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1 year, 3 months ago 12



O.K. so I’m a little late to the party, but I’ll try to bring enough, that being late will be forgiven!  So Fuji just had a big celebration in Japan of their 5th Anniversary of the X-System.  Sorry I could’t be there but I want to join the long line of well wishers that are saying, Congratulations!!!!


Why the long line of well wishers?  Fujifilm has built itself and ever increasing group of devoted users and promoters, but again, Why?????


Well,  let’s see;  Could it be Fuji developed an incredible sensor, (the X-Tans CMOS), that along with their decades of color knowledge being a leading film producer in the world, produces spectacular color, sharpness and very low noise even at astronomically high ISOs!  To approach the noise performance of the X-Trans Sensor you have to get a very high end full frame sensored camera,  can we say $3,000. to $7,000. range per body!!!!!


Then it could be that the Fuji X-System lens line is absolutely superlative from top to bottom, every single lens has been the match of, or better than, the same lenses from everyone else, my vote goes with superior in many cases!  I spent years testing and comparing lenses from Nikon, Canon, Leica, Panasonic, Olympus and everyone else, I KNOW LENSES, trust me on that.  When I say Fuji lenses are superlative, I know what I’m talking about!  Not bragging, if you can back it up, it’s not bragging! Sony does not have near the range of high quality, high speed lenses as Fuji, and Panasonic and Olympus are still behind the curve on high end fast, well made glass, that can match the Fuji’s optically!


Or maybe it could be that the Fuji cameras are retro in every way, solid magnesium frames in construction, precise controls that work like the cameras of old, real metal knobs instead of plastic buttons and wheels.


Then again maybe Fuji’s attitude of standing up and fixing things immediately, no denials, not gee, never hear of that before when asked about an issue.  I remember when the X-T1 came out and it was discovered that with the remote door open, if you shined a light straight in,  it did create a light leak. Within days of the first posts, Fuji had announced that some cameras had this problem, described how to test your camera, and said if you’ve light leak send it info free repair!  That’s how you take care of customers!!!!!


Or, it could be that when you buy a Fuji camera body or lens, if they make improvements or fix issues, yours can be “updated” with a  firmware download.  New camera features and fixes, no charge!!!!!


Of course the Fuji cameras are really expensive.  I mean a Fuji X-T1 goes for around $1,200.  Wait a minute, a Nikon D610 goes for $1,499.  If you buy a Nikon this is what you have to buy to get as good a performance as the X-T1, well maybe the price isn’t that high!!! Fuji’s top tier pro camera is $1,895. Nikon and Canon?   Try close to $7,000.


Why have people switch in droves from Canon and Nikon to Fuji.  Smaller, lighter, just as well made, maybe better, lenses that take a back seat to no one, more metal in the lens construction and screaming legendary sharpness, what’s not to like!?  Oh, and they saved money too!


But in spite of all that, my great love for my Fuji X-System is something else entirely. I am celebrating my 47th year as a serious or pro shooter, and I have never enjoyed the craft of photography more than I have the last three years!  I can’t wait to go out and shoot and I enjoy not being burdened down with excessive weight,  I love the images I’m making, the best of my career, and finally have back, the same kind of retro camera I loved when I got my first Nikon F!


What ever you shoot, I hope you’re having a blast, after all it’s the photographer that matters!  For me, thank you Fuji from the bottom of my heart, for giving me back my enthusiasm, my craft, and taking away my aching back!!!!!  It has been a great 5 years, can’t wait to see what comes next, I know it will be wonderful, everything so far sure has been!!!


Did I say, THANK YOU Fuji???!!!




the pilgrim


Some of my favorite Fuji images!



Top to Bottom, Spearfish Canyon water falls X-T1, Jim Begley in old church, X100S, Red Plymouth V- 8  X-T1, Texas Tavern Hamburgers, X10, Sinclair Gas Pump,  X-E2, Monochrome phone X-E1, Bel Air Blue, X-E1,  Denim Cadillac X-E2.

1 year, 3 months ago 9



For the last several days I have been cleaning my office.  It  has been very much like an archaeological dig!!!  i don’t even want to tell you how old the things were I found buried behind furniture, but needless to say it has been a trip way, back down memory lane!!!!  I would love, with your permission, to share a few things I found in the process.  They weren’t lost but the cleaning process brought them into new light.


As a photographer and especially one that has taught over 7,000 students, you get a lot of prints from folks and I always appreciate that kind of gift, it means a lot.  One of my very favorite is this print given to me by Jim Haverstock.  Why this one out of the hundreds?  Well first I love Jim, he is a very dear brother, friend and fellow photographer, and a really good one too!  Second,  I really love this scene, it has so many things I love as subjects, old rusty trucks, old building with painted signs, and a Christmas tree in the back of the truck!


On a cork board in my office I have hung up credentials for years after doing assignments at events that required them.  I have over a hundred, this is just a small sampling of what they look like, what a blessing those experiences were.


On the funny side, those folks that have done workshops with me know that if a Krispy Kreme around I will take everyone there when the Red Light is on!  Of course I had to have the Krispy Kreme delivery truck piggy bank!!!  I took Ralph and Nina Oakley to one in Pigeon Forge and it was there first hot off the conveyer Krispy Kreme, I felt down right evil starting two more people down that  addiction road.


I’m not bad to save every card I receive but this Birthday card from my oldest son Scott and  his family still hangs on my cork board, inside it says “Not all heroes wear capes.”  Nothing  means more to a father than that kind of message from his children.


While we are on family mementos this little sign hangs on my office wall where I can see it often.  My daughter Catherine got it for me many years ago, in remembrance of her and I traveling and doing workshops together in the early 90’s!


My last thing related to family is my flight helmet from the America From 500 Feet days!  This is a constant reminder for me of one of the greatest adventures of my life and my forever thankfulness for my son Wesley who made it possible for me to live out a dream of my lifetime!  I wouldn’t take anything for those 14months we spent discovering America together!


On the wall hangs a small framed print that  means a great deal to me, this is another family, my friends from Nikon.  This photograph was made at the Memorial Wake for Mike Phillips, one of our dear brothers that died way to early! Back row, left to right, Mark Kettenhofen, Fred Sisson, Bill Pekala, Mike’s Sister, Scott Frier, Stephen Heiner.  Front row, myself and Ron Tanawaki.


Another small print pinned to my cork board is this image of Harrison Ford pre-flighting his Dehavilland Beaver airplane just before Wes and I sat down with him to talk for about half hour at the Jackson, Wyoming airport. Great memory!


One of my first  hobbies, long before photogprahy was I was an amateur recordist.  I loved taping things, I came to love Microphones, and do to this day, on my desk is a classic Shure 55 SH Series II microphone just like the ones used by Frank Sinatra and Michael Buble’, both of whom I’ve seen live in concert!


….and last, my football signed to me by Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and Steve Batkowski!


So what am I saying, WOW has God blessed my life, it’s all part of trusting Him and letting Him perform miracles all around you!  To Him be Glory!!!!




the pilgrim



1 year, 3 months ago 8



Maybe if you were living in New York or Washington and got 33 inches, or if you were stranded on one of the Eastern U.S. interstate highways. or stuck in an airport somewhere, you don’t think so!  So why do I?  Well it trapped me at the house, not really, but I played it that way, with my bride for three glorious days.  It was beautiful to photograph and it forced me to start the process of cleaning my office, and trust me you don’t want me to go into that, but needless to say it was way, way over do!!!!


I finally got to this morning to take Sherelene back to work, her clinic had been closed for three straight days and it was great to have that time with her!


My humble abode in Corbin, KY!



Not meant to be art,  just sharing the joy of heavy snow!




the pilgrim

1 year, 3 months ago 22



When I was still working for Nikon, standing at the counter of the Nikon booth at Photo Plus we were showing, for the very first time, the new Nikon D4!  A customer walked up and actually asked me this, “What do you know about the D5?”  You have to be kidding me!  Hey I get it, we are enthusiasts, we love the gear and we can’t wait to see what the next model will be like, so in keeping with that spirit, and since we have just gotten news of the X-PRO 2,  someone actually emailed me and asked,  “what do you know about the X-T2?”  Nothing I can share, but let’s play some make believe!


Let’s pretend that I got a call from one of the chief engineers in Japan with Fuji and they asked me, “Bill, the next camera is being developed now, what would you like to see in the replacement camera for the X-T1?”  Now,  first, I did not get that call!  But I do  have some deep desires about what I hope is coming, so let me list what I would say to them, if they asked.  Keep in mind I absolutely do not know if any of this is coming, but if it was coming and they took my advice I want the camera above,  if  you look close it is the X-T2  BF Edition (stands for Bill Fortney Edition) hey I said let’s pretend!!!!!  Pretending is free!


Here is what I want:


I want it available in Black and Graphite (I would love to see the Black be Nitron coated with a very fine crinkle finish, dull matt black!  Hey, just saying, looks great on some 9mm combat pistols!


Leave the ISO dial exactly where it is now, just bump the capability as in the X-PRO 2


Keep the customizable Q menu but expand it to two pages!


I would love the same sensor and X Pro processor  in the X-PRO 2


A high eye point EVF finder with more resolution and magnification and  faster refresh rate.


Improved shutter of the X-PRO 2 with 1/8,000th second mechanical speed.


Bracketing by 1/3 stops all the way up to 2 full stops and at least 5 frames, 7 would be even better.


2 SD card slots as in the X-PRO 2,  one for UHS-II High speed cards


Include the ACROS monochrome film simulation 


Same auto focus system in the X-PRO 2 with more focus points and faster response.


Higher resolution LCD that tilts as it does now  but both horizontally and vertically


Eyepiece correction for viewfinder that locks or is harder to turn.


Self Timer than can be set and remain on until the user turns it off.  User selectable range from 1 to 14 seconds.


Panorama assist for making manual pan shots.


Artificial horizon viewable in the LCD designed like the one in Nikons


Improved battery condition meter as in the X-PRO 2


Keep the same battery, work on better power management, but leave it alone, everyone already has a tons of batteries!


4 way buttons on the back slightly larger with a defined click into operation, no need to gum up the camera with sugru!



….and hey, thanks so much for what you’ve already done for us, I for one truly, deeply appreciate it, you’ve changed my photographic life!





A 16-120 f 2.8 Red Badge (Constant Aperture) that focus as close as the 18-135


A 10mm f 2.8 rectilinear corrected for night photography!


A 120mm f 2 with same basic formula as the 90mm f 2, tack sharp, of course it would be!


A 50-200 f 3.5 constant aperture Red Badge, tripod collar.


So if you guys are out there listening, hope some of this comes true, and hey I give you permission to make a BF Edition, just saying,  you have my permission!!!!  LOL




the pilgrim


Snow stuff from today, all hand held with the 100-400, love that lens!!!!