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6 months ago 4

I hope you’ve had a great Memorial Day weekend, surrounded with family and friends. Many years ago I started a Memorial Day tradition.  I go off alone and watch the last couple of scenes of Saving Private Ryan, as a reminder of what this day is truly about.  Please take a moment and watch this clip from Vimeo.  Links provided.



May you be blessed this Memorial Day and receive the rich blessings of these great sacrifices, and most of all the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,


the pilgrim




6 months, 1 week ago 22


October 21, 1970  -  Alone in a dark hospital waiting room I was on my knees, my eyes were filled with tears, my hands were shaking, I was about to become a father.  I cried out to God that my unborn child would be healthy, that Sherelene would be o.k., but most of all, that He would make me what I knew I would have to be to be, a father to this new life.  If you judge the answer of that prayer by my son, William Scott Fortney, He certainly did much more than answer my prayer!


This is the first of three blog entries I will be doing, one for each of my children, in honor of Father’s Day.  What makes a father’s worth is how his children turn out, if for no other reason, I have been a very successful man.  The occasion of this entry is an award given to Scott.  Awards are nice, they make a statement, but what matters more is why we are singled out to be honored.  Earlier this week Scott was presented with a wonderful award that signifies who he is.  The award is called the Legendary Caregiver Award presented annually to only three members of the over 3,500 staff of the Baptist Hospital professional caregivers.  What makes the award all the more special is that those considered must have been nominated by their patients and co-workers, those that truly know them best.  I just read in a wonderful  book just a few days ago, and in it a famous pastor said it was his desire that, “Those who respect me most are those that know me best.”  Those that know my son best are those that respect him the most.  To know Scott, is to know; integrity, honor, compassion, grace, dedication, honesty, sacrifice, and love.  My son embodies all the qualities I prayed he would not only have, but exhibit to others, ever day of his life.  Apparently the people he serves, and that work alongside of him, know the man I prayed he would be.


I could not be more proud of Scott, and his wonderful family, Diane, and my grandchildren, Hannah and Ben.   I’ve watched Scott raise his children along with Diane and I’ve seen what wonderful parents they are, and what that love has brought forth.


A father hopes and prays that his children will be not only be what God wants them to be, but to know Him.   I’m so proud of Scott’s faith as a father and a man.  He has brought up his children to know what is the most important things in life and he is a loving brother to Wes and Catherine.


Saturday night I will be with him to celebrate Hannah’s high school graduation and  I know I will be so proud of Hannah and the young woman she has become.  A father’s work is never done, even when our children go off an start  their own lives, we lift them in prayer and serve as a counselor and partner through out their lives. I don’t think any man is truly ready to be what we have to be as a father, but I know God has placed his  hand on my life and lifted me into the position I must hold, He has done the same for Scott.



So, Scott, I am so very proud of you, I never had a moment of fear that you wouldn’t become the man you are today.  Thank you for teaching me so many lessons along the way and helping me be the father I needed to be to you, Wes, and Catherine.  You’ve made being your father a pleasure, an honor and a privilege.  I love you son.


You’ve blessed my life,






6 months, 1 week ago 7

I get emails……  Whenever I do a  few days of gear entries I get two kinds of emails, “l love it, do more!!!!” and “I’m sick of gear blog entries!”  It’s o.k., no hard feelings, I understand, some folks love to talk gear, others don’t,  I take no offense!  I write articles about gear, because;  ( a.) it’s my blog, and ( b. ) I do like to talk gear, I’ve been doing it for a long, long time!  I do however agree with the statement in one email I got, the person quoted,  ”How much of difference does it make anyway!!!???” Truthfully, very little!  I’m shooting my best images in 45 years, but I could just as well be shooting them with a Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Leica, etc, etc,!   I just like what I’m shooting now, that’s all….


We need cameras to make photographs, though art work in the form of images can be made with other devices.  Lynn Rogers makes wonderful images with a flatbed scanner.  It is however impossible to image everything with a scanner!  Yes cameras matter, and lenses and tripods and accessories, but not as much as you might think.  When I lecture I love to share an image and shock people with the technical details of t he image!


This image which I’m very happy with in all technical terms, was made with a Nikon P5000 Coolpix camera, a sub $500. point an shoot.  I’m fond of saying treat any camera like a “real” camera and it will give “real” results!


I think what I’m saying is that what Rod Planck said many years ago still holds true today, “Technique trumps equipment every time!”  So on that point I can fully agree with the gear heads and the don’t care for gear talk folks, in a sense you’re both right!  Whatever you use, use it to full advantage, have fun, and enjoy the craft!




the pilgrim

6 months, 1 week ago 13


Since Catherine Martin asked about the Fuji X100s I thought I might go forward with a little more about this extraordinary camera.  While the X100s has many wonderful features and performance parameters that makes it special, it not so much what it is capable of that makes me enjoy it, but what it makes me capable of!


The cameras doesn’t call attention to itself, it allows you to be in the moment and see and quickly capture that moment.  The image below is one of my favorites because of how much I love and appreciate the subject, and it would not have been captured if I had been struggling with controls when it happened.  It’s my partner in His Light, Jim Begley in old Baptist Missionary church in Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.




This shot was a much more studied image off the tripod in Canonsburg Park, during last years Nashville event.  This monochrome shows the extreme quality of the 23mm lens on the X100s.



It’s the “always have it with you camera!”.  When Jim took me to visit a famous glass blowing artist he knew in Danville, Kentucky, I didn’t even take a “serious” camera.  I was wowed by his work and with the help of the X100s was able to carefully pull off some available light hand held work!



……..and another!



I’m an admitted “texture addict”, I see it everywhere I go, and when you can have a small compact camera capable of capturing it, well, that is a good thing!



When Jack Graham and I did a workshop out in Death Valley we visited the Rhyolite Mines Ghost Town, and I stumbled on some “Freaky” art, just had to shoot it, the monochrome out of the X100s was stunning!



At our lunch stop we had a surprise guest for our outdoor lunch, a burrow, gotta have a camera ready!  X100s!



How about capturing your friends in the field like Ted Thelin in Death Valley!  The X100s is a great “photograph your friends” camera!




The 35mm equiv. lens on the X100s is limiting at a place like Bad Water in Death Valley, but still very usable as evidenced below.



Sometimes when the light is magic at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley and all you have with you is the X100s, you just have to make do!



It’s more versatile than you would think, has quality to spare, and is my constant companion!



Want the tech info on it?  Read the DP Review article linked below!  They gave it their Gold Award 83% score, among the highest ever!




the pilgrim


There you go Catherine!