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1 year, 10 months ago 4




FIRST CONGRATULATIONS to Jordan Smith of Harlan, Kentucky, yes the same Harlan I’m from, Jordan won the top prize in The Voice last night on NBC.  If you want a Christmas blessing of epic proportions go to you tube and play his rendition of the wonderful song,  Mary Did You Know.  I’m betting you will listen to all his other songs and you will be in awe.  Most important is this kid shared his faith through out the entire process, he wowed the judges when he sang Great Is Thy Faithfulness!  Please do yourself an incredible favor and check him out on You Tube. Trust me your going to be hearing a lot more about him in years to come.


Now I got a chance to do a little extra testing of the two new optics yesterday here are some results.


I love this inflatable Christmas Van in my daughter Catherine and her husband Clint’s yard.  They were big Jerry Garcia fans, and this Christmas wish is right up Jerry’s alley!  Fuji 35mm f 2 at F 9. Super clean, sharp, and great pure color.


My Christmas decoration with the Fuji 35mm f 2 lens at f 2.8.


Fuji 50-140 @ 140 f 2.8 shot hand held at 1/142th of a second, OIS  turned On.


Fuji 50-140 @ 140 f 4 with  1.4 converter shot hand held at 1/69th of a second, OIS  turned On.



More to come!




the pilgrim

1 year, 10 months ago 3



I got a couple of new Fuji products today and they came after dark, but I still starting the testing process.  I shot some close-ups with the 50-140 and the 1.4 Converter and some images with the new 35mm f 2.



The new 35mm f 2 at it’s closest focusing  distance at f 2.



35mm f 2 shot at f 16.



50-140 at close focus distance and 140mm at f 2.8



50-140 at close focus distance and 140mm at f 2.8 + 1.4 converter!



50-140 straight f 2.8.



50-140 at 140 with 1.4 Converter.



So tomorrow we go for some more infinity distance shooting.  I don’t expect to see anything that I haven’t already determined.  So here goes!


The new 35mm f 2 is compact, very well built, and super sharp.  the original 35 f 1.4, (which I own), is super sharp too, but honestly I think this one edges it out!  It benefits from all Fuji has learned up to now and it shows.  The aperture ring has very sold, and very smooth action.  The focusing ring has great damping and is wonderful for manual focusing.  I found a 43mm lens hood on Amazon designed for a Leica lens that is vented and does not vignette and gives great protection for the lens. The size is really sweet and I think I’m going to enjoy it a lot!  By-the-way, just in case you were wondering I bought both of these new toys with my own money!  Just want you to know my reviews are honest.


For some time we’ve known that the 50-140 is a spectacular lens, among the very sharpest of it’s focal lengths.  The introduction of the new Tele Converter XF 1.4X TC-WR give that wonderful lens the extra reach it needs when 200mm is simply not enough.  But that would be of no value if it didn’t work!  Actually it is spectacular. Color is true and rich.  For now it only works with the 50-140, but it will soon be mated to the 120mm Macro f 2.8 and the 100-400 that comes later this year, or at least so says Fuji Rumors!!!


Stay tuned….





the pilgrim

1 year, 10 months ago 4



At the end of every workshop I hold a postmortem.  Jim and I talk about what went well, what did not go so well, and we discuss how the bad stuff can be prevented in the future, a postmortem.  This last workshop with Joe McNally and Anne Cahill went so well it is being deemed, the best we have ever run, by many attendees, and both Jim and I!  So this postmortem takes on a new meaning, why did it go so well.  I’ve had several days to think it through, and I think I can share at least a few things we learned!


1.  Joe McNally has a magnetic personality and warmth, (Anne to!), that makes for a very special atmosphere.  Every person that attended expected to meet and get to know one of the greatest photographers out there today, and they did, but what many found out, that they did not know, was that Joe is a really humble, honest, down to earth guy, who becomes all the more likable when you get to know him.  So first Joe set a wonderful tone.  Jim was also in high form, sharing, as always , some of his great shows and his incredible talent, kindness and support for everyone.


2.  The spiritual content was ramped up a notch.  This being the celebration the opening of the Christmas Season, the Holy Spirit led us to share some very deep, important and spirit lifting content.  Many attendees remarked that they felt they left a stronger, better person, changed fro the better!  Always our goal!


3.  Wilson and his merry gang made the Tremont Lodge a wonderful setting for this very meaningful gathering.  I’m becoming a huge fan of Wilson’s staff and support team!  They went way out of their way to make our guests feel welcome and at home at the lodge.  Big fires in the stone fire place, beautiful decorations and simply the warmth for which east Tennessee folks are known for, was on full display!



4.  We were blessed with some beautiful conditions to enjoy the Smokies!  It was magical on several occasions!  Here are several of our attendees shots!



5.  It was a great group of attendees.  Really wonderful people, with many good friends, and some new people that were delightful to meet.  Everyone got into the spirit of the event and we all drew closer together, and Joe and Anne made that easy with their open and loving manner!



The big question is can this be duplicated????  You can bet I will try, but I also just have to be thankful that every once in a while, a magical, blessed event takes place and I got to be there along with everyone else!



Blessings and Merry Christmas from,


the pilgrim


More scenes of the fun!





1 year, 10 months ago 8




The image above is of the Primitive Baptist Church in Cades Cove.  I know it well, very well.  My daughter Catherine and my son-in-law Clint were married in this very church!  I’ve photographed it many times, but on this last workshop I saw it in a new way, for the very first time.  Joe looked up as soon as he got out of my car and described what he saw, and it was not what I’ve seen in the past.  It was clear as a bell that Joe had a unique and different vision.


I immediately tried to capture what Joe described, admittedly it was his vision, but I had to try and capture it.  I’m pleased with the result, but I’m more pleased that he opened my eyes to seeing something in a new, and fresh way.  A gift is something you give out of love to someone that truly wants to have the gift.  I really want to have the gift of Joe’s unique and special vision.  Joe gave it willingly.


After a four day period with Joe I came to see something I hadn’t seen before in all the years I had known him.  His greatest talent is that he sees what is there, but that few others recognize.  Vision is more than what our eyes see.  I’ve known Joe’s heart for a long time, but it came into clearer focus this week, it’s  gold and it thinks of others, always, before himself.  Sharing his vision with us this week may seem like a small thing, after all he is a teacher, a really good one, but that would be denying the bigger point.  Gifts, true gifts can only come from the heart, a heart that wants to share what it owns, even a vision.  It is Christmas and what better time to  give a gift, receive a gift and recognize a giver.  Merry Christmas Joe, in every sense of those words.


Let us all learn how to give in this season!




the pilgrim