Recent Posts
2 weeks, 4 days ago 18




It’s been snowy and cold in Kentucky, but today has at least been warm in our hearts, Sherelene and I celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary today, Valentines Day!  We’ve had a good day and it’s not over!  I wanted to share a few blessings and says thanks to a few people, not the least of which is my Heavenly Father.


First up my friend and photo buddy Rick Samon.  On a couple of occasions I’ve taught at big event the year after Rick was the speaker, it has always made me little nervous, because  though I didn’t know Rick personally (and that is important to the rest of the story!),  I knew of his reputation as a good guy, really great shooter, and effective presenter, nobody likes to follow that!!!!


Anyway when I finally met Rick a couple of years ago at a Photoshop world he turned out to be all the things I hoped it would be, a truly nice guy!  So recently when i decided to drive the entire 3500 miles of my upcoming March events I wanted to drive down as much Route 66 as I could and I had seen some of Rick’s incredible work from Route 66!   I wanted to know some of his favorite spots, but honestly I’ve gotten mixed reactions over the years when I asked some other shooters to share their secrete spots, some have been nice and some have declined. I was pretty sure that Rick would be helpful.  When I called him and asked, he went way out of the way to give me lists of locations, describe where some of his favorite shots on his website were taken, along with tech tips on time of day, and other valuable scouting info!  He even had a student send me the actual day by day schedule of his workshop!  I was very impressed with his spirit of sharing the journey.    Here is a couple of his shots that I love!



I won’t copy his work, but I sure will try to do the subjects justice!!!!   Thanks Rick for being a such a nice guy!


Under the Heading of God cares about all the little things, whether you believe it or not!  I’ve been facing replacing my trusty old 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser with 244,000 miles.  I thought about keeping it but I felt as much travel cross country l do and plan to do more, it might be time.  I had finally settled on a 2015 Subaru Outback.  I think they make a nice car and they’re reliable. I wanted something sorta luxurious but really could’t swing it.  I went by the Toyota dealer to see if I could get  my oil changed before taking it to trade and I noticed they had a late model Lexus RX-350 on the lot.  I went over and looked at it,  it looked like a new one and was loaded, I figured it was way over what I could afford, so I drove back home.  Later I thought about it and called a guy I know the dealership and asked him what they were asking for it, he told me all about it which made things even worse, (this had been  my dream vehicle for years, but even though it was 2012 year model, it only had 26,000 mile on it,)  his price was still over my head.  He said bring your FJ in and let me see if I can make it affordable.  I did and I took it for test drive which made things even worse, now I was praying he would make a really good offer!



He did make me a very good offer!  So the next time you are looking for me somewhere don’t look for a silver FJ Cruiser, look for silver Lexus!  Now I really can’t wait for my 3,500 mile out west and back.  Thanks for the countless blessing Lord!


Under the heading;  it never ceases to amaze me how nice some people are.  A former student of Jack’s and mine, Justin Ruiz, reads my blog and will be joining in Arches/Canyonlands.  It turns out he has just driven some of the Route 66 parts I’m headed for next month.  He sent me and email with some great sample pictures and some of his favorite locations on that stretch of the Mother Road!!!  Wow, thanks Justin, I will definitely check them out!  Here is one of his shots that knocked my socks off!

The Painted Desert Rim





Well, I think I’ll go throw another log on the fire,  and cuddle up with my sweetheart of 45 years and watch the snow fall!




the pilgrim





3 weeks ago 13




A number of years ago I heard a great quote, it went something like this; “If you want to have a fulfilled life you need three things, (1) Something to Believe in, (2) Something to Do, (3) Someone to Love, (4)  and something to Look Forward to!”  I thought about that for some time and I think that’s why I feel so fulfilled and joyful as a person.


(1)  I believe in God.  I believe His only Son, Jesus Christ came to earth and lived to show us how to live, and died for the forgiveness of mine and your sins.  I believe He loves me, and you, that He orders my steps. protects me, encourages me, and give me lasting peace and joy, and will for you too!  I also believe in America.  I believe in what we once stood for, and can stand for again.  I think we are generous, carrying and kind nation, and I also believe we stand for what is right.  While many in our country have turned away from God, and from what our forefathers wanted to establish, I don’t believe it is too late to turn it around, and return to our former glory.  I pray we will!  I will work to do my part.


(2)  I’m officially retired from a 40 hour a week job, it was actually 55 to 60 hours a week!  I still get up every morning at 5:30, see my wife off to work and then go to my home office where I put in around 8 hours a day.  I write, plan workshops, and the thousands of other things photographers do, work on my stock file, process images, the usual.  I can’t just stop and sit down and wait to die!  As the old saying goes, I hope to die with my boots on!


(3)  In this area I am especially blessed.  I have Sherelene, the love of my life, my best friend, and my favorite person to hang out with!  I have my children, whom I love dearly and the fantastic grandchildren they have given me, Hannah, Ben, Cassidy, Cade, Elijah and Abigail.  I have, and this is where I’m going to get in trouble because I’ve blessed with too many friends to name them all, but I love Jim Begley, Jack Graham, Bill Pekala, Jim Haverstock, Stephen Hart, “Snake” Barrett, and the list goes on and on and on.  I’m truly blessed with sop many wonderful friends and brothers and sisters in Christ!


(4)  Something to look forward to!  One of the greatest blessing of my life is all the great activities I enjoy and places I look forward to going to!  I am going to get to teach with Jim Begley, Jack Graham, Fred Sisson, Bill Pekala, Joe McNally  and Anne Cahill McNally, and “Snake” Barrett  in 18 workshops this year!  I’m really excited about going out to Peoria in early March and teach a big group of photographers a one day seminar!  Then I’m doing something I have wanted to do for many years, drive a portion Route 66 (some day I hope to drive every mile of it over a two or three week period of time!)   I will leave Peoria the day after the seminar and drive to the New Mexico border and then follow Route 66 all the way to the turn off to Las Vegas, where Jack and I are doing a two day trip with students to Nelson Ghost Town!





I am not telling you this to brag or boast!  There is a passage of scripture that states;  ”Seek First the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you, (your needs), and even the desires of your heart!” 


This is the explanation for all the great blessings I listed above!  I have not done anything to deserve such blessings, I have only given my life, and heart to Him.  My Heavenly Father delights in giving us great gifts and he has overwhelmed me with His Blessings!


Starting March 12th I hit the road for a 19 day road trip to Peoria, then Nelson Ghost Town (Las Vegas) and on to Moab, Utah for a workshop with Jack at Arches/Canyonlands, and then home!  That kicks off a glorious year of planned events and the chance to get to spend time with a  lot of great friends and students from the past workshops!


For now I am working on two new books;  The Fuji X-System User’s Guide Volume 2, and Learning to See Photographically ( an advanced Composition and Visual Arts book )




the pilgrim



Coming Soon!  The latest updates on the Fuji X System, new lenses, the Firmware updates for the Fuji X-T1 and X-E2, dozens of new tips and and info ongoing the most out of your X System.  Value priced at $4.99  Also the New Advanced Composition and Visual arts book,  “Learning to See Photographically”





3 weeks, 2 days ago 23



Age is just a number!  Well that’s what I’ve been telling myself all day!   Today I turned 69 and there is a little bit of apprehension in that, but not very much!   I am  having a blast in this life, and expect to have even more fun in the next life!  I have really been blessed.  My family came and had dinner with Sherelene and I yesterday to celebrate my Birthday and Cade’s my grandson.  We had a great time and it reminded me just how fortunate I am!


I’ve never been a more enthusiastic photographer, and life is just pretty dang swell!  So I’m going to take the rest of fay off and enjoy being  69!




the pilgrim

3 weeks, 4 days ago 7



I read an article this morning that I found compelling thought!  How I Found My Vision by Cole Thompson. 


Cole Thompson is a very talented fine art photographer based in Laporte, Colorado.  This article has some great thoughts on how to find our VISION!


My favorite line from his article is reprinted here, it is serious food for thought!




During the last review of a very long day, the reviewer quickly looked at my work, brusquely pushed it back to me and said “It looks like your trying to copy Ansel Adams.” I replied that I was, because I loved his work! He then said something that would change my life:


“Ansel’s already done Ansel and you’re not going to do him any better. What can you create that shows your unique vision?”


Those words really stung, but over the next two years the message did sink in: Was it my life’s ambition to be known as the world’s best Ansel Adams imitator? Had I no higher aspirations than that?





One example that Cole shared  in his article was that in a effort to find his vision he laid out his 100 favorite photographs and divided them into two piles, those he “really loved” and the rest.  He studied the ones that were his most prized and came to a realization that they spoke to him, that the subjects and light had spoken to him, he got as glimpse of his VISION!


I did the same this morning and came up with the image above.  I have thought about if for while now and have come up with some fairly quick reactions.  It’s simple, it’s graphic, it’s to the point, and I have a affinity for the subject matter.  I am pretty sure that if I picked a few other of my most treasured images I would pretty much come up with the same list!


I post articles all the time about gear;  bodies, lenses what’s new, what is rumored, etc. etc.  The simple answer is that I’m a gear freak, I love the gear, I love testing and playing with it. ….and sadly, I buy a lot of it too!  It’s fun, it’s not sinful to like the gear, but it is not photography, cameras and lenses, tripods and accessories are tools, nothing more.  Will a legendary lens make you a better photographer?  Will more mega pixels improve your images?  No!  In another article by Cole, I’m spending more time on his Blog, he showed a pie graph that says if succinctly!


A Great Image Consists of:


First a big thanks to Cole for helping me clarify some things I needed to think more about.  Second I would highly recommend you visit his website;   I plan to purchase one of his Fine Art Prints, but it’s going to take me a while to pick one from among the many truly wonderful images!


I’m an addict, and I will continue to talk about gear, but I’m going to be ever mindful that gear is the hobby, but the passion is improving and enjoying my VISION.




the pilgrim


One  more favorite.