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3 weeks, 1 day ago 0



Step up to the Mike,  By Bill Fortney



Jack Graham, Scott Kelby, and Matt Kloskowski all did 2014 retrospectives and I enjoyed each of them!  I started to do one and then came up with another idea.  I would like to first ask myself, and you the most important photographic questions of 2014, (or any previous year for that matter!)  Did you grow?  Did you grow technically?  Did you grow visually?  Did you grow aesthetically?  Before I attempt to answer that let me share portfolios from three dear friends who certainly did so in all the above categories!



Before I feature more photographers, let me start with these three!  I’ve known Jack Graham for almost 30 years and our photographic friendship and personal friendship goes back all that time.  I first met Jack at a GAPW event, (Great American Photography Weekends), featuring the late Galen Rowell.  Immediately,  Jack was on of those people you meet that you really like and want to get to know better.  Through the years we have remained in touch and when I retired from Nikon in the summer of 2013 he asked me to teach workshops with him, and I did.  I’ve genuinely enjoyed teaching with Jack and just hanging out with him!  He rarely mentions it, but when we met he was a very successful professional musician, a trumpet player.  He was good enough to have done performances live, on stage with the likes of Frank Sinatra and many other stars of that era!


I met Scott and Matt when I first went to work of Nikon in the early 2000′s  I think around 2002 or 2003.  I talked my boss, Bill Pekala, into what we use to call a weasel deal, a fond monicker for getting the company to send us on a trip to mostly have fun!  It turned out to be money well spent for Nikon and I!  I met Scott and Matt at the Salt Lake City airport and drove them on a 5 day trip through the golden circle (Bryce Canyon, Zion, the Grand Canyon, and other great red rock parks)! Both were in the beginning stages of a great interest in photography, and I tried to show them the ropes, so as to speak! Please don’t misread that I am taking any credit whatsoever for their meteoric rise as shooters, no, I just had some fun with them, and gave them some pointers.  The best part was we became really fast friends and that friendship has grown over the past decade!  My points that even though Jack was already a good shooter when we got to know each other, He, Matt and Scott have really “grown” and their work shows it!


I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two other very dear friends who continue to shock me with their work!  Jim Begley and Jim Haverstock are not only two of my best friends, they are truly gifted shooters and in 2014, it continued to be proven!  More than the photography, and both are wonderful photographers, it is their fellowship!  Both Jim B and Jim H. are two to finest Christian men I know, and they always lift me up when we get me together, which thankfully, we often do!  Here are just a few of their incredible stock pile of fantastic images!




So lastly what are my accomplishments of 2014?  Let’s see, I love the Lord more than ever, and I’m more thankful for all He has done for me.  I am more madly in love with Sherelene than I ever thought possible!  Now that I am retired, (Ha ha!) I am enjoying more quality time with my family and my grandchildren.  I finally got started only long desired eBook writing journey (as of next week),  it will be a total of 12 eBooks and I’ve sold or given away a couple of thousand!  I am having a blast writing, shooting, praying, sharing His Love, and being on this side of the grass!!!




the pilgrim

3 weeks, 1 day ago 10


It’s hard to resist buying everything that Fuji comes out with.  All their stuff  is so good!!!!  I said I was not intersted in the 18-135, now it’s one of my favorite lenses.  I wondered if I really needed the 50-140, well, I got it, I love it, I’m not sending it back!!!!  But I’m drawing the line on this one!  I’m sure it will be spectacularly sharp,  and being able to ease back to the equivalent of 24mm is a sweet idea, but I’m going to hold firm.


Why?  First, price.  $1,200. is a lot for a mid range zoom.  Second because without OIS the price seems even higher!  Fuji made a fatal mistake when they made the OIS in the 50-140 so incredible.  I used to rarely shoot hand held, but with this great technology, I’m getting fantastic results at speeds I would have never even considered shooting before.  I understand that the inclusion of the Optical Image Stabilization would have made the lens even bigger, and at 77mm it’s already pretty huge!  The other problem is that the 18-55 is a f2.8 to f4 only loosing one stop at the long end and it does has OIS!!!!  You know the old saying, “a lens that is paid for, is the definition of a great lens!!!”


Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Fuji fan, and what they are doing, building absolutely stunning lenses is exciting.  I just don’t want to carry that much weight, (the 50-140 is bad enough), and still not have it without their fabulous OIS in it.


The other reason is that I went to Fuji to save weight and I made a big exception to have the 50-140 at  f 2.8!  If I keep acquiring heavier lenses, well you know where that leads to!


My hats off to them for making what appears to be another world class optic, but I’m going to pass this time.  The 90mm f 2 slated for later this year, and it will be big too, but oh how I want that focal length, we’ll see!  One temptation at a time!!!!


The Close-Up book is nearing completion!!!!  Hope to have it out next week!




the pilgrim

3 weeks, 2 days ago 4


You probably don’t know this man.  He was one of the first people I met when Sherlene and I moved to Corbin over 35 years ago.  He and his wife Opel became some of our best friends.  We went to church together, belonged to a “young” couples Bible study group, yes I was young back then!  We became great friends, he was one of the most decent men I knew.  I love his family and I pray for them daily.  He was a great loss for me, Sherelene, his family, and our church, and community.  He was worthy of praise and his visitation and funeral were attended by huge crowds of people that loved and appreciated him, he will be missed.  He was a Christian who lived his faith.


On the same day he died from a stroke, another famous man died,  His picture was on the front page of national newspapers. He was described as a hard charging political animal who did what he had to to win, no matter what.  How sad for that to be your legacy!


Jim Trivette was a good man, he made a difference, nothing like that could ever be said of him. I know their was a great celebration when he arrived in Heaven!


That’s how I want to live and die.


Thanks Jim for showing me the true path with your life!




the pilgrim

3 weeks, 6 days ago 5


My most popular classes on KelbyOne are my two close-up classes, I’ve had thousands of viewers which is really funny when you consider i tried to talk Scott into getting someone else to do the classes!  When I first started getting into nature photography a long, long time ago, I was so fortunate to teach side by side with several of the best close-up photographers in the business, John Shaw, Rod Planck, Cliff Zenor, John Netherton, Bryan Peterson, and Larry West.  I shot close-ups but rarely showed them because I was working with such great close-up artists!  Scott kept insisting I do the classes, I kept insisting I could put him onto some great close-up shooters instead.  Well Scott won, and so did I when I gave in and said I would do it.


When I committed to do the classes I went back to school and reviewed all  the things I’d learned from the great shooters I mentioned above.  Close-up photography, more than most all the other things I do is more science, math and discipline.  It involves some pretty serious fundamentals you must learn and practice carefully if you want to make truly outstanding close-up images.  I believe in learning all you can about a subject before you teach it, and that exercise really helped me get my skills back!  I fell in love with close-up work again and with the help of those great friends, I’m now doing a lot more close-up work, and really enjoying it!


The new book will pass on those critical areas of expertise.  The image below shows the actual size of the 2014 USPS Circus Stamps above.  In the book I will talk not only about the principles of close-up shooting but also the myriad of ways you can get closer!  One of my favorite techniques is the use of diopters!  They are one of the least expensive ways to get into serious close-up work!  They’re easy to carry, and as you can see, work great!



This image (above) was shot with the Fuji 18-55 at it’s closes focusing distance, just the lens alone.  The ruler, which is in inches, let’s you see the approx size area that can be covered at the 18-55′s closest focusing distance at 55mm.


The image at the very top is with the new Fuji 50-140 f 2.8 lens and the Canon 500D diopter at the 140 end’s closest focusing distance!  In the new book we will explore dozens of such scenarios and learn how to get the most out of your close-up gear, be it Fuji, Canon, Nikon or whatever other system you may use!


I hope to release it within the next couple of weeks!




the pilgrim


                            Coming Soon!!!!