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5 months, 2 weeks ago 156
Posted in: Uncategorized

 

How does a father say goodbye to a much loved son?  Wesley leaves a wife, Rhonda Lee Fortney,  a son, Elijah Pierce Fortney and a daughter Abigail Brooklyn Fortney.  A brother William Scott Fortney, Diane Fortney and a sister Catherine Anne Moore, and Clint Moore.  His mother Sherelene Scott Fortney and myself, William Glenn Fortney.  He also leaves a large host of friends and family who have been sending messages from near and far away, expressing their love for him and our family.

 

This is not an obituary, Wes simply moved to a new address.  When my children were younger I told them when they once asked about when I was going to die, when a  friends parent passed, I  explained it this way; ” You guys know I go on trips and I’m gone for a while and then I come home, you know I’m somewhere, just not here. Well someday I will go on a long trip and I won’t come back here, but I will be at a place that you will come to and see me later.”  That comforted them then and it comforts me now, Wes is at a place where he is safe, not in pain and filled with peace and joy, and someday, I will go to where he is and be with him again, and this time to never be seperated again.

 

I shot thousands of photographs of my three precious children.  Here are just a few of my favorite images of Wes.

 

 

This angelic image of Wesley and Catherine at the lake has always been one of my favorites!  They loved each other so much.

 

 

Only a week ago Wesley’s brother Scott, who he always called his “hero in life” , came up from Florida to give his stem cells to Wes  in this battle against Lymphoma.  They had three great days together in the hospital to just really enjoy each other, Wes told me it was one of the greatest times of his life.

 

 

One of my all time favorite images is of Wes and Sherelene standing on top of Mount LaConte, I’m sure this is the kind of beauty he is enjoying today, look at those smiles! No, I didn’t climb Mount LaConte, a fellow hiker shot this image, but I love this image so much.

 

 

Before the 911 attacks Wes and I traveled 123,000 miles over 14 months and photographed from and ultra Light airplane for our book, America From 500 Feet.  Even though the book was a run away best seller, the real treasure was that 14 months I spent with Wes!  I will hold on to those memories for the rest of my life. Thank you son for that gift.

 

 

This was our last photograph made as a family just last week.  Wes was doing great and we were all so happy to be with him.  Left to right, myself, Rhonda, Cassidy, Wes Scott, Sherelene and Catherine.

 

Yesterday morning at 5:30 am when starting a bag of platlates Wes coded and was 40 minutes with out a heartbeat.  The medical team made heroic efforts to bring him back but in the late afternoon he simply went to sleep and went on to be with his Lord.  His suffering was over, our was beginning.

 

Wesley was a warm caring man, a great father and husband, a wonderful brother and son.  He touched countless peoples lives and was always thinking of others needs.  He cried everytime he lost a friend, and now we are crying at his loss. He will never be forgotten by any of us, and if you have made peace with your God, I know he will be at the gates to greet you when you arrive, that’s just who he was and is.

 

In Loving Memory,

 

Your earthly father

 

 

Prolog:  No parent should ever have to loose a child.  The saving grace for Sherelene and me was that we know where he is now and are greatly comforted to know he is truly with our Lord.  You know what is coming next, if you are not sure if you will ever meet Wesley there, you can make sure you do!  Talk to a pastor, or call me, or get on your knees and ask God to give you that assurance, I know that is what Wesley wanted, for everyone he met, to know the Lord as he did.

6 months, 1 week ago 7
Posted in: Uncategorized

 

We all struggle with what is fair when it comes to making a photogrpaph.  This video

does not attempt to anwer that question, but does breath life in to the possibilities!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

6 months, 1 week ago 17
Posted in: Uncategorized

 

 

I’ve been watching the news, too much news!  It has had a very profound and terrible affect on me. What have I learned from this activity;  I voted for Donald Trump in 2016, so; I’m a smelly Walmart person, I am one of those idiots from the middle of America that is still clinging to my guns, God and Bible. I’m in the “Basket of Deplorables”!  I’m a white, straight, Christian, therefore; I’m a racist, nationalist, messagenist, homophobic, Nazi.  I’m stupid, and should be hated because of my beliefs and my 2016 vote.

 

For the record, the only part of that, that is accurate is I do like my guns, love my God and believe in the Bible. I shower every day and wear clean clothes, I was born white as were both of my parents.  I’m straight but not homophobic, I have lots of friends of color, I am proud to be an American and love my country, so if that is a nationalist, guilty as charged, though I don’t think that is a bad thing. I’ve been married to the same woman for almost 50 years and still am madly in love with her, and have been faithful to her all 49 years of our lives together!  I had family members who died in World War II fighting the Third Reich, so I doubt I’m leaning Nazi!!!

 

So I’ve been lied about, called ugly names, disparaged, and verbally spat on.  What has my reaction been?  Satan has had his way with me.  I’ve developed a hatred towards those that hurl those insults, that have unjustly attacked me. That have reported false news and hurled insults on my President.  I was just about ready to start wearing MAGA hat and punch out anyone that even look cross eyed at me!!!!  I was mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it anymore!!!

 

Then I went church this morning……..

 

My pastor preached on the day that Jesus was crucified.  They beat Him, spat on Him, made Him carry his own cross to the hill where He was nailed to that cross and hung Him up to die.  He was not guilty of any crimes. The crowd jeered at Him and said if you are the king of Jews, save yourself.  The soldiers that had driven nails through his wrists and feet gambled for his only possession, his robe.  After all this with blood running down his face from a crown of thorns driven into his scalp, how did he react?  He could have called down lightening from the skies and struck them all down, but he didn’t.  He said, “Father forgive them for know not what they are doing.”  At the remembrance of those words I went down to the alter and wept and asked God to forgive me for hating those that have persecuted me.  I asked Him to help me forgive them.

 

In this season of Easter, I pray that we all find a way to love one another and stop abusing each other, and work together for the common good of our country.  This confession of my own sins is my start.

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

6 months, 1 week ago 5
Posted in: Uncategorized

 

At the recent Master’s Class this image shot by Jerry Reese, above, came on the screen and I said, “Wow, I wish I had shot that, terrific!”   I had called some other images as, “Nice”!  That led to a question that I knew needed to be addressed, “What determines whether an image is “nice” and another “Wow!”  On the spot I answered that images for review fall into about five categories, but before I list them I need to make couple of clarifications!

When reviewing students images I want to be sure that I am clear that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”!   (1) Just because I’m the leader or instructor does not mean I can do anything more than render my “opinion”.  I have years of experience and  study under my belt, but, it is still my opinion! (2) All reviewers have to work from the position of their own training and background, and of course, that is different for all of us.  If we keep those two factors in mind we can continue in agreement and seek more understanding!

 

These are my Five Categories of Image Effectiveness:

  1. This is really awful!  While this is certainly true of some images put up for review we would never say that!  Most images would automtically be moved into category number two. There is no value in demeaning someone’s work.
  2.  This needs a lot of help!  When an image has a good central theme or subject but has lots of things preventing it from being successful it falls into this category!  This is where we can teach a lot about how to eliminate the problems.
  3. Good idea, done “Mostly” well!  This is an image that has a clearly defined subject, made in good light and in the right conditions, but with some distractions that keep it from being a really nice image.  We see a lot of these kinds of images, and they are valuable for teaching!
  4. A really “Nice” image.  This is an image that meets all the good things in the previous category and the distractions are well taken care of, a technically and aesthetically well done image.  Deserving of praise!
  5. Wow!!!  I with I had made that shot!  This goes into the area of an images appeal to the reviewer!  For example a really nice image of a flower would never get any higher for me than category 4.  Why, because I’m just not into flowers!!! Others might see that flower image as a Wow image.  A rusty truck done well might well be a Wow for me, because I’m into rust!  For others not so much!  The other factor is the soul of an image, a powerful message, or stunning beauty of the subject or even a moving emotional image.  Many things can trigger the Wow factor for each of us, it is highly individualized!

 

 

This image is a Wow for me.  Why, I love streams in spring done at slow shutter speeds, and this is my favorite spot on the Tremont Branch of the Little River in the Great Smokies, my favorite National Park!  I’ve spent many days on this river with dear friends and valued students.  This is the perfect water level which does not happen all the time, so many factors make this a Wow for me!

 

 

I’m sure you can understand why this a Wow image for me, personal attachment to the subjects, a 8 week old Chester and my bride, Sherelene!  It’s hard too believe Chester ever weighed 12 pounds and that was just 4 months ago!!!

 

 

Chester, now at 42 pounds!

 

 

Nancy Dill’s stunning composition of a great moment is a Wow!!!!!

 

 

Nature is so spectacular that our only need is to be sure and capture it effectively!  From the Upper Peninsula of Michigan last fall!  We’re going again this fall, by-the-way!

 

I hope that this was helpful as you attempt to review your now work!  These are the same categories I use to access my own progress and yes, I’ve made images that fit in each one!!!!!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim