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1 week, 1 day ago 8
Posted in: blog


Shot many decades ago when I shot film…..


I’m getting ready to share my thoughts on camera gear and I need to establish that I have enough experience to do so.  I watch tons of Youtube videos where photographers wax on about their thoughts on equipment and they show samples of their work, which makes their opinions seem a lot less reliable or trustworthy.  Don’t get me wrong many Youtubers are very fine shooters and I respect both them and their work, but frankly a lot more are not as impressive!  I’m not bragging or boasting, I just have spent a very, very long time learning a lot about the camera industry and their products.  Let me establish my credentials:


I bought my first serious camera in 1969, a Nikon Nikkormat FTN, that was 55 years ago!  Since then I have bought at least two of every succeeding model from Nikon; the Nikon F, F2, F3, F4, F5 and lastly I had a Nikon F6 while working for Nikon Professional Services.  I owned a number if the lesser models in their line as well!  In addition to all those bodies over the years I’ve owned almost 50 Nikon lenses and a few third party ones as well!


Somewhen around the F2 days I had a “Photographic Affair” with a pretty little Konica FS1 and some Hexagon lenses, but it as a very short fling and didn’t last! In 2011 I had rotator cuff surgery and during a long recovery I had my second affair!  Actually I was working for Nikon but the big full frame cameras and lenses were to difficult for me to deal with, I slipped off at photo show an saw the Fujifilm  X10, a very high quality, (poor man’s Leica), tiny rangefinder type camera.  I fell in love with the beautiful Fujinon lens, and the quality of work I was able to produce with a camera  that was easy too carry and hide, remember I was still a Nikon Rep!!!!!  That led to another full blown affair, but this time it stuck!  By the time I retired two years later, I owned, very privately, a couple of Fujifilm cameras, the XE-1 and the X-Pro 1 and a half dozen of their wonderful lenses.


That affair has lasted ever since and I still own a number of Fujifilm bodies and a lot of their excellent lenses!  I’ve owned every X-T model, X-T1 to XT-5, and have used the GFX System of Medium Format cameras as well.   My wondering eye has not settled down and I now , additionally, own an Olympus E OM-1 Mark III and a Panasonic Lumix GX85 plus 7 Panasonic and Olympus Micro 4/3rds lenses.  These do not replace my Fujifilm system, but they are an enjoyable system for when carrying the lightest gear possible while still being able to make images that meet my very high standards!


O.K. I’ve said all that to make some statements about camera gear that I believe, based on my many years of experience, to be true.  As always you are welcome to disagree if you so desire, as I said these are my opinions!  I would welcome your comments on any of the observations!


Sensor Size and Quality:  Generally speaking the bigger the sensor the higher the quality of the results. all things being equal, larger sensors allow larger pixel size which helps produce lower noise and better color fidelity.  However recent improvements in sensor designs and camera processing firmware have reduced, substantially, the advantages of the larger sensors.  If your goal is the absolutely highest quality, go bigger, if the size and weight of your system is critical, (if you are elderly or hike and climb in extreme conditions), the small loss in quality may not be an issue.  In the early days of digital photography, noise was a real issue at high ISO on smaller sensors, today things are much better plus new software that reduces noise almost eliminates that concern.  Still,  for extreme pixel peepers, bigger is still better!


  Fujifilm APS-C Sensor – 16 mega pixels


How many mega pixels is enough, is more always better?  Let me give a practice example.  I did a very deep dive into my files recently to pick out the images over the past several years that I thought were my best images, the sharpest, best color, the ones I was most proud of!  I selected 30 images, all digital files, sorry my old film stuff doesn’t hold a candle to these in technical terms!  After getting all of them into file folder I looked at the exif data for each, to my shock 28 of the 30 were with the ten year old Fujifilm X-T1, a ten year old, 16 mega pixel camera, 2 were with the old 12 megapixel X10, even older than the X-T1.  Not 1 was from my newest XT5 a 40 mega pixel camera!!!  My conclusion is simple while mega pixels are nice, they don’t have a lot to do with making wonderful images!


16 mega pixels


Camera brand is very important.  Nope, most of the major makers of cameras today all make models that are capable, in the right hands of making exceptional images!


 iPhone 12 Pro Max


You should always use lenses from your camera manufacturer, avoid third party lenses!  That would have been true 25 years ago, but not today, makers like Tamron and Sigma both make exceptional lenses, and a number of the up and coming Chinese companies have select models that are great bargains.  Always test a lens so you may return it if it Dows not meet your standards, but there is more good glass today than ever!


Mike Moats image shot with Tamron Macro lens!


Which is more important, technic or equipment?  Rod Planck said it best “Technique beats equipment every time!”  Using great technic will do the most to improve your work and learning to see and slow down will make you a much better photographer!


This image by Jack Graham is the result of perfect timing,  It was shot with modest equipment, but Jack knows what he is doing and it shows!!!!!!


If I could only have one lens, which focal length would it be?  A 35mm equiv. with good speed, either a f 1.4 or f 2 widest aperture.  It is the most versatile lens I own and can work for a lot of different situations!


The 35mm has a very normal perspective!


Well, hope you enjoyed that, and I hope you will mix it up with me in the comments sections!





the pilgrim


1 week, 2 days ago 9
Posted in: blog


Amish families walking in Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains N.P.


First Happy Fourth of July!   Now I’m about to really get in the weeds on a faith based topic.  If you are one of a few atheists or agnostics that come here for time to time, thank you, but you might want to walk away on this one.  It might trigger you and that is not my intention, I just want to give some thoughts to those that really want to do what the title says!  Please feel free to come back I value your readership, you’re always welcome!


O.K. serious questions deserve serious answers.  So here goes.  


  1. Know your subject.  If you want to share meaningful things about our Lord and Savior, really get to know Him.  Read his word, pray and talk with Him, listen for His voice.  Ask Him to help you with your most difficult moments and your greatest victories too!  Never be afraid to ask Him, anything, after all, He willingly gave his life for you!  Ask him to use the Holy Spirit to guide you as you reach out to others in His name.
  2. If you ask him, He will answer.  Whenever you ask for His help, you will hear from Him. He will make it very clear how to take whatever action you’ve asked him about.  Now comes the hard part, Obey Him.  When you know in your heart the directions He has given you are truly from Him, do them without fear.  If He sends you, He will equip you and give you everything you need to complete His task, after all it’s not you. Christ is doing the mission, it is Him, you are His agent earth. Trust that no matter how you think things went, He is in control and He will bring the result He desires.  In other words when we are obedient, we have not failed, and never will!
  3. Always remember that this life is not about you!  To follow Christ we must use His walk on earth as an example.  He was always concerned about others, he was looking outward, not inward.  The world tells us that we are number 1 and that we have to take care of ourselves, trust that to Christ, who never fails, and the world always fails.  If He loved you enough to die for you, don’t you think He will watch over you, His precious child.
  4. Forgive everyone that has ever hurt you or mistreated you.  This is a tough one, but oh so necessary!  The biggest wall that stands between us and a deep abiding relationship with Jesus is our unforgiveness, of others and ourselves.  When we forgive others it opens the door to more joy and peace than you’ve ever known and it draws you even closer to your Heavenly Father.
  5. When you have great victories, and you will when you start truly serving Him,  ALWAYS give the Praise and Honor to Him.  It’s far more satisfying than trying to take credit for yourself, please believe me on this one!
  6. Treasure and love your family and friends, bothers and sisters in Christ.  The greatest joy in life will be those wonderful relationships that will continue on in heaven for Eternity!  These are some of God’s greatest gifts to you, honor and treasure them!

Forgive me for preaching to the choir, I know than many of you are already doing this every day, but if you haven’t yet, start today to have the best life of service you could ever hope for!  Thank you for letting me share what’s on my heart, after all, God gave me this assignment!






the pilgrim



2 weeks ago 17
Posted in: blog


Roadside barn art close to home!



“You gotta know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away, know when to run!”   fr0m The Gambler   –   Kenny Rogers


Thursday night there was a debate, and that’s all I’m going to say about that and the title of the blog entry is not actually about that, though it might be applied. No, this short blog entry is about knowing when it’s time, time to retire, time to admit that one phase of your life is coming to an end, knowing what to do when that reality hits!


For many, many years I drove over 700 miles a year to run photo workshops in most all the National Parks, then I drove and flew all over America working for Nikon as a Tech Rep, that was followed by another decade of traveling all over America to teach alongside my dear brother and friend, Jack Graham.  For the most part that is over.  I still do an occasional workshop or tour and I speak and teach when the opportunity arrives, but I’m finally actually retired!  There is a trick anyone facing this journey needs to learn, be sure you know what defines you!  For many men their profession is how they see themselves and when that is over they feel lost, because, well, they are not that anymore!


Some years ago I read a book that dealt with this situation and it has helped me tremendously!  The book asked you to ask yourself that, other than your chosen profession, what are the most important roles you’ve played in your life?  I came up with this:


I’m a follower and servant of Jesus Christ.

I’m a husband and father.

I’m a grandfather.

I’m friends with a number of great friends and Christian brothers and sisters.

I’m an amateur photographer who just enjoys the craft.

I’m a writer and love to share my thoughts with others through that writing.


That’s it.  The next question the book asked you to ask yourself is what are you not now that you once were?  That was easy, I’m no longer a professional, working photographer.  It was a was moment for me, that I realized most of what I love and am passionate about was still pat of my life!   That made it easy for me to transition into this new phase of life!


I’m happier than I’ve ever been, I find life still fulfilling and I still have much to learn and I really enjoy fellowship with the same friends I knew when I was working full time.  I have a few friends that have or will soon face this same situation, this is for them, I wish you as much or more peace and joy as I’m having!





the pilgrim

2 weeks, 4 days ago Comments Off on Fall Maine Coast Tour!
Posted in: blog

Nubble Lighthouse



If you has hoped to do a  workshop with me in 2024, this is your only chance!  I am joining Kirk Williamson for a tour of the Maine coast in prime Fall conditions!  October 23-27, 2024  We will tour some of the best lighthouse on the southern to mid Maine coast and also enjoy the wonderful New England Fall color!


We did this trip in the summer three years ago and we still get calls asking when we will offer it again!  So here it is!  It is limited to 10 students and we already have 5 signed up!  For detailed information and to sign up, contact Kirk Williamson at:  Cape Anne Tours/Kirk Williamson, or me at  Here are jut a few of the great locations we will visit!


Portland Head Lighthouse at sunrise.



Pemaquid Point Lighthouse



Pemaquid Point Lighthouse from the air, we teach Drone photography on this tour too!



Colorful boats in Cape Anne Harbor



Colorful chairs in a fishing village along the coast of Maine!




Hope you will join us for a great adventure this fall!




the pilgrim