The Pilgrim Interviewed by the Pilgrim

2 months, 3 weeks ago 22
Posted in: blog


What on earth!!!!!!!  It’s really quite simple, I’ve been interviewed more than a few times, but…..I always wished they would ask me certain questions, because I have things I would love to share, but they haven’t!  So this is my chance, I’ll just interview myself!


Here Goes:


Why do you call yourself the Pilgrim?


A long time ago the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band did an album called Will The Circle Be Unbroken with a number of great guest musicians.  One of the songs on that album was Merle Travis singing I Am A Pilgrim.   A pilgrim is, (by definition), a person who journeys to a sacred place for religous reasons.  For me that is the definition of life, my life, so rather than use my name I decided to be the pilgrim.  My blog is about a spiritual journey for me and I hope, for my readers, I did not want to make it about myself, so I’m just a pilgrim.


If I asked you to tell me who you are, what would you say?


I would say I’m a Christian, devoted to serving Jesus Christ, a husband, father, gandfather and I hope as good a friend to those that call me a friend, as they have been to me.  I’m, by profession, a photographer, writer and teacher.


Do you consider yourself famous?




Does that bother you?


Not in the least.


Do you want to be famous?


I did when I as young, but I don’t now.


What changed?


I grew up and came to my senses!



Do you consider your career a success?


I consider myself blessed in life, with a great family, wonderful friends, and lots of enjoyable acquantances.  I love being a photographer and writer and teacher and get great joy in attempting to do those things well.  For the most part, I feel like God has blessed me to get to do those things!


Of all the jobs you’ve had, what has been your favorite?


For 12 years I worked for Nikon Camera Company as Proffesional Markets Tech Rep for the entire Southern U.S.  From Kentucky to Key West, to New Orleans. It afforded me the opportunity to do Shuttle Launches, Super Bowls, College Bowl Games, the Masters 9 straight years, Kentucky Derbies and many other exciting events.  It was a great job!  I made a number of life long friends while doing my duty for Nikon. As jobs go it was a blast!


I’m a little surpirsed that you didn’t mention your workshop companies!


That’s because I don’t conisder the Great American Photography Weekends and His Light Workshops jobs, they were self-assigned, fun missions!  I’ve also been honored and thilled to teach with Jack Graham in his company, Jack Graham Photography Workshops!


How about a few personal quesitons, What are a few of your favorite things to do?


Time with my wife on a lazy afternoon on the lake, if the temps are below 80.  A roaring fire with snow coming down.  Spending time with Chester and Sherelene!  Fellowship with Jack, Jim and our buddies is pretty great too!  All those things would rank pretty high on a list for me!


Is it true that you love to watch Hallmark Christmas movies, tell me it isn’t so!


Yes that’s true!  I love happy ending stories, especially in a world where everything on TV is a bad news story.  I find if I fill my mind with positive things the world we live in seems a little less threatening!  Some think that’s hokie, I think it’s a form of encouraging myself.


Let’s talk photography, if you could give anyone advice on how to become a better photographer what would  your short answer be?


Study, practice, be patient, slow down and think it through and have fun!


You don’t have to be that brief, please expand!


Find good teachers and books and study them with a real dedication to learning.  Everything you read about, go out and try it, experiment and then study your results, learn from your failures and there will be plenty, but don’t be discouraged, it will come, just be patient with yourself. Practice, practice, practice!


Do you have a favorite brand of camera gear?


For 43 years I was a dedicated Nikon user and still love their gear and lenses.  However, after shoulder surgery I had to find a lighter system to work with as the heavy full frame cameras were no longer comfortable to carry and use.  I discovered the Fujifilm X-Series of cameras and fell in love with them.  Today I’m a fully committed Fujifilm user!


Do you have a favorite camera and lens?


Yes, curently, the Fujifilm X-T4 is my favorite camera body and the 16-80 is my favorite all around lens.  The new 70-300 would be the runner up for the second favorite lens!  I love lenses so I have to mention the 50mm f 2, it is very sharp, small and fun to use!


O.K. If you had to choose just one camera and one lens for the rest of your life?


The X-T4 and the 16-80.  Covers from 24mm to 120mm full frame equiv.  My most used range by far.


When and how did you get into photography?


I was a high school teacher and football coach in the very late 60’s and decided I would like to buy a nice camera and get into photography.  I bought a Nikon Nikkormat FTN camera and a few lenses and a darkoom set-up and never looked back, I knew I had found the passion of my vocational life!


How long does it take to become really good at photography?


I’ll let you know when I get there!  Like everything, it takes as long as it takes!  You should never arrive, you should always be striving to arrive.


What photographers have had the greatest influence on you and your work?


I learned the most important basics from John Shaw.  I have been inspired by Art Wolfe, Rod Planck, Jay Maisel and a fellow named Bill Cox.  For the last 30 years I’ve admired and learned a lot from Jack Graham and Bill Pekala.  Another couple of favorites are Mark Kettenhofen and Joe McNally. This list though, is never ending!


Your blog is titled Photography & Faith, explain please?


It’s simple, I am dedicated to the Lord in my life.  It is the central focal point of everything I stand for and stand on.  I love sharing about photography and want to always put a special emphasis on my faith and to encourge others to get to know Jesus.  It’s no more complicated than that!


Do you have any places you still would love to travel to that you haven’t been able to go to so far?


I have been blessed to shoot all around the world many times, but the one place I have not been able to get to is Patagonia, that is one more place I would love to see, but I doubt I will ever get to go on that trip!  I have seen it photographed wonderfully by many friends, so I will have to be satisfied to see it through their eyes!


Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed.


No problem, it was my pleasure and may I say you are excellent interviewer!


Thank you!


You’re welcome!


Hope you made it to the end!!!




the pilgrim





22 Responses

  1. Jack Graham says:

    God bless you my friend…He sure has blessed me.
    We”’ll have a blast this fall…SOON!,,,,,

  2. Bill Fortney says:

    Amen!!!! Have really missed getting out in the field with my best friend and partner in crime! Not really serious crime, just lots of fun and mischief!

  3. Bob Lieber says:

    Awesome. Just awesome. Thanks Brother!

  4. admin says:

    That would be my description of you Bob!!!

  5. Bill. What a wonderful post. It was a treat for me to read this and think about the time I met you in Nashville. I follow your blog every day (well I check it every day) and certainly appreciate your insight to both life and photography.

    Blessings from one of your students.

    • admin says:

      Thanks Dave, this was a strange exercise, but I wanted to say some things and I thought this might be a clever way to get it out!!! Glead you enjoyed it! Hope to see you somewhere next year!

  6. Mike Early says:

    It is very hard for me to determine whether the interviewer or the interviewee gave the best performance …. Stay strong my friend.

  7. Carl says:

    Clever! Very Clever!! Wished I had thought of that!

    Wonder if Holy Spirit was interviewed by Holy Spirit, what would be the questions/answers?

  8. Rodney McKnight says:

    I loved this Bill! Blessings!

  9. Dick Ginkowski says:

    Q. Does part of you want to say, why didn’t they get this 70-300 out a long time ago — man is it pretty darn sharp?


  10. Dick Ginkowski says:

    I know it’s a lot of work but maybe it’s time for a partial GAPW resurrection. There are workshops, tours and a lot of pricey options but not always as much fun as the GAPW film days. I think it we’re going to keep people using cameras we have to get people interested. The basics of composition and lighting are mostly the same today BUT a lot has changed since the days of your choices being Velvia, Provia, Kodachrome or Ektachrome. Logistics might even be a bit easier: no worries about the slide processing run or light tables.

  11. Bob O'Neill says:

    I’ve been blessed to have known Bill for many years. Though we have not been able to visit over the past years he is still someone I consider one of my very few ‘best’ friends.

    As I read this interview I began to tear up. He has that way about him.

    I do pray that if the Lord is willing that we will be able to visit before we both ‘go home’. Because of his wisdom and encouragement in my photography and my life I know we’ll both be dancing with Jesus, but not today.

    Thank you Bill for who you are and all you do.

  12. Great post Bill. God bless!

  13. Christian Burgherr says:

    Hello Bill…what a fun coicidence to stumble into your website, just in time to enjoy that precious interview with and about yourself! Brings back nice memories…recently browsing through some old travel stuff…there it is: Great American Photo Workshop Sep 1998, based out of Moab. What a fun group we were..and great teachers too…especially the wondeful pilgrim with the Kentucky accent….
    Hope your journey will continue…into all those special and inspiring emotions you still would like to experience!!
    All the best, Chris Burgherr, Switzerland

    • admin says:

      God bless you Christian, because of you I can claim ot have an international following 😉
      Hope to see you again someday!!!!!

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