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9 months ago 6

I had the honor of attending a church service yesterday with my son Wesley and his family.  The Grey First Baptist Church has been allowing Wesley’s youth football team to practice on their activity field and it has led to an interesting story.  As it turns out the field has a small hill and at the top is a white cross.  Anytime someone makes a mistake in practice they are told to, “run to the cross”!  Throughout most practice sessions their is steady stream of players running up the hill to the cross and then back down.  At the end of each practice Wes has the entire team run up the hill to the cross, including the coaches, where they kneel, and recite the Lord’s prayer.


I was really proud of Wes for influencing his young players in this way.  The pastor at church preached on Run to the Cross, sharing that story.


That sermon actually sums up what we must all do if we hope to survive this life, run to the cross!




the pilgrim

9 months ago 2


What wonderful time I had yesterday catching up with many of my teammates from the 1962-63 & 64 Harlan High School football teams!  It was amazing how many things we all remembered and had a great laughs over.  More than a few times we were teary eyed when our former coach Bill Cricillis gave us one more pep talk about life.  It is amazing that so much time could pass, 50 years! and there would be the closeness of having been a team, still being a team.


It made me reflect driving home last night how unbelievably blessed I was to have had, and still have,  such friends, to have been part of such a team.  In our Junior and Senior years we had great seasons, winning the conference once and missed going to the play offs by a single game.  We had a few stand out players, but we were mostly a bunch of good solid football players that all played a role in the victories.  It was really a great experience to see all these men again, five decades later.  It was homecoming for the Harlan Green Dragons last night and we were thrilled to be the honorary captains for the coin toss.  Walking out to the center of the field I told Tom Pope, it was great to be on the field with him again, his look said it all.  In just a glance I could see what I believe we were all feeling, in spite of the fact that these men have accomplished a lot in their own lives, this was a great honor, and we all relished it.  It was a truly special moment.


I also thought driving the hour and half home, how many great teams I’ve gotten to be a member of, my family, my church, the His Light team, the faithful friends, the Nikon NPS team, the list goes on and on, but the bottom line is God has richly blessed me to let me rub elbows with such great people, people I’ve admired and learned from.  If you can get to this age and look at your life, and see this much joy, you’ve had a great life.  Thank you Lord for the ride……..




the pilgrim



9 months, 1 week ago 5


Glory Days, I was thinking about all those great days at Harlan High School listening to Bruce Springsteen, sing it again!


“Glory Days, they’ll pass you by!”


Boy do they ever!  But youth is best lived by the young, and there is something comforting about all the wisdom life hands you, or makes you earn!  Knowledge is a good thing, but wisdom is to be coveted!  It will be a lot of fun to see all my old friends today, and re-tell the stories that have grown out of proportion at our Liars Club gathering!  I sure hope no one has the film, I’d rather remember it the way it now is settled, in my mind, as the way things “really” were.


I was so very fortunate to grow up in Harlan,  Kentucky.  Thanks to lots of films and tall tales  (some fiction, some not), a place feared by many, but home for me!  It was a different time, with a lot less cares, but some of my best memories are from my home town.  We lived on Ivy Hill, a big hill, to flat-landers, it would be a mountain.  Our house was along the ridge and I could see the whole town of Harlan from my bedroom window.  I have the strangest memories of life as a teenager in Harlan.  Two very distinct memories are of lying in bed at night and hearing the train whistles as the coal trains came and went through the night.


The other memory will come full circle tonight.  Our high school gym, where we dressed for football games, was a few blocks from the football field.  When it was time to go to the field for our games, we assembled, had a few last words from our coach, then walked together to the field. Everyone had their helmets on, few words were spoken, and I can still close my eyes and hear those metal tipped cleats clacking on the pavement as we walked to the game.  The intentness of those moments preparing to play is still burning in my soul.  I learned a lot about focus and commitment on those short walks to the field!  Though I wouldn’t last but a couple of plays, I sure would love to make that walk to the field with my friends one more time!  But tonight, it’s time for another generation to build those memories!


Tonight, the class of 1964 will have to be satisfied with reliving the memories…




the pilgrim

9 months, 1 week ago 23

Construction on the new bookstore is underway, we hope to be open for business by the 15th!!! The initial offering will be a 6 book series called Bill Fortney’s Reliable Guides the Foundation Series. (illustrated above).  These 6 books will cover the most important foundational principle of photography in a easy to read, to the point, concise way!  Each book will be priced at $4.99 each or $24,95 for the full set of six!  Three additional books will also be in the store upon it’s opening.  Many more are planned!!!!  This is the story and statment behind the series:


The Why and How?

Life’s greatest revelations come in the strangest ways.  It was over a dozen years ago that I had accepted a position as the Nikon Professional Service’s tech rep for the Southern United States.  My long time friend, and then boss at Nikon, Bill Pekala instructed me to put my film cameras away and start to learn everything I could about digital, as he said, “it is the future!”  Learning the photography side of digital was pretty easy, in most ways, much the same as my 35 years of experience with film photography.  The hard part for me was post processing, this program Photoshop was an absolute bear!  I went out to the book store and bought a couple of “How to” Photoshop books, after a few days of trying to understand them I was ready to give up photography and go to work at Wal-Mart as a greeter!  I picked up a couple more and they were even worse than the first two, I was really feeling desperate!  These books tried to tell you the 50 ways to do each simple task!  By the time you got to method three you couldn’t remember your own name!


Then someone asked me if I had a copy of Scott Kelby’s,  The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers.  It was not one of my first four books so I rushed out and picked up a copy!  It was “the” solution to my major problem!  This guy, Scott Kelby, (who later became a great friend and photography buddy!), had written a book that showed you exactly how to do just the things you needed to do, in a step by step, to the point, clear and concise manner, and he was funny too!!!!  In no time I was using Photoshop to do all the things I wanted to do to my images.  I could never thank him enough for demystifying Photoshop for me!


So that is exactly what I’m going to try to do for you with Cut To The Chase books!  These are books for people that simply want to know how learn about photography and make better images!  Simple, to the point, clear and concise and minus all the mumbo jumbo!






These books are not for pixel peepers, science majors, engineers, bean counters, measurebaters or anyone that wants 1,000 word paragraphs to explain something that can be clearly stated in a couple of short sentences.


If your desire is for this to be complicated, THESE BOOKS ARE NOT FOR YOU! These books are designed to convey simple, easy to understand photographic concepts, in the easiest way to learn possible.  Lots of big pictures to illustrate the points and very few, but important words will guide you through each step of learning this craft of photography.



What makes me think I’m the guy to write these books?!  I have made photography, with the exception of my faith and family, the most important thing in my life for 45 years.  I’ve spent countless hours, days, months, years and decades studying the craft.  I’ve bought tons of gear and tested everything I could borrow, and I’ve formed strong opinions about many of the subjects people care about!  I’ve shot hundreds of thousands of images all around the world, a few have even been good!  Most importantly for the past 30 years I’ve actively taught photography to groups from 3 to 300 in size, and I’ve been a student of learning.  I think I have discovered how to make things simple for people that truly want to learn!  You can be the judge and that is why I have;


 A Money Back Guarantee


If for any reason, you did not find them helpful, or worth the price, (come on guys, I’ve made them super affordable, most titles only $4.99)!  I will gladly refund your money, no questions asked, but before you ask for a refund please read this Important Notice again, be sure these books are for you!!


One more thing, these books are affordable so that you will not be tempted to copy and distribute them to others.  I am supporting myself with my creative efforts, so please kindly give me a hand here!  That’s it, please enjoy, and your comments are appreciated!  and visit me at my website:


To sweeten the deal when you make your first visit to the site you will receive a free copy of the 127 page book:


Traveling tomorrow to my 50th Anniversary Football Teams gathering!  Reports Monday!




the pilgrim