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6 months ago 8


It was Fall of 1976, my daughter Catherine Anne was three months old and my father is holding her.  The shutter clicked and one of those images that defines your life as a photographer was exposed on a roll of Kodachrome!  For many years those yellow canisters filled the outside pocket of my camera bag.  Kodachrome was, for many years, the king of slide films.  As the T-shirt says; Paul sang about it. (Kodachrome  Paul Simon)  A state park was named after it, (Kodachrome Basin in Utah).  National Geographic shot their most famous photos on it.  With the advent of Fuji Film’s Velvia, then digital, and finally the EPA, it died.  Fuji became the rage, Kodak refused to understand that people wanted the brighter deeper colors, of course digital changed every thing for all films, and the Kodachrome process was highly toxic and the last straw was drawn when the Environmental Protection Agency said that Kodak could no longer run the film’s processing machines.


The image above is of  my daughter Catherine being held by my late father William Pelle Fortney, The image means a great deal to me, it was a tender moment of my father holding my daughter.  It is one of those images that endures in our hearts, our memories, and on film.  I’m glad I was shooting Kodachrome that day!  Seems funny but from time to time even shooting a digital camera when I’m in the thick of shooting and enjoying just the feeling of making images, I can hear Paul singing, “Kodachrome, you gives those nice bright colors, you give us the greens of summer, makes you think all the worlds a sunny day, oh yeah, I got a Nikon camera, I love to take a photograph, oh momma don’t take my Kodachrome away…..”  ……………. but they did!



Dwayne’s Photo developed the last roll of Kodachroime on December 30, 2010 for Steve McCurry of National Geographic.  For the images on that last roll see the link below:


If  you want the shirt, use the link below!





the pilgrim

6 months ago 13

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Bill Fortney!

I thought it would be fun to rerun a guest blog I did for Scot some time ago, it all seemed like relevant stuff to say again!

Photo by Scott Diussa


Five Things I Know!


Have you ever gone on a great photography trip and then returned home to sit at your computer to review hundreds or even thousands of images from your grand adventure? Over the past few months I’ve reviewed many countless thousands of images from the great adventure of a 44-year career as a photographer! As Mark Twain once remarked, “Garrulous old people climb up on a soap box and tell the rest of us how they got there!” I’ll go ahead and plead guilty now for what I’m about to do, but I hope these things I’m sharing will have some lasting value for you, because these are five things I do know to be true…

1. The truth of Rod Planck’s quote: “Technique trumps equipment every time!”
The specific camera and lens used for any given photograph may be one of the least important factors that determines the success of your images! Far more important is the clarity of the subject, the effectiveness of the light, the arrangement of elements within the frame, (composition), and the specific conditions at the time of the exposure, all of theses factors carry much more weight! Even more important than even those factors is the story or message your image conveys! I believe a great image leaves the viewer moved, raises questions, or provides answers! No camera can do that, only you. We all love the gear, collecting it, and using it is so much fun, but cameras are only tools, tools for building things, building images.




The images above were all made with cameras that cost less than six hundred dollars. Top, glasses on the Bible with an Fuji X-10, middle, hubcap with pine needles with an iPhone 4s, and bottom, lines in a slot canyon, a Nikon P7000.


2. The true secret to becoming the photographer you always hoped you could be, only requires three things: years of study, years of practice, and perseverance when you fail (and you will fail, many times)!
In other words, when you fail, get back up, dust yourself off, and try again! Few people want to hear this, but hard work is the key that opens the door to photographic success. The rewards are far greater than the price of the hard work though. Jay Maisel said, “We only take pictures for two reasons… I want to show you something or I want to keep this for myself…” I’ve found very few of the images I’ve ever made that don’t fall into these two categories! When we share our images and the response is one of amazement or pleasure from the viewer, we’ve shown some one else our vision, and sharing our vision is always worth the effort. No amount of hard work is too much to allow you to enjoy this amazing craft!



Top, NFL game action shot, middle, sunset light rays Great Smoky Mountains N.P., bottom, single fall leaf on the forest floor.



3. Giving truly is better than receiving!
If you have been so fortunate to have received great talent, and then, keep it for yourself, you have missed a great blessing! I’m not sure that I’ve been gifted with great talent, but I’ve happily shared whatever I’ve been given with others seeking to learn! I can only speak from personal experience, but my greatest joy is seeing others share my passion about photography, and the wonderful subjects we have the opportunity to try to capture. I believe some of the most talented shooters we have today get their greatest joy in sharing their vast knowledge! There are many that meet that description, but Scott Kelby, Joe McNally, and Jay Maisel certainly are at the top of my list! If my name were ever mentioned anywhere close to that list, I would be proud indeed, but truthfully, that is not necessary for me. My joy comes from holding a camera in my hands, and attempting to capture the things that interest me! In giving the gift of photography, I have received the greater gift of sharing in others joy. When I look at the work of Jim Begley, Zack Arias, Richard Small, Matt, Moose, Brad, RC, and many, many other fine photographers, I share in their joy!





Top, Aerial photograph of the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky, middle, Hudson name plate in Old Car City, GA, bottom, spices in a Paris market.



4.  The truth is, in the end, it will be the relationships that matter most!
Faithful believer, husband, father, grandfather, friend, teacher, these are my most important roles. I’m proud of my body of work, but some day when I’m gone, I’m one hundred percent sure that my relationships will be far more important than any of my photographs! A few years ago a very close friend died at too young of an age. He was a great photographer and I and all of his friends wondered what would become of his life’s work, which was considerable; he had authored over 26 photography books! That led to my considering what would become of my work! After some time and a lot of thought, I came to the realization that my photography has been a means to an end. It has helped support my family and been a source of great happiness for me, but in the end will not be housed in a college library somewhere preserved for the ages. It’s been great fun making the images, but they are just photographs. It will be the people that matter the most in my life.





Top, stream in Great Smoky Mountain N.P., middle, air cleaners Old Car City, bottom, my grandson’s snow covered bicycle.



5.  Some people make more than a career out of their work… They make a difference.
That was on the cover of congratulatory card sent to me by a dear friend upon my retirement from Nikon. He wrote a personal note saying I’d made a difference in his life. I certainly hope that is true. My most important goal in life has been that I leave situations, and people, in a better place, than I’ve found them. How can a mere human being do that??!! Only by living with faith in someone far greater than yourself. Having the peace that comes from knowing how much God loves us! Then we must share that love with others who come into our lives… and, that my friends, is the greatest truth of all.





Top, aluminum skinned airplane tail, middle, Mesa Arch, Canyonlands N.P., bottom, medals on a red military jacket.



It is a great honor for Scott to share you guys with me, I hope something I’ve shared here will be helpful for you! Don’t worry about what others think of your work, enjoy the process and rewards of being a photographer, there are many! Don’t keep this craft for yourself, share it! I will only be truly successful, when my students exceed my abilities. My hope is that your photographic life be as rewarding as mine has been for me! Blessings!


Bill Fortney




the pilgrim

6 months ago 11


It’s a good year when I get up to Maine and Acadia N.P. in the fall!  I truly love Bar Harbor, and the Maine coast.  It seems no matter what kind of weather you get there is always some great stuff to shoot, and if you hit the fall color right it’s spectacular!  Jack Graham and I will be running a workshop there October 22-26, in just about a month. I talked to Jack this afternoon and he said we had another person sign up, so I think that only leaves one or maybe two spots, but it’s almost sold out!  If  you have time on your schedule and would like to join us, contact Jack at  Here are a few images to entice you to come along!




Consider coming up to Maine!




the pilgrim



6 months, 1 week ago 9

Photo by Jim Begley


As you know, if you follow this blog, the talk of equipment can get hot and heavy!  Well today I want to take the advice of a good friend Glenn Barlow and do something that is more important than talking about gear!  I want to talk about what makes a good photographer and it definitely is not the camera!!!  My good photo friend Rod Planck said it best, “Technique beats equipment every time”  So let’s start this off with a little proof, the image above by Jim Begley, it was shot with an iPhone!  So let’s get this thing started:


1.  Learn the basics, really well.  Know by heart what the aperture does for you besides exposure.  Get a real feel for when you can use motion rendition to make a statement image!  Spend time learning how your camera works, especially exposure.  How does your exposure compensation dial work.  Have you got the action of your shutter release down pat.  Do you know at just what point the camera will fire?  Can you fire your camera extremely smoothly?  What direction do you turn your focusing ring to get to minimum focus distance?  What is the minimum focus distance of each of your lenses.  All of this and a lot more matters!


2.  Look at all the good photography you can get your hands on!  This is easy today, wonderful magazines, 500 Pix, great websites, and on and on.  The best way to know what a great image is, is to look at a lot of them.  The more you see great images the more quickly you will recognize them when you see them through the viewfinder!


3.  Study with the best instructors you can find.  Countless workshops are available, KelbyOne, great books by fantastic image makers all are available.  Spend time with friends that are good shooters, learn from them.  Join a good camera club, learn from them!  I mean really; Joe McNally, Scott Kelby, Dave Black, some guy named Fortney, lots to do on Kelby One!


4.  Figure out just what you want out of photography!  Do you want to turn pro?  Think twice about that!  Do you want to be the best photographer in your club, your town, your state, America, shoot, the world???!!!  Do you care what your photo buddies think of your work?  Does how others see your work mean the difference in how you feel about your work?  Let me give a little advice.  First this is just what I’ve learned personally after 45 years of dedicating my heart and soul to my photography, but it is just my opinion!


Work hard to get as good as you can because you love it and get great joy out of the craft and the results.  Be glad when others like your work, but don’t depend on that to make yourself happy.  Do it for yourself, let others decide for themselves.  Be cool with the results!


5.  Enjoy the great fellowship with other photographers who will become some of your best friends and associates!  The best part of the craft will be enjoying those that share your passion!


Do all that and photography will be good for you and to you!




the pilgrim


So, wasn’t that better than 1,000 word about Fuji!  Couldn’t resist.  You gotta go back and see the last comment on yesterday’s blog post, classic, my answer was cool too!!!!!