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11 months, 1 week ago 4


Image by George Flanagan


I am thrilled to offer this wonderful tribute to those brave men and women that sacrificed so much for our freedom.  The slide show link below is to a great image show done by George Flanagan, an attendee of the Roanoke workshop, dear friend and brother.  All these images were shot by George at the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA which was part of the Roanoke Event.  We were allowed in for sunrise and the shooting opportunities were incredible.  George has produced a moving show with his beautiful images.  I know you will be touched and I wish all of you a blessed Memorial Day!  The two links are for both Youtube and Vimeo.




the pilgrim

11 months, 2 weeks ago 7




It’s your fault!  If you ever say you like something here, you’ll get more of it!  This is my Memorial gift to all my faithful readers, all five of you!!!!  So here goes!


Topic ONE:  David Ober, thanks for your kind words, but more thanks to you today as we start the weekend that should be spent remembering our fallen heroes.   I include you in my list of heroes, (not fallen, thank God),  along with all the other men and women that have served as firemen, policemen, first responders, and of course our military heroes.  It sickens me to see the way our protectors have been treated by the media to push a political agenda.  In spite of this, you guys still show up every time we are in any kind of trouble and bail us out, never asking for thanks, and deserving more thanks than we could ever give.  My hats off to you young man, and all those like you!  *Note to all my readers, this Memorial Day find someone that serves you and say, ” Thank You!!!!”



Topic TWO:  Here’s one for friends…..  I got to visit with Wayne Bennett at my hotel for about and hour yesterday, it was great to catch up.  Wayne and I go way back and we are only two weeks apart in age, so there was a lot of fun stuff to remember.  I got to have a long conversation with Bill Pekala yesterday too, was great to just hear his voice, and then Bill Durance called me, another wonderful trip down memory lane!  I tried to call Bryan Peterson but he was away form his phone, my point is I’m embarrassed at how often I have not kept in better touch with so many old friends.  Yesterday, I guess was catch up day.  I will try to do better, a lot of people have been so kind to me, I need to keep in better touch!!  Thanks my friends, and you know who you are!



Topic THREE:    Let’s take s moment to capture God’s glorious beauty and tun celebrate it!  My good buddy Keith Thomas sent me an email to make me aware of a great event coming up June 27th the details are below!  I plan to participate, hope you will join the thousands of others involved, details at this link:




Topic FOUR:  The reviews are in, and the new Fuji X-T10 is a hit!  I had the chance to just handle it and make a few shots back a month ago in Phoenix and was very impressed.  It is a scaled down X-T1 with  few less features, but the same sensor!  Same image quality and vastly improved autofocus system, ( which X-T1 users will get FREE with firmware update 4.0) in June.  It is about 25% smaller and lighter but very well made.  I can see it being a killer travel camera or trekking camera (for those of   you that Trek!!!)   If you don’t have a back up body for your X-E2 or X-T1 this is one to consider!  I will be at the kick-off release party in Nashville mid June for this new camera.  Will I buy one?  Well, I asked that part of my compensation for that event be a black body!!!




Topic FIVE:  More Fuji Stuff!  If I can only afford a few lenses which should I buy?  I’ve been getting this question a lot lately from people switching to Fuji with a starting budget hat does not allow going wild, so they ask which two or three are the best place to start?  Here is my take on it.  If you are assembling a System for for Nature/Outdoor and Landscape:  I’d go 10-24, 18-55, 55-200 and the MCEX 11mm and 16mm auto extension tubes.   A Travel System for me would be the 14mm f 2.8 and the 18-135 zoom.  For people and street I’d go 23mm f 1.4, 35mm f1.4, and the 56mm f 1.2.  Look for the special deal times, often Fuji offers rebates amounting to as much as 25% off.  Lots of other combinations can work for you.  If you are generalist and have the budget, the 10-24, 16-55 and 50-140 are among the best lenses, but more expensive and bigger and heavier.  Hope that helps!   O.K. one more how about a super compact lens set for the X-T10 (emphasis on smallest and lightest)  How about the 18-55 and the 55-200!



Topic SIX:  What will you think of in the last few moments of your life?  I am pretty sure you won’t be thinking about getting more work done, acquiring another lens or body, the place you never got to photograph, or fixing a few things around the house.  I bet you will wish you had more times with your wife or husband, your children and your friends.  When I had cancer 35 years ago and wa told it was likely terminal, 3 to 5% chance of surviving, I know what I thought about!  Unfortunately it was all the things I had been neglecting!  It’s easy to get caught up in the things that scream to  us that they are important, but they seldom are.  the things we need to attend to first are things that are vital.  Faith, family, friends.  The three Fs.  It’s easy to loose sight of that list, but when time starts to run out it’s where we turn.  Why not do now?  After all, the clock is ticking………


Gotta go, my family is coming later today!  Enjoy yours this Memorial Day Weekend………….




the pilgrim

11 months, 2 weeks ago 10



How’s that for some openers!  I know, weak!  I’m in Orlando where Sherelene is attending a Diabetes meeting sand seminar.  I planned to drive over to Tampa today and visit with the Kelby One crew, especially Pete Collins and R.C. Concepcion, but was really sick by the time I got to the hotel last night and am recovering slowly today.  Not sure what I’ve got, stopped up head, coughing, feeling run down, I think I’m allergic to airports.


Topic ONE:  I hate air travel.  I actually like flying, I just hate dealing with the TSA, the ticket counters, the lines, waiting to get on the plane, getting off the plane, walking the 44 miles my gate always is from Baggage claim, to get my bags.  Schlepping all this stuff to the rental car.  Dealing with the rental car folks, finding the exit from  the airport that gets you at least approximately going the right direction!!!!!!!!   Sherelene said this morning I’m in “Grumpy Bill” mode.  Afraid she is right!


Topic TWO:  I love to drive!!!!!! My trip back in March to Peoria and then down Route 66 and then to Arches and then home, was as delight!  Took my time, enjoyed being alone, stood in no lines, well once at a McDonald’s to get a cone!  It was so much better than flying but, when  I was finished it took two and half days to get home!  You can’t win!!!!!

Topic THREE:  Great people you meet along the way in life.  John Oakley is great man, and a interesting man, and a man I admire immensely!  He has dedicated himself to seeing that his granddaughter Ralphi Oakley gets to all the photo events she can!  He drives Ralphi and her sister Nina to all our events and we really enjoy having them and having John!  His father taught him about the ships messenger when he was a boy, when we saw this one and moved the lever at Black Dog Salvage and heard that thing bing,  his eyes lit up.  What that meant to me I could never describe!  I wanted to buy it and have it shipped to him, oh if I were a wealthy man, the fun I would have giving gifts!!!!!


Topic FOUR:  Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Why am I hanging around in Orlando while Sherelene attends meetings all day????  I have to honestly say that in 45 years of marriage to Sherelene I’ve never had enough time with her!  I have travel from 250 to 125 days a year for much of our marriage. and it is being way from her that makes me realize how much I love her.  I once had a dear friend that went from being dirt poor to being a multimillionaire.  I asked him once what it was like to be able to travel anywhere he felt like going without regard for the money involved!!  He shocked me with his answer.  He told me that before his family business took off and made him and his family millions, they used to look forward to their one week vacation each year, planning, dreaming and anticipating it, once they could have anything they wanted the thrill of “anticipation” was gone.  Maybe that is what makes Christmas, the Fourth of July and even weekends special, they are not “everyday” affairs.  It’s good to be thankful for what we treasure and know it is a gift, and one, not to be squandered!


Topic FIVE:  The value of friends.  It is amazing to me how much I think about, pray for, and have great hope for my friends.  I’m truly invested in Jim and Sue Haverstock, Jim Begley, Jack Graham, my brother-in-law Ron Oliver and all mine and Sherelene’s family members.  I pray daily for Sue’s wrist, Jim’s long service to her, for Jim Begley as he settles into retirement, Jack’s detached retina and safety out on the road,  Ron’s leg amputation and Diane’s taking care of him.  The list goes on and on!  God has blessed me with great people to love, care for, and pray for, what a privilege it is to stand in the gap for them!


Topic SIX:  The great folks at Fujifilm!  O.K. you knew that was coming but not for the reason you may think!  Yes I’m madly in love with their X-System,the bodies and lenses which are incredible, but that is not why I love the company so much.  Now I want to be very clear before I share this, that I still respect Nikon and have many friends there, but my relationship with Fuji has been far different.  I shot Nikon for 44 years and waved the flag proudly for them for many years before I ever got a dime for my efforts, and never asked for a penny either!!!   I am sure that thousands of shooters were influenced by my love for the Nikon system.  Then I worked for Nikon as an NPS rep for the Southern U.S. for 11 years.  In all that time, I was never asked to speak at a Nikon National Sales Meeting, never invited to visit the factories in Japan, or ever honored with the title of a Legend Behind The Lens.  I have no hard feelings, but  I am appreciative that Fuji has honored me with all three of those things, except their select group of pros is called the X-Photographers.  I feel fortunate to be affiliated with Fuji, they certainly have been very nice to me!


Well, those are my rambling thoughts for today!




the pilgrim

11 months, 2 weeks ago 9



Are you in search of the Holy Grail of Photography?  Above all else, its Image Quality!  I know when you come here you expect to see a lot about my love for the Fuji X-System, but this article is not so much about that as it is about technique.  In the days of film a camera was a light tight box with a shutter that opened long enough to let you expose the film,.  It was the film that determined how images “looked”!  In the age of digital, the sensor and it’s magical firmware replaces film as the arbiter of what you produce. It is more important that you  know how to get the most out of your camera than anything else.  Nikon, Canon, Fuji?  It does not matter as much as knowing your camera.


Digital photography really insists that you experiment!  In the days of film, to try something new meant a lot of film and processing, (money), and waiting, (time), to find out if your adjustments worked.  With the modern digital cameras, we enjoy today, tailoring your camera to give you the results you want are easier than ever before!  It doesn’t matter what brand you shoot, all cameras offer some level of adjusting color, contrast, sharpness, and other parameters.  You can choose film simulations, in the case of Fuji they are actually named like the films they produce, or did produce!


It is truly worth the time and effort to “EXPERIMENT” with the setting available on your camera!  With built in filtration you an even produce spectacular looking monochrome images that once required a separate kind of film, special filters and special processing!  Well it still does, but it can allow be done in the camera!


The other major factor to image quality is the quality of the glass you put on your camera. There is probably more great glass today than ever before, but sadly there is some pretty poor glass out there too!  One of the reasons I review lenses is to confirm for myself their quality and to share what I’ve learned with you.  I’ve found that lenses fall into several categories; Legendary, professional quality, good (??? how good depends on your standards), unacceptable.  Get a relationship with a good dealer that will let you run a quick test and return a lens if it does not meet your standard!


So adjust your camera, use good glass, keep things sharp with a good solid tripod.   …..and join the the rest of us in a search for the Holy Grail!




the pilgrim


Photo Note:  Image above with the Fuji X-T1 and Fujinon 60mm Macro lens at f 5.6  ISO 1600.