Category : Uncategorized

1 year, 5 months ago 21
Posted in: Uncategorized


O.K. to be clear, the birth of Christ is the greatest Gift the world has ever recieved, Period, end of sentence!  On a personal note, this Christmas I am getting something I have wanted for a long, long time!   Meet Chester, a two month old Golden Retriever!  I waited until I cut back my travel schedule until I had time to spend the first three months with a puppy and raise him right!!!  Actually it is more, him raising me, I guess!


Let me tell you the back story!  I’ve had dogs my entire life, but when Sherelene’s and my three chilcren grew up and left home, we both had very busy schedules and we simply didn’t have any more pets for a long time. When I started teaching with Jack Graham I had the pleasure of visiting him at his home, and meeting Linda and Roscoe!  Roscoe was his Golden Retriever, and they were best pals!  I really loved to visit Jack and Linda and get to sepnd time with Roscoe too.  I could throw him a frisbee until my arm was sore and he was still going strong!!  He was a real sweetheart and I think he really liked me too.  Little did I know that Golden’s love EVERYONE!  I guess I was not as great with dogs as I thought!


Well back in late fall Roscoe’s hips finally gave out on him and they had to have him put to sleep.  It was really hard on Jack and Linda, and honestly I was devastated too.  Sherelene could see how much it upset me and she said I think now is the time for you to get your puppy.


The search which started back in August was exhausting!  I never knew how many people were looking for American Golden puppies of the darker color and almost every one I found with puppies, they were all been spokent for.  I finally found a great breeder  and she had three females all do in a time frame that would get me a puppy by late Novemeber!  I was set!  Sadly weeks later all three females had false preganccies.  I have to admit I was in a panick.  Then I found a breeder with two males that were ready December 8th, perfect timing for me!  I was happy and made a deposit and picked a pup via internet images.  I know that sounds like a bad idea and it turned out to be.  For weeks I asked questions of the lady with the puppies and she was very reluctant to answer my texts and only sent and occasional image I started to worry about the whole situation.  When she revealed that the puppies would be going home at 6 weeks, it sent off alarm bells, that is pretty early to break up the pups and mom.  When I started to press for answers she blew up and started acting pretty freaky! I could see it was a bad idea, and was starting to realize a dream of getting Chester, (named years ago when I fell in love with the movie “The Kid!” )  Anyway it appeared it was not to happen. Jack and Linda contacted a friend of theirs who went to work looking for a pup and Jamie Baker, their friend a world class dog trainer, was still not having any luck finding a pup.


Here is where the real Christmas Story begins!  On a ride to Lexington Sherlene and I were talking and I was sharing my extreme disappointment with the failed search, spanning months. I said a prayer out loud in the car, “Father I know you love me and I feel silly praying about a puppy, but you know how much this means to me, I believe the “Real Chester ” is out there somewhere and I am not having much luck finding him, I’m turning it over to you, I trust you with this situation, please send me the puppy you want me to have!!”  I truly relaxed with it and let it go.  Some how I knew God was in control.


That night the original breeder called and asked if I had found a puppy and I told her sadly not.  She said she had a breeder friend that had a litter and she thought there were three males left,and they were to be ready by December 1st!!!  I called and she sent me images and this one below just struck me at how much I could see Roscoe’s face, in his!



So I picked him up on Saturday, and his official name is Chester Roscoe Fortney, and Jack and Linda are the God Parents!!  Below a few more images so you can share my joy!  Merry Christmas!


Chester and Sherelene



So that’s my Christmas story, a little long but it ended wonderfully for me!  It reminded me that God does care about even the small things in our lives and I”m home watching the snow fall and loving on Chester, a happy ending!!!!





the pilgrim



P.S.   Warning, more dog images are most likely coming your way!


Double P.S.  Since he moves faster than lightening, all these have been with the iPhone!!!



1 year, 5 months ago 9
Posted in: Uncategorized


I’m fortunate to live in Corbin, Kentucky, because we have one of the greatest Bar B Q joints I’ve ever eaten in!!!  Smoky Bear Bar B Q is a local favortie and a destination for Bar B Q lovers across our region.  Their Jailbreaker sandwich (A toasted Keyser bun , toasted, butterd and seasoned, loaded with crunchy bacon piled high with tender pulled pork topped off with fried onion tanglers!  Smothered with their homeade ranch dressing and spectacular Bar B Q sauce.)  Brother yo uhave to try this one!!!!  They have a lot of other great stuff on the menu, super tender Brisket, Outrageous ribs and believe it or not a Killer 5 Pickle, Bill Fortney Approved Cheeseburger!!!!!



This is one great burger, juicy, cooked perfect, season to my taste and I enjoyed both Tater Tots and Corn Nuggets (stole them from Sherelene plate!)


The atmosphere is pure Kentucky down  home Bar BQ with a lot of cool signs, one of my favorite below!



The crew at the place; Owner, Barry Mays, Managers, Andrew Kerr and Robert Craft (not the owner of the Patriots, different one) and Wes Garlic along with our waitress, Tesla Wynn and last, but certainly not least, the cooks, Justice Mills, Robert Gambalt and Clifford Fisher, really did us right!!!


Where is this place, just ask anyone that doesn’t look hungry around Corbin and they would be glad to tell you!!! ( 1509 American Greeting Road, Corbin, KY)  So drop by and have a Jailbreaker, or the Jail Bird or the Prison Yard Salad, (lots of our law enforcement folks love the place!!!)  Seriously if you love Bar B Q and want some with some real character and a lot of nice folks around you, you have to check this spot out!!!


…..and did I mention the burger???!!!




the pilgrim


How good is the Bar B Q?  It was the only trusted place we would cater for when Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder came to Renro Valley and we hosted a pre concert cookout, they loved it!!!  Ricky gave it 5 stars and called it, “some real great hog meat!!!”  Doesn’t get better than that!!!!

1 year, 6 months ago 20
Posted in: Uncategorized


One of the first duties of winter has been to organize, straigten up and clear out my Darkroom (now gun room and storage), projection room, (now storage and music room) and my office!!!  Mostly it means getting rid of everthing I don’t use, need or want, and turst me, it has been many, many leaf bags of junk!


In the process I’ve organized and stored all my shooting gear for the winter. I started to shoot Fujifilm in 2012 so this winter is 6 years of shooting this system and I am starting to settle on my most used and still owned stuff!


BODIES:  I currently am shooting a Fujifilm X-H1, X-T2, X-PRO 2 nad still have a treasured Graphite X-T1.  An X-T3 is on order.  My light travel camera is a Fujifilm X30  * (used to shoot this photo)  I still have my first Fujifilm camera the X10!


LENSES:  8mm Rokinon Fisheye, Fujifilm; 14mm f 2.8, 10-24 f 4, 16mm f 1.4, 23mm f 1.4 7 23mm f 2, 27mm, 35mm f 2, 50mm f 2, 18-55 f 2.8-4, 18-135 f 3.5-5.6,  56mm f 1.2, 60mm Macro f 2.4, 55-200 f 3.5-4.5, 90mm f 2, 100-400 f 4.5-5.6, 1.4 Teleconverter, 2X Teleconverter, and a old classic Nikkor 200mm f 4, manual focus, micro lens.


* You may notice that the 16-55 and 50-140 are missing.  I had both and sold them because of their size and weight, I use the 100-400 as my long lens and found that even though the 50-140 is an incredible lens I wouldn’t carry both of them, one always stayed home and that one was the 50-140.  I love the little 18-55 and prefer it for it’s size and it has IS,  (Image Stabilization).


BATTERIES:  I currently have over 30 various batteries for my Fujifilm cameras.


FILTERS:  Polarizers to fit every lens, close up diopters and some additional ND filters.


5 Tripods:  Yhough the only one I use on a regular basis is a        TVC-3 X,  Really Right Stuff with the BH55-LR ballhead.




CAMERA BAGS & BACKPACKS:  This is embarrassing especially considering I’ve reduced the number by 75% !!!  26  That’s wretched excess!!!


Things I’m considering buying in 2019.:   An X-T3 for sure, the new 16mm f 2.8. the new 16-80 f 4.  Maybe the 80mm macro f 2.8.  I loved the 200 f 2 but it’s out of my comfort range on price and probably too big for me to tavel with.   Still thinking about the 8-14??????  Pretty big and it will be a bear to filter.


So don’t know if that helps with any of your decisions, but that’s how it is for now!  Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, we all have a lot to be thankful for.  You may have heard that Wes has had a re-accurance of his lymphoma, but we caught it early and he is going back into chemo treatments tomorrow, your prayers pulled him through last time, I would covet them again for him and Rhonda and the family.  God has it and we are confident it will be another victory!!!  Thanks for your love and support!




the pilgrim


P.S.   I was asked recently how we were holding up with this news on Wesley’s lymphoma. It’s simple,  faith is believeing we serve a God that loves us more than we can understand, that He sacrificed His only Son for us.  He has promised He will never allow anything to happen that is not for our ULTIMATE good, and He will be with us step by step through every trial.  I’ve experienced that in my own life and seen it in others I love, and I refuse to not beleive it now!  This life is only a boot camp for eternity!  The best we can hope for is that we graduate having learned what we need to learn, and be prepared to spend eternity with Him.  I rest everyday in that knowledge!!!



1 year, 6 months ago 9
Posted in: Uncategorized


I love this time of year because I’m finished for a few months!!!!!!  I just did 5 workshops and drove 6,346 miles in 7 weeks!  I’m ready for a break!  But what a great 7 weeks it was!  Jim Haverstock and I did the Badlands with a great group of 7 folks, then Jack Graham and I did our fall Road Show; The UP of Michigan, Acadia National Park, and then topped off the year with a Fuji Summit in the Great Smokies and then a second Smokies workshop!  They all went great with a ton of very nice folks, a great way to end the 2018 workshop year!


Another reason I love this time of year is the thoughtfulness of some of our workshop friends!  Gale Stoner, one of my favorite guys out there, was kind enough to send me his annual photo calendar, this one was a collection of stunning flower images, I will enjoy it for the entire coming year!  Thanks Gale!  His work is outstanding!


I will have several new announcements about workshops and one on one field opportunities with me in 2019, so please stay tuned.  You can see more on mine and Jack’s stuff coming up next year at:


Here’s ours together for 2019:


March 17   Route 66 Tour  (Oklahoma City to Las Vegas)


April 25th-28th   Great Smoky Mountains in Spring


May 9th-12th   Olympic National Park  TBD


May 17th  Spring in St George, Utah Symposium 


June 6th   The Palouse Region of Washington State


August 8th  Mount Rainier National Park – Wildflowers and Landscape  TBD


September 26th  Fall Color in the Grand Tetons National Park


October 1oth  Fall Colors in the UP of Michgan


October 17th  Fall in Acadia National Park, Maine


November 7th   Great Smoky Mountains in Fall


Much more info to come, until then have a wonderful Thanksgiving!




the pilgrim


PS:  Chester is comng home mid December, below him on top, the top dog!

Image sent by the breeder!