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3 years, 5 months ago 0

When I count the many blessings in my life, after my relationship with the Lord, and my wife and family, I count friends as among God’s greatest gifts. I’ve talked about Chuck Summers, and Scott Diussa, Bill Pekala, Scott Kelby, Mark Kettenhofen, and Charles Stanley in the blog. They have all been so good to me, and for me. The only problem with all of them, is that they are all far away, and I get precious little time with any of them. I know God knew I needed a friend close by. He sent me Jim Begley. Now I’m going to share some of Jim’s work and he truly is a great shooter, but that is not why I love Jim so much. Jim is one of the finest men I know, he really walks the walk in such a powerful way. Jim has been told by some of the best shooters in America just how great his work is, but I don’t think he’s heard a word of it. I spend a lot of time with “well known” photographers and to one level or another they all know they are good, and with some it seeps into their personality more than it should. Not Jim, he is the same, down to earth, guy I first met several years ago. Jim doesn’t think a lot about himself, he is focused on others. Another wonderful trait of Jim’s is he truly is so appreciative for anything anyone does for him. I guess that endears him to me because my father pounded that trait into me, to always appreciate the efforts others make on your behalf.

Jim and I are teaching several workshops together this year and we will be joined by Chuck Summers for more in the future. The whole idea, a Holy Spirit thing, of His Light Ministries has
really taken off. A number of photographers that are also committed Christians wanting to spend time together in the field and learn from each other, is really on a roll! I can’t wait to see what my Heavenly Father is up to next……..

Now, enjoy some of
Jim’s work from
our trip out
west last October….

Today’s Prayer
Father, thank you so much for placing people in my life that inspire me, teach me, support me,
and help You, to make me into the man You want me to be. Thank you also Father for the encouragement I get from Jim and these great friends. I am in awe at your plans for our lives. I’m so thankful for your never ending love and grace. Amen

the pilgrim

See more of Jim’s work @

3 years, 5 months ago 0

A woman is driving in heavy traffic anxious to get home. When approaching a changing light,
as it turned yellow, the car in front of her suddenly stops, causing her to have to brake hard to avoid a collision. In frustration she immediately starts yelling and shaking her arms above her head while laying on the horn, and cursing the driver in front of her. The car behind her slides to a stop inches from her car. A moment later she is looking out her drivers side window and very large policeman. She is taken into custody, taken to the Sheriffs station, searched, booked, fingerprinted,
and placed in a holding cell. After a couple of hours wait, the desk officer comes and lets her out.
He says, “I’m sorry for the mistake, when our officer pulled up behind you, seeing you license plate holder that said “What Would Jesus Do?” and saw the Christian fish symbol on your trunk lid, and then observed your cursing and throwing a fit at the driver of the car in front of you, he naturally assumed you had stolen the car…….”

How do we appear to the outside world when we profess belief in Jesus and then conduct ourselves in a way that doesn’t match that proclamation. The challenge is to live a life worthy of our salvation. While we can’t earn our salvation, but once it is freely given we need to live in a way that is a witness to that pivotal event in our lives.

Philippians 1:27-30 (New Living Translation)
Live as Citizens of Heaven
 27 Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. 28 Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. 29 For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. 30 We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.

Alexander the Great was said to have had a young soldier brought before him accused of cowardice, running away during a battle. When the King asked the young man to state his name,
he said while looking down and barely whispered, “Alexander”, the King said again son state your name, again in a low voice the young man said “Alexander”. One last time the King boomed out son state your name, the young man looked up and in a slightly louder voice said “Alexander”.
The King said, “son, change your name or change your behavior!”

If you have convictions, if you know what you believe, it’s time to take a stand. Step up and stand firm. It’s time to man up. It’s time to have the courage to live up to your convictions. If you reject this challenge, it’s time to answer the question; Why?

The Motions – Matthew West
This might hurt
It’s not safe
But I know that I’ve gotta make a change
I don’t care
If I break
At least I’ll be feeling something
‘Cause just ok
Is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything?
Instead of going through the motions

No regrets 
Not this time
I’m gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love
Make me whole
I think I’m finally feeling something

Take me all the way
Take me all the way
Take me all the way

Father you must increase, as I decrease. Help me to submit my life and my conduct to you without fear of the consequences. Please don’t allow even one to stumble because of what they have seen in my life. Take me all the way Father. Amen

the pilgrim

*Photo Note: Nikon D3, 24-70 AFS f2.8 @ 70mm. F22 @ 2 seconds. Glacier National Park.

This entry was greatly inspired by my Pastor, Tom Thompson’s sermon yesterday morning.

IMPORTANT: A side note, I want to thank all of you that have been praying for me on this new
attempt to get healthy. I have to admit that the battle with my weight and my health has been
a long and mostly loosing battle. My weight has been the source of a lot of pain, both physical and emotional over the years. For the first time in my life I really feel I’m being successful in turning all that around. In just a month my blood sugars have dropped into the ideal range, my blood pressure has come down very significantly, and I feel better than I have in years. On top of all that, I’ve only been on this program for one month! I can’t wait to see how I feel in a couple more months. I know your prayers have been a great source of my strength in this. I also want to thank my dear friend Vinny Colucci who inspired me with his 45 pound loss over the last several months and his constant help with this program. Of course Scott Kelby, who lost almost 100 pounds a year ago, has a been a great inspiration too. My daughter Catherine is on the same Weight Watchers program as well and she has really helped me learn the system.. Bottom line, thanks to all of you, so much……

the pilgrim

3 years, 5 months ago 1

O.K. this is over the top in so many ways! Some years ago my daughter, Catherine, recommend that I try Merrell hiking shoes. As a type II diabetic, taking care of my feet is a real concern. I tried the Moab Ventilator model and fell in love with them. Since then I’ve own maybe ten pair, I have five pair now. they get cycled from “dress” to “casual” to “work shoes”. It’s interesting as I travel and see lots of photographers in the field, this is the most common shoe I see. O.K. I know your saying that there has to be a point here somewhere.

In our lives we try a number of choices and finally realize that one is best for us and we usually stick with it. Some guys would own nothing but a Ford truck, others a Chevy, even others a Toyota.
Most Nikon shooters are devoted to the system, same with Canon Shooters, Pentax, Olympus, Leica, all are pretty devoted to their own camera system. Bryers or Ben and Jerry’s? The point is we know when it works for us, and then we make a commitment.

Some years ago I realized that no matter how hard I tried I just screwed everything up in my life.
I really tried hard to be a good man, I tried not to do the things I knew were wrong, I just couldn’t do it. I finally got all the way down to the bottom and couldn’t lift myself back up. I finally came to realize that the old “I pulled my self up by my boot straps”, was a lie, at least for me. A dear friend suggested I just surrender. That was the last thing I wanted to do, but I had no fight left in me, too many attempts, too many failures. I finally gave in and asked God to come into my life and heart and help me, change me. He did. I truly was became new creature. Was I suddenly perfect? Of course not, but I now had the power, “His Power” to live well above my circumstances. I entered into a period of growth, and it’s still going on. Through His grace, love, and enabling power, I’ve come a long way. I’m not what I used to be, but I’m not what I’m going to be someday, but everyday I’m just a little stronger, because everyday I draw closer to Him.

I’ve found something that really is working for me, and I’m sticking to it. I just think, what if I had never surrendered and accepted God’s helping hand up? I’m so thankful that people were praying for me, that someone told me the straight truth about where I was, and what I needed to do. A real friend will not let you suffer, a real friend will offer you a hand, and pull you out of the
miry clay. What a friend I have in Jesus.

the pilgrim

*Photo Note: D700 – 24-120 AFS VR f4 lens, set at 50mm, F4.5 @ 1/30th of a second.

Are you ready for some football??!! Have a great weekend, it would be a great time to surrender!

3 years, 5 months ago 0

It has been said that in the last few seconds of your life a movie plays with all the most important moments flashing before you. I certainly don’t know if that is true, but for the sake of argument lets assume that it is. I saw a part of that movie yesterday. No, I wasn’t at deaths door, I was actually cleaning out my offices and darkroom. About a week ago my wife announced that we were going to “de-junkify” our home, (I’m pretty sure that’s not a word!). Anyway she was right and my office, darkroom, equipment storage area needed it the worst. Since I needed to straighten out my consignment, and important Nikon files I’ve spent the better part of several days on that task.

In the process of trying to figure out what to throw away, I had to go through my rediculously large book collection, several hundreds. Over a 40 year career as a photographer I’ve bought and acquired a lot of books. The process of pulling them off the shelf and looking through them brought back a ton of memories. Before I start, please know that I am not name dropping, or bragging. The simple fact is that God has richly blessed me to have the opportunity to work side by side with some of the greatest shooters of our age. In the process of working with these people many have become good friends. I was brought to my knees in thankfulness as I re-read some of the notes written to me by my friends and people that I still admire so much as photographers
and friends.

John Shaw wrote, “Bill, thank you for your friendship and all the help over the years, John.”

Jim Brandenburg wrote, “For Bill, it was an honor working with you, in admiration, Jim.”

Chuck Summers wrote, “For Bill, with gratitude for your friendship and support, may God bless you and keep you in his care. Psalm 34:8. Chuck.”

Frank Daniti wrote, “Live your dreams everyday, Frank” From Frank’s wonderful book, Let Me Be Frank With You…..

Mark Boris wrote, “For Bill, thanks for years of friendship, fellowship and inspiration. Mark”

Bill Atkinson wrote, “For Bill, with great appreciation for your encouragement and friendship, Bill.”
Bill Atkinson was one of the five original founders of Apple.

Lynn Rue Jr. wrote, “For Bill, I want you to know that I highly value your friendship. Lynn”

Art Wolfe wrote on a print of Cheetahs , “To my friend Bill Fortney, with great respect. Art”

Pat O’Hara wrote, “For Bill, thanks for including me in the GAPW, my very best, your friend, Pat”

Galen Rowell wrote, “For Bill, thanks for letting me share my backyard with (Yosemite) you and even more thanks for all you’ve done for photography. Your friend, Galen”

John Netherton wrote, “For my good friend Bill, thanks for everything, John.”

Len Rue III wrote, “For my very good friend, may God be with you my friend, Len.”

Jack Dykinga wrote, “For Bill, Just imagine what another what another 500 feet would do! Looking forward to your book, my best, Jack”.

Freeman Patterson wrote, “For my friend and fellow photographer, all my best, Freeman.”

Anthony Cook wrote, “For Bill, I thank you for the wonderful inspiration and your friendship! Anthony”

David Muench wrote, “Dear Bill, sharing these images with you is what brings me great joy,
and keeps me alive and well, walk in beauty, with much love, David .”

From Bryan Peterson, “Bill There is coach and then there is first class, you are definitely first class,
the pleasure has been all mine, my best my friend, Bryan.”

Galen Rowell wrote on a print of some peguins in Antarctica , “These guys are rushing to sign up, can you get them a cheap flight! your friend Galen, you’re a great photographer and human being! Galen.”

Don Nelson, former Nikon great, wrote on a print of him standing on the photo stand at Reagan’s inauguration with hundreds of cameras all set and ready to go , “For Bill Fortney, who always knows which button to push! Don.”

Joe McNally wrote, “Bill, you’re an inspiration to us all, a leader in the industry, and a dear friend to Annie and I, my best, Joe.”

Scott Kelby wrote in the acknowledgements of The Digital Photography Book , “I owe a special debt of gratitude to my good friend Bill Fortney for agreeing to give the book the “once over” and it’s definitely infinitely better because of his comments, ideas, and input. Bill is just and amazing individual, a world class photographer, a testament to how to live one’s life, and I’m truly honored to have gotten the chance to work with someone of his caliber, integrity, and faith.”

Charles Stanley wrote as the dedication to his book, A Touch Of His Joy, “To Bill Fortney, One of my favorite photographers whose friendship has brought me a great deal of joy.”

My daughter Catherine wrote on a print of her and I together after she helped me run the GAPW and traveled with me to a number of workshops, “Thank you for providing me such a wonderful experience, I’m so happy to see your dream being fulfilled, no one deserves it more. Thank you for being such a wonderful father, but also my friend, I will miss you next year, love Skeeter ”

and maybe the best……..

David Middleton wrote, “NOT FOR RESALE, David”

O.K. once again, this is not boasting, this is genuine thankfulness for all that God has placed in my
life. If a man gives his heart to God, and if he commits to honor him in all that he does, this is the result, and it is available to any man, anywhere, anytime. I have been blessed beyond measure because of Him, because His ways are higher than our ways and His actions bring love and peace into a life. So I guess that it is boasting, boasting about what a wonderful God I serve……..

Father, May all the glory be yours, forever and ever…..Amen

the pilgrim

*Photo Note: D700 and the Nikkor 85mm f 1.8 AF lens. ISO 3200, F11 @ 1/2 second.