Saturday, October 23, 2010

Seated For Graduation Ceremony

Graduation Day

Flying Over To Your Neighbor's Place

Jazzin' With Gene

Happy Jazz Saturday! This week give a listen to a piano player that always makes ya feel good. Don't run away too early. Let this song build on ya and let the incredible Gene Harris blow the doors off with his version of the great jazz standard, "Summertime". Ray Brown introduces Gene. I wish I could have met these jazz greats. Ray is perhaps the most recorded bass player in the jazz history due to his long standing career with Canadian great piano artist, Oscar Peterson. Hope you all have an awesome weekend.
NikonSniper Steve

Friday, October 22, 2010

Packed For Fort Sam Houston


Tara received word late last night that she will ship out at 1AM to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. Words can not describe the gammit of emotions captured by my camera lenses. Some of the photos will be shared here on NikonSniper. Some of the very best moments were only captured by our eyes and ears. They are memories of great pride in our daughter and in the men and women that serve us all. These moments will be cherished by us forever.
Tara will now enter another chapter of her military life. Advanced Individual Training or AIT begins this week. We understand this will be roughly 19 weeks. Tara's world gets a little bigger every day. We covet your continued prayers for her life and safety. Thank you so much for all the kind thoughts and words you have shared with us as we enter the Army family life in new ways.
God bless all of you who minister to us in these ways. Tara has had no internet access during basic training and so she is getting to read all of your comments on several posts made since Memorial Day for the very first time this weekend. You are priceless! Thanks.
NikonSniper Steve

Basic Training? We Can Do It TWO TIMES!

Military Hellos And Goodbyes

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I Just Got SKooled In Photography Again!

Based on the response to various posts over this summer, I would say that I have discovered that Bloggies really want ya to say stuff. I guess I'd rather just post the photos and walk away but so many comments thank me for the writing. I really don't know why writing stuff seems so difficult for me because, if you knew me ... you would know that I can go on and on about life's minutiae. I have full command of my ability to misspell the King's English.

I’d just rather think that a picture is worth just short of a thousand words ... which means that I have now written my version of War and Peace on this blog. As for the photos, I know I continue to search for new and better ways to shoot things ... but sometimes I hit mental blocks and want to throw my camera against the wall because it all feels the same. The idea of travel to new places always seems to motivate me to charge the batteries and get me ready to shoot again.

Tonight, I have to share a recent find with you. One of my new followers really skooled me in photography. Check out the photos from the Jackal. Do yourself a favor and page back into the older posts at the bottom of the pages. This is a really gifted photographer! I sit and look at these and have a great appreciation for the patience required to shoot like this. Enjoy! Many of you inspire me in this very same way. I enjoy a new look at the world through your eyes.

So, if you find yourself in a photographic rut ... look at what others are doing ... and keep on shootin’!

NikonSniper Steve

Our Army Basic Training Graduate


The summer just keeps on chugging along. WELL, I had to get the lawn cut today between the rain. There was no getting around it ... it absolutely had to be done.
Our lawnboy son, Kyle has returned to Northern Illinois University for his senior year in Engineering. Yes, it does seem kinda early to be heading back to school ... however, Kyle is one of many dorm floor sheriffs (so to speak) ... so every year he heads back a few weeks before the regular students arrive. They review past problems and continue to train them on how to stop a riot with paper and pencil. As a Dad, I guess I am glad he learned how to stop small wars by the more conventional Irish ways as well. But, his CA job is paying his way through school so I guess it's important to be a diplomat with all. I am just saying ... if a biting incident occurs ... he has already learned not to pull away ... rather feed the biter more and more and more. Well, you get it!
So anway, today, it was I who had to climb aboard our 26HP tractor to cut the lawn. Some of you are thinking ... "Real men push the mower!" Well, you'd have to see my yard and experience the mosquitos this year. When you start cutting ... you better keep moving.
We have had a ton of rain all summer and that is adding to the problem. Corn around here was 7 feet high by the fourth of July. That's a little psycho! Part of our yard remains under an inch or two of water and the ground is extremely soft.I called my son about cutting today because he cuts all summer and I guess I was looking for advice and he says ... "Just cut through the water Dad, ... the tractor will just blow through it." It never really bothers me to watch him drive through it ... because I know if he gets stuck he can rock that 800 lb. horse out of the mud. I think he didn't get that my main concern wasn't if the tractor could take it ... it was how long would it be stuck there until he got home to dig it out. So I didn't get the whole yard cut today. Just the dryer portions. Getting the lawn cut is important ... because a few of us will take a quick trip to Fort Sill in Oklahoma to see our daughter Tara graduate from Army Basic Combat Training. She will head to Fort Sam Houston within hours of her graduation to begin her 68 Whiskey or 68W Field Medic Training.
Tara was able to get off the military base for a few hours today and she sent us this photo of her in her beret. She left us on Memorial Day and has survived the heat and obstacles laid before her. As you might suspect, her whole family in Woodstock, IL is proud of her and we all look forward to seeing her again.
Some of the things I heard in phone calls and read in letters from Tara this summer will never be forgotten. I guess it seemed strange to hear about her experiences in a gas chamber, throwing grenades, the rifle range, drills and PT at 0400. Tara said in her last letter that they didn't know what to do with themselves when they had a whole hour to kill prior to a meal. She said she could now sleep anywhere and in any position. She described the longest hundred yards of her life while crawling under and over barb wire and logs while being under fire at night. Repelling towers, hand to hand combat, and sneaky games galore. I just couldn't believe this was my daughter. It just sounded wierd ... like ... "Dad, everyone knows ya don't shut off the engine when ya park the tank." It'll never be totally understood that this is my little girl.
Congratulations Tara. We love you and will see you soon!
Love, Mom & Dad and the rest of us!

Family Day! Hooo-AHHH!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Was It Something I Said?

Did you ever have one of those days when you received 41 useless emails offering you everything you DON'T want? You know, ... offers that include everthing from identity protection and discount cruises to aluminum siding for your brick house. Obviously, ... It's the summer! Not as many significant emails. Our regular informers and many of you are just looking in on NikonSniper on the fly between swimming pools and patio barbeques. And I don't blame ya! I had messages this week from some of you traveling on vacation. I had an e-mail from someone that said they were trying to get on NikonSniper for 20 minutes in a hotel lobby. Now, that's a compliment! There always seems to be a line for computer access in a hotel lobby. Everyone arrives at the same time to check their email.
Well, I hope there has been a well deserved lull in the action over the past few weeks because you are getting to do things you can't do in bad weather. I hope you are all taking in the summer! I know it's officially summertime when 3/4 of my emails are offers for Viagra. UH, ... Was it something I said? Who puts you on that list? I also think it's funny that the same e-mail address sends these things every 15 minutes ... as if to say, How 'bout now?
Well, I pray all your travels are safe. May you inhale some relaxation ... even if you can only manage to find those moments in the midst of everything else going on in your everyday life. God desperately wants you to hear Him. It's a lot harder to hear Him if we are always running with an iPOD blaring in our ears. We all need to find stillness. I'm praying you find times to relax, read His word and think for a bit!
God bless you all.
NikonSniper Steve