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6 months, 1 week ago 4


Over the weekend I went up to Erlanger, Kentucky for Tony Sweet’s Creative Photography Seminar, and wow what a great shooter he is!  I’ve known Tony for many years, actually when we first met he was a drummer, a really good one too, in a jazz band. He worked with us in the Great American Photography Weekends and then he really blossomed into the great artist he is today.  In my estimation Tony residers in the rarefied atmosphere of the Art Wolfe’s and Freeman Patterson’s of our craft.  One part great shooter and two parts real artist!  Tony’s work is a magical combination of tight, wonderful technique, and an open ended and embracing art!


I really enjoyed what Tony shared and it was a good review, and I picked up some novel new ways to look at common photographic problems, all in all, a day very well spent.  Tony had assembled a nice group of photographers and I knew several so it was a kind of a homecoming for me as well, it was great to see some old friend again.  Tony and I had time to visit and catch-up on a very old friendship, which I enjoyed very much!  I can highly recommend Tony‘s classes, seminars, and his excellent books!  You can learn more at:


Thanks Tony, for a very nice day with you, and your followers!


Well it’s just one more day until Jim and I head to Old Car City, I will keep you posted from there, can’t wait, love that place!!!




the pilgrim


Thanks to Tom Fielder for making the image above of Tony and I together!

6 months, 2 weeks ago 13


One of the most pleasing attributes of the new equipment I’m shooting is the quality of the monochrome images that come straight out of the camera!  I started my career as a newspaper photojournalist and of course shot black and white film and made prints for the paper.  I came to really enjoyed seeing and imaging in monochrome!  Tones, and the graphic qualities of the image are much more important in monochrome.   Color can become the main point of photograph that has great color, but monochrome must rely on other qualities of the image, and it is a good teacher!


Let me share a few black and white/monochrome images that I hope will prove the point!



In each image the central points design, lines, shapes, and tones, some of these may have been successful as color shots, but the design made each a strong monochrome composition.  Below is one more monochrome conversion, and then the original color shot below it, yes sometimes color screams look at me!!!


………and now, ready for it?



Teach yourself to see more effectively by playing with the medium!




the pilgrim


6 months, 2 weeks ago 6


On a flight last year going somewhere, who knows where, in the Southwest Airlines flight seat back was an issue of their magazine and on the cover was a young man wearing  T-shirt that said “Because I said I would”.  Watch the video at the link below and I will continue the story!


Today I wear the wrist band that has the same quote, I even have a t-shirt with this quote.  What Alex Sheen started is a wonderful non-profit that encourages people to do what we should all do, display integirty!  Alex tells a wonderful story about his deceased father and how he proposed to honor his father by giving to others the one things his father gave to him, keeping his word.


Now just think for a few minutes how much better our world would be if we only kept our word. It would be so much better if we didn’t make promises at all if we were not going to stand behind them.  Make your word your bond, make it something worth giving.  My faith teaches me that that was how Jesus was, He never promised anything He did not fulfill!


I carry the Promise cards and use them, I wouldn’t be much of a friend if I didn’t recommend that you give it a try.  Not for me, but for the Man that has never broken a promise!




the pilgrim

6 months, 2 weeks ago 12


Yesterday’s blog entry must have struck a cord, I got a dozen emails, and even phone calls with some rather specific, and I thought, good questions, I’m sure my emailers and callers won’t mind my answering them for all of you too.  I will protect the senders by only using a first name.


From Steve, “In another post you talked about the 23mm f 1.4, and wanting the 56mm f 1.2 when it comes out, does that not duplicate the focal length already in the 18-55?”


Yes Steve it sure does, and in that respect it’s wasted money, however if you are working in very low light and want or need very fast maximum f-stops, then these two lens will really come into their own.  AS is often the case, these more expensive lenses are also spectacular in their performance.  The good news ids I honestly have not bought a single Fujnon lens that hasn’t been world class, but the 23mm f1.4 is even a step above the rest, I suspect from early reports the 56mm f1.2 will also be another major league winner.  When I worked for Nikon I had the pleasure of shooting the 24mm f1.4, 35mm f1.4, and the 85mm f1.4 all exceptional glass, this new pair from Fuji gives that great pleasure back to me!


Nancy asked, “Do you find the 55-200 f3.5-4.8 rather slow in terms of maximum f-stops?”


Yes, I do, but keep in  mind when I was shooting Nikon, my favorite lens was the 70-300 f4.5-5.6 which was even slower, but also very, very sharp just like the Fuji 55-200.  Because the OIS (Optical Image Stabilization), and the great high ISO performance it work fine, though I confess to be first on the list for the soon to be released  70-200 (Equiv.) f 2.8 though.  I still actually like the 55-200 which is very sharp.


Sam asked, “Do you feel the Fuji X cameras are as ruggedly built as the Nikon’s you used for years?”


That is a tough one, I certainly think the D3s and D4 were tanks, and the D700 as well, the D800 and D600 a little tiny less so, but all are very well built.  The X-T1 is the first weather proof Fuji and it seems to be very solidly built, though I have dropped my X-Pro 1 and X-E2 several times with no ill affects at all.  I imagine the Fuji’s may be a hair less heavy built, but unless you plan to drive nails with one, I think they will serve you well.


John wanted to know “Have I calculated just show much weight I’ve saved, goblin g to the Fuji X System?


Actually I have weighed everything, the same set of focal length lenses and bodies in the Nikon System (which I still own by-the-way),  is a little more than double the weight and almost twice as bulky.  The weight savings and packability difference is significant.


Randy had a really telling question; “What are the biggest differences that have led to your falling so in love with the Fuji system?”


The weight savings was a big factor, but more importantly was the image quality (the best I’ve ever experienced in my 44 year career! Think about that, that is saying a great deal…), the quality of the lenses (I’m a real lens freak, sharpness, lack of chromatic aberrations, distortion, color purity, all matter a lot to me)  I loved Fuji film and I love the color renditions from their cameras, it just looks different and for me is simply lovely.  Frankly I’ve found Fuji’s philosophy on how to support it’s customers with constant firmware updates that are the result of customer requests to be revolutionary and refreshing.  They actually listen and act on the customers behalf.  The first cameras; the X100 and the X-Pro 1 were very much Beta products and were thus panned by many, but they simply wrote firmware to make them a 1,000 percent better and even when new cameras have been released they continue to support and write firmware for the earliest models.  Name any other manufacturer that is doing this!!!  Enough said.  And the number one thing, using this system has brought back the sheer joy of shooting, and as they say in the Master Card commercials, that’s priceless…..


Sarah wrote; “I got my new X-T1 yesterday and I love it, but I think it is smaller than I thought it would be, do you plan to add the battery grip?”


Yes, in fact it’s due to be delivered here tomorrow or Friday.  I think the battery grip will make it handle even better, now if only Really Right Stuff will make a L bracket for it.


Henry asked, “Do you really think the Fuji X cameras exceed the performance of the D800e??!!”


I never said that, and no I do not feel that way, I do feel that the added resolution and file size of the D800e is only an advantage if you truly need that kind of file size and resolution.  I am pro- ducting prints up to 4 X 6 feet that look spectacular from the 16 mega pixel X Trans Sensor. Could I go bigger with the D800e?  Yes, but I won’t carry it and the larger lenses so it’s a moot point for me.  But the D800e is an exceptional imaging instrument and for those that need or desire it,  then it’s the ticket!






David says, “Are you really shooting a lot without a tripod? “



Actually I am, and I hate that I have laid it on for such a long time to never shoot without a tripod, but then until the last year I have not been able to shoot at ISO’s like 1600 and 3200 without suffering  a great deal of noise.  If I can get a high enough shutter speed in conduction with OIS I’m finding I can shoot razor sharp images, now I still believer that maximum sharpness only comes from a solid tripod, but hey we can’t always use a tripod so this has opened a while new world for me!    The two shot above  by-the-way were both hand held at ISO 1600!


Thanks for the questions, I hope something in there was helpful for you!


This coming weekend I’m attending Tony Sweet’s Creativity Seminar in Erlanger, Kentucky.  Tony is a long time dear friend, and one of my favorite photographers, I’m excited to learn from him Sunday.  If you would like more info go to his website:




the pilgrim