Recent Posts
1 month, 2 weeks ago 33


Very soon, I will start the next big adventure of my life, writing a large number of eBooks in order to share a lifetime of photography experience.   It really started to ferment when I got to know Scott Kelby and I greatly admired how he could take the most complex photo program on earth, Photoshop, and make it so simple that even I could understand it.  It made me realize that there was a real need for some simple to the point books that would help people get the most important concepts of photography. Every time I teach a workshop I realize that any of this information I have been teaching, needs to be written down, so it can live on.  Photography has been the source for so much joy in my life, I just want to share it with anyone interested!


So the birth of  Cut to the Chase Publications   This will be the banner under which I will be doing a large series of different books.  The photo instructional books will be under the Bill Fortney’s Reliable Guides banner.  Here are some of the titles that will be coming over the next several months and in 2015!  Reliable Guides will be just that, the most important information you need to know about many different aspects of photography, simple, to the point, complete….RELIABLE!!!



The Eye Seeks  (Sharpness – Brightness – Warmth)


The Four Keys to a Great Image


Exposure Exposed


Composition   (Control of the elements in the frame)


Creative White Balance   (Getting it right, and getting what you want)


Learning To See Photographically


Alternate HDR Methods


Taking your Photography to the Next Level!


The Joy of Photography (…and How To Keep It!)


Abstract & Patterns


Color for Color Sake


It’s In The Bag!  Building a Camera System


Shooting with Manual Focus Lenses


Getting the Most from the Fuji X-System


In addition to the photography instructional books, I plan to re-release a dual volume set of


The Best of America From 500 Feet Volumes I & II


Another new series will be faith based books called  The New Life Series


The first volume is already complete;  “How to Have Peace in a Ticked Off World.”



….and one last one, a personal project for my grandchildren and someday, great grandchildren, The Life and Time of Bill Fortney  -  read by the author -  this one is for you John Gompf Jr.!!!!  An Audio book with lots of the old stories, from this blessed life!!



I hope to have the book store live by the first of November and when the store goes live I will offer one free book for first time visitors to the store!!!!  The other great surprise is that most titles will be only $4.95!!!   My goal give my readers a great value!!  Coffee table volumes will be slightly more but my goal is to never charge more than $9.95 for a book!!!!


Lots more ideas coming, it’s gonna be fun!  Please stay tuned!




the pilgrim


1 month, 2 weeks ago 7


As many of you that frequent the blog know, I love football, and I’ve been in heaven with both the college and the NFL back in session!  Yesterday all the pregame shows were a series of football announcers and former players gnashing their teeth over the awful week the NFL experienced with all the scandals.  I fully agree with the sentiments of how awful these events are, but I don’t think it is indicative of just football players. Because these are public figures like actors, singers, politicians, and on and on, the reporting of their actions has a bigger stage to play out on.  So, what is the solution?  Sherelene and I reared three children, and on countless occasions we had to “attempt” to modify their behavior from what we knew was wrong or dangerous for them.  Of course it was easy, all we had to do was explain to them why they should behave, and they straightened right up!!!  Yeah, right!!!!!!  Human behavior is not so easy to control.  But, where do we start?


If I may, let’s pretend that the commissioner of the NFL, knowing what a knowledgeable person I am about conflict, called me and asked me to talk with, (I’ll just pick one), Ray Rice, and then come back to him with recommendations on what to do next.  Of course fat chance of that happening, but I’ll play along since this was my idea in the first place……


Step One:  Meet with Ray Rice and his wife.  I would seek to determine where they are in their relationship.  Have they dealt with the abuse, has their been forgiveness, and does Ray realize how wrong he was, and has asked her for forgiveness, sought help to avoid anything like that ever happening again, and have they placed their relationship, and marriage in God’s hands?  I would try to help Ray understand that his actions may cost him his football career if the NFL so decides.  I would encourage them to start fresh. depending on each other, and God to meet their needs.


Step Two: I would meet with the commissioner and suggest that the NFL have a policy of complete honesty, and openness about such matters.  I would further suggest that their be a strict policy of player conduct and it be levied fairly and with full transparency.  I would suggest a policy that made it clear that the league would be firm, but fair, in dealing with misconduct of the players and coaches.


Step Three:  I would suggest that all parties, including the public, stand ready, when it has been proven that the offending parties are sincerely re-pendent, that forgiveness be offered.  This is the toughest one.  If every member of society was a follower of Jesus Christ and truly seeking to live a redeemed life, and had experienced His forgiving love, it would be easy.  But many people have great difficulty in forgiving others, mostly because they can’t forgive themselves. Forgiveness is something you have to know you’ve been offered, before you can offer it to another.  Sadly many in society protect themselves from self loathing by taking delight in seeing how imperfect others are.   It’s easy to do, we are all very imperfect, but comparing my sin to someone else’s does little for me, and nothing for them.  The biblical plan for dealing with sin is;  (a) admit it, (b) acknowledge it’s reality, (c) repent (be truly deeply sorry),  (d) ask forgiveness,  (e) accept forgiveness, (f) forgive yourself, and  (g) seek to walk a different path.  All of this is possible, all of this can be accomplished, but only after we face the fact that we are wrong, we’ve hurt others with our actions and words, and are willing to face the truth.


It doesn’t make me angry to see people seething with hate for Ray Rice, it hurts me.  What Ray did was wrong, very wrong.  I hate his “actions”, but I love him.  He is one of God’s children, just like you and I!  Before you react to that, think about this; if you had done something very wrong and the world knew about it, and you were truly sorry, had confessed the sin you had committed, and were seeking to make things right, how would you want others to respond to you?  I bet you would humbly hope for forgiveness!   Those that can’t, need to examine their own hearts!


Is it hard?   You bet, but when Jesus (the Son of God), was beaten, mocked, tortured and then nailed on a cross and left to die there,  He looked down and said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”


Forgiveness is not an option, it’s the only path that leads forward.




the pilgrim

1 month, 2 weeks ago 17


If you travel to the national parks,  wildlife refuges, or just the most scenic regions of America to make photographs you need to subscribe to Photograph America Newsletter.  Bob Hitchman has produced the greatest scouting tool in the industry!  The best $140. you can spend if you want to know all the most important info about the best shooting locations is the complete set of pdfs (131) reports!!  Just look at all the areas covered in this set!!  ….and a 1 year subscription to new locations!

1: Death Valley, Nevada
2: Autumn in New England, Vermont/NH
3: Winter in Wyoming
4: The Hana Coast of Maui, Hawaii
5: California Deserts in Spring
6: The Oregon Coast
7: Hidden Desert Canyons, Utah
8: Colorful Colorado
9: Olympic Rain Forests, Washington
10: Into The Everglades, Florida
11: Kauai—The Na Pali Coast, Hawaii
12: Zion and Bryce National Parks, Utah
13: Acadia and Coast of Maine
14: Point Lobos and Big Sur, California
15: 50 Great Photo Trips
16: Wildflowers of the Arizona Desert
17: North of the Golden Gate, California
18: Arches National Park, Utah
19: East of the Sierra, California
20: Glacier National Park, Montana
21: Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Florida
22: Hawaii—The Big Island
23: Yosemite Valley, California
24: Great Smoky Mtns National Park, TN/NC
25: Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico
26: The Coast of Nova Scotia
27: Monument Valley, Arizona
28: Winter in Yellowstone, Wyoming
29: Waterfalls of Oregon
30: The Canadian Rockies
31: Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
32: Cliff Dwellings of Southwest, Colorado
33: Into The Okefenokee, Georgia
34: The Pacific Flyway, California
35: Canyonlands National Park, Utah
36: Back Roads of Kentucky
37: Outer Banks of North Carolina
38: Driving the Alaska Highway
39: Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
40: Big Bend National Park, Texas
41: Pacific Rim National Park, Vancouver Is.
42: More Hidden Desert Canyons, UT/AZ
43: Upper Michigan Peninsula
44: A California Portfolio
45: Valley of Fire, Nevada
46: Wildflowers Texas Hill Country
47: Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
48: Great Basin National Park, Nevada
49: Bosque del Apache, New Mexico
50: 36 Exposures of North America
51: Louisiana Wildlife Refuges
52: Grand Staircase-Escalante, Utah
53: Autumn in New Hampshire
54: The Palouse, Washington
55: South Carolina Low Country
56: Wildlife of South Florida
57: California Back Roads
58: Nevada Back Roads
59: Badlands/Black Hills, South Dakota
60: Mount St. Helens, Washington
61: 25 More Great Photo Locations
62: The Bisti Wilderness, New Mexico
63: Back Roads of The Ozarks, Arkansas
64: Up The Hudson River, New York
65: Bears on Fish Creek, Alaska
66: Golden Gate’s Coastal Trail, California
67: Sedona, Arizona
68: The Chesapeake Bay, Maryland
69: Deserts of Eastern Oregon
70: The Beartooth Highway, WY/MT
71: The Wave in Coyote Buttes, Arizona
72: Utah Desert Trails
73: Photographing Georgia
74: Idaho’s Sawtooth Range
75: The Tetons, Wyomings
76: The Blue Ridge Parkway, VA/NC
77: Two Weeks in the Desert, Utah
78: Florida Wildlife Refuges
79: Back to Islands—Kauai/Molokai, Hawaii
80: Oregon Back Roads
81: The High Sierra, California
82: Anza-Borrego Desert Landscapes, California
83: Nevada Ghost Towns
84: Along the Mississippi
85: The South Coyote Buttes, Arizona
86: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
87: Point Reyes in Winter, California
88: Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
89: Antelope Valley Wildflowers, California
90: West Virginia Back Roads
91: Southern Vermont
92: SF Bay Wildlife Refuges, California
93: Grand Canyon’s South Rim, Arizona
94: Dinosaur Natl Mon/Fantasy Cyn, Utah
95: Redwood National Park, California
96: Islands Off Maine
97: Pennsylvania Autumn Color
98: Joshua Tree National Park, California
99: Desert Photography
100: Oregon Lighthouses
101: Orcas of Vancouver Island
102: Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula
103: Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
104: Back to Death Valley, California
105: Arizona’s White Pocket
106: California Wine Country
107: North Cascades National Park, Washington
108: Wyoming Bighorn in Winter
109: San Francisco in the Rain, California
110: Photographing Cape Cod, Massachusetts
111: Photographing San Juan Islands, Washington
112: Fingerlakes of New York
113: Secrets of the Nevada Desert
114: The Florida Keys
115: Sequoia NP and Kings Canyon NP, California
116: Lighthouses on the Coast of Maine
117: California’s Central    Coast
118: Waterfalls at Rickett’s Glen, Pennsylvania
119: Montana’s Hi-Line Country
120: North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona
121: California’s Southern Coast
122: Florida’s Panhandle Coast
123: Lake Tahoe
124: The Gardens of Portland, Oregon
125: Autumn Color in Connecticut
126: The Color of Spring around Phoenix
127: Photographing Indiana
128: California’s Warner Range in Autumn
129: Return to Valley of Fire, Nevada
130: The Hoh Rain Forest, Washington
131: Prince Edward Island, Canada

I would never have been able to travel and shoot with the success Ive had without Bob’s expert scouting!  Here is the link to his website, check it out!


Thanks Bob for all the great help as Ive traveled from coast to coast and benefited greatly from your expertise!




the pilgrim

1 month, 2 weeks ago 9


I got the question below and here is my response for all of us!


Dennis Mook says:


Bill, thanks for your hard work and shared wisdom. I know your Fujifilm cameras can’t be absolutely perfect, or maybe they are? Have you thought of writing a blog post of what you would like Fujifilm to include, change or do a bit differently in their next version of the X-T1 and why? I know I would think your insight would make an interesting read, and I bet others would also find it interesting.

Again, thank you for your thoughts and recommendations. Us young guys in our early 60s look up to our elders for wisdom! LOL :-)





Dear Fuji,

Let me thank you so very, very much for building the camera and lens system I’ve always wanted, but no one made until you guys got busy and did it!!!  It is so close to perfect for me (I did say “me”), I hate to  mention it but I do have a few suggestions and requests, just in case!




1.  Fix the limited ability to bracket, hey guys it’s just a firmware fix, if  you want to prove you are seriously after the pro market make it at least 7 stops, want to wow us?  Make it nine stops of at least 1 stop apart!


2.  Fix the control pads on the XT-1,  you did it perfect in the X-Pro 1, it worked perfectly, let’s just do it again!


3.  Solve the battery issue!  The number of shots you can get from a battery in all the cameras leading up to the X100T, is very low.  The only saving grace has been that excellent replacement batteries are available, on line,  for a song!  But carrying a dozen batteries is crazy.  Surely the same brilliant engineers that designed this killer camera system can work this out?!  Please work on it, I know you can do it!


4.  Make a set of Automatic Extension Tubes, even though a pretty good option exists with the Fotodiox Pro set (, but I would love a smooth factory speck set.


5.   I was going to suggest a top shutter speed of 1/8,0ooth of a second but yesterdays firmware announcement will give us even more than that, so thanks!


6.  Let’s fix the whole lens hood thing!  Everyone, Nikon, Canon, everyone, now supplies lenses with bayonet hoods, the ones from some other manufacturers. (no names, no need to get ugly!) are cheap, break easily and they all have the same problem, you can’t rotate a polarizer without removing them and putting them back on, a real pain the backside!  Now Fuji, at least you guys supply very nice, mostly metal hoods, but they still are the bayonet variety.  I place them on the shelf and save them, but I go to Amazon and buy perfectly nice, metal screw in hoods that fit, and don’t vignette, I sure would prefer to get those kinds of hoods with the lenses in the first place.  I know that almost all photo industry players have all their minor accessories out sourced, usually to China, that where these hoods come from that I buy and they are cheap, far cheaper than replacing as manufactures “branded” hood.   Here is my offer, make me the guy that arranges for your hoods, I will get them made off shore, Fuji branded,  and guarantee a quality you will love, you can pay me 1% of what you make on the sale of hoods, or what you pay for them??!!


7.  In the XT-2 give it two SD card slots, PLEASE…..


8.  Make the Q menus customizable.  Ooops just announced in future firmware, Never mind!!!!





1.  Please make the 120-400 a constant f4 aperture!!!!!


2.  We really need a 100mm Macro f 2.8 lens that goes to 1:1.


3.  Please don’t fall to the temptation to build a full frame system, you are knocking out of the park with the APS-C sensor and that way you can continue to flesh out what you have already done so spectacularly!


Fuji, let me say thank you……..  I’ve spent my entire life with a camera in my hand, it has been the transport that has taken me to the most incredible places, to see the most wonderful things, and meet the most interesting people.  It has filled my life with wonder and joy, and when I thought I might not be able to continue m,y fantastic journey because of the weight and size of the current  systems, you guys saved me with the most incredible, and fun system Ive ever used.  Saying thank you is not nearly enough, so I’ll just use what you’ve created to capture all the magic I can, and continue on this breathtaking journey.  Seriously, thank you.




the pilgrim


Oh, and the elder part, if the shoe fits wear it!