Recent Posts
8 months, 1 week ago 9

Have you ever noticed what the blog says in the upper left hand corner?  Bill Fortney, Photography & Faith.  I try to always strike that balance, but I know sometimes I get pretty excited about the photography side, I hope I never fail to keep faith first!  Sunday afternoon I attended a funeral at my church.  A woman that Sherelene and I have known for over thirty years had passed away.  Her husband died ten years ago and we watched, with amazement, how well she adjusted, and poured herself into her church and family. I didn’t know here extremely well, but I always stopped to talk with her and ask about her when we ran in to each other.  When two former pastors of our church came to perform the service, and various family members spoke, I was struck with something I already knew, but was profoundly reminded of, what is most important in this life.

 

I’m sure she had many talent, and was known to do certain things really well, she was, after all,  a successful woman.  None of that was mentioned, the overwhelming description of her was how selfless, and giving she was.  How much she gave to her friends, brothers and sisters in her church family, and her children, and grandchildren.  It was a real celebration of a life well spent, and a thankfulness that she was now with her husband and family members in Heaven.

 

I thought a lot about what I had heard and experienced when I got home, I dreamed about it last night, and thought about all day today.  I feel confident that I know what God’s message was to me, and I know it is worth sharing with you!  Our lives are not about us, they are not about our honors, what we are known for, or what we have accomplished, or attained, but what we leave behind.

 

It’s easy to get caught up in thinking what the world thinks of us, matters a lot, it doesn’t!  It’s what people know in their hearts about us, because of our sacrifice for them!  You wouldn’t know this woman’s name, even if I shared it with you, she didn’t make an impact on your world.  She did make an impact on the world God gave her to serve, and serve she did.  I would have lived a very meaningful life if that could be said of me someday.

 

That will only happen if I let go of the vestiges of self, and trust the Lord to show me where and how to serve!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

8 months, 2 weeks ago 7

Ever want to send a message to God?  How can you get your thoughts, requests, and praises into His mailbox?  Start with praising Him!  Every prayer, even those when we are in deep despair should start with praise.  Praise is  the act of acknowledging that God is who He is!  The all powerful, omniscient, omnipotent God of the Universes!  The beginning of conversation with God is recognizing who He really is!  Praising Him is admitting that we owe everything to Him, that without Him there is nothing.  This opens the door to true conversation with our Heavenly Father! This morning I am filled with thankfulness, and this is my prayer to Him today;

 

Father thank you for your precious Son, Jesus, for His sacrifice for me, for my forgiveness for which I am fully undeserving, but so thankful to receive.

 

Father thank you that I am home with Sherelene, enjoying her company and our wonderful fellowship, friendship and the love we share.  Once again I don’t deserve such a wonderful bride, but you miraculously placed her in my life!  She has been my rock on earth!

 

Father thank you for the incredible family you have blessed me with, Scott and Diane, Hannah and Ben, Catherine and Clint, Cassidy and Cade, and Wes and Rhonda, Elijah and Abigail.  For my brother Homer, and for Sherlene’s wonderful family.

 

Thanks you for the great people I get to work with in the field and call my friends, Jim Begley, Jack Graham, John Barrett, Chuck Barnes, Chuck Summers, and I will stop there because as you know Father the list is almost endless!  You’ve richly blessed me to let me be a part of these people’s lives and let them be in mine.

 

Father thank you for the countless friends that you’ve brought into my life through photography, Jim and Sue, Susan, Lynn, Ted, Miles, Don, Stan, Carl, David and Keri, Kent and Raymond, Ron, and John Walrath, Joshua and Rodney, Scott, Matt, RC, Adam, Joe,  and Richard, and the hundreds and thousands of others that have touched my life!

 

 

Thank you for the thousands of fantastic people I’ve gotten to meet, share with, and shoot with in the field across America and the world!

 

Thank you for the sheer joy I still have when I hold a camera in my hands and see this fantastic world you have made, and have the chance to try  and capture some of  it!

 

Father, I raise up your Holy Name, I know all I have is because of you……..

Thank you Father.      Amen

 

Have a blessed weekend,

 

the pilgrim

 

Photo Note:  Shot at Nelson Ghost Town, the site of a workshop next November with Jack Graham and I.  Fuji X-Pro 1 and 55-200 lens

8 months, 2 weeks ago 5

Wow, some interesting stuff is happening in the camera market place!  A few years ago Olympus revived the old OM series in digital form, and the first model the OM-D E-M5 was a big hit, and charged to t he top of the ladder of Micro four third cameras.  For good reason, it was well built, very resistant to the elements and Olympus has always had a reputation for making great lenses.  They supported the camera with and extensive line of quality glass and Olympus was on their way.  The OM-D E-M1, which I had the pleasure of shooting in Death Valley, is another giant step up for Olympus. This camera is a force to be reckoned with.

 

To add to the confusion, Nikon introduced the the Df about ten days ago, a throw back style body with manual knobs and locking controls and a modern D4 sensor, wow are things getting interesting!  I’ve got a theory, and I will share it, but first let me brag a little on Olympus.  This is a real winner, good looking, solid feeling, great image producing camera.  It has more features and possible adjustments than almost anything I’ve seen in a long time, and that may also be it’s achilles heel.  Let me back up on that, if a person is willing to dive into the manual and learn how to use the amazing features it can be an amazing tool.  It can do more than I’ve seen in a camera in long time, but it is not to be taken lightly, with this camera , at least for a while, the manual will be your best friend!

 

 

The top deck has a knob that sets the main operating system, Program, Manual, Shutter Priority and Aperture Priority, plus some special functions, that’s easy enough.  When you get into setting the custom function buttons and control wheels, I counted 6,  but I may not have found them al!  It’s obvious this camera can be either really powerful, or really confusing.  I expect that someone a little younger, and more patient will not only figure it out, they will get wonderful results from it.

 

Now to my theory, there is a secret that is starting to emerge, one that Leica never forgot, Fuji has rediscovered, and now Nikon is “finally” on board with, and I’m not sure where Canon is???!!!  Many photographers are getting older and want something that is simple to use, like what they learned on! A Shutter speed knob, aperture ring on the back of the lens, easy to set compensation dial, you get it, a camera like we learned on in the late 60′s and early 70′s!  Does this make an effort like the Olympus bad?  Absolutely not, I applaud them for pushing the boundary of micro four thirds technology and creating such a very capable camera.  Heck, I’m really tempted to pick one up, I think it has some really wonderful applications.  The upside is it is really well made, it has the best viewfinder I’ve seen on a mirror less camera.  The 12-40 f 2.8 Pro lens (24-80 equiv.) I used and the 12mm f 1.8 (24mm equiv.) were both top notch in build and optical quality, I suspect the soon to come additional Pro lenses will be up to this standard.  If I was looking for a small camera that was also very capable, I don’t think you could go wrong with the OM-D1.

 

Is there a downside?  Maybe, and it depends on what you like, need, and prefer.  If you like manual control knobs instead of buttons, and want the best very High ISO low noise performance you may consider the Fuji X system which has the bigger APS-C size sensor.  They are very different cameras and after you hold both, and operate them, you’ll know which one seem right for you.  One thing is for sure, the big camera companies like Canon and Nikon are loosing people to these new smaller and very capable cameras, and that is not something that has to happen!  Both of the flagship, big boys, in the industry are more than capable of building these kinds of killer, smaller, but very serious performing systems!!   I wish they both would, it sure would make the market place even more interesting.  The Nikon 1, the V and J were good starts, but to compete in this arena, they need to go to the next level. Come on Nikon, I know you can do it!

 

I want to thank  my dear friend and long time photo buddy from Olympus, Ray Acevedo for making it possible for me to try out this truly wonderful camera.  It is such an attractive camera, I just may find myself owning one!

 

 

This will give you a size comparison idea next to the Nikon D7100.

 

Exciting times indeed!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

Addendum:  A friend emailed  me shortly after this posted and he owns the M5, the earlier model, he owns Olympus, Fuji, and a Panasonic.  He agreed with everything in the report, but added that he got the multi button scheme down pretty quickly and said he loves the camera….  Doesn’t surprise me a bit!  I think those that take the time to shoot it, will really enjoy it!

8 months, 2 weeks ago 15

Badwater, Death Valley

 

Working with Jack Graham is such a treat!  If he was only a wonderful workshop leader, or a world class shooter, that would be enough, but he’s a hoot to work with!  What most folks don’t know is that Jack was, prior to being a shooter, a great musician.  He played trumpet with some big bands, (the Jimmy Dorsey Band),  and artists like Frank Sinatra!!  I love music and when we work together a lot of time spent in the car is listening to some great jazz, which he knows a lot more about than I do!  On this workshop he taught me about resolution in music, something that I have to admit, was new to me.  As Jack explained, music uses tension to hold our interest and then it builds until we get “resolution” and that is when we get happy with the music.  I thought he was pulling my leg until he played some examples.  He was right!  So it got be to thinking, most of the things in our life work the same way.  We work through the tension, (everyday life), and then we are rewarded when we reach a resolution point. Resolution is the healing affect of coming to the “good” part.

 

Our spiritual lives are the same, we go along lost and wandering around separated from God and His love, then we get it, we wake up, we realize what He is offering us and wham, RESOLUTION!!!  One more great thing that came out of our workshop.  Thanks Jack, I learn something great every time we get to work together!  Now,  if I could just figure out what I bring to the table!!!???

 

Blessing

 

the pilgrim

 

Some of the work from this week, enjoy!

 

The Dunes at Stove Pipe Wells, Monochrome

 

Color version of the shot above.  The Fuji X cameras shoot up to three file types from each release of the shutter, I have mine set for Velvia, Provia, and Monochrome.

 

Sunrise clouds at Zabriskie Point

 

Patterns in the dunes, monochrome.

 

Patterns at Zabriskie Point, early light.