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10 months ago 2




Well the office, my equipment room and projection room are “de-junkified”,  32 contractor bags full of junk; 35 slide trays, 2 tons of nylon and velcro sewn together into every imaginable kind of container, trust me I kept 300 lbs. of it anyway!  A stack of old magazines, paper work 8 feet tall, and soon most of 35,000 color transparencies ( that’s slides to you newbies)!   O.K., some light exaggeration, but I did throw away all those slide trays and a lot of containers and will dump most of my 41 years of slides after a few days of making sure I pull the few that are worth keeping of posterity, my posterity, no one else will care!  Of course I will not throw away family images or anything that is historic, but most all the landscape and wildlife stuff will still hit the skids.


Why would you throw away what it took four decades to produce??!!  Digital images have become so wonderful it is very hard to use the old 35mm slides and get any thing near equal quality.  if you had a drum scanner and really knew what you were doing you could salvage some usable stuff, but the quality of current cameras, it’s hardly worth the trouble.  The only stuff I will keep will be things I can never shoot again, or any kind  of situations I may never see again, and truthfully they won’t last long.


I have loaded 8 boxes (some big) with everything Nikon I had, and it was a lot of stuff, some highly collectible, some practical, and some probably junk, but it will all go to Vinnie Colucci! Vinnie is the Nikon guy in our region and he has given his heart and soul to Nikon and he deserves this collection! Does this mean I hate Nikon or have turned my back on them?  Not at all.  For most of my life I have held a Nikon of one kind or another in my hands, and they served me well, very well!  Somewhere along the trail I woke up and was an older man, shoulder surgeries and, well, age, and I had to go lighter!  The X-System was a blessing and an answer to my prayers.  So I can still shoot high quality, retro cameras, with fantastic image quality and superb lenses, with less than half the weight!


I can’t tell you how much better I feel with so much of the junk out of my life.  Now it’s up to Photo Pro Expo to have great fellowship with some of my dear friends, and some great Graeter’s ice cream, and hopefully entertain the troops.  I will be at the Fuji booth Saturday and hope to see some of you there!


Time to scream for the sky!




the pilgrim

10 months, 1 week ago 12



It’s the weekend and I have a suggestion of a few things to think about (ponder)!  Before we get started let me say something.  I write the pilgrim’s Chronicles in hopes that it helps someone.  First it helps me, I daily, try to write about the things that are on my heart, that God is speaking to me about, or that interest me, and I hope interest you!  I am sure that everything I choose to share is not of interest to everyone who reads my blog, and that’s o.k.  We are not all in the same place, have the exact same interests or are dealing with the same problems, so if it doesn’t apply, it doesn’t apply!  I think this will apply to all of us though!


I’m still absorbing the wonderful book by Chris Orwig,  The Creative Fight, it is a deep read, that requires some thought and introspection, but very valuable to help open your creative eyes and heart. The book can be bought on Amazon and as a Kindle book.  I HIGHLY Recommend it!!


In one chapter Chris deals with the issue of dealing with critiques of your work, (and I might add, your life). He shares some very valuable thoughts on just how to deal with both good and not so good critiques.


He says, “You can’t listen to every comment with equal weight.  As an artist, the goal isn’t to be liked by all.  You have to choose where you’re going to stand and then shine your light.  Complying with every critical word will make your head spin.  As Ann Lamott  put it,”   “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”   With your feet firmly planted, you have to decide what to shine and where to stand.


That is a very important thought and one worth seriously considering.  What are you shining and where are you standing.  My goal is to stand on the solid ground of my Heavenly Father’s Truth.  I attempt to Shine His love and Grace to all who can see it.  Is the light in my lighthouse always clearly visible?  No, sadly some times the fog of my self interest, or ego, or confusion dim the light.  However the light must remain on, firing a beam through the fog, because the fog will lift, and then the light will be clear again, it must remain on even in the dark times.


Chris has exercises at the end of each chapter and at the end of this one he says that we should look to only a few people to get our help.  People we trust completely and we know they will help us out of concern for us, not their own self interest.  He challenges us to make a list of the five people we know we can trust, and whose opinion really matters to us, and that we can turn to for  help.  It took a lot of soul searching to complete my list.  My first person was easy, my wife and love of my life, Sherelene, second, Jim Haverstock, a man whose opinion, thoughts and council I always consider deeply and count on.   Then Jack Graham who I respect and admire deeply both as a photographer, workshop leader, but most as a friend and man I admire.  Then my daughter Catherine who has always been there for me, and who I know will tell me the truth, but gently, and lastly my late father, who was always my father and my friend.  Of course I can take anything to my Heavenly Father and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I challenge you to make your list of five.  Five people you trust. because you know they have your best interest at heart and are not just your friend because of what you can do for them!  Five people you know really love you and are always pulling for you.


Alright, the next thing!  Sherelene has been needing an office and she wouldn’t set foot in the one we were supposed to share because, let’s put it kindly, you could barely walk through my mess.  It depressed her to even come in my office!  So for several days we have been cleaning out and reorganizing, it is almost finished, and now I know what color the carpet is!!!  Something really interesting has taken place during this cathartic project.  I came to realize just how much junk I’ve acquired and how owning anything, even junk, requires your attention, maintaining  it, storing it, protecting it, changing the batteries, all that stuff can rule your life!!!!  So I’m doing something about it!  So far we have carried 16, 24 Gallon Contractor bags out to the garbage!  I already feel sooooo relieved, and I have two more rooms to do, the Darkroom (which now is a massive storage room) and what used to be a projection room, also a storage area, too much stuff!!!!!


I’m going to simplify my work area, and I will be able to do my work with a clear head!  I have long been a proponent of having your gear simple, your approach simple, your compositions simple, now I am going to make my work area simple, well simpler anway!




the pilgrim

10 months, 1 week ago 12



O.K. so I’m a little late to the party, but I’ll try to bring enough, that being late will be forgiven!  So Fuji just had a big celebration in Japan of their 5th Anniversary of the X-System.  Sorry I could’t be there but I want to join the long line of well wishers that are saying, Congratulations!!!!


Why the long line of well wishers?  Fujifilm has built itself and ever increasing group of devoted users and promoters, but again, Why?????


Well,  let’s see;  Could it be Fuji developed an incredible sensor, (the X-Tans CMOS), that along with their decades of color knowledge being a leading film producer in the world, produces spectacular color, sharpness and very low noise even at astronomically high ISOs!  To approach the noise performance of the X-Trans Sensor you have to get a very high end full frame sensored camera,  can we say $3,000. to $7,000. range per body!!!!!


Then it could be that the Fuji X-System lens line is absolutely superlative from top to bottom, every single lens has been the match of, or better than, the same lenses from everyone else, my vote goes with superior in many cases!  I spent years testing and comparing lenses from Nikon, Canon, Leica, Panasonic, Olympus and everyone else, I KNOW LENSES, trust me on that.  When I say Fuji lenses are superlative, I know what I’m talking about!  Not bragging, if you can back it up, it’s not bragging! Sony does not have near the range of high quality, high speed lenses as Fuji, and Panasonic and Olympus are still behind the curve on high end fast, well made glass, that can match the Fuji’s optically!


Or maybe it could be that the Fuji cameras are retro in every way, solid magnesium frames in construction, precise controls that work like the cameras of old, real metal knobs instead of plastic buttons and wheels.


Then again maybe Fuji’s attitude of standing up and fixing things immediately, no denials, not gee, never hear of that before when asked about an issue.  I remember when the X-T1 came out and it was discovered that with the remote door open, if you shined a light straight in,  it did create a light leak. Within days of the first posts, Fuji had announced that some cameras had this problem, described how to test your camera, and said if you’ve light leak send it info free repair!  That’s how you take care of customers!!!!!


Or, it could be that when you buy a Fuji camera body or lens, if they make improvements or fix issues, yours can be “updated” with a  firmware download.  New camera features and fixes, no charge!!!!!


Of course the Fuji cameras are really expensive.  I mean a Fuji X-T1 goes for around $1,200.  Wait a minute, a Nikon D610 goes for $1,499.  If you buy a Nikon this is what you have to buy to get as good a performance as the X-T1, well maybe the price isn’t that high!!! Fuji’s top tier pro camera is $1,895. Nikon and Canon?   Try close to $7,000.


Why have people switch in droves from Canon and Nikon to Fuji.  Smaller, lighter, just as well made, maybe better, lenses that take a back seat to no one, more metal in the lens construction and screaming legendary sharpness, what’s not to like!?  Oh, and they saved money too!


But in spite of all that, my great love for my Fuji X-System is something else entirely. I am celebrating my 47th year as a serious or pro shooter, and I have never enjoyed the craft of photography more than I have the last three years!  I can’t wait to go out and shoot and I enjoy not being burdened down with excessive weight,  I love the images I’m making, the best of my career, and finally have back, the same kind of retro camera I loved when I got my first Nikon F!


What ever you shoot, I hope you’re having a blast, after all it’s the photographer that matters!  For me, thank you Fuji from the bottom of my heart, for giving me back my enthusiasm, my craft, and taking away my aching back!!!!!  It has been a great 5 years, can’t wait to see what comes next, I know it will be wonderful, everything so far sure has been!!!


Did I say, THANK YOU Fuji???!!!




the pilgrim


Some of my favorite Fuji images!



Top to Bottom, Spearfish Canyon water falls X-T1, Jim Begley in old church, X100S, Red Plymouth V- 8  X-T1, Texas Tavern Hamburgers, X10, Sinclair Gas Pump,  X-E2, Monochrome phone X-E1, Bel Air Blue, X-E1,  Denim Cadillac X-E2.

10 months, 1 week 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