Recent Posts
1 week, 5 days ago 9



For the last several days I have been cleaning my office.  It  has been very much like an archaeological dig!!!  i don’t even want to tell you how old the things were I found buried behind furniture, but needless to say it has been a trip way, back down memory lane!!!!  I would love, with your permission, to share a few things I found in the process.  They weren’t lost but the cleaning process brought them into new light.


As a photographer and especially one that has taught over 7,000 students, you get a lot of prints from folks and I always appreciate that kind of gift, it means a lot.  One of my very favorite is this print given to me by Jim Haverstock.  Why this one out of the hundreds?  Well first I love Jim, he is a very dear brother, friend and fellow photographer, and a really good one too!  Second,  I really love this scene, it has so many things I love as subjects, old rusty trucks, old building with painted signs, and a Christmas tree in the back of the truck!


On a cork board in my office I have hung up credentials for years after doing assignments at events that required them.  I have over a hundred, this is just a small sampling of what they look like, what a blessing those experiences were.


On the funny side, those folks that have done workshops with me know that if a Krispy Kreme around I will take everyone there when the Red Light is on!  Of course I had to have the Krispy Kreme delivery truck piggy bank!!!  I took Ralph and Nina Oakley to one in Pigeon Forge and it was there first hot off the conveyer Krispy Kreme, I felt down right evil starting two more people down that  addiction road.


I’m not bad to save every card I receive but this Birthday card from my oldest son Scott and  his family still hangs on my cork board, inside it says “Not all heroes wear capes.”  Nothing  means more to a father than that kind of message from his children.


While we are on family mementos this little sign hangs on my office wall where I can see it often.  My daughter Catherine got it for me many years ago, in remembrance of her and I traveling and doing workshops together in the early 90′s!


My last thing related to family is my flight helmet from the America From 500 Feet days!  This is a constant reminder for me of one of the greatest adventures of my life and my forever thankfulness for my son Wesley who made it possible for me to live out a dream of my lifetime!  I wouldn’t take anything for those 14months we spent discovering America together!


On the wall hangs a small framed print that  means a great deal to me, this is another family, my friends from Nikon.  This photograph was made at the Memorial Wake for Mike Phillips, one of our dear brothers that died way to early! Back row, left to right, Mark Kettenhofen, Fred Sisson, Bill Pekala, Mike’s Sister, Scott Frier, Stephen Heiner.  Front row, myself and Ron Tanawaki.


Another small print pinned to my cork board is this image of Harrison Ford pre-flighting his Dehavilland Beaver airplane just before Wes and I sat down with him to talk for about half hour at the Jackson, Wyoming airport. Great memory!


One of my first  hobbies, long before photogprahy was I was an amateur recordist.  I loved taping things, I came to love Microphones, and do to this day, on my desk is a classic Shure 55 SH Series II microphone just like the ones used by Frank Sinatra and Michael Buble’, both of whom I’ve seen live in concert!


….and last, my football signed to me by Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and Steve Batkowski!


So what am I saying, WOW has God blessed my life, it’s all part of trusting Him and letting Him perform miracles all around you!  To Him be Glory!!!!




the pilgrim



2 weeks ago 8



Maybe if you were living in New York or Washington and got 33 inches, or if you were stranded on one of the Eastern U.S. interstate highways. or stuck in an airport somewhere, you don’t think so!  So why do I?  Well it trapped me at the house, not really, but I played it that way, with my bride for three glorious days.  It was beautiful to photograph and it forced me to start the process of cleaning my office, and trust me you don’t want me to go into that, but needless to say it was way, way over do!!!!


I finally got to this morning to take Sherelene back to work, her clinic had been closed for three straight days and it was great to have that time with her!


My humble abode in Corbin, KY!



Not meant to be art,  just sharing the joy of heavy snow!




the pilgrim

2 weeks, 3 days ago 22



When I was still working for Nikon, standing at the counter of the Nikon booth at Photo Plus we were showing, for the very first time, the new Nikon D4!  A customer walked up and actually asked me this, “What do you know about the D5?”  You have to be kidding me!  Hey I get it, we are enthusiasts, we love the gear and we can’t wait to see what the next model will be like, so in keeping with that spirit, and since we have just gotten news of the X-PRO 2,  someone actually emailed me and asked,  ”what do you know about the X-T2?”  Nothing I can share, but let’s play some make believe!


Let’s pretend that I got a call from one of the chief engineers in Japan with Fuji and they asked me, “Bill, the next camera is being developed now, what would you like to see in the replacement camera for the X-T1?”  Now,  first, I did not get that call!  But I do  have some deep desires about what I hope is coming, so let me list what I would say to them, if they asked.  Keep in mind I absolutely do not know if any of this is coming, but if it was coming and they took my advice I want the camera above,  if  you look close it is the X-T2  BF Edition (stands for Bill Fortney Edition) hey I said let’s pretend!!!!!  Pretending is free!


Here is what I want:


I want it available in Black and Graphite (I would love to see the Black be Nitron coated with a very fine crinkle finish, dull matt black!  Hey, just saying, looks great on some 9mm combat pistols!


Leave the ISO dial exactly where it is now, just bump the capability as in the X-PRO 2


Keep the customizable Q menu but expand it to two pages!


I would love the same sensor and X Pro processor  in the X-PRO 2


A high eye point EVF finder with more resolution and magnification and  faster refresh rate.


Improved shutter of the X-PRO 2 with 1/8,000th second mechanical speed.


Bracketing by 1/3 stops all the way up to 2 full stops and at least 5 frames, 7 would be even better.


2 SD card slots as in the X-PRO 2,  one for UHS-II High speed cards


Include the ACROS monochrome film simulation 


Same auto focus system in the X-PRO 2 with more focus points and faster response.


Higher resolution LCD that tilts as it does now  but both horizontally and vertically


Eyepiece correction for viewfinder that locks or is harder to turn.


Self Timer than can be set and remain on until the user turns it off.  User selectable range from 1 to 14 seconds.


Panorama assist for making manual pan shots.


Artificial horizon viewable in the LCD designed like the one in Nikons


Improved battery condition meter as in the X-PRO 2


Keep the same battery, work on better power management, but leave it alone, everyone already has a tons of batteries!


4 way buttons on the back slightly larger with a defined click into operation, no need to gum up the camera with sugru!



….and hey, thanks so much for what you’ve already done for us, I for one truly, deeply appreciate it, you’ve changed my photographic life!





A 16-120 f 2.8 Red Badge (Constant Aperture) that focus as close as the 18-135


A 10mm f 2.8 rectilinear corrected for night photography!


A 120mm f 2 with same basic formula as the 90mm f 2, tack sharp, of course it would be!


A 50-200 f 3.5 constant aperture Red Badge, tripod collar.


So if you guys are out there listening, hope some of this comes true, and hey I give you permission to make a BF Edition, just saying,  you have my permission!!!!  LOL




the pilgrim


Snow stuff from today, all hand held with the 100-400, love that lens!!!!






2 weeks, 4 days ago 16



Let me be clear, as I said yesterday, I have not seen an X-PRO 2, an d I have not held one, or shot with one!  I am very excited that I will be getting one of the very first, actual production cameras, but I want to talk about what I think this new camera means to all of us Fuji-holics!  I have read everything I have seen on the web, and it is a large volume of information,  some articles and reviews I’ve read are from people I know and trust implicitly!  So for now, I am going to assume that much of what I’ve read, from trusted sources, is true and accurate, and I have no reason to doubt these folks!


So I think the importance in the release of the X-PRO 2 is it further cements the belief that Fuji is truly committed to elevating their X-System with products of ever increasing quality and functionality!  Let’s start with the sensor and processor.  We now have the first jump in resolution in a Fuji X camera and the added 8 megapixels will definitely make a difference.  My fear all along was what would this do to two factors, noise, and the lens performance of the sterling Fuji glass.  More resolution always puts more demands of glass.  I love the exceedingly high level of sharpness of the current lenses, I wanted so badly to believe that adding 30% more resolution would not tax them too much.  My trusted sources say the lenses are more than up to the tack and look even sharper with this new 24.3 mega pixel X-Trans sensor!  So what about noise, it is being reported by almost everyone that uses the camera that the new sensors has gained at least one additional stop of low noise at hight speed, translation 6400 now looks like what we were getting from 3200!  Great news indeed.  The new X-Pro processor is said to be 4 times faster, making every function much smoother and of course faster!




The controls on the new X-PRO 2 are said to be more positive in their function, better arranged and easier to use, making what was already a photographer’s camera better than ever!  The ISO dial being resident within the shutter speed knob, and the + or – 5 stop range ignite exposure compensation are both very welcome.  Early reports seem to indicate that we are getting + or – 2 full stops of bracketing, not enough in my opinion, but much better than only one stop.  I can only hope the X-T2 will give us 5 to seven full stops of bracketing.




The X70 looks like a wonderful new addition to the line and more importantly the 100-400 is a dream come true for photographers that needed the coverage of those focal lengths. The recently released 35mm f 2 and the 1.4 teleconverter have both been fantastic products!


Most important of all, I think it is safe to assume that future cameras like the next XT-2? and XE-3? will inherit this incredible sensor and processor, and other key features,  something to be very excited about!   So in closing, I can’t wait to shoot it, own it and continue this incredible X-System journey! If it is delivered on time, I will be shooting with it,  going down Route 66 and on to Arches, I will keep you posted!
Thanks Fuji,  you’ve done it again!
Here is the link to Ricos’s wonderful article!
the pilgrim