in New York City for a photo show, and each morning we would go down to the garage and stand in the cab line waiting our turn to get a cab. The first morning I arrived when there was no one else in line, and it was a few minute until a cab pulled up.  During the time standing there I talked to the Bellman.  We talked a little sports, and we got to know each other just a little. I found out a little about his family and where he was from, that kid of stuff.  Each morning when I arrived to get a cab, we talked some more.  On the last morning I was standing with some of the other Nikon folks and, once again I visited with the bellman, by now we were like old friends.  When we piled in a cab to go to the show, one of the folks, who lived in the city, turned to me and said, “How did you meet that bellman, where had you known him before coming to New York?”  I said that I just had been talking with him each morning and I guess we had become acquaintances.  My friend said, “you seem to be friendly to everyone, even people you don’t know, why is that? ”  I answered “Why not?”


I understand that things are different in the city, but they don’t have to be!  One of those evenings in New York a group of us walked up to Times Square to get a Five Guys burger.  When we went in and lined up to order there were probably five or six of us.  We were having a great time cutting up and talking and it took a little longer than it should have to get our orders placed.  I was picking up the meal charge so when I got to the cash register to give my order I told the young man taking the orders to please include the man standing behind me in line and add his order to my bill.  I turned to him and said I’m sorry we took so long, please have a burger on me!  He was shocked and couldn’t say thanks enough. My point is not that I’m a great guy, it’s that we can all make little statements everywhere we go about God’s love.  How should we expect others to want to know the God we love if we don’t demonstrate that a relationship with Him changes us!!!


So, the next time you are in an unfamiliar situation try coming out of, instead of pulling back into your shell!




the pilgrim



Post Script:  Sorry about missing yesterday blogging.  Sherelene had a rare Friday off from work and I spent most of the day doing things with her.

4 years, 9 months ago 5

One of the most powerful techniques a photographer has is isolating the sharpest part of the scene to draw the eye of the viewer in!  The eye seeks; sharpness, brightness, and warmth.  If you can use those three key ingredients,  you can bring the viewer’s eye directly to what you want them to see!  As illustrated below, the area of sharpness is a very thin line in the image, but that is where your attention was drawn!!



In the image below we have the opposite example and image that is sharp from the foregorund to Infiniti, and therefore the entire scene is the subject!



I can’t emphasize it enough, depth tells the story……


How deep are you?  Is your surface, what really lies beneath?  Hey hold it, I’m not accusing, I’m facing the same question myself.  Have you ever looked in the mirror and stared deeply into your own eyes and answered that question.  It’s a tough one!


The beginning of the journey to depth in a life is the recognition of just how shallow we can be.  I hope you don’t see in the mirror what I have seen.  The closer your walk with the Lord the more you see just how much further you have to go.  But, that’s O.K. that is how He grows us up, how He prepares us for what He has in store for us.  Facing the reality of our depth is a hard process, but gaining depth, is well, the only way to continue the walk and bring glory to Him.  No matter how bad things look in the mirror, He only sees the Heart He has already redeemed!


Thank you father for forgiveness and grace…..


the pilgrim



Technical Note:  50mm f 1.4 lens at f2.8.