Monthly Archives: February 2017

3 years, 7 months ago 2
Posted in: Uncategorized

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The Fall Great Smoky Mountains Photography Summit opens registration tomorrow, March 1st, at 9:00 a.m. Eastern time.  This event sells out every year, get in early and don’t miss our great time together in the Smokies!!!


If you can get in a day early please consider joining me for  Masters Class in Nature and Close-Up Techiques!




the pilgrim

3 years, 8 months ago 7
Posted in: Uncategorized

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Let me start by thanking you guys for making the new Fujifilm Guide to the X-Series so successful!  In the first five weeks you’ve purchased over 140 books!  Even better, I’ve gotten a  numbner of nice emails from people expressing their delight with the contents, so, thanks again!  It seems of all the questions I’ve gotten, the most are asking me to elaborate on the page below, and then answer some of the most frequently asked questions about lenses in the X-Series.



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Question for Nick T. in Seattle.    I see that you had both the 18-55 and the 16-55 at one time and now it appears you don’t have either.  Why?


The 18-55 was the kit lens with my first X-Series interchangeable lens body the X-E1,  For a long time it was my most used lens and some of the very best images I’ve made with the Fujifilm System have been with that lens.  It was light, well built, had great OIS and was tack sharp.  On a trip to Acadia a student and friend, Mike Roberts, introduced me to the 18-135!  Dang him, I bought one and it is, by far, my most used lens now, basically replacing the 18-55, which I gave to my grand daughter along with a 55-200 and a X-E2 when she got intereted in photography. I feel it is every bit as good as the 18-55 and more versatile covering 27mm-207mm vs the 18-55’s –  27mm to 82mm,  When the 16-55 f 2.8 came out I just thought it would be a duplicate of the 18-135 range, but with some nudging form my teaching partner Jack Graham and Austin based photo buddy Dudley Hawethore, I bought a 16-55.  It is very sharp, likely a little sharper than any of the others, but  honkin’ big, I mean beer barrel big, for a Fuji lens.  Just never fell in love with it,  so I sold it, simple as that!



Question from Linda H. in Birmingham.  I don’t see the 14mm f 2.8 in any of your lens packages, do you not hold it in high regard, you seem to say great things about it in the Guide Book II?  I have that lens and really love it, just curious!?


Linda, I love that lens and everytime a reach for it I grab the 10-24 because it is a little wider and as a zoom, more versatile.  Quality wise, it is one of the very best wide angles ever made by anyone and surely in the top three or four of Fuji’s XF lenses.  It is especially great for star and night sky work. I find it’s great for travel because it is small and light, I am committed to use it more, because everytime I do it rewards me with stellar images!!!  A lot of people never experience it’s magic because it is pretty expensive, but worth every penny!  You made a great decsion to buy it!



Question from Brad C. from Denver.  I see you own almost all the fast single focal length lenses.  Do you use them very much?  Second question please, You (according to the lens map), own both the 23mm f 2 and the 23mm f 1.4 and the 35mm f 1.4 and the 35mm f 2, which do think is best in each pair?  


That’s a tough one Brad, but here goes;  First, no I don’t use the single focal length lens as much as my zooms.  Most of my work is nature, landscape, Americana and travel and in all those fields the zooms are hard to beat  You often find yourself not able to backuop or move forward enough and the zoom solves that problem.  Even though they get used less they do get used a lot.  The single focal length lenses are superlatively sharp and when working in very low light the fast apertures are a real blessing for focusing and when you want to get deliberate shallow depth of field.  As to the two new compact f 2 lenses, I love then for their size, build quality and focusing speed, both of which beat the two fast primes pretty handily!!  In terms of absolute optical performance I’d give the 23mm f 1.4 a small edge over the F 2 version and the 35mm f 2 a slight edge over the 35mm f 1.4, but honestely it’s very close in both cases!  None of them can match the optical performance of the 16mm f 1.4, it’s down right scary sharp!



Question from Jim K. in Hartford.  I see from your road map that you no longer have the 50-140, though I remember you had it a workshop last year.  What’s up with that???!!!


Very observent Jim!  Actually the 50-140 was another victim of the 18-135, it was big and heavy and even though a fantastic lens, I just didn’t want to carry it anymore.  I used it very little when when It was in the bag.  Then the 100-400 came along and I fell madly in love with it because of it’s enormous range of focal lengths, it was even bigger and I knew it would go with me on the road, and I coudn’t see carrying both, so the 50-140 found a new home!  The 50-140 is a great great lens, but so is the 100-400 and I knew I wouldn’t carry both!



Question from Olivia P. in Los Vegas.    You stated in your book and when I’ve seen you speak that switched from Nikon to Fuji to save weight.  With all the gear you now own, have you really saved much weight, and do you ever miss your Nikons?


 Olivia, the Nikon gear I owned weighed about twice what the Fuji gear does and I have approx. the same number of lenses and bodies.  I don’t carry all of it though.  I travel by car and airplane with a big rolling bag that holds two bodies and up to 10 lenses.  When I get on location I pull just a couple or three lenses and a body out for each shooting location, going back to the car for changes if I need something different, That way I have everything with me, and still carry a much lighter load in the field.  I use a Domke vest and it is far easier than the backpack days of the past.


Do I miss my Nikons?  After 43 years as a dedicated Nikon guy it’s still in my blood, but for what I do now the Fujifilm X-Series is a much better fit and I am producing the best work of my life, so I guess I would have to say, no, not so much!




Question from Diane W. in Salt Lake City.  Since you are an X-Photographer, do you know what is coming in the way of lenses and what  you’re personally hoping for?


Diane, I don’t know anything  more than what we all read on Fuji Rumors  and other sites on the web.  I did have prior knowledge of some lenses we have now, earlier and the GFX a year before we heard anything about that, but of course was sworn to keep it secret.  As to what I “hope” to see?  Can’t wait for the already mentioned 80mm Micro f 2.8.  Sad the 120mm Macro f 2.8 was cancelled!!!  Would love to see a 200mm f 2 that worked great with the current 1.4 and 2X converters.  The rumored 8mm- 16mm wide angle zoom would be something I would love.  Still want a long Macro 120mm or 140mm , that would be great.  Maybe a shift tilt lens and a 8mm fisheye.  I really want a 60mm f 2 like the other compacts, but since a 50mm is coming, I doubt we will see that since a a50mm is already out.  How about a 70mm f 2  that would be a 105mm that be sweet and perfect for portraits!!!!!


Thanks for the questions and please keep them coming!  I know you were expecting images from the Bone Yard this weekend, but I cancelled the trip to stay close by while Wes goes through more tests, prayers are still needed!




the pilgrim


My current Think Tank Airport Advantage loaded and ready!

P.S. for Linda  I moved my batteries around and added the 14mm f 2.8!!!!!


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3 years, 8 months ago 3
Posted in: Uncategorized


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This is not an apology, but a statement of fact!  It seems that in America today the only people that believe they have freedom of speech are those that stand in a polar opposite position from where I and many of my friends stand.  Since I do not want to be the person that insites riots, I never have, and I never will.  I have taken down this post and will return to doing photographic and faith related posts. For anyone who thinks this is capitulation, I do this in the same spirit that Christ did not resist when he was arrested and taken to be crucified.  I am in no way drawing a parallel between myself and Christ, I belong to Him, He bought me at a price and I’m simply performing an act as one seeking to be a peace maker. I doubt my shared political feelings make a difference anyway.


While I continue to be heart broken as I watch what is happening to my country, I will not speak publicly on such matters, but only in the close confines of friends.  I will, as I ask you to do, pray for America, and for the defeat of spiritual powers of evil exerting their force on our nation.




the pilgrim



3 years, 8 months ago 20
Posted in: Uncategorized

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So sorry, I’ve been asleep at the switch!  For the past several days I’ve been deeply involved in family issues.  The short story,  is my son Wesley, (above), checked into the emergency room on Friday morning,  pale as a ghost and weak.  I joined him there and after a morning of tests it was determined he had lost over 4 pints of blood.   An immediate series of tests were done to find the point of bleeding, and start transfusions.  Some years ago I was in that same emergency room with a GI bleed in almost as bad a shape as Wes.  Unforutnately there was no evidence of a bleed, which led to the more feared possibilty of some form of blood cancer.  Over the weekend and into Tuedsay, (yesterday),  we waited to hear what we feared was going to be bad news.  A lot prayers went up and we placed it in God’s hands.


When we met with his hematologist yesterday she said it was a puzzle, in all the tests, lymph node removal, bone marrow extraction, and tons of blood work they could find no sign of Lymphoma.  More tests will now follow, but I trust it was an answered prayer, whatever issue casued the loss of the blood, I’m confident will be found and treated.  I wanted to post about this and ask for prayers, but Wes insisted we know what were battling before I went public.  Well we still don’t know for sure, but your prayers for Wes would be coveted and appreciated.  His level  had dropped all the way to 3 normal is 15 to 16, after 5 units of blood he was up to 8 and the next day he had gone up another one and half to 9.5!  We were all waiting to see how much it would drop!  Score one for my Heavenly Father.  Stay tuned and I will keep you up to speed!



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Sadly our planned night photography workshop in Arches has to be cancelled!  Got a note this morning from the Park that they will be doing road construction from March 2017 to November 2017 and the park will be closed in the evening from 7:00 p.m and not open again until 7:00 am. pretty much killing some key shooting times and making night photography from within the park impossible!  I am looking at other possible locations and will advise those signed up soon, if we cannot replace the location we will refund deposits.


This brings me to a “potential” decision.  In recent years I’ve found it all but impossible to work with many of the parks we attend, fees get higher and the paper work much more involved.  One park asks for a detailed plan for waste disposal.  I jokingly put on the paper work I use the park provided restrooms, they didn’t find it humorous, I did!  All parks now require a financial report at the end of each year asking what my gross income was from workshops. I requested to know the total cost of office supplies from one park, per year, once again, the joke was lost on them!  I’m certain that the plans are being laid to charge workshop companies a fee based on what they gross, no thanks, not going to take part in that!  Last time I checked the National Parks belong to us, and the people that administer them work for us, the American people. With the exception of the Great Smokies, Acadia and Zion N.P. who all have continued to be very workshop friendly,  I’m seriously considering reducing my National Park workshops down to a minimum in the future.  In my humble oninion we need to drain the swamp faster, and I’m not talking about the Everglades!



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Our numbers for the Old Car City event to benefit St. Judes Children’s Hospital is small.  I really want to make a contribution to this great orginization and $595. is a killer low cost for this great location!  We will be a small group and obviously you will get lots of personal attention, please consider joining us!



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Tomorrow night I will be at the Chattanooga Camera Club, hope to see my friends  from that area then!!!


Saturday the 18th all day class at Grace On The Hill in Corbin!


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See you out there!!!!




the pilgrim