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11 months ago 25



I hate flying, I hate airports, and I hate dealing with the TSA, and packing for weight and bulk and size….  solution!  Drive yourself!  There is something about seeing America at 60 mph as you drive through it, versus being at 40,000 feet above it, at 550 mph!!!  It’s the people, the  places, the weather, the fresh air, being able to take all the photo gear you want, a cooler full of ice, your favorite foods, and the clothes, you may not need, but what the heck, there’s room!!! A good book on CD, maybe some Ricky Skaggs tearing up the Mandolin, or light Jazz, wow, gonna be nice!  Finally got my iPhone 6 and so I’m good to go with bluetooth in the new ride.


Over the coming three weeks I promise to try and blog every day, and share where I am, and what I’m seeing, and photographing.  The subject matter on this trip will vary widely! Americana along Route 66 in Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.  The wonderful Nelson Ghost town near Henderson, NV (near Las Vegas), more Americana and antiques there!!!  My favorite National Parks, Arches and Canyonlands in Utah.  Spectacular vista like nothing else in the national park system!  Can’t wait!


What gear for this trip?  

Since I had the room I brought my Guru Gear Bataflae 18L loaded with:


2  Fuji X-T1 bodies (one with the Battery Grip)


8mm f 2.8 Rokinon Fisheye  (12mm equivalent)


10-24  f 4 Fuji wide angle zoom  (15-36 equivalent)


14mm f 2.8 Fuji wide angle lens  (21 equivalent)



23mm f 1.4 Fuji wide angle lens  (35mm equivalent)


18-55 f 2.8/f4  Fuji mid range zoom  (28-85 equivalent)


18-135 f 3.5/f5.6  Fuji Super zoom   (28-200 equivalent)


56mm f 1.2 Fuji telephoto lens  (85 equivalent)


60mm f 2.4 Fuji Micro lens (with three Fuji Ext tubes)  (90 equivalent)


50-140 f 2.8 Fuji telephoto zoom  ( 75-210 equivalent)


Nikkor 300mm f 4.5 IF-ED manual focus lens with Fuji adapter  (450 equivalent)


1  Fuji X100T  (In an extra 5XB Dome bag with chargers and spare batteries)


8 extra batteries for X-T1s


5 extra batteries for X100T


Two chargers for each camera type.


Cleaning supplies


Polarizers (Singh Ray) for all lenses except the Fisheye



Really Right Stuff TVC-33 Versa Series 3 Tripod


Really right Stuff BH-55 LR ball head


Apple Mini iPad for operating remote shooting App from Fuji


The Guru Gear is a trunk bag, to be worked out of,  When walking away from the car, I have both a Dome Vest and a Think Tank belt system, depending on how much I will be carrying.


I leave in the morning for Peoria, I’m ready and prepared, but please pray that I give them a great talk and seminar!  I’m happy to be brought in for them, and I want it to be a great experience for them!!!


I’m really looking forward to a couple of weeks with Jack out west,  shooting and having fellowship with my dear friend, and killer shooter!  I always shoot better when Jack and I teach together, he makes me get to the top of my game!  Jim Begley has the same affect on me, run around with great shooters and it will elevate y our game too!!!


Stay tuned and come along with me!




the pilgrim



Visit my bookstore!


11 months ago 12



A friend asked me the other day why I was so pumped about this upcoming trip, and I had to think about it.   My personal answer, to myself,  was quite revealing!  This is what I came up with.


1.  It’s been long winter!!!!!  I have loved being home with Sherelene, writing eBooks, and throwing another log on the fire, but I’m ready to get out and shoot!  I have the new Fuji 50-140 lens and I know it is super sharp, but I can’t wait to use it to make some images of something besides my desk lamp and book shelf!!!


2.  I miss being with other photographers!  I love to teach and share, and just hang out with the great folks that photography has placed in my life.  I miss being with Jim Begley, and Jack Graham, and Bill Pekala and Snake Barrett, and all the other great folks I get to share with and teach!  There will be lots of laughter and good times!


3.  Cabin Fever!!!  This winter is the longest time in my last 30 years that I’ve been home with no where I have to be!  Now that is not all bad, I really enjoyed just being around the house, but after 30 years of over 240 days a year on the road, I guess I’m not built to sit in one place too long!


4.  I love an adventure and for me a road trip is the best adventure!  Below is my route for this trip and I am looking forward to every mile, (o.k. not so much from Peoria to Oklahoma city) but after that, I can’t wait!



5.  Americana is in my blood!  There is probaly not anything more Americana than an old painted Coca Cola sign, and I spent most of my youth with a father that managed a Coca Cola bottling plant!  I and my brother Homer were steeped in the Coca Cola culture!  I also was, from age 1 to 10, in the late forties and early fifties, dead center of the Americana age for me!  I expect to see as lot of reminders of those younger years on Route 66!!!!


6. I can’t wait to get back into my ministry with photographers!!!  I have but one critical mission, to let others know how much God loves them, and how He longs to fellowship with them! Now how can you do that in a secular setting?  If you study the New Testament, you will discover that Jesus never debated, argued, or demanded that people come to Him and want to be with Him, NO, He loved them with love that was beyond anything they had ever experienced.  His love was genuine, and not predicated on expecting anything in return.  His love was unconditional.  My personal ministry is the same, love others with a love that can only come from Him.  I don’t have to embarrass others with questions about their faith situation.  I don’t have to convince anyone that they are sinners and need Jesus. (Actually, we are all sinners and we all need Jesus, but it is the Holy Spirit that convicts us of that, not me!  Not my job.  Neither am I a Judge, that’s God’s job!  One that He hopes to never have to apply to us!)


My mission is to show people everywhere; the gas station, the lunch counter, the store, at a workshop, passing on the street…… an acceptance and love that few ever really feel.  How can I do that?  Simple, I’ve yielded my life to Him.  I’m under contract, one that I willingly signed.  A contract to share with others what was shared with me, through Grace.  His love and acceptance. We all want to matter, to have some value, and I’ve found it in being a child of God.


So, after fleshing that out, I can see that I have a great deal to be excited about!


Blessings in Him,


the pilgrim

11 months ago 4



I realized I had missed too many days when my wife got a call asking where to send the flowers!!!!  I enjoyed a nice vacation and then when I got home it was full speed ahead preparing for my trip out west, so some time has slipped, sorry about that, I’ll try to do better!!!!


In a previous post I sang the praises of my new friend Rick Sammon.  I met Rick, for the first time, last Photoshop World, but it was not until recently that we got to working some together.  Rick is a wonderful shooter and really good teacher.  I just got his new course on Landscape and Seascape Photography and it is terrific!  The 54 minute video is chocked full of great ideas and techniques.  I have become a really big fan of internet based learning,  You can purchase it at    ….and I recommend that you do!  Rick’s classes, Kelby One and the tremendous number of eBooks and Apps out there,  have all made learning a much richer experience.


We have more great shooters today than ever before, and I think some of that is because of the tremendous amount of information that is getting shared!  Of course the advent of the digital age has helped all of us learn quicker, and that is big factor as well!


I love teaching live Workshops and Seminars, there is nothing like the face to face learning experience, but when you are snow bound at the house, the computer can open up a whole new world of learning!


Let’s hope winter is over!  I’ve had enough!




the pilgrim

11 months, 1 week ago 8



This week in Florida has been a wonderful break from the snow, ice and freezing temps of Kentucky, but for me it has been much, much more.  First it has been the activity I enjoy most in life, just hanging out with my bride.  Sherelene is not only my wife, my confident, and love of my life, she is also my best friend.  I’m always on stage, that has been my life, entertaining and teaching others, and I love it, but it is also work.  When I’m with Sherelene I’m just myself and she knows me to well for me to try and impress her, shockingly she loves me for who I am, and that works for me!!!!  So this has been week of relaxing, and slowly preparing for the “big” March trip and the rest of the year of workshops and appearances.  I wanted to share how I prepare for workshops, lectures and going out to be with the folks I’m honored to spend time with.


Number One:  Get the focus off myself.  My purpose is to help others.  Help them learn, help them relax, help them enjoy the process of the event.  I can’t make a workshop or seminar about me.  I need to focus my energy on reading their responses, and meeting their needs.  What people think about me is not important, what is important is delivering what they paid for, and need.  If I do that then their response to me will be positive, which is great, just not what is most important.


Number Two:  As the Boys Scout Manual says:  Be Prepared!  I would never go to do a seminar like the one in Peoria, or a workshop like the two with Jack Graham out west without intense preparation.  Jack is a professional and he will be prepared!   In the next 16 workshops for the rest of the year, Jim Begley and Snake, Bill Pekala and Fred Sisson are all pros, they will be prepared!  I owe the guests nothing more than being on top of my game, it involves planning, study, consideration of the group coming, and more study.  The audience or attendees can’t learn if they are not relaxed and at ease, and they can’t feel that if I seem to be at a loss as to what I’m doing!!  I must be prepared!


Number Three:  I must be truly, genuinely, enthusiastic about being with them!  You can’t fake truly being excited to be with people, you either are or you would rather be somewhere else.  When you get to that point, it’s time to do something else.  People deserve a great experience and you can’t deliver it, if you are not having a great experience yourself!  I once knew a great photographer that was wonderful shooter and filled with incredible knowledge, but he hated hanging out with people, he would have rather been alone, I can’t imagine being that miserable, and conducting workshops!  The best leaders I know, can’t wait to get there and get started!!!


Number Four:  Research your locations and know what you are going to do!!!  Photographic success and great workshop experiences depend on being logistically prepared.  Where are your going to take them?  What will the light be like?  What will the conditions be like?  What will the subject matter be like?  Will the flowers be blooming?  Will the fall leaves have turned?  How will conditions; (wind – cold – rain – snow – road conditions etc, etc.) affect the shoot? You have to know!


Number Five:  Are  your ready to roll with the punches?  Things “will” go wrong.  Even the best planned event will offer up surpises!!  Can you make lemonade our of lemons?  If you can’t, it’s going to be a tough life as a workshop provider!


Number Six:  Be sure you are “most” concerned about your Guests, and their needs! If you are not truly first and foremost focused on the attendees, you will fail.  Running workshops can’t be letting others pay for your trip to place you want to shoot!  Do it before an after they arrive and leave, or use shooting to demonstrate how to do it in the field!  NEVER keep shooting when someone needs  your help!  It’s better to miss a shot, than let someone down that paid for your help!


Number Seven:  Have Fun!  If you a re not having fun, no one else will either.  A good leader, leads by example.  you can’t fake it, if you are having a blast it’s likely your guests will too!


Number Eight:  Trust God with it all.  If I am doing it as unto Him, I need His help to do all the things I mentioned above and more!  My most important purpose is to show people they are loved, that God loves them, that He truly cares for them and that they are safe in His arms.  Those attendees that have told me that the workshop they attended changed, their lives, fulfill my greatest prayer and hope!  All the Glory goes to Him!


This week I’ve been getting into the right mindset to really do all the above, and resting up so I can keep up the pace for a year!   I want to to be the be the best I can be!  My guest are counting on it!




the pilgrim


Do you like the photographic pun in the lead image.  The hot air ballon is getting filled to be ready to fly, just like I get filled with hot air to run workshops!!!!