Taking a Closer Look…….

 

It’s always an honor to stand in for Scott, and I’m already so indebted to him for his many acts of kindness to me, I better do a good job!!!!  Is that fear that I smell?  Something’s burning, must the gears in my mind!  Actually I do have an idea I think might work.  I just finished taping a two part Close-Up class for Kelby Training and spending weeks preparing for that studio shoot, I came up with an idea.  The point to any close-up class is to teach someone how to approach a close-up subject, and what techniques are needed to capture it effectively.  For this blog entry I would like to take the same concept and move it in a different direction,  looking more closely at life.  With your permission, I will sprinkle some close-up images throughout the entry.

The thing that is shocking about making a close-up image, especially one in which you get really close to your subject, is just how much detail you see, that you never realized was there.  The richness of many subjects is almost indescribable!  A very close look and life reveals much of the same textures that we don’t see in a quick glance.

Let me share a story that will help you understand how I came to have this “new” vision of life.  About thirty years ago, when I was 35 years of age, (I know I look much younger than 65!),  I was diagnosed with cancer, and was told I had about a 5% chance of surviving.  It was a devastating blow.  I was madly in love with my wife (still am!), I had three young children, and all my hopes for my life, and my career were only beginning.  I wish I could say that I was very brave, but, if the truth be told, it knocked me to my knees.  I went through the three common stages.  First, because I was a Christian,  I blamed God.  Why me?  With all the evil people in the world, surely he could have picked someone else!  It didn’t take very long to figure out that wasn’t a very good idea to go down that road.  Then I felt sorry for my self, but that too, soon wore thin.  Finally I just admitted that I was scared.  On the third night in the hospital after my surgery to remove the tumor, after my wife had gone home at my insistence, I simply prayed and asked God to give me the courage to face this disease with all the bravery he could supply, I simply didn’t want to make things even harder on my family than it was already going to be.   I further asked God if we could make a deal, I told Him I was sure he didn’t cut deals, and I was pretty sure I wasn’t eligible for one, even if He did.  But this was my offer; If He would allow me to live long enough to see my young children grown and not in daily need of a father, I wouldn’t serve Him every day for the rest of my life, I would serve Him every moment for the rest of my life.

After my prayer I felt a peace that passed all understanding, and slept well for the first time in several nights.

The next morning my doctor, who was also a dear friend, came into discuss the results of the pathology report with me.  He had a big smile on his face which certainly puzzled me.  He said, “Bill, I have some good news and some bad news.”  I asked for the bad news first,  he responded, “Bill the tumor we removed, about the size of man’s fist, was definitely cancer.”  My heart sank, then he said, “the good news is that it is not the kind of cancer we had feared, multi-strained, it was, instead a single strain form that was very curable, in fact he elevated my chances of survival to 95%!

I was, of course, overcome with joy.  Later when I had time to think about what had happened I had a revelation that changed my life forever.  First I wondered if my cancer, had in fact, been the kind my doctor and feared and God had changed it!?  With more thought I came to the understanding that it didn’t matter.  I came to realize that what I had just gone through has a technical term in heaven, a wake up call!

This is the hard part of my story to share, but if the story is to have any value, it must be shared, for I am certainly not proud of it.  I was a Christian and loved my wife and family, and tried to be a “good” man, but I had put myself in first place in my life.  I was obsessed with becoming a quote, “famous photographer”.  Looking back,  I now realize that I was insecure and felt I needed that to make me feel okay about myself.  It became apparent to me that during all my time, after I found out I had cancer, I never once thought about being a famous photographer.  All I could think about was missing growing old with Sherelene, and seeing my children grow up.  God had changed my priorities.  I made a solemn commitment to keep my word and serve Him every moment for the rest of my life.  I started by trying to be the best husband and father that I could be and, though I worked hard at being a good photographer, I no longer concerned myself with how my work, or I, for that matter, stacked up against all the others out there pursuing our shared career.  I had been cured of the desire for fame.

So what has all this led to?  I’m a happy man who experiences real peace and joy.  I love photography and have never enjoyed it more, it just is not how I see myself being defined now.  I now know that I’m defined by how much I love others, after all that’s what my Heavenly Father does, and by what kind of partner I am to my wife, father to my children and grandfather to my six grandchildren!  Did you catch that?  “6”, I’m so blessed! I enjoy life for the sheer joy of being here.  I know that my earthly treasure is family, friends, and many professional associates.  Most of all I delight in a daily walk with Him,  and the changes are not over.  Everyday I get new insight into how I can make life better for others, and in turn it makes my life better as well!

Am I preaching?  Absolutely not!  I’m just like a man that saw and incredible movie and can’t wait to tell everyone they meet, “You’ve got to see this film!”  Every dream I ever had for my life, and career, and many more, have all come true, except the famous photographer part!  I finally realized that they don’t really exist!  Elvis was famous. The best a photographer can ever hope for is recognition, or respect among their peers.  I’ve found something worth a great deal more, a life worth living and sharing with others.

So sometimes, it’s a good thing to look a little closer……….

May your adventures of looking closer, richly bless you,

Bill Fortney

Galatians 2:20

You can see more of Bill’s work over at BillFortney.net, and keep up with him over at his Pilgrim’s Chronicles blog. If you’d like to get in touch with him, just send an email to billfortney@earthlink.net

About The Author

147 Comments

  1. Bill is CAKB….literally.

  2. Bill,

    You are truly a Witness and an inspiration to many! Thanks to Scott Kelby for letting you share your personal story with us.

  3. Thanks so much for being willing to share a story like this. A little perspective when it’s sorely needed.

  4. Hello Bill!

    It is always a pleasure reading your articles and those that you post on your blog! I also admire your faith. I work for a Christian non-profit here in the Philippines as a Corporate Communications guy, but you communicate your story in the most awesome ways. God bless you!

  5. Great post, truly inspirational!

  6. Awesome! Stopped me in my tracks and made me think about my priorities. Thank you. Great post.

  7. Inspiring post. Bill reminds me of Santa :)

  8. Bill, thanks for sharing your story, brother. Truly inspiring and encouraging!

    John

  9. Excellent post! First time I’ve ever been brought to tears by a blog post! God Bless you!

  10. Bill,

    Thanks for sharing. You are truly an inspiration to the rest of us. Galatians 2:20 fits you like a glove – a glove that you wear with pride. Keep up the great work.

    Ian

  11. Bill

    What a wonderful heartfelt expression. I have not followed you up to this point. I watched your tutorial on Kelby a few weeks ago and enjoyed it but I can tell you I will read your work everyday now.

    Thanks for your inspiring and wonderful message.

    Best Regards,
    Dave

    • Thanks to all,
      It encourages me to know that my sharing such a deeply personal story is received in the way I prayed it would be. My only goal is to honor my commitment to the Man that has given me everything. Sincerely, thank you all again……

  12. Bill, you are shining light! Thanks for sending your Rays my way.
    J. Paul

  13. Let me be honest…this made me cry like a baby! At age 37 with two wonderful boys and a wife I can’t love enough I needed confirmation that they are my richest blessing. I stopped chasing the so called dream of fame and fortune about 5 years ago and began working as a missionary first in Europe and now in South Africa. I am just in the process of relocating my little clan to North Carolina where I will be heading up a missions sending agency. Bill, your article was a word from God for me! Thank you for boldness and courage to share it! Scott, thank you for allowing Bill your platform to share it from. You guys are CAKB!

  14. Great post Bill. Im glad you kicked the cancer.

    So looking forward to your close up class. I watched your Intimate Landscape class the other day and love it.

  15. Bill,
    What an inspiring testimony. It’s so rare to hear a professional speak of their faith nowadays, not just in photography but any field for that matter. And you did it so eloquently and all the time giving the glory to the Lord. One of the things that got me excited about Scott’s books was how he always ends his Acknowledgments thanking God and giving Him the glory too. I can identify with your confession of your struggle to be a good husband and father while at the same time being faithful to your calling. I still struggle with that and just pray that I’m coming close to the Lord’s expectations. He deserves our best. If you ever make it to the northeast of Brazil I’d love to show you around. Grace and peace. Dennis

  16. Thanks. It’s good, in this day and age, to see a guy willing to put his heart proudly on his sleeve for all to see. Great story. Brought a tear to my eye (actually many). May you and your family have many more cancer free years.

  17. Bill sure is CAKB :)

    And what a great story – I’m glad you made it through cancer back then!!

    Also looking very much forward to your upcoming Kelby classes, I enjoyed your previously two classes.

  18. Bill, great posting. Thank you for sharing your story. I am continally humbled by the character of the people behind the camera. I have always thought that the best photographers are great because of who they are as human beings. You are no exception. While it is better to be a great man than a great photographer, you are blessed with both attributes.

  19. Thank you Bill for your testimony! God gets the glory through how you live! Keep shining the Light!!

    Your friend from Russia :)

  20. Well done, sir. Wonderful post. Thank you for sharing your story. You are making a difference.

  21. Great testimony, Bill. Spiritual awakening makes us look much closer, inside and out, doesn’t it?

  22. Yes, to God alone be the glory. Thank you Bill for telling your testimony. And how refreshing to read a real personal story, a nice diversion from the technical stuff that usually occupies our profession. As a missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators, I’ll be working in Africa as a photojournalist. And even though I love photography and the gadgetry of cameras, it’s all about Him and His glory as we take His word to the nations, and I need to remember that in my work. As Steven Curtis Chapman sang “I want to make much of You”.
    Oh, after looking at your website, have you considered In-And-Out Burger in SoCal? Didn’t see them rated on your pickels scale.

  23. I’m 35 and my 3rd child is about to burst forth so reading of someone in this position given a 5% chance of survival was a punch to the gut. Not the first punch in the gut I’ve received, my brother passed away when he was only 27. Life seems to have a way of reminding us that it is beyond our control. Another reason to never take a single day for granted. I try to constantly remind myself of this, but sometimes in the busy whir of life it’s easy to forget. Thanks for providing that reminder today Bill! So glad Grandpa Fortney could guest blog today!

    “Get busy living, or get busy dying.” — The Shawshank Redemption

    Cheers all,
    Greg

  24. Bill,
    I always look forward to your posts. I wish I had the ability to describe the wonder of our Lord the way you do in words and images. Thanks for being so open and for reminding us of the real source of our talent.
    Russell

  25. Bill, thanks so much for sharing your story. It really resonated with me. After losing My parents and siblings, I know to cherish every moment, but too often forget to do so. You, sir, have reminded me to get with it. Thank you. And thanks Scott for letting this message to be shared on your blog.

  26. Fabulous testimony. Glad you’re in the kingdom! :) We all need such a wake up call at times.

  27. Thanks Bill. That post definitely spoke to me, and it was a reminder that I really needed to hear right now.

  28. Very touching Bill. God bless!

  29. The one thing that I absolutely love about Bill Fortney is that you can see every bit of that love and passion in everything he does. He just fills a room with it.. and fills all of his pictures with it as well… An absolute privilege, Bill.. an absolute privilege.

    RC

    • To all,
      I’m out west for my tenth day of a 20 day trip, just woke up and got back on the blog to see how it was going. It touches me deeply to see your responses. I’m truly thankful for His light in my life, and that when it is shared, it never comes back void. Thank you again for your kindness to respond.

      I’m guided by a great quote from the movie Rudy. When Rudy is in fear of not being able to stay in school at Notre Dame and asks for help, the old Catholic Priest says, “Son I’ve been involved in religious studies for over 30 years and I’ve discovered only two undeniable facts, there is a God, and I’m
      not Him.”

      Enough said………

    • And it’s a pleasure to know you as a friend R.C. an absolute pleasure…….

      BF

  30. Thank you Bill. What an inspiration you are both as a great photographer and as a person.

  31. Thanks Bill for sharing and being so open with us. I really needed to hear that, it’s funny how that works out sometimes.

    God bless. :)

  32. Beautiful story and beautiful photos. God bless you!

  33. Thanks for sharing Bill.

    Being aware of what exactly it is we are doing in this life (The reasons we are here) is what makes hero’s. Sharing that awareness and insight with others is what makes legends.

    So I’d say your a hero and a legend, Bill. Not because of your amazing photography (reason enough in my opinion.) but because you are a sharing/caring child of the King.

    Thanks again for sharing today, I was encouraged… Blessings.

  34. Terrific post today, Bill. A great story and pictures. I have really enjoyed your classes on Kelby Training, and hope to see more.

    Thanks for sharing.

    –John

  35. I . . . uh . . . didn’t actually READ the post. I just scrolled through it looking at the pretty pictures. And then I got distracted because one Bill’s pictures is very similar to one of MY pictures. So I went and wrote about that over on MY blog.

    (The post is at http://www.twodoebs.com if anybody’s interested in looking at the similarity!)

    When I came back to post a track-back, I scrolled through everybody else’s comments and realized the sensitivity of the words that were actually written. A nice story, indeed.

  36. This is a great post. Very uplifting and gives one desire and passion to do what they love, not for the job but for a personal purpose.

    Thanks, Glenn N

  37. Bill, it’s been a privilege for Carolyn and I to have been on two of your photographic workshops. We can certainly testify that you provide inspiration in both photography and, especially, how to live a good life.

  38. Bill, that was a great post. I lead a photography club at a Christian High School and I am looking forward to sharing this with them!!

  39. What a great post, Bill. So insightful and honest. Nothing like a bit of cancer to get us in line :-). I went through cancer last year and am 1 year clean now but it really does shift your priorities (if you are smart and learn from it!). It makes you treasure all those important moments with your family and friends (and, it makes me not want to take any crap from anyone too, which is great, haha).

    Take care, thanks for sharing.

  40. Thank you, Bill, for that wonderful post. Your words and example are more than a few thoughts and a bit of writing…you have touched many people. Certainly me. This is a great reminder, and even a wake up call of sorts, for me of what matters most. To know God and make Him known.

    I’ve known of you for years, but it’s a pleasure to know this about you now. Thanks again for sharing it!

  41. In my opinion, Bill Fortney is the greatest living landscape photographer period.

  42. Thank you Bill for such a touching post. This brought a tear to my eye of the good kind, and really vibes with where I’ve been trying to get to with my life and photography. I needed to hear this today. Thank you a million times over. :)

  43. Bill,

    Even though you had mentioned to me your concern about how this post would be received, the replies above clearly show our prayers have been answered. In keeping your promise to God you are touching so many others. Well done!

    – Ray

  44. Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring testimony!! And, God bless Scott Kelby for being brave enough to post it.

  45. After reading a blog post last week by a very well-known photographer, I became very discouraged. In short, the blog post suggested the necessity to take risks—especially in these difficult times—siting several costly ventures, a few of which paid off.

    In discussing this with my wife, both of us found the concept ludicrous, at best, given our current situation. I have been out of full-time work for 20 months in a town with a+25% unemployment rate. I have been able to continue to do enough graphic design work for my previous employer (and a couple other small projects/clients) to pay bills and pay off credit cards to become debt free. My wife has a decently-paying solid job, but isn’t quite enough to cover the monthly needs (not ‘wants’).

    We feel extremely blessed to be where we are (bills paid, roof over our heads, food on the table), as we know many who have lost a great deal over the last few years. To us, the suggestion to throw caution to the wind is mind boggling.

    It is with this background that I truly appreciate Mr. Fortney’s post today. While I have been inspired and excited by previous guest bloggers on Scott’s site, none have hit home like this one.

    As a fellow Christian, the Good Book instructs us to be good financial stewards, responsible citizens, and dedicated parents. Mr. Fortney’s posting today reminded me of what my priorities should.

    This post comes at an ideal time, as not only was I discouraged by the post mentioned above, but I have also been extremely frustrated by my inadequacy as a photographer/designer and inability to acquire the photo hardware I feel necessary to improve my skills (I’m sorry, but a 7 year old D70, and 5-12 year old lenses just don’t cut it).

    So, thank you Mr. Fortney for such an inspirational post, reminding me of what truly is important, and to Scott for having Mr. Fortney guest blog today! May God bless both of you!

    • KC,
      God has a plan, even though He is under no obligation to tell us what it is, rest assured it is for your good not your harm. If He loved us enough to give up His Son for us, He will never fail to meet our needs, and in due
      Time,nthevdesires of our heart!

      bf

  46. I have a friend going through cancer at the moment who’s just hit 30. I must confess I never know what to say to her; i just take photos of her and her family having fun. She has the most beautiful little boy.

  47. Bill,

    Thanks for sharing your story and your faith with us. Both are inspiring!

  48. This was a nice post and I’m sorry for what you have gone through, but maybe you should give more credit to the men and women that got you healthy for your family and praise them, instead of praising an idea. Your cancer was what it was because that’s how biology works, it didn’t change over night. You’ve spent time watching your family because of the people that dedicated their lives to helping others. I’m not a doctor, btw.
    Take care,
    Drew

    • Drew,
      I could not agree with you more on the wonderful health care professionals that did the surgery, the radiation treatments, and helped me back to health. My wife is a nurse practitioner and I have the highest respect for those who care for us. So, yes credit is given to all those great folks in spades! I certainly know that cancer is a natural process that some people unfortunately have to face. In my case I’m thankful I did not have to face it alone.

      I learned a great lesson about what matters in life. Having said all of that, God is real, God’s love is real, and His concern for us is real. The only way I can prove it is to ask someone to see the result of those facts, in and on my life.

      In Him,

      Bill

      • Nice photos, Bill. And I’m glad you were able to beat cancer and identify your family as a priority over fame. Very important to keep those priorities in line. No doubt, that was a very difficult, emotional time in your life.

        Since others are allowed to quote scripture, I wonder if I’d be allowed to quote some Nietzsche: “A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.” Please don’t take that wrong. I simply mean that faith in almost any god can cause people to make major changes. Prayer to almost any god can lead to inner peace. So how does one differentiate placebo effect from “God helping them”?

  49. Thanks for sharing your story. A great reminder of who and what is important in life:)
    Jeremiah 29:11

  50. I think I have to disagree with you Bill. You are famous! I see it, that if someone mentions your name to someone else in talking then you are regarded famous. I was writing a paper on textures and where to photograph and while doing my assignment I remembered seeing your training video on Scott Kelby’s website and I had to use your training tips as a reference. So you see you are famous and I mentioned this to a few hundred students at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh where I am currently studying.

    I love your work and when photographing I try and remember what you taught. Also love your inspiring story. God Bless you and I wish you all the best for a continued healthy life.

    Denzil

  51. Just maybe your photography is your calling, telling the rest of us to stop and take a look around us and give thanks for what we do have.

  52. Hi Bill,
    Thanks for such a real meaningful story, one that brought tears of happiness to my eyes. This blog post for Scott made today a better day for me.
    Will you be at Photoshop World in Vegas in September? If so, I want to meet you and shake your hand. :)
    Thanks again,
    Mike

  53. Mr. Fortney, I want to add my thanks to you for honoring the Lord with your life and your work. He is to be praised in all that we do, and many of us who walk with the Savior need that reminder from someone whose work we admire. Again, to HIM be the glory, but my thanks to you!

  54. Wonderful story and images, Bill. It strikes me that your photography is high service. By illuminating our world in all its glory, you not only inspire gratitude in those who believe in a creator, but stir wonder in those who wish to consider the possibility. There’s no telling how many converts you’ve bagged.

  55. Great images Bill, love them all, especially the frog under the leaf.

    I am a Zen Buddhist, not a Christian, but the feelings are the same.
    When I was younger, I searched for miracles, now, everywhere I look and everything
    I see is a miracle, and that‘s what inspires me to work, creating images of this
    miraculous globe that is our home.

    Thanks for sharing your story and inspiring others about what’s truly important in this life.
    We all need a reminder at times.

  56. Absolutely the best guest post SK has ever hosted!!! Thank you, Bill, for your transparent testimony about where our priorities need to be, and for sharing the work and talent God has blessed you with!

  57. Bill, what an awesome inspiring story. Thank you for sharing it. God Bless you and your family.

  58. I have heard him speak and tell most of his story. When he presents, he has many slide shows and he just lets them speak for themselves. You know you are a pretty good photographer when you don’t have to worry about others. You are just you and you stand out from the crowd because of your self worth and confidence. Bill, thank you! – Graham Hedrick

    • Thanks Graham, but the self worth is based on what He has done for me,
      the confidence is because of my confidence in Him. I appreciate the kind
      words.

  59. Bill – YOU are a preacher, that is why the Lord used you be grateful brother, God uses those that obey, I don’t need to tell you about Jonah. I’m blessed to read your story. Thank you. God has blessed you and then blessed me.

  60. Bill – outstanding I’m one of those who spends way too much time trying to be a famous photographer instead of looking at the small details in life as seen thru our lenses. I’ve always enjoyed your work and now that I know the foundation you have built your life and photography on I am truly inspired to try to approach my photography with a far less selfish attitude.

  61. Bill, so many of us are blessed with your friendship. Thanks.

  62. Hey Bill…..when are you taking to the skies again? Your images from the powered parachute were nothing short of stunning.

    Richard

    • Richard, I have a new plane and hope to get it in the air a lot in June and July when my schedule finally slows down some. Stay tuned, and thanks for your kind words.

  63. Best post on the Kelby blog … Ever. I know a lot of photographers that were totally absorbed by their work that they lost their families. This is a nice reminder of what is important in life.

  64. Thanks, Bill, for sharing your story so compellingly. It strikes me that your photography, too, qualifies as high service for the way it stirs wonder at so much of life’s beauty and mystery.

  65. Bill… great post. Thanks for being my friend!

    • That is an honor, and a pleasure for me, no man could be more fortunate
      than to have a friend like you. I’ve got two of the best bosses and friends
      a man could ask for in you and Bill. Now if I could just remember passwords!

  66. Thanks Scott for allowing Bill to share his heart!
    Bill, you are truly an inspiration and mentor to me! You’ll never know, this side of heaven, what a Godly example you have been to me. You have blazed a trail for us, showing us all how to be strong Christians, loving husbands/wives, good parents, faithful friends, and exceptional photographers! You are the real deal my friend! Thanks for sharring!

    • Tim,
      I’m embarrassed because I could have written exactly the same about you.
      What I love most about you is you may be the only person that wouldn’t
      recognize that description as being yourself. Your modesty and humble spirit,
      humbles me. Bless you brother, and thank you for those kind and much appreciated words.

  67. Bill,
    The thing about macro photography is it makes us slow down and your post made me slow down today and share it with others. By His grace your light is shining a bit brighter, thank you brother for sharing your faith.
    Your friend from Showcase

  68. My favor Bible verse is Proverbs 3:6, KJV ” In all thy your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Bill lives his live this way. He puts God first and the rest just falls into place. The response to Bill post today does not surprise me, I sorta expected it. I live in the same town as Bill and the Lord put us together about three years ago. Scott K. will tell you the same thing that God will put people in your life at just the right time. Thanks Scott for allowing our friend to be your guest blogger. I have a feeling it might happen again somewhere on down the road. Bill, we love you man……. great job.

    • Jim, God has blessed me with many wonderful people, all of whom have enriched my life! You, my brother sit near the top of the list, I admire the witness of your life, our friendship, and fellowship, and even though you can’t seem to believe it, I greatly enjoy your incredible talent as a shooter. Thank you for being my friend. Here’s to many more great adventures in the future!

      Bill

  69. Thank you Bill for sharing you story and your faith. It is easy to believe in God but not always easy to believe God. Your story shows what God can accomplish in our lives if we let Him. Thanks again for the inspiration and thank you Scott for giving Bill a platform.

  70. Thanks so much more this post Bill. Truly inspirational and touching!

  71. Bet post ever! Thanks Scott for not being ashamed to let this post appear on your blog!

  72. Thanks for the inspiring words Bill, it is nice to see Christians with the ability and willingness to share their story to the world.

    That spider web with the dew drops is awesome.

  73. Absolutely a marvelous post….an honor to call your friend and even more to share all the great, great conversations we are so fortunate to share! Cya behind the camera…tomorrow :-)

  74. Great job, Bill. You are a photographic and spiritual inspiration to us all. Thanks for letting me be a part of your amazing circle of friends. Keep shootin’
    Chuck

  75. Your words are a powerful tribute to the Creator you honor with your images. May He bless you and keep you!

  76. Thanks for sharing your testimony. To God be the glory! We share the same life verse!

  77. Hey Bill…your excellence as a photog and a human being make Annie and I proud to be your friends, and proud to be part of this nutty endeavor called taking pictures. That long awaited trip to Kentucky to see you and Shirlene will happen, and soon….Joe

  78. There is nothing that would thrill us more! I really treasure anytime we all get together,
    Give Anne our love!

  79. My deepest thanks to ALL who responded on this post, your encouragements means more than you could ever know. May all the glory and honor go to Him………..

    BF

  80. Awesome story Bill! It’s all about an intimate relationship with the Father isn’t it? Your photography is stunning! Love the macro shots. Thanks for sharing.

  81. What a great testimony. Thanks for sharing.

  82. Thanks for sharing here Bill. Good to meet you at SWPJC and hope to see you again soon.

  83. Amazing photos. Amazing story. Not surprising at all, coming from the amazing Mr. Bill Fortney. Thanks Bill for sharing

  84. Awesome post Bill — thanks for sharing your testimony and the great reminder about keeping our priorities in check, and Christ at the center of it all. (And the as always, amazing shots!)

    Never has a man laid upon his death bed stating, “I wish I had spent less time at home with my family, and more time at the office”.

    Instead so often we hear lament of years lost and wasted neglecting loved ones while clawing one’s way up the corporate ladder, or in desperate search of fleeting fame and fortune.

    Learning to try to keep priorities straight _before_ time has run out is nothing less than a gift from the Lord God.

  85. Bill- what a testimony, Praise God! Thank you so much for sharing it, it’s very encouraging. Your perspective of who you are and Who’s you are is obvious and such a great reminder as I begin my journey into photography, keeping in mind it’s simply a gift from the Father!

  86. You take all the good and touching comments already,I must say that i like one of your quote-
    “I love photography and have never enjoyed it more, it just is not how I see myself being defined now”
    Wish you happy life.

    • Photo bags,
      It’s really true, photography has become more fun than ever! No pressure to meet anyone’s expectations, just to be better at the craft every new day than the day before! Giving up the ego attachment also let’s you be genuinely happy for others that do it well or better than yourself, which is good, because there are so many great shooters out there today!!!!
      Never thought it could ever be this much fun!!??

      Bf
      bf

  87. Bill,
    Your guest blog touched me so much I sent it to about a dozen of my non-photog friends. It is marvelous and humbling to see a real man stand up for Jesus. God bless you brother. BTW, I first ran across you and your work a few years ago and loved your website. Nikon shooter from Kentucky who values cheeseburgers got to me. Keep up the good fight. Blessings….. -jack

  88. Thanks Bill for the lovely photos and the heartfelt and inspiring story. Thanks for sharing!

    Enjoy the day,

    August

  89. Thanks for sharing your story. It really struck home with me. Like you, I really enjoy close-up photography (although a lot of fiends and family often want me to photograph other things.) As you pointed out, those close-ups give you an appreciation for the beautiful things in the world that people normally don’t see.

    I am about your age, and just a little over 18 months ago I was diagonsed with cancer. My faith as well as the support of my significant other (a nurse & nursing professor), my family, and a great medical team, I am doing well.

  90. Hi Bill,
    What a treasure and blessing it is to have known you and shared such a joyful friendship for these 20 years. You’ve made me a better person and better photographer by your inspiration and example. A great message. Continue His good work!

  91. What a great surprise to wake up to your post on a Saturday morning blog reading catch-up! It is a wise man that considers his foundation wisely. Too many photographers have built upon a foundation of fame and pride. I have definitely gone that route in the past. God’s love for us is indeed real and a sure foundation to build upon.

    • I hope you are well, and blessed my brother. You’ve bee one of God’s foundational rocks for me, for a long part of this journey. I could only hope to ever give so much of myself as you have to the Kingdom! Give your bride and family my love……. Our lessons have come hard, but are well worth the price!

      bf

  92. Hi Bill, Enjoyed your post on NAPP. And its so true about the foundations of life. I agree that being the best you can as to family and work (that doesn’t seem like work) is the ideal. Hope to see you in Aug.
    Chuck D

    • Some things are worth a tear, like my, maybe, not getting a signed copy of RC’s new book!!!!!!!

      Bill

      A new person steps up to the plate tomorrow, thanks to all of you for a fantastic ride this week, God Bless you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  93. Bill… What a wonderful story!

    I can not even begin to express how much your story means, as it is an almost exact duplicate of a story that centers around my birth and my mother actually passing away, pronounced dead and coming back to life after telling God that she only asked him to allow her to raise her child to know him…

    It was a true miracle and I can tell you, I would not have ever known my mother if it were not for that miracle. All the doctors were stunned and could not believe what had happened; they told my grandparents and father that she would be non-responsive for the remainder of her life due to the amount of time she was lifeless. Even more stunning to them, when she awoke (i think weeks later), she was perfectly fine… Not a glimpse of anything!

    She is without a doubt the most caring person I have ever known and has given so much for my success in life… She is devoted to everyone around her and never asks for anything in return. More importantly, the relationship she has with my daughter is one that would have never been possible.

    I commend you for sharing your story… It is truly an amazing one! By the way, I think we will all agree, you are an amazing photographer.

    • Paul,
      By our wonderful and amazing story thrills me as well!! Folks this guy, Paul Abellnis a killer sports shooter, I’m proud to call him a buddy! Thanks for sharing with us Paul, now if they will solve the lock out we can get back on the field this fall!!!!!

      Bill

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