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1 month, 2 weeks ago 10

The subtle beauty of Kodachrome film.


With apologies to the late, great Lewis Grizzard, (humorist and columnist for the Atlanta Journal & Constitution and my brother in arms, born in the same year I was 1946!…..and we lost him all too soon!),  who wrote a book by that title, today’s post requires a trip back to his era!  In the 70′s  and 80′s when Lewis wrote most of his  dozens of great books, (Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You  -  Elvis is Dead and I Don’t Feel So Good Myself  -  They Tore My Heart Out and Stomped that Sucker To Death  -  Shoot Low Boys, Their Riding Shetland Ponies  -  Chilli Dogs Always Bark At Night  and I Haven’t Understood Anything Since 1962!!)  Do yourself a favor and buy a book or two, you’ll end up buying them all!  If you live north of the Mason Dixon Line, don’t bother, they won’t be funny to you!!!  O.K. enough of my love affair with Lewis and his writing, what on earth is this blog entry about?????


This morning by good buddy Zak Arias posted a report on the new Fuji X100T, and update to the current X100s camera.   As always, an excellent report from Zak,   One of the new features in the camera is a film simulation called Classic Chrome.  Now this where the story get interesting!  If you go back and visit the history of film emulsions, you would find that a massive, all powerful company called Eastman Kodak had the film that most professionals loved dearly called Kodachrome.  It rained supreme until an upstart little Japanese company called Fujifilm introduced a film called Velvia!  Since that day the photography world has never been the same.  If you had been a photographer in those days you would remember what an intense war was waged between these two companies. I’m not going to declare a winner, but Kodak, for all practical purposes, no longer exists, certainly not as it did back then.  Now three decades later Fuji introduces a camera that allows the photographer to shoot in the color palette of a film they helped become extinct!


Now, I’m not being critical, I actually loved Kodachrome and I miss it, and look forward to shooting some images with it’s lovely color palette!  I think it’s just an interesting “historical” turn of events!


So the question that always comes when new products are released by Fuji, “Will you buy it?”  Not sure.  I love the current X100s and I’m not sure I need the upgrades, though it is very tempting and I would love to have the X100 series in Black, and the “T” is available in black, so who knows, maybe a sum of money will drop out of the sky!  What I do want is the new lens that was finally “officially” announced as well.  The new 50-140 f 2.8  (equivalent to 80-210 focal length with the APS-C sensor).  the new lens has a tripod collar, takes 72mm filters, and is “claimed” to be one of the sharpest lens of this focal length ever.  It will sell for $1,600. which is about right compared to Nikon and Canon’s similar lenses for their full frame cameras.  The 55-200 is extremely sharp and is nice and compact so I will keep it too, but a fast medium telephoto zoom was a big hole in the system.




The new lens, based on Fuji’s record on optics , should be spectacular, sure hope so. One of the most important features in internal focus and zooming so the lens does not extend in physical size.  Fuji also announced a new 56mm f 1.2 APD, which allows the lens to get even softer bokeh and vignette for portrait photographers!


Exciting times today, some of the best of yesterday, works for me, and as Lewis said, “There’s no such thing as being too Southern.”




the pilgrim



1 month, 2 weeks ago 8


Welcome to the First Annual Pilgrim’s Picks!  Please let me set the ground rules!  These are in my opinion some of the top photography products for the year 2014!  Key phrase my opinion!  Am I qualified to make these choices?  that’s for you to decide, but I have been a working professional photographer for 45 years, worked as a Nikon tech rep for 11 years, have studied gear pretty much as hobby for ever, and talk to photographers constantly so I know what  lot of other folks think too.  Doesn’t hurt that many of the people I talk to are the top shooters out there, so yes, I think I can make these suppositions!!  Ah, but am I biased?  I don’t think I am, I certainly have preferences, but I believe they’re based on genuine information!  So here goes!


First, the Best All Around Digital Single Lens Reflex bodies.  Best all around means for general photography not sports action or specialized uses.  I feel the new Nikon D810 and the Canon 5D Mark III are a dead even tie!  Of course the D810 is the resolution king, but the 5D Mark II is a better all rounder and a great video camera.



Now we move to the new hot category in the industry the High End Mirror-less interchangeable lens camera.  I believe the Fuji X-T1 is the current best camera on the market for many reason, and  I proved it with my wallet!  My choice or second place is the terrific Olympus OM-D1, which I tested for Olympus and was very impressed!  In third place is the new Lumix GH4 which is a great camera that does stunning 4K video and has access to a great series of Micro 4/3rd lenses, just like the Olympus too!  How about Sony and the slick new A-7 and A-7r?  I have some experience with the Sony, and I have a pretty strong opinion about it, it is a great step forward, but I think it needs a couple more things!  The jpegs are not nearly as  nice as the RAW files from these cameras, if you are a jpeg shooter it’s disappointing.  The other issue is the lack of a full lens line at this time, of course eventually, (not sure how eventually), this will be solved.  the Sony has great potential and I bet, it may certainly make the 2015 list, maybe!!??  It’s up to you Sony!



In the High End Compact Mirror-less category we have three terrific cameras,  In first place is the Fuji X100s, called by Zak Arias, “the best camera I’ve ever owned….”  I don’t disagree with him!  The Sony RX-1s is a great camera but pretty costly, and the Nikon Coolpix A is a third place finisher, and a great very compact camera.



In the Category of Single Lens Reflex lenses the winners in each category are; (1) the Canon 24-105  f 4 IS lens, (2) Nikon 14-24 f 2.8 AF-S  Wide angle zoom is simply the best in the works, many Canon shooters have converted to use on their cameras too!  In the telephoto zoom category we have another tie, both the (3) Canon 70-200 f 2.8 IS II  and the (4) Nikon 70-200 AF-S VR II f 2.8 are both stellar to say the least!!!!




For me three longer telephoto lenses are standouts, (1) the Nikon 200-400 AF-S VR II f 4 lens is one of the best and most affordable long zooms. (2) The Canon 500mm F4 IS is one of the sharpest Canon long lenses. (3)  Nikon’s 400mm AF-S VR f 2.8 is not only fast, but extremely sharp!  Warning, all of these lenses are very expensive.




One of the reasons I went with the Fuji X System is the extraordinary, ever growing,  selection of truly great glass.   The Fuji lenses are very well made, and they offer a good selection of fast single focal lenses. I  red starred the ones I have below and included the Lens Road Map from Fuji.



This is the Road map for the Fuji lenses they have now and that are coming later this year and in 2015.



You guys know how  much I depend on a great support system and my choices are below;  (1) My favorite legs are the Really Right Stuff TVC 33 Versa tripod, (2) My ball head of choice is the Really Right Stuff BH-55-LR, (3 & 4) L Brackets from Really Right Stuff, (5)  Kirk’s fabulous Low Pod for shooting close to the found and their fabulous, (6) focusing rail FR-2!




O.K. so you have to have some way to carry and transport it all!  My favorites are (1) Think Tank Airport Security Airport 2.0, my favorite rolling bag,, (2) The Guru Gear Batafle 22L backpack, (3) the wonderful Think Tank Airport Essentials backpack and the (5) Low Pro Flipside Airport 10L AW, smaller and perfect for the Fuji system!




One last item is how to carry your memory cards and extra filters, especially the large split neutral density filters.  (1) I use the Filter Hive by Mindshift for the filters, and both the Think Tank Pocket Rocket, (2) and the Guru Gear Tembo card holder!




So there you have it, the First Annual Pilgrim’s Picks, but then, just my opinions, would love to hear your thoughts, really, post your thoughts below!!!!




the pilgrim


As soon as I finished this entry I checked the mail and found this clothing catalog, check out ht camera, the X100s!!!  Wow, my picks got out fast!!!!!



1 month, 2 weeks ago 0


Nelson Ghost Town, one of my favorite places to shoot Americana, is going to be the scene of a lot of fun in November!  Jack and I will run a workshop at this fantastic shooting experience from November 5-9,  just outside Las Vegas.  In addition to shooting in Nelson, we will make a trip to the Neon Sign Graveyard Museum and Valley of Fire State Park.  For a few days after that I’m taping a course for KelbyOne!




I spoke with Jack this morning and I believe we still have two opening for this workshop!  If you want to join us please contact Jack at:




the pilgrim

1 month, 2 weeks ago 8

What a week!  I have to take a moment on Sunday and share my excitement!  The blessings of this past week fall into several categories so I’ll break them down as such;


PERSONAL  -  Shererlene and I really had a great trip together out to  Photoshop World.  She was able to get some well deserved rest!  We had some wonderful dinners and just had some time together away from the complications of home and work!  I find it hard to believe that after 45 years I fall more madly in love with Sherelene  every day!!  Then again, it’s not hard to believe at all!!!  God really blessed me when He allowed me to have her as my partner for life!!!  Not sure what He had against here though!!!


PROFESSIONAL  -   This was my fourth Photoshop World as a member of the team, and wow what a team it is.  Thanks to Scott Kelby I have a whole new family!!  As a photographer, working with this group,  is like being named to the All Pro Team in the NFL! Each team member has a certain following and I’m thrilled with gentle souls that come to my classes!  I gave my Americana program for the second time and had made lots of changes to it and I was thrilled that I had huge crowd and it was so well received!  I will always be in debt to Scott for making me a part of such a fun event!!!


SPIRITUAL  -   Those of you that come to visit me here now know what my mission is, but if your new, let me share it with you.  I owe all the blessings of my life to Jesus Christ.  Over 33 year ago I made the life long commitment to serve Him every moment of my life!  I want everyone to know the joy and peace of being His,  but I do not have that power to accomplish that in my owns power.   After much study of the Word,  I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way to adequately serve Him is to give Him each day, submit to His will, and love others with His love, the rest is all in His hands!   I went to Photoshop World committed to share my testimony in the evening panel program called the Art of Digital Photography.  I reached out to all of you to pray for me, that I would let go and allow the Holy Spirit to be in control, and your prayers were answered!!!  Since we are talking about a victory by, and for, Him, I can tell you that I got a text yesterday from Scott Kelby telling me he heard I “crushed it”, and his sources said it was one of the best programs ever!  Doesn’t surprise me, that’s what happens when you turn loose and let Him have it.  As long as you desire for Him to get all the glory, it frees you up to do your best, and leave the rest to Him!!!


FELLOWSHIP  -  I don’t get to see these friends but a couple of times a year, so the time we have is so incredibly sweet!  I enjoy every person I get to spend time with at Photoshop World, from those that stop you in the hall to pay you very nice compliments, to the team members that you enjoy moments of real fellowship!!  I love Scott, but he is in such demand that four days we rarely get more than a minute or two together, but I did get a lot of time with some of best friends at the event; Pete Collins, RC Concepcion, Matt Kloskowski, Glyn Dewis, Moose Peterson and his incredible family, Dave Black, Joe McNally, Anne Cahill,  (Joe’s wife), Corey Barker, Bert Monroy, Alan Hess, Scott Diussa, Ben Wilmore, Brian Smith, David Ziser, Eddie Tapp, Frank Doorhof,  Jack Davis, Jim DiVitale, Kevin Ames, Joe Glyda, Larry Becker, Richard Harrington, Terry White, and Tim Wallace.  The Photoshop World Staff are incredible as well!!!  Oh my goodness what a list, how incredibly blessed I am!!!!


So true wrap up is, “Thank you Lord for blessing me so much more that I could ever deserve!!”




the pilgrim