Recent Posts
3 years, 1 month ago 4


For years I’ve tried every conceivable way to carry my gear, and on many occasions a photo vest is the right solution, that’s probably why I own five!!!!  Well two were gifts, and I’ll get to that later.  I break vests down into two categories, stylish and utilitarian.  The most commonly seen vest is the Domke vest and for good reason, it doesn’t scream “Photo gear!”.   It can actually look fairly nice.  I have a second that is very much like the Domke but is special to me for another reason entirely!    It was made by Banana Republic back when they made “real” outdoor clothing.  This is the story; My wife and I were at Hilton Head on a summer vacation with the family.  I was tagging along with her while she shopped, not my favorite activity.  She drug me into a Banana Republic, and while she was checking out the women’s clothes I saw this great photo vest, and fell in love with it.  She could see how much I wanted to get it, but unlike herself, she insisted I didn’t really need it.  After a lot of discussion I walked out of the store without it, admittedly a little disappointed.   Six months later sitting around the Christmas tree she handed me a clothes box size package, I wondered as I opened it what she would have bought me in the clothes line, as I seldom let anyone buy my clothes, but myself.  Of course you know what is coming, I opened the box and to my shock found the vest she has slipped and bought me back in the summer.  She said, “You are impossible to surprise, but I got you this time!”  She had, and that vest will always be my favorite!


I think the Domke and “special gift” type vests are best when you want to carry just a couple of extra lenses and some small accessories or filters.  They distribute the weight well and as I said,  you don’t look like a pack horse in them.


The utilitarian type vests like the Leonard Lee Rue and Vested Interest vests above are best when you have to carry a substantial amount of gear and you want it well protect, and frankly you don’t care what you looks like, after all, photography comes first!   The Vested Interest vest has great padding and hold lenses in pockets that are easy to work our of, and is constructed to last for decades!  The Leonard Lee Rue, is a cross between the Vested Interest and the Domke, slightly less bulky than the Vested Interest but well made and very roomy.  I got mine from the son of a friend who died recently, he found it in his Dad’s closet and suggested he would like me to have it.  I’m honored and will keep it in his dad’s honor.  I also happen to love Leonard and Len Rue, two of the nicest people in photography!


Below is one last solution that is not commercially available though several other brands are, a photo jacket.  This one is one of only four in existence,  it’s the Bill Fortney Photo Parka, another of my great ideas???!!!  I made it for photojournalists in the 70′s.  The coolest feature is the tan color is 18% reflectant!  Oh well, not every idea goes over so well!  Only four prototypes exist.  Bill Pekala, Ned Beatty, Don Nelson, an I have the only four.

When you don’t want to carry a shoulder bag or back pack this may be the answer!!






3 years, 1 month ago 9


I hope your planning to eat with moderation and get some home projects done instead of laying on the couch watching football all weekend!  Don’t worry I’ll take care of that for you!!!   All joking aside, I hope you are truly getting ready for a glorious Thanksgiving!  May I make a ten suggestions that will make it one of the best ever??


1.   If your parents are still living and you get to see them, tell them how much you appreciate all they sacrificed for you!  


2.  If you have a living relative that knows all about your family tree, ask them to tell you about everyone they can remember and record it or at least write it all down!


3.  Tell your children, or grandchildren, or nephews and nieces how much you love them, and take the time talk to them and listen to what they want to share with you.


4.  Sometime Thursday, go off alone and get down on your knees and thank God properly for all He has done for you!  Asking him to help you become the man or woman He wants you to be!


5.  Call a friend you haven’t talked to in while and catch up!


6.   Take a few minutes to count your blessings, write them down, and look at them for a while, and rediscover how wealthy you are! 


7.  Donate some food or money to a local church or shelter that will feed the homeless.  If you really want a blessing serve some food to them or deliver some thanksgiving food baskets.


8.  Watch at least an hours worth of the Macy’s Parade and remember the joy of your Christmas seasons as a child.


9.  Sometime over the weekend watch one of the many great versions of  A Christmas Carol, and remember what the spirit of Christmas giving is about.  *The best one is the 1951 version with Scrooge played by Alastair Sim.  My opinion……  For the kids try The Muppet’s Christmas Carol, great music!


10.  Pray for all those less fortunate than yourself this holiday.


And lastly,  have a wonderful time with your family and friends.  As for me, I’m thankful for having you out there coming here day after day,  to visit with me!  O.K. have a second and third helping!!!!


the pilgrim



3 years, 1 month ago 19


Before I start this story let me be clear, I don’t consider this a tragedy.  Things happen….. such is life.  I want to concentrate on our response, not the ramifications.  Sunday night I left Corbin to drive down to Nashville for an early morning meeting with an important new commercial photography client for Nikon NPS.  Sherelene had the day off at the clinic Monday so she went with me.  She did some Christmas shopping while I called on the client.  When we arrived back home about 9:00 p.m. last night, we discovered that one whole wall of our kitchen cabinets had simply fallen off the wall smashing most of our dishes and glasses and some other stuff.


Now it’s the week of Thanksgiving, we have family coming in, and the kitchen looks like a war zone.  How do you respond?  Please believe me I’m not bragging, but I’m very pleased with how Sherelene and I dealt with the issue last night and this morning.  A lot of work lies ahead trying to get things cleaned up, repaired and restored, and some of the broken stuff can’t be replaced, but it’s just some cabinets and glasses, and dishes.  One of our first thoughts was what if one of our grandchildren had been standing there when the cabinets fell.  Even and adult would have likely been killed or seriously injured!  We could have come home to the smoldering remains of a home burned to the ground!  No, in the overall scheme of things this is just a hassle, it will soon be cleaned up, (Sherelene has clinic duty today, so after I file some weekly reports, I know what I will be doing.)


After the initial shock of seeing all this “stuff” in the floor we both agreed that it was just “stuff ” and got a good nights sleep.  Here is the simple truth, things happen, and God never promised us that our lives would be free of any stress or disappointment.  I think these kinds of circumstances give  us a great opportunity to see just how much we trust Him, and how grounded we are in our belief that God and family are what’s most important.


So the bottom line is; this is an inconvenience!  Sure it’s ugly, but it’s no big deal.  Everyone is safe, God is still on the throne, Thanksgiving will still be a time of thanksgiving for so much, and we have so much to be thankful for.  Don’t sweat the small stuff, it’s all small stuff…….. (great book title too!)


This is the day that Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!


Be at peace and be thankful,


the pilgrim

3 years, 1 month ago 0

Image by Sherelene Fortney


My pastor delivered a great message this morning and I would love to pull some of his points and share them with you.  As we approach Thanksgiving there are four things that steal your thankfulness and closeness to God.  Here we go:


1.  Don’t let memory fail you!  Never forget how you got to where you are spiritually, physically, and financially.  When Herschel Walker won the Heisman Trophy and was signed to a multi-million dollar deal, he build his mother a big new home and on a large piece of land on the back he had their old home from the dirt poor days moved into the back yard, so they would never forget!  We need to be sure that we don’t forget what God has done for us, what our families have done for us, and all the others that have helped you stand where you are today!


2.  Don’t let vanity possess you!  Avoid the Unholy trinity at all costs, “Me, Myself, and I” .   Remember this life is not about you.


3.  Don’t let prosperity intoxicate you!  Success could just be your biggest enemy.  Look at all the stories of lottery winners that claim they wish they never had won.  Too much can hurt you.


4.  Don’t let security deceive you.  Anything you have can be taken away, anything, except God love.  Real, true security only reside in Him.  Idols are things we worship.  Before you say you don’t worship anything but God,  think carefully.  I certainly can admit to having things in life that I love too much, as much as I don’t want to admit it,  that borders on, or is idolatry!


Choose who you will serve, as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.


I love a great song by Bob Dylan, You’ve Gotta Serve Somebody……


You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls.


But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.


Might be a rock’n’ roll adict prancing on the stage
Might have money and drugs at your commands, women in a cage
You may be a business man or some high degree thief
They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief.


But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.


You may be a state trooper, you might be an young turk
You may be the head of some big TV network
You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame
You may be living in another country under another name.


But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.


You may be a construction worker working on a home
You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome
You might own guns and you might even own tanks
You might be somebody’s landlord you might even own banks.


But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.


You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride
You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side
You may be working in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair
You may be somebody’s mistress, may be somebody’s heir.


But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.


Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk
Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk
You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread
You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed.


But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.


You may call me Terry, you may call me Jimmy
You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy
You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray
You may call me anything but no matter what you say.


You’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.


the pilgrim


*Photo Note:  Shot by my wife Sherelene, after dozens of tripods into the slots, this was her first, he shot is better than anything I ever shot!   Shot with Nikon Coolpix P300.


FLASH:  The comment section is now fixed all you have to do to reveal comments and add your is click on the symbol circled below!  When you click on the number and page symbol it will bring up all comments and allow you to comment or reply to any comment.  Sorry it took so long, but we should be good now!!!!



FLASH 2   If you love airplane photography, I have a site you have to check out!  R.C. Concepcion helped a organization I belong to, re-design there website and it is spectacular.  The organization is the International Society of Aviation Photographers.  This organizations meets once a year in the U.S. and it is where you will se some of the most spectacular aviation work form the best shooters in the world!  O.K. you don’t have to come to a meeting to see the work, check out the website   When you get onto the site go to the heading  “Portfolios”  you can browse through the work of the true masters of this field!  I have a portfolio, but only because I love t his kind of work, I don’t in any way consider myself a master in this field, but I love it!!!!


I’m traveling on Monday in Nashville doing Pro calls, will post again on Tuesday!  Have a great Sunday…….