Recent Posts
2 months, 1 week ago 12



As a Charter Member of the Bag of the Month Club, I am always excited when something new and really good comes along!  First let me share a little camera bag history with you, not the history of camera bags in general, but “my” history with them!  As a photojournalist I used the same bag virtually every other newspaper photographer used in the 70′s, a Domke bag. It was not elegant, but very functional and it was with that bag that I started to help me appreciate, the value of form and function.  I got involved in nature/outdoor photography and the backpack of choice at the time was the Lowepro All Weather Trekker series.  In the late 70′s and 80′s I owned a number of different ones of all sizes including the Pro Trekker which was so large that filled with 3 film cameras and 14 lenses it weighed almost 70 lbs.!!!!  Not doing this anymore.


The next bag company that really made it’s mark on the pro market was the Think Tank.  I still think they are one of premier companies out there making well designed tough camera bags that just simply work.   Then I found out about Guru Gear bags through jack Graham my teaching partner.  I knew Greg Schern from when he owned and ran Moab Paper Company.  I knew he had an eye for quality products.  When he sold that company he formed Guru Gear and they joined the ranks of the very best bags you could buy.  Well designed, top quality materials, and real form and function factors made them one of my very favorites.  I still own several.


Fast forward to today,  Greg and Guru Gear bought Tamrac.  Now Tamrac has for many years been very good mid-level camera bag company.  Let me explain that, in my opinion, and in only my opinion, camera bag companies fall in three categories, o.k. make that four; Pro Grade Top of the Line, Mid level, Inexpensive, and Cheap (not worth your time).  Now except for the last category, some decent bags can be had in the middle two groups.  In the Top category, they’re really terrific, and it’s a short list,, and that’s why they reside there!  ….and that is exactly where Tamrac finds itself now!!!!


So that bring me to today’s review of the new Tamrac Anvil 15 backpack.  Greg has folded his magic with Guru Gear into this new line and it sits squarely in the top category.  I am using the new backpack for my upcoming fall trips to Nova Scotia, Northern Ohio, the Great Smokies and Zion National Park!  I expect I will love it too.



Why would I put it in such a high category?


First:  build Quality.  This series of bags, and I have two, to test, the Anvil 11 and Anvil 15 are up to very high standard of the previous, Greg Schern designed, Guru Gear bags.  Top quality materials, high tech padding (ten different kinds!), YKK zippers with great zipper pulls!, clear TPU pockets you can see through and they are tough as nails.  Great organizing pockets on the  back cover and a handy and spacious laptop or iPad sleeve in the lid.  It comes with a high quality rain cover and nice wide waist belt that can double as waist belt system, with some of their handy lens holding pockets and pouches.


Second:  Thoughtful interior design.  The customizable main compartment is perfectly proportioned for both full size DSLR systems and smaller Mirroless systems like mine.  Illustrated in the top image is my first packing of the bag for up coming trips. The bag will comfortably hold two X-T1 bodies, and the following lenses; 10-24, 16mm f 1.4, 16-55 f 2.8, 18-135 f 3.5-5.6, 60mm Micro with automatic extension tubes, the 90mm f 2, and the 55-200 f 3.5-4.8 (or the 50-140 f 2.8).  I will also hold two chargers and 12 batteries!


Below, the top lid holds;  an electronic cable release, USB thumb drives, cleaning brush and compression straps (included), allen wrenches, and lens and sensor cleaning supplies. all very clearly visible, a feature I love!





Third: Someone I trust behind and backing the product.   Just I have trusted my friends at Think Tank, and continue to, I trusted Greg when I bought several Guru Gear bags, and I now am thrilled with his latest offering.  This may just be the first date, but all indications are,  this will be a lasting love affair!





the pilgrim



2 months, 1 week ago 2



If you want to watch something inspiring, and truly revealing, check out the You Tube post below. Brian Bosworth was one of the greatest college linebackers to ever play the game.  His life spun out of control when he created his self built identity as “The Boz”.  When I saw Brian in Do You Believe I knew this was real, something amazing that had happened in his life. When you watch the clip you may want to scroll over to where he first comes on the screen.


This testimony is real and heartfelt and what we pray for in our friends and to those we witness to.  I was so thrilled to get to enjoy seeing the peace and joy that has come into his life because he has accepted Christ!


I hope it blesses you as much as it did me,




the pilgrim

2 months, 2 weeks ago 10



If you shot Nikon or Canon, or Fuji or Olympus, or even Panasonic or Sony, you have a bewildering number of lenses to choose from!  Well, not so much Sony, but even they are adding more lenses quickly!  So if you have 40 lenses to choose between, how on earth do you decide????  For the sake of this blog entry, let’s limit ourselves to photo generalists!  ( Travel, Nature, Portrait, Wedding, Close-ups, Americana ).  Got it?  For now you Sports shooters, and Wildlife folks will have to sit this one out!  Why?  Because you photographers have to have long fast glass, and most of us don’t!


For some years three lenses from Nikon have been called the holly trinity, a term I’m not comfortable with!  There is only one Holy Trinity, and that would be the Father, Son and the Holy Sprit!  So let’s just call them the Big Three.  They are the 14-24, 24-70 and the 70-200, all fast f 2.8 lenses.  If you shoot Nikon, they are the best three lenses covering those focal lengths, PERIOD.  But I don’t shoot Nikon anymore!  So what are my Big Three?


In the Fuji X-System they are the 10-24 (15-36 equiv.), the 16-55 (24-83) and the 50-140 (75-210) all f 2.8 lenses, except the 10-24 which is an f 4. They cost at least 40% less, weigh at least 40% less and are equally well made and, I believe, are even sharper!  The 14-24 and the 10-24 are very close.


So that is my base lens system, so is that it?  Nope I feature a number of images in my approach that exhibit very shallow depth, so the 16mm f 1.4 (24mm) and the 90mm f 2 (135mm) With those two lenses I get extraordinary sharpness and spectacular bokeh!


I love to do closeup work so while I await the arrival of the Fuji 120mm Macro, I carry the 60mm f 2.4 Macro and a few Automatic Extension tubes.  One last lens that is always in the bag is the very versatile, and extremely sharp 18-135 f 3.5-5.6 (27-200).


The point is have a super wide, a moderate mid range zoom, a fast tełephoto zoom, some fast lenses for available light and shallow depth shots, a Macro lens, and a smaller, versatile, and a all day walk around zoom!  7 lenses to do it all!!!!!  Oh, and later we will get a 1.4 teleconverter that will extend the 50-140 and the 90mm!!!!  By-the-way the 90mm f 2 is a very close focusing lens and with extension tubes, diopters and when the  1.4 converter comes along it will serve as a 135mm Macro lens too!!!!  I will test it with all the above (except the 1.4 converter – not out yet),  soon for a blog entry on this incredible piece of glass!


How sweet it is!


Blessings and have a great weekend,


the pilgrim

2 months, 2 weeks ago 6



Tour the Historic Route 66 through Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.  We will end our journey in Nelson Ghost Town and a visit to the Neon Museum in Las Vegas.  If you are into Americana this is a must trip.  Relive the glories of The Mother road!



One of America’s most unique and spectacular parks Arches and Canyonlands.  Hit the most incredible locations for early and late light each day and full classrooms sessions each day.  If that were not enough you will get to join Bill for a burger at one of the top rated cheeseburger locations in America, Milt’s Stop and Eat!!!!



Spring in the Smokies is one of the most pleasant n natural history sites in america.  We will shoot spring flowers. beautiful streams and that perfect spring green array of color.  This is my home park and I’ve run over 40 worships intros park, trust me, you will hit the best locations!



One of the hidden treasures of Americana is Roanoke Va, home of the O. Winston Link Museum, the master of steam engine photography and we will visit it!  The Virginia Museum of Transportation, Black Dog Salvage, and the D-Day Memorial and a trip to fLynchburg and Appomatix!  Country Stores, antiques and classic cars, what an event!



One of our most popular event a week in Nashville, Music City with Ricky Skaggs Country and Bluegrass Music Legend and great shooter.  Ricky will be with us on location and in the classroom for the four of the five en a half days.  View one of the countries most valuable and largest classic car collections, shoot at Antique Archaeology, (the American Picker’s Store) and The Marathon Motorworks area.  The bonus, your registration fee includes a ticket to attend Ricky and Kentucky Thunder’s annual concert at the Historic Ryman Theatre.



One of the parks that few people get to shoot in is the wonderful Badlands, Black Hills, and the beautiful Spear Fish Canyon.   The Fall foliage is spectacular and the region is filled with interesting and exciting , wildlife, landscape and Americana subjects.


His Light Workshops Details

All Workshops limited to 8 attendees except Nashville which will have 12.

All Workshops are $995.   *excluding lodging sand meals.

To Register:  Contact Bill Fortney  @  or call

(606)-528-6119  or (606)-344-0455

EARLY REGISTRATION: Register before December 31 for a workshop in the 

Following year and receive an additional 10% off .


All of His Light Workshops will deal with Learning to See Photographically, Advanced Composition and the Art of Extraction.




I will also be doing workshops with Jack Graham and Jack Graham Workshops including our New Fuji X-System Workshops!





To join Jack and I for His workshops contact Jack at: 





Please note that these discounts are for FUJI “X”PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSOPS ONLY and are different and do not apply to workshops run individually by Jack Graham or Bill Fortney as well as workshops found under, Ultimate Photo Workshops and His Light Photography Workshops 


1. RETURNING ATTENDEES: 10% discount 


2. EARLY REGISTRATION: Register before December 31 for a workshop in the 

Following year and receive an additional 10% off (domestic workshops only)