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3 years ago 5

It’s 3:00 a.m., New York City, Marriott Maquis, room 3917.  I went to bed at 9:30 pretty tired, woke up at 2:00 a.m.  Wired, excited about Friday, wait a minute it’s already Friday.  I worked on the blog (Cheeseburgers in Paradise),  for about an hour, went back to bed, God said, “Get back up, I’ve got something I want you to write down and share!  For those of you that don’t come here often or just started reading this blog, I didn’t actually here a voice, but in my spirit it was clear, what He was telling me to do,  was not just for me.  I don’t know who this is for, but I’m sure He does, so here goes….


How do you want to be remembered?  I’ve not spent a lot of time thinking about that, but honestly, when a friend leaves us, and more of mine are starting to do just that, I do think about this.  My earthly father, William Pelle Fortney, told me many years ago, “No matter what you accomplish, or how much money you make, if you leave this earth without integrity and honesty, you’ve failed!”   After  years of being a Christian, and reading the scripture, I’ve come to the conclusion that God tells us the same thing, and this;  (this is God speaking),


” I love you, I care about everything in your life.   I know you are imperfect,  but I still love you.  I sent my only Son to die for you,  so that you might be forgiven for all your sins.  I want you to trust me with your life, I want you to find comfort, and peace in my strong arms.  I know you want to do it all yourself, but my dear child, you can’t, but I can help you to be all I want you to be,   You do not have the wisdom, strength, or ability to succeed, but  I am standing at your door knocking, please let me in to your heart!”


I don’t know why this came to me in the early morning hours, I do know I want my earthly father and my Heavenly Father to both be proud of me, I don’t want to disappoint either one.  I know I can’t be that man I want and need to be in my own strength, but I know through God I can be moving that direction in my life.  I know God is not interested in my being loved and accepted here, just in His eyes.  When I go to be with Him, I pray that at least this could be said of me, (my words),


“He was an honest man with integrity.  He loved his wife, his family, and his friends.  He had time to show God’s love to everyone he came in contact with, and the lives of those he touched were better for him having been here.  He wasn’t the greatest photographer, or writer, or blogger, but he always tried to be better each day.  I’ve known few men that were more at peace, and filled with joy.  I know these things for certain; He loved His Heavenly Father, honored his earthly father,  knew Jesus deep in his heart, and was guided by the Holy Spirit!  He went to heaven not wanting anything more than what he was already given.”


If I can leave like that, I will have had a wonderful life, far more than I deserve…….


the pilgrim

3 years ago 0

It has often been said that someone is looking through “Rose Colored glasses!”   Meaning they’re seeing a rosier picture of the world than it might actually be.  Maybe life is better if seen through a better prism!  I was really dreading this trip to New York, but it has been far more positive than I would ever thought possible!  I’ve had great conversations with wonderful photography friends.  Two very unhealthy burgers, (yes I went back again tonight to confirm that Shake Shack really was that good, and it was!)  The work in the NPS VIP Suite was not as bad as it has been and we did get to visit with some great customers.  Tomorrow, Sherelene will join me for Friday and Saturday night in New York.  We have tickets for the Jersey Boys, will stay over Saturday night in the Ritz Carlton on Central Park.  We are even predicted to possibly getting snow Saturday night!   I had bought a copy of Home Alone 2 which was filmed next door to where we will be staying, the Plaza.  Should make for a great weekend, even if I have to work the show during the days.


I guess I have to say that my churches prayers for me having to go to New York has worked out great.  It is, after all, about the people in our lives and I’ve had a great time with the ones here.  I miss Bill Pekala, Mark Suban, Mark Kettenhofen and Brian Aho, all assigned in other countries at the moment.  Pekala and Suban in London in prep for the Olympics, and Kettenhofen and Aho in Mexico at a big photo event.  I really missed seeing them, but I’m sure an opportunity will arise soon.


Thanks Father for a great job, that lands me in places with great friends……..even, if it is, New York City……




the pilgrim

3 years ago 4


You knew it would happen, the question is always when and where.  Tonight, in New York, right off Times Square, I can’t believe I’m saying this, a new champion was crowned, Shake Shack!  This place did everything right and the result was an incredible, juicy, perfectly seasoned cheeseburger! Now I try to be careful to not let the company at dinner to influence the over all score and I love few Nikon friends more than Paul Van Allen!  Just catching a burger with him makes it infinitely better, but being the consummate professional cheeseburger connoisseur, I forced my self to really concentrate just on the burger!  Aren’t you glad you have me out here to serve and guide you through burger land!!!  O.K.  the burger was simply the best ever, I’m awarding it a 4.87 pickle scale score, and  that’s two tenths of point higher than Milt’s or Fava’s!   That is a tremendous score.  Now the down side was it was a big crowded place with not much more ambiance than a McDonalds, but hey it’s about the burger.  The fries were average and I probably docked them points for going on and on in their advertising about how they were cooked in the safest, heart healthy oil, give me a break, the burger alone could kill you! But the facts are the facts, this was the best burger ever, period end of sentence.  You know I don’t want my favorite burger to be in New York so you guys out there get busy, and find us some more great burgers.  By the way a sweet young lady that worked there made the experience even better, what a great personality she had!



Paul Van Allen himself was kind enough to demonstrate how to stuff your face with a big greasy burger, what a man!  A word about Paul;  Paul has been one of my best friends before I went to work for Nikon and a joy to work with in the company.  He is a extremely talented photographer, trainer, speaker, and representative for Nikon.  Paul was the first person I called to help me put the close-up class together for Kelby Training.  Paul has been a faithful friend for years and I love these chances to catch a meal with  him, that he recommended this place just pushes his stock even higher…..


Well, I love Milt’s and Fava’s and I will go see them again soon and give them a chance to wrestle the crown back from Shake Shack, but for tonight a new champion wears the belt, and mine is tighter….


I went out to shoot some for New York scenes today, hope you enjoy them.



Enjoy and blessings from a full and satisfied pilgrim……..


Photo Note:  All images Nikon Coolpix P7100.





3 years ago 1

I don’t often recommend books, I have hundreds and while I’ve enjoyed them all, I find that over time they seldom add a great deal to my approach to the art!  Today I purchased one though (for my iPad), that I can give a resounding recommendation to.  Bruce Barnbaum has been one of my favorite Black & White photographers for many years, his work is right up there with Ansel Adams, and John Sexton.  His new book;  The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expressiois a foundational work in learning to see and interpret your world.  In Bruce’s book he reveals some of the most important concepts to help you and I grasp what we see, why we enterpret the way we do, and how to convery it to others in the final image or print.   The wonderful Black & White examples alone are worth the price of the book.  Here is a link to order the book and explore Bruce’s work!  The Photoshop processing tips are also well worth the price.  This book has been reprinted many times, and for good reason……..


Just for the record I love all of Tony Sweet’s books as well, and one that has been long discontinued but can be found on Amazon:  Developing the Creative Edge in Photography by Bert Eifer.