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1 year, 5 months ago 57



It seems impossible that I only got to know Wilson Reynolds, less than a year ago.  We had met in the past, several times, but they were meetings that ended shortly after they began.  Yesterday morning Wilson left us and went home to his Heavenly Father.  He had undergone heart surgery, very serious heart surgery,  just days before and it seemed he was recovering well, we were all celebrating this, another near miss.  Then yesterday morning he coded.  I don’t know exactly what happened,  I just know he left us.


He has left us poorer because we will miss his warm loving embrace, his smile and child like enthusiasm for his beloved Smokies, for photography, hunting, fishing, and his countless friends, all of whom suffered a great loss yesterday.  Wilson did not suffer a loss, he gained life in eternity! Wilson is no longer tied to a failing heart and body wrecked with disease, he is free, free at last. I’m certain that if he could send us one last text it would be, “Don’t worry about me, I’ve never felt this good, and wait until you see the colors we have here, can’t wait to see you here with me!’  I know Wilson is with his Father in Heaven, I know because we had several deep talks about his faith. That brings me great comfort, at a time of great personal loss.


I met Wilson, again, in April of 2015.  I was getting ready to run a workshop in the Smokies and a mix up with my hotel left me without rooms or a meeting space.  My dear friend Byron Begley and I were talking and I was telling him about the mess I was in and he said hasn’t Wilson gotten in touch with you?  I said Wilson who?!  Byron said “Wilson Reynolds, you know him, he certainly knows you!”   He went on to say that Wilson had wanted to meet with me, that he had bought the old Best Western complex and had completely remodeled it and wanted to work with me to run workshops. I called Wilson and he was in Townsend for the day, less than 10 minutes later we were sitting in the main lodge building at his beautiful Tremont Lodge complex.


I remembered this Santa Clausesk gentleman from talks at various Nikon booths over the prior dozen years.  He always had a exciting idea he wanted me to take part in upon my retirement and while they always sounded fantastic, they were mostly ships that passed in the night, lights aglow on a dark sea, only to fade as they went opposite directions.  But here we were again, and now the ideas seemed to be something to hold on to.  Wilson a very successful financial guy from Maryland had made his fortune there but spent it around the world running a very successful TV production on Extreme Adventures for the National Geographic Channel.  He had photographed, fished and hunted with the rich and famous in the most exotic locations on earth and his stories were endless and a joy to  hear.


In our first meeting I started to wonder what on earth does this man think I might be able to do for him??!!  Then came the question that would be life changing,  Wilson asked, “How can I establish the Tremont Lodge as the go to place for nature photography workshops and seminars in America? That is the dream of my lifetime, will you help me, please!!??”  Bigger things were at play than Wilson and !  I immediately threw out an outlandish idea, and Wilson said, “great let’s do it!”  My idea had been that the nature photography community needed a Photoshop World kind of event where a large number of photographers could attend classes and presentations from some of the fields most recognized and respected nature photographers.  Before I realized what I had done I had shaken hands with Wilson and April Love, his very able assistant, to make this happen!!!


Many times over the following months I regretted I had said I would help, it was an enormous undertaking, one that needed a couple of years to put together and we were attempting to do it in just 6 months.  Lots of great people joined April, Wilson and I to work very hard!  A great team of photographers came together to be our first year’s team, and shockingly, we filled the event up in just a few weeks, and sadly turned away over a hundred folks that we simply didn’t have room to accommodate!


I’m sharing all this with you because it brings this tribute to Wilson, to a fitting close.  The event was a bigger success than April, Wilson or I could had even hoped for.  During the opening night program, after thanking the packed house for coming to the first Smokey Mountain Nature Photography Summit,  Wilson introduced me, and with tears welling up in his eyes he said, ” and now a man who helped me realize one of the greatest dreams of a lifetime.”  That will be my lasting memory of a great man, a great friend and a person that allowed me, even if for just as short time to be a part of his incredible life story.  You will be missed my freind, but we will carry on your dream and your legacy!




the pilgrim


The portrait of Wilson above was made by Joe McNally  in early December 2015.



After a fitful nights sleep mourning the loss of Wilson I awoke this morning and sleepily walked into my great room and  looked out on my deck which was receiving a light coating of fresh snow. I sat on the coach and wept,  Sherlene joined me and put her arms around me and I told her that snow has always been a little gift from God for me, a way of saying I will cover the earth again white and pure and give you a fresh start.  I know Wilson is enjoying a fresh start in eternity today, and I will make the most of the time my Heavenly Father gives me here!


My Morning Prayer;


Father thank you for letting me get to know Wilson.  Please put your arms around Him today and tell him we love him, miss him, and we all thank him for what he gave us while we enjoyed your glorious creation together.  I’m sure he is already cooking up something incredible for all of us when we get there.  Tell him we’ll be ready to sign up again,  for God’s next great adventure.

1 year, 5 months ago 4


I’m working on the next series of eBooks in the New Ascending  Series.  eBooks aimed at the next step in photographic development, a step beyond The Foundation Series.   These book will delve into Photographic Vision and Composition as their main subject matter.  First in the series, How Did You See That? will be out soon!


                                   FLASH  –   THIS JUST IN!!!!!!!

* I didn’t write the legendary part!

Original Piece has the Artists Standing For Christ God Beads in, get your at: 



the pilgrim

1 year, 5 months ago 10



NUMBER ONE:  I have found a book that I can HIGHLY RECOMMEND!  This book by Chris Orwig is a must for any photographer that really does want to step up their game!  I was doing research as I start my second series of eBooks this winter and found this book by Chris.  It is a beautiful expression of the creative process and extremely liberating.  I will be quoting him in some of  my new offerings, but certainly would never try to duplicate his efforts, no sense in doing that, he has done it to well.  You can find this book in several forms on Amazon.


NUMBER TWO:  An explanation.  I just got and email from a person interested in a future workshop and they asked a very interesting question and it required a response, I liked that.  We often need to review our m motives and this was my response, just for the record the question was I also saw your Artists for Jesus blog. I’m not quite sure about your intentions there. Maybe you could expand on that.”


I have been a believer, born again, and filled with the Holy Spirit for many,
many years, and have always held fast to my faith.  In my personal and
professional life I have subscribed to the philosophy of asking myself
“What Would Jesus Do?” when approaching any decision.  Several years ago
after years of praying for a specific ministry, God led me to start writing a
blog, which has become known as the Pilgrim’s Chronicles.  It is my daily
sharing of what God is doing in my life, what He is teaching me and leading
me to share with others.  During this walk, as He has strengthened me, I
have had another desire, from Him, the stand up for Christ in my profession.
When Jordan Smith, the young man that won the Voice this year (who happens
to be from my home town of Harlan, KY) I was so impressed that his young
21 year old man stood so strongly for his faith and sung songs you would not
normally hear on such a show.  God honored that commitment on his part and
he is on his way to a highly successful career in music.


I had to ask myself the question, are you being as bold in your witness?  I
thought I was but felt to compelled, along with friends like Ricky Skaggs the
country bluegrass musician, Jim Haverstock, Ken Jenkins, all photo buddies,
and other friends to form this new organization.  Our sole purpose is to raise
the name of Jesus as we practice our craft, which we believe is God given and
to be shared in such a way as to honor Him.



NUMBER THREE:  2016 Workshop Openings




Contact Jack at:


So that is it for Friday, have a great weekend,  join us for a workshop, and be sure and pick up Chris’s book!  Now I need to get to it,  work to do!!!!





the pilgrim

1 year, 5 months ago 7



I got a call from my brother Homer last night asking if I was aware that Jordan Smith was going to perform on the People’s Choice Awards?  I wasn’t.  He went on to say that Jordan was going to sing You Are So Beautiful which was written by the late Billy Preston.  What he told me, that I didn’t know, was that the song,  just like Have I Told You Lately, written by Van Morrison, was actually a Christian song dedicated to God.  Both Van Morrison and Billy Preston were believers, Van still is with us here, sadly we lost Billy Preston, but Heaven gained him!


Anyway, once again Jordan crushed it and received a rousing standing ovation.  Today his performance and Vin Diesel’s acceptance speech are being hailed as the two best moments of the evening.  You can enjoy both on You Tube, the link for Jordan is below:


I had to watch, and I mean it was mostly torture, more than half the show to get to Jordan.  I have an observation, but it must start with a proclamation.  Fortunately, God loves everyone that was in the that building last night, His Son died for every individual there.  Unfortunately, what was on display during most of the show was just how far we have gotten away from decency, and our traditional values.  Egos were on parade, modesty was mostly absent, some of the performances were impossible to watch. I remarked to Sherelene after a singing group, all wearing red boots, I have no idea who they were, and don’t care to find out,  seemed like the opening act for the stage play, Hell!  Sure there were some gracious people, some people that talked about how much love matters, some of there definitions of love are little or a lot perverted, but hey but at least they weren’t recruiting for ICIS!!!!


We were told over two thousand years ago what the world was like, and it has gotten a lot worse.  Lying in bed last night I couldn’t help but wonder how do we defeat an enemy that has such a strangle hold on the minds and hearts of the world!!??  Then I came to my senses and remembered He has already defeated the enemy!  Our victory is won, now we must love was many was we can until they find the Truth.




Jordan Smith and David Foster perform at the People’s Choice Awards, Jordan is in L.A. working with David on his new album.




the pilgrim