Recent Posts
2 days, 6 hours ago 11
Posted in: blog


Recently a new Beta Version of Lightroom was introduced that had an amazing AI based tool for changing backgrounds, it was earth shaking, what it could do.  I watched carefully as the reactions rolled in, and as you would expect they were all over the place.  “This is the most amazing and most positive thing to ever happen to photography!”  ” This is the end of photography, we will never ever again be able to trust anything we see!”  They were probably both right!


I have thought long and hard about this and I have a suggestion I would like to throw out to all my fellow photographers.  First, if you are a professing Christian, if you claim to answer to your God and wish to serve Him in everything you say and do, this advice is or you!  


Let me set this  up properly.  I started photography in 1969, yep that was a long time ago.  In that era of photography we shot film, and mostly Black & White film and slide film, transparency film.  Learning how to get correct exposure in those days was a process and it did not come easy, we struggled with it and it took time and shooting a lot of film to get it right!  We were quite proud of ourselves when we got it right!  That accounts for why so many of us in our seventies today may have more than a little chip on our shoulders about how much easier it has gotten with digital photography today.  Yes, in many way we are stuck in the mud of the film era!


As post processing has advanced and many magical things can be done to images, we have resisted and drug our feet in the sand!  Now let me share about why as a Christian, I have to look at this and approach it in a different way.  As a believer my greatest concern must be with sin and being kind to others.  First of all, even though I have resisted, replacing a sky in a photograph is not a sin!  It’ s a choice, it may not be a choice I am comfortable with, but for someone who is comfortable with it, they have not sinned!  So Let’s say my friend Paul made the image at the top of this entry, and I see it and I know he has replaced the sky, (actually I did it!),  as a Christian, how should I react too his image?  First of all I should not “react” at all, if I like the photograph I should say so, if I don’t I should not feel compelled to be unkind.  If I think he should not have replaced the sky what right do I have to be critical of him?  As the photographer and artist he has every right to process his images as he wishes, frankly it’s none of my business!  I found myself in the situation when I replaced the sky in this image  I felt guilty about it and did not show it for the longest time.



This is the original image.  I love the lighthouse and love the back lit and furrowing flag, but the sky is awful, so the image failed, I think you will admit the image with a  replaced sky is much nicer, but is it reality?  So what is wrong with adding a sky?  It is not what was actually there at that time!  Coming from my background as a photojournalist, doing something like that is a cardinal sin, but if I was a commercial photo illustrator, that kind of stuff is done all the time.  You might say that it is only wrong if the intent of the images was to depict reality.  As a Christian when is it the right thing to do, to make someone feel bad about the post processing images they make?  Never, you can express your opinion if done in a considerate way, but beyond that it’s the choice of the photographer.


let’s take the concept of appropriate ways of dealing with others as a Christian to some other examples!


Say our friend Larry is a Georgia Bulldogs fan, you’re a Alabama fan, can you say the Bulldogs suck, I hope they loose every game!  Sure, if  you want to act that way, but as a Christian what does that accomplish?  It sure doesn’t cement your witness for Christ!


Your friend Mike only listens to classical music, but you like 50’s -60’s Rock n’ Roll, he says the music you like is horrible, in fact it’s not really music at all!  It’s fine for him to feel tat way but what good does it do to make that pronouncement to you?



The photograph above was shot in the UP of Michigan on a calm morning while we were shooting fall color reflecting in the still water as boat started up toward us, my first thought was it would disturb the water, which it did, but then I realized it might be a great shot as it turned to go back out of the slough we were shooting in.  This was an unplanned circumstance that turned out to be kind of neat, and the water settled back down in a few minutes and we were able to continue shooting the reflections.  As photographers we need to roll with the punches!  Those that want  to use these new creative tools to “enhance their mages” should be left alone and allowed to do photography as they see fit, and those of us that might would rather not, should learn to be a little less judgmental about it.


Here is  my bottom line;  When I gave my life to Christ He required of me to lead others to Him,  I can’t do that if I am judging everyone else for things they may do, that I don’t want to do or agree with, how welcoming and loving is that?  I can still feel strongly about such things, I just can’t beat people up from my position.


I would love to know what you think!





the pilgrim

1 week, 3 days ago 20
Posted in: blog


First let me apologize for being so long bringing you an update, a lot has happened in last two weeks!!  Today is the first time I have made it upstairs to my computer in two weeks.  Let me run you all through what has transpired over that time period.  


Monday, May 8th:  I had my TAVR, (Trans Aortic Valve Replacement),  the surgery went well and the valve was replaced and was performing as expected.   My Surgeon, Dr. Anthony Rogers and my Cardiologist. Dr. Paula Hollingsworth did a great job!  I was released to go home just one day after the surgery.  I rested and recovered most of that week, feeling better each day.


Sunday, May 14th (Mother’s Day):  I started to have some episodes of AFib where my heart rate was running from very slow to very fast.  Sherelene insisted I go to the emergency room, but I resisted, not wanting to go back in the hospital.  She kept insisting and I kept resisting, then she talked me into getting the car to drive that direction.  I told her if I had one more almost fainting episode we could to the ER.  I had no more than said that when I almost blacked out, in minutes I was in the ER.  Within minutes of arriving there I coded and was without a heartbeat for a four to five seconds.  They did chest compressions and had me back in this world quickly. Had I not listened to Sherelene I might have died at home on Sunday!  About fifteen minutes later I coded a second time with the same response.  At this point they called for an air vac and flew me to Lexington Baptist Heart Center where Dr. Rogers was waiting for me.  I coded a third time in Lexington in the Heart ICU, then they started a drip of a medication that stabilized my heart rate and observed me in the ICU overnight.  The next morning, Monday, they did a procedure to place a pacemaker in my chest, further stabilizing the afib.  I was released to come home on Wednesday.  I’ve now been home recovering since then.  Until today, Saturday the 20th.  I’ve been struggling through broken or cracked ribs from the chest compressions, (no complaints, they brought me back from death three times).  


Today. May 20th:  is my best day yet as I can walk around without help, even climbed the stairs to the office to do this entry!  My heart rate has remained stable and my surgery sites are all healing very well!


So some Perspective on all this:


In my entire life I have had two pivotal “Physical Events” the have shaped my life.   42 years ago when I was told I had terminal cancer and thought I had only a few months to live.  You’ve all heard that story.  And, last weekend when I died three times, only to be brought back each time.


42 years ago my entire perspective on what is important in life was changed and it forever re-directed me in my desires, goals and purpose.  This week has deepened the commitment I made back then.  Back then I gave my life and heart completely to God and vowed to serve him “every moment for the rest of my life”.    This week I remembered how precious this life is, the family and dear friends that God has so graciously given me, and of whom I am unworthy, but still thankful for that gift.  I now have  redirected my goals to listen for God’s voice and be obedient to whatever he asks of me.  I think I was already doing that, but my attention has been more laser focused on His will.


God deals with each of us where we are and in the way we need to be spoken to, I’m not beating you up with what I have gone through, only sharing where it has brought me.  I have no idea whether I’ve been given a few weeks, months or years to live for Him, but whatever time I have it is His!  I do know that he loves you more than you know and He wants you to belong to Him, I can only pray that everyone who reads this gives thought to where they want their spirit to reside,  I hope it is with my loving, caring, gracious and forgiving Heavenly Father.


For all of you that have payed for me, thank you, I will be forever grateful for another chance at this life!


With all His love,



the pilgrim


Note: A special thanks to my dear brother and friend Jack Graham who has stayed with me at home the last three days,  you’ve aided in my healing my friend!  To my best friend, partner and love of my life, Sherelene. your tireless efforts to watch over me are beyond what anyone could ever deserve, I Love you and want to live on for you!

3 weeks, 3 days ago 21
Posted in: blog


On Monday the 8th of May I’m having a medical procedure to place a new valve in my heart.  It is quite miraculous how this will be done.  Years ago I did a lot of medical photographs including a number of surgical procedures.  I’ve photographed the conventional way of replacing a heart valve which is very interesting and invasive.  The surgeon and team would open the chest remove a couple of ribs, then the vascular system is hooked up to a pump system that acts as the heart for the patient, then the heart is stopped and a new valve is surgically placed, the heart is sewn up, and then restarted so the pump can be removed.  This is a long and precise process.  The recovery takes time and eventually the patient enjoys a better life with a properly functioning heart. (* Note to medical folks whom may read this, this is my very rudimentary understanding of what I photographed!  Be kind, I’m not a doctor!)


The procedure I will be having is not nearly as invasive, it’s called a TAVR.  In it they will go though my femoral arteries in the groin much like in a heart cath and will then insert a new valve in the aortic valve and inflate it.  The procedure takes about 45 minutes and most patient go home the next day!  Pretty miraculous!  Are there risks, sure, you undergo general anesthesia which has risks, the procedure can lead to problems, but the % of patients that die during the procedure is 1%.  I’ll take those odds.


So am I worried?  No, this is the point to the blog entry.  I’m 77 yers old, I’ve already lived past my life expectancy.  When I gave my life to Jesus and my Heavenly Father, I trusted them with every aspect of my life.  If God wants me to come home, all the best doctors in the world can’t keep me here, if he wants me to live to serve Him longer, no one can take my life away from Him, He is in charge.  I don’t like going to the hospital and being treated for anything, but I trust Him.  If I have a very successful procedure I should feel better and have a better quality of life for how ever long God keeps me here, if I die the table, I’ll be home with my Lord and so many loved ones I have lost that are there with Him, I can’t loose either way.


Remember we are in this world, not of it, we can’t get too attached to things of this world, our real home, if we have trusted in Him, is not here.  That is why years ago when I started the blog I chose to call my self the Pilgrim, I’m just passing through this land!  I hope to write another blog entry next week when I return home, but as I end every prayer, Father, may Your will be done.


I pray you be blessed,



the  pilgrim

1 month ago Comments Off on More Rembrance of Charles…..
Posted in: blog


A few years ago the Southwest Photojournalism Conference held in Nashville awarded Charles a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to the practice of photography as a ministry.  Above Country Music Hall of Fame Performer, Ricky Skaggs presents the award to Charles.



Charles over his career as photographer shot with Nikon, Hasselblad, Fujifilm and Leica cameras.  Above siting his kitchen he photographed me with his Leica, while I photographed him!



This is the young Dr. Charles Stanley that I met over 30 years ago, Shot in the Grand Tetons National Park.



While running a workshop in the Grand Tetons I was  joined by left to right; Dr. Chuck Summers, the Pilgrim, Charles and Ken Jenkins, all dear brothers and friends!


Thank you Charles for all the great memories and time together, I look forward to hugging you in heaven, one of these days!





the pilgrim