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5 years, 5 months ago 8

Step one on any journey is getting there!  So I’m in another airport in the early a.m. waiting for my flight to leave.  That is the easy part, though I must admit being two months removed from Nikon, this is not one of the things I will miss!!!  No the first step is to actually have a plan and some goals for the trip, here are mine for Photoshop World 2013!


1.  Give everyone who wants some of my time, as much as I can give.  It is an honor to have people that care about what you do, and since they are making this dream a reality, they deserve my attention!


2.  Give my best effort when teaching.  I truly care about people getting their “moneys worth”!  I have made a lot of preparation to be sure and give good information and keep it as entertaining as possible!


3.  Renew old friendships and make new ones!  There are so many people that I can’t wait to spend time with and a bunch I want to get to know!


4.  Finally, and most importantly, always remember this opportunity is not about me, just as life itself, it’s about Him!  I hope to share His lovee with everyone I meet, and that when they leave they may not remember me but will know they experienced His love!




the pilgrim


Photo Note:  All images this week with the fabulous Fuji X100s!


5 years, 5 months ago 6



This Labor Day weekend fell on the dates of another important “Labor Day” in our family’s history!  On September 2nd, 1976, Sherelene and I had our last child, a daughter, Catherine Anne, pictured, above right, with her husband Clint.  Last night we had a family cook-out and celebrated that blessed event!  The arrival of any child is a blessing beyond measure but, Catherine was also a miracle, please let me explain.


First, Sherelene and I had two sons, Scott and Wesley, and we desperately wanted a daughter, but there was one problem, in the past 60 years in our family, (the Fortneys), there had been 45 boys and 3 girls born, and the last girl had been 21 years before!!!  Chances looked pretty slim. But this wasn’t the biggest issue we faced,  Sherelene has gotten pregnant with a IUD in place and the threat to the baby was severe.  So severe that many doctors including those in our own family urged Sherelene to have a therapeutic abortion.  The horror stories about where the IUD had ended up in other births was terrifying.  Sherelene and I prayed about it and were vehemently opposed to abortion.  We believed God had assured us that He had the situation in His hands. We finally decided that we trusted God with this crisis, and would go forward with His assurance that He had things under control.  I would be lying if I didn’t share that we were very concerned, but we held fast to the promise he had given us in prayer.


On the evening of September the 1st, 1976 we went to the hospital as Sherelene started into labor. It so happened that Sherelene’s OBGYN was also a photo student of mine and he insisted I be in the delivery room for the birth, he said, to photograph the birth, but I think he knew if things went wrong I would need to be there.  I’ve never had a tougher photo assignment waiting for our baby to come into the world, holding on to God’s hand every moment, with every contraction. Just before Catherine arrived I could see Dr. Hurlocker smile a big smile through his mask, and held up the IUD, and said, well this is out of the way!   Through tears I photographed the birth of the first girl in our family in 21 years, a healthy baby, who would be our Catherine!  It was the turning point in mine and Sherelene’s walk with God, the first real test of betting it all on His faithfulness.  Sherelene got her wish for a daughter, and I learned that God does not lie when he says I’ve got your back!  So you might say that Labor Day has a very different meaning for us!  Catherine has been a precious addition our family and especially to my life.  I did not have a sister, remember the Fortney history with girls, but she taught me what the true joy of being the father of a daughter could bring into my life.  Later she traveled with me to many national parks and we enjoyed photography together!  I love all my children, but Catherine does hold a special place in my heart.


So today I celebrate a very special Labor Day!




the pilgrim



It’s off to Photoshop World tonight!!  I am very excited to see so many friends and share some photography in the three programs I will be doing there!  Most of my heavy duty serious gear is already packed for the Glacier Workshop and I didn’t think I would have much time to go out and shoot in Las Vegas, plus the 100+ degree temps will keep me in the hotel!!!


So this week I will post images from Photoshop World with a twist, I’ve decided to shoot everything with my Fuji X100s and shoot most of the people stuff in Black and White!  I love the B&W that this camera produces and it is noiseless at 6400, so it should be fun, below is the very light kit I’m taking to Vegas.  I’m not much of street shooter, but this is the week to learn as I try to capture the mood of Photoshop World, please join me all week for the fun!



Pray my photo skills are up to the task!  Please!!!!!!



5 years, 5 months ago 10

What makes you happy?


Please allow me to share a few thing that have me smiling, actually laughing out loud tonight! Above is a picture taken of Dr. Charles Stanley and I at his 80th birthday party in Atlanta last year.  That evening we not only celebrated his birthday and ministry but the release of his new book, I Love To Tell The Story.  This gigantic coffee table book is some of his best work over a very long life of photographing his favorite subjects.  Please forgive me in advance, for bragging, but the reason i was there was to receive one of the first books signed to me, in thanks for my having written foreword to the book.  I know, I can’t believe it either!  Charles is such a dear friend, and tonight he called me to tell me Santa Claus had just come to his house. He was as excited as a child on Christmas morning, thus the Santa Claus reference!


Charles and I are teaching a workshop along with my partner Jim Begley, and the His Light team in Glacier National Park in mid September,  It is traditional that you pay the “star” speaker a fee, but Charles kept refusing to let me pay him, so I knew what he loved and got him several boxes of cool photography toys, a Fuji X-E1, 18-55, 55-200 and some key accessories. (He already own most everything Nikon makes!!!)  I knew he was also trying to lighten his bag and I thought this might help!  So  back to what is making me smile!   I have to say his joy was infectious and I have smiled all night at his happiness!  Charles knows how to do a lot of things very well, and one of them is show appreciation!  I wouldn’t have been any happier if the boxes had arrived at my house!!  I can’t wait to see all our friends in Glacier and get to spend that time with Charles too!


The second thing that has really made my day is the wonderful responses you guys have had to my latest Kelby Training Class, Photographing Vintage Auto Americana, at Old Car City.  So many of you have shared kind words.  I always dread seeing myself in my classes, I have a hard time watching myself, but I felt pretty good about this one.  You’ve made me feel even better. Now if all of this were not blessings enough on Tuesday I fly out to Las Vegas for Photoshop World and a great reunion with so many of the NAPP family!



God has so richly blessed me with wonderful friends and great experiences!  Best of all I’m home a lot more and get to be in the same room with my bride of 43+ years, Sherelene.


Thanks you Father, I know I don’t deserve any of this, but I’m truly thankful for your wonderful gifts!




the pilgrim


5 years, 5 months ago 2

The image above says JG and in smaller type, what you can’t read, says Jack Graham!  Jack is an old friend of mine who has become one of the best workshop leaders in the business. We started out a long time ago and he has become a more and more accomplished photographer through the years.  He runs very successful workshops and tours all across America and the world.  When he called me some months back and asked if now that I was retired, would I join him to co-teach a few workshops I was both honored and thrilled!  I am delighted to be joining him in three upcoming workshops, one is not until next late spring/early summer, Columbia Gorge, so I’ll write about that one again later.


Coming up this fall we are doing two fantastic workshops together:


Fall Color in North East Ohio and a Day with the Amish   –   October 10th – 13th

Jack really knows this fantastic region of Northeastern Ohio in and around the Cuyahoga Valley N.P.  and this should be the perfect time for fall foiliage!  He has also arranged a day of photography with a wonderful Amish family he knows very well.  This will be a great experience and  I’m thrilled to be joining him, Only two spots remain open, I hope you can join us, this is the link to his website to get more information and hopefully sign up!!


Be sure to visit his website to get full information!!!


Death Valley National Park   –  November 8th – 12th


Death Valley is one of the most interesting landscape opportunities in the National Park System! By November the temps have dropped back down to the pleasant range and the light is angled perfect for fantastic morning and evening shooting.  We will be staying right in the park and the workshop should be a great experience.  It’s and easy trip!   Just fly into Las Vegas and drive the three hours over to the park!  Once again we have limited space so check out Jack’s website for full details!


I’m thrilled to be able to join Jack for these two events.  I expect great fellowship, and great shooting, and with Jack and I lots of laughter!!!!




the pilgrim


Photo Note:  All images copyright Jack Graham.