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4 weeks, 1 day ago 7

 

 

 

Tomorrow, Memorial Day, I will on a plane headed to Portland to join Jack Graham for an Oregon Coast Workshop.  I will try to post blog entries next week, but often the days are long and the wireless is weak, but I promise I will do my best to get something posted!!!  While in church this morning I was thinking about what to write for my Memorial Day post, it came to me that a Memorial Day Prayer might be in order.  In a flash the Holy Spirit started to dictate what you are about to read!  Please trust me on this, this is directly from Him!  My challenge to you and to myself is to read it, think about and then have the courage to pray it to our Heavenly Father.  The best way we can honor those that have left us….. is how we live now…..

 

My Memorial Day Prayer

 

Father please forgive us…..

 

We’ve failed to SEEK YOU.

 

We’ve failed to KNOW YOU.

 

We’ve failed to OBEY YOU.

 

We’ve failed to WORSHIP YOU.

 

We’ve failed to HONOR THOSE THAT GAVE THEIR LAST FULL MEASURE OF DEVOTION FOR US.

 

We’ve failed to ACCEPT OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF ALL RACES.

 

We’ve failed to HONOR AND RESPECT THOSE THAT PROTECT US.  (POLICE, MILITARY, FIRST RESPONDERS)

 

We’ve failed to FORGIVE OTHERS AND LIVE IN HARMONY WITH THEM.

 

We’ve failed to HONOR YOU WITH OUR WORDS AND BEHAVIOR.

 

We’ve, REJECTED YOU, WALKED AWAY FROM YOU,  WE’VE FORGOTTEN ALL YOU HAVE DONE FOR US, WE’VE DENIED YOU, FORSAKEN YOU.

 

Father, we’ve LIED, CHEATED, BEEN ANGRY, and FILLED WITH HATE, and I know You must be ashamed of us!

 

Father, I know we don’t deserve yet another chance.  But you said,  ”If you turn away from our sins and seek me, I will forgive you and restore you.”

 

Father, I’m on my knees  asking you,  once again, to forgive me & renew me.  

 

Thank you Father that you are still listening to me!  PLEASE MAKE ME NEW AGAIN.  I come to you in the name of your Precious Son, Jesus Christ. 

 

Amen

 

Have a blessed Weekend,

 

the pilgrim

 

My holiday blessing to you:

 

Listen to this song on You Tube:

 

I’m Watching For You   by Roby Duke

1 month ago 8

 

 

 

 

I got my production X PRO 2 just before leaving for two trips down Route 66 and to Arches/Canyonlands National Parks in early March.  I was on assignment for Fuji to shoot early stuff with the “2″.  Before you can appreciate my thoughts on this camera you need to know that I have been a life long SLR guy, and of course then a DSLR shooter when digital stormed in,  in the late 80′s.

 

My first DSLR was a Nikon D1 and at the same time the Nikon D100.  The D1 was not my cup of tea, but the D100 was a much better and easier to use camera, (for me), and it was where I cut my teeth for the digital revolution.  I worked for Nikon as their Nikon Professional Services Tech Rep for the Southern U.S. for 11 years, retiring in 2013.  Shoulder surgery for a torn rotator cuff, ended my big DSLR days!  While recovering I picked up a Fuji X10 as a “maybe I can shoot with this until I recover” alternative.  A funny thing happened, it made me slow down and think again, and my images got much better, and more importantly I started to really love shooting again, more than ever before!!!!

 

So I ended up with a X-E1 which I loved but my real love affair started when the X-T1 came along, now I was back in my element, even though it was not really a DSLR, it felt and worked like one and the much improved viewfinder was fantastic!

 

Now over the years I’ve “flirted” with rangefinder type camera and it never lasted, I had a couple of Leicas, and a few other rangefinder type camera but I was just too  much of a SLR person for it to stick.

 

When I learned that the X PRO 2 was coming ( full disclosure – I had a X PRO 1 and never shot it, never really liked it much,  and sold it cheap), I thought it would be a great way to see what improvements will be in the X-T series camera, so I agreed, actually I suggested it, to do the Fuji project!

 

This time it was different, the Fuji X PRO 2 is a much more fluid experience.  Everything is in the right place the speed of operation and the new focusing system plus the even better sensor, it was a winner and I found myself really loving the advantages of having both kinds of viewfinders, both Optical and Electronic!

 

Here is a short list of what I really Love:

 

ONE:  Image Quality.  The X PRO 2 with it’s 24.3 mega pixel X Trans Sensor is a big improvement over the 16 mega pixel X-T1.  Somehow the engineers have given us a much tighter resolution package without loosing the great high ISO low noise performance.  This camera actually is usable ad 112,800 ISO!!!!!  It is phenomenal at ISO 200 – 400 and 800, but the higher settings are remarkable in how clean they look!  Film simulations have also gotten another improvement.  Fuji “evolves” the simulations with each new sensor and this set is the most accurate and true to the films they represent,  The new ACROS monochrome setting is simply stunning!

 

 

TWO: Handling & Speed.  The Pro Processor has stepped up the speed of all operations and the camera now has a real feeling of fluidity, much as the Nikon D4 did.  Everything just works as it should and almost instantly and the X PRO 2 doesn’t feel like a cinder block in your hands, no offense Nikon, I know you built the D4 for other customers, doing different things!

 

 

THREE: Focusing.    The new focusing system not only is much much faster, it is very accurate and hits dead on focus more than any other camera I’ve ever used, though they have always been pretty accurate in locking on.  Even my first X10 was a good focusing camera.

 

 

FOUR: Ergonomics.  The X PRO 2 is bigger than any of the other Fuji cameras, and it feels wonderful  in my hands, it is not too large, but it is not too small either, if is obviously very well built and it feels just right it in your hands. I bought a second X-PRO 2 and one has the Really Right Stuff L Bracket the other Fuji’s MHG-XPRO2 Arca Swiss plate with a grip, sadly it is not an L bracket but the front grip makes it the best solution for hand held shooting, which I now do a lot, this X PRO begs you to shoot it off the tripod!

 

 

So if I bought a second X PRO 2 does that mean I’m walking away from the XT series?  No, I plan to buy a couple of the next XT series cameras too.  I find that each style of camera lends itself to a certain style and kind of shooting, they both can do anything you might want to do, but each has it’s own unique qualities that work best for certain kinds of work.  I will team the X PRO 2 up with the fabulous single focal length lenses much of the time, the 14 – 16 – 23 – 35 – 56 & 90!  each are fast and great to work with on this camera.   The XT series will be mated with the zooms most of the time!  I do still have an X-T1 which I will keep for it’s own special qualities!

 

One thing is for sure, Fuji, you knocked it out of the park with the X PRO 2, a three run homer, a Grand Slam!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

OK full disclosure again…. Anything I hate?  No, but I do wish it had the following:

 

A tilting rear LCD like the X-T1

 

A different way to set the ISO, while I commend the effort the ISO  inside the Shutter Speed Dial is fidgety and hard to use, thankfully Auto ISO works great.

 

One more  level of Optical viewfinder magnification for the 90mm f 2.

 

 

 

 

 

1 month ago 11

 

 

I was talking to a retired Marine officer recently and he told me something that really stuck with me and is a great way to follow up to the last blog entry.  I was asking him if his experience at Paris Island was brutal as I’ve heard it described by others.  He said at one point in his career he was in charge of some of the Drill Sergeants at Paris Island, (he is a Full Col. in retirement).  He said yes it is probably worse than you think.  He followed with, “for good reason, we have to prepare them to do the hardest thing you can imagine, take orders and do what they are told to do, even when it seems like certain death might be the result!”  He explained to me that the only way a combat unit can succeed is if they put duty and honor above their own lives, in other words follow marching orders.

 

It seems to me that in the times we live, we are going to face a lot of extreme difficulties and the question we must come to grips with, as a Christian, is are we going to follow the orders we got from Jesus?!  His last words to us were to go an spread the Gospel to all the world.  What is the Gospel? The knowledge that God is real, that He loves us, He loved us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us, and that through believing in Him and accepting that forgiveness we can have eternal life.”  We can’t do a that if we deny his existence or fail to share with others that He is real and relevant!!!!

 

The world is walking away from that Truth, in fact much of the world is running from it.  Our Marching Orders are to reach out and love the lost, to help them see and understand that the Gospel is not only real, but v very real for them!

 

Is it hard?  Yes!   Will there be danger?  Yes!  Should that stop us?   No

 

Onward Chrisitan Soldiers…….

 

Blessings and Boldness to you,

 

the pilgrim

1 month ago 39

 

 

I just got back from a great trip to St. Augustine with Sherelene to visit family and be at my grandson Ben’s high school graduation.  We had a great time as a family being with Scott and Diane, Ben and Hannah and Hannah’s boy friend, Tim.  We got to visit Sherelene’s sister Diane and her husband Ron, it was all swell, except for one thing, and this was not the fault of any of my family members, but something at the graduation, really bothered me a lot!

 

When we first sat down and hour and a half  before the graduation ceremony, there were many hundreds to graduate that day!!!  I started looking through the program, and as at all such celebrations lots of superintendents, principals, board members and other dignitaries each had an address to give.  Then there was the Senior officers, the Valedictorian and Salutatorian.  It was a long affair to be sure, but I noticed looking at the program, they sang the alma matter, they recited the pledge allegiance to the flag, they sang Star Spangled Banner, but no invocation?!  I kept waiting for one of the many speakers to give some thanks to God, but He was not mentioned.  Finally the principal gave his talk and used the nickel as his reference, he talked about all the things written and displayed on the nickel and their meaning to the graduating class, I got excited, I kept waiting, surely this guy would mention that right on the coin it said , “In God We Trust”?  Nope everything on a nickel was described, except that!!!!

 

O.K. I understand it was a big diverse school and not all the students were part of my faith.  I’m sure it would have made the ceremony three times longer if every faith was represented and God only knows, today, you can’t offend anyone!

 

I sat there feeling a great deal of pride in my grandson and a great deal of worry about the world he and my other grandchildren are about to go out into.  We have become so politically correct that we have chosen that rather than complicate matters, we’ve decided, “let’s just eliminate God from our lives!” If we don’t someone may get upset.

 

I’m sorry but I can’t deal with that kind of solution to an over sensitive, self indulgent society that says,  ”don’t bother me with things I don’t accept or believe in!”  I think everyone has the right and is permitted to believe and practice those beliefs as they so desire, even God has told us that He will not force Himself on us, we have that free choice.  What I hate is that those of us that do believe, that do want to honor our God, that do feel those wonderful young people are a great gift to us, from our Heavenly Father, are expected to sit on our hands rather than upset someone else.  I don’t believe in and honor God to upset people, that has nothing to do with my faith walk.

 

I know…… I’m old and old fashioned.  I grew up when prayers were given before football games by local pastor, when teams prayed before and after a game, when schools had “Christmas plays” and sang Christmas Carols.  I can remember when we said Merry Christmas to everyone, Happy Easter, and when we stopped to pray for families on Memorial Day and evoked God’s  love on other holidays.

 

I don’;t want to offend others, I really don’t and I take no pleasure in saying anything that may ruffle someone’s feathers, but I’m kind tired of having my feathers ruffled too!

 

So here is what I’m going to do, I’m going to express God’s love in all the ways I can, be helpful, honor others, pray for them, and offer a helping hand.  I’m going to continue to wish others a Merry Christmas, and say Praise God, and Bless you!  I’m going to live my faith as it come naturally.  Not to bug anyone, but because I truly am glad to be an American, a Christian, and be so Blessed in the life He has given me.. Why?  Because my mother and father taught me to be thankful and always say thank you!

 

Thank You God, I still believe in you and I’m not ashamed to say it!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim