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8 years, 2 months ago 0

I’m really proud to work for Nikon. Nikon has had a long tradition of supporting and providing photographic educational opportunities to the world of photography. I don’t usually go off about my company in this blog, but it makes me really happy to see what our company does to help great young people like these have the chance to learn more about shooting.

The Western Kentucky University team does a great job putting this workshop together and
Nikon is a major contributor to the effort.

Now what does this have to do with faith? Actually quite a lot. While we cannot earn our salvation, we certainly need to show how much we appreciate it in the way we help others. One of the great joys in life is seeing others lifted up by our efforts. Seeing these young people live out a dream this week serves is a good reminder of how much we can contribute to others, if we will only make the effort!

the pilgrim

8 years, 2 months ago 0

I took my grandson, Elijah, to an air show on Saturday this past weekend, he was mostly interested in the inflatable play area. I got this shot of him preparing to do battle with another young man on the jousting contest, inflatable.

When we grow up our battles are not over. If you are a regular reader of the Pilgrim’s Chronicles you know what this blog is all about, but just in case you just dropped in, let me explain. The process of committing your life to Christ and then walking in fellowship with Him is not a make believe world. In the real world there is a God, He’s real, and He is the ultimate Good. Unfortunately there is also evil. The enemy, Satan, is very real. While God’s desire for your life is for you to live it abundantly, the enemy’s goal is your destruction. Now the ultimate battle of good and evil was fought and decided long ago. The final outcome is decided. When Christ gave up His life to die on the cross, He defeated the enemy.

If you believe and have committed your life to Christ, then your eternal destiny is not in question, however you must still live in this world and it is still influenced by that same enemy. Even if you belong to Christ, the enemy can try to defeat you here and now, while you’re still living in this world. Our mission is to deny the enemy any foothold in our lives.

While you can be tempted and may even fall and stumble, the enemy cannot defeat you. The enemy is called the great deceiver, and honesty is not in him. He will lie to you and fill you with fear, and suspicion for others. You must resist those efforts and hold fast to your faith.

One of the enemy’s greatest deceptions is to convince world that he does not even exist. What a masterful plan. Why would you pay any attention to an enemy that is not even there. If you fall into that trap, he already has a foothold in your life. Can you really look at the world we live in and see all the terrible things we have done to one another and doubt the existence of evil? You can make up any excuse you want for the fall of man, but when you boil it all down, it was explained to us long ago by a man named Jesus.

Get to know Him and you will have victory over this world. Are you ready to do battle?

the pilgrim

8 years, 2 months ago 0

One of the great things about a daily walk with God is; He will change you. I was assigned by Nikon to attend and assist with a conference held at Western Kentucky University for minority high school students with dreams of becoming photojournalists. Ten bright, young students were chosen to be immersed in photography for four and half days under the capable tutelage of Barry Gutiearrez, a Pulitzer Prize Winning photojournalist, from Denver, Colorado, http://barrygutierrez.com/ and James Kenney, Department Head of Photojournalism for Western Kentucky University. A number of great WKU students are also assisting with the administration of the workshop.

To be honest, I had no idea what to expect. What I’ve experienced so far has been a pleasant surprise. Barry has been artfully and effectively giving these students a good lesson in the better attributes of being a photojournalist. Barry has been quick to emphasize that a good photojournalist does not approach a story with an agenda, but rather with and open mind and empathy for the subject. This morning he told about covering a story about a young soldier that had been given leave to come home to see his newly born daughter, but volunteered for one last mission before leaving for home. He was killed by a sniper on that mission. The image that Barry captured, with the full approval of the family, was among the most powerful I’ve ever seen. What impressed me the most was the lengths he went to to be sure the family approved. If you go to his website above, it will show that image fourth in the opening slide show, of this young soldier in the casket with the photograph of his daughter tucked into his dress uniform opening at the chest.

The gulf between what we all believe to be self evident truths, is wide and varied, but the need to treat others with respect and kindness should not ever be a gulf between any of us.

I started my career as a photojournalist, and by the time I left the profession, I was pretty disgusted with the whole thing. The last major story I covered was the Scotia Mine Disaster in which 25 men died in an underground coal mine explosion. A day later 20 more men, in a rescue team, were killed in a second explosion. As a young photojournalist covering the story, I watched countless helicopters, all the networks, and hundreds of reports and photographers descend on this tiny Virginia community. The behavior of many of my cohorts in crime was disappointing, to the say the least. I left the profession, shortly after this assignment, with a pretty good level of disgust.

Today, I changed my mind, o.k. maybe God changed my mind. I saw one good man, doing good things, for the right reasons, and then sharing it with some deserving young people that need to know, this side of the story, of photojournalism.

Thank you Lord for reminding me what I once loved about being a a photojournalist. I can only hope that more men and women that care, and want to show compassion in telling their stories will step forward, and help others to follow their path.

As a follower of Christ, I can do nothing more important than to offer His love and compassion to others. Thanks Barry, for the powerful reminder.

the pilgrim

8 years, 3 months ago 0

Close-up photography is an exciting part of the entire world of imaging. When you delve into things smaller than the palm of your hand you open an entire new world! I will leave the aesthetics of what works and doesn’t work to you, but I would like to offer some friendly advise on what gear will make the process more pleasant and effective.

The simplest and most costly way to get into close-up photography is to buy a Micro, (Nikon),
or Macro, (everyone else), lens. If you shoot stamps and coins, or documents the 50mm and 60mm lenses will work fine. For general nature the 100mm to 105mm work great. If you are photographing anything that needs the maximum distance for comfort, like skittish insects or reptiles, spring for the 180mm and 200mm lenses. I use the 105mm and 200mm the most.

If saving money is on your agenda, automatic extension tubes will turn any sharp telephoto or telephoto zoom into a great close-up lens. A good set of extension tubes will cost about 20% of
the least expensive Micro lenses.

Another great device is a diopter lens. A diopter is a two element filter that is highly corrected
and if used on sharp lenses between 100mm and 300mm they produce very sharp results. The Nikon’s 3T-4T and 5T-6T were four of the best every made, unfortunately they are no longer manufactured, though sometimes can be found used. Canon still makes several and they work very well too.

While bellows are very versatile, they are also somewhat difficult to use and very few are available that have automatic connections to the camera. I usually advise against this route unless you love to tinker with your gear. Don’t get me wrong they can work well, they’re just more finicky.

So if you have some super sharp tele and zooms, try the extension tubes, if money is not an object
then the Micro/Macro lenses are good investments.

The last must accessory is a good solid tripod. Close-up work requires a very steady camera and nothing will replace the good tripod.

Hope this helps, May richly bless you this weekend, I will be in touch from Western Kentucky
University next week!

the pilgrim