Saturday, January 10, 2009

Contest In Celebration of 2000 Followers

Need extra storage space? Make sure you enter this NikonSniper contest. You could be the lucky winner of a brand new "Western Digital - My Passport Essential 200GB External USB 2.0 Hard Drive" just for being a NikonSniper follower.

That's right! In the next few days we will cross the 2000 follower milestone (only 24 to go as of January 9) and in an effort to say thanks we will have a drawing for a 200 Gig Hard Drive.

Contest rules are simple!
1. You must be a follower of the NikonSniper blog.
2. Respond to THIS post in the comments with the request, "Please enter me in the NikonSniper 2000 contest."
3. The winner will be announced within days of crossing the 2000 follower milestone.

I wish I could hand out these hard drives to all of you ... but I am just an "old dude" with a few extra bucks, not one of Americas big banks that rips people off hand over fist. (Oh, That was an intended political statement.) Anyway, I am really thankful for your kinds words and comments while I'm at home and on the road and I just want to say thanks with this contest. Thanks to all of you. I hope you enjoy your time here. God bless!

NikonSniper Steve

NikonSniper 4000 Follower Drawing

Don't miss your chance to win extra storage space? Make sure you enter this NikonSniper drawing for a chance to win a Western Digital – My Passport Essential SE 1TB External USB Portable Hard Drive.

ON TUESDAY, September 13th.
Stay tunned for announcement of winner!
Thanks to ALL of you.

As I have said before, I wish I could give these to everyone to say thanks properly but I haven’t won a lottery yet. Your comments on this blog and all over the Internet on your own blogs about NikonSniper have been very encouraging and indeed humbling. Believe me, … I know I am not quite the photographer as some of you proclaim … but it is so nice to know it is appreciated. Many thanks to all of you.

Contest rules are simple!
1. You must be a listed follower of the NikonSniper blog. After the drawing, I will check to see if the winner is in the list of followers.
2. Respond to THIS post in the comments with the request, “Please enter me in the NikonSniper 4000 contest.”
3. Wait patiently. The winner will be drawn within days of crossing the 4000 follower milestone.

YES, you can win ... no matter where you are in the world. If you have an address we can send it to you.

We have now had a winner in California of a 1TB Hard Drive and a winner of a 200GB Hard Drive was from far eastern Canada. And that’s like … way out there, EH! So, you can win no matter where on earth you live … unless of course, if you are one of my relatives. I don’t like kissin’ yer sister with a favor, so to speak.

Thanks again to all of you who make this blog interesting. You provide the words and meaning to many of the photos captured in my moments on the road. I have mentioned many times in the past that I do not comment on many photos on the blog because I like to hear what they mean to you without me explaining much about the photo. You all have a very different thoughts or stories remembered by the same photo and that’s where this blog truly becomes yours too!

Good luck and God bless you all!
NikonSniper Steve

Welcome PASTORS!

Hello Pastors and Worship Leaders
Welcome to NikonSniper!

I am just an old pastor’s kid trying to help you serve the Lord in any way I can from a distance. This website is full of photos I have taken over the years. Many are perfect for illustrations from your pulpit. There are also hundreds and hundreds of photos showing the beauty displayed in God’s creation that may be used in many worship settings. Obviously we worship the Creator, ... not creation. The photos are yours to use for the glory of Jesus Christ. Not to sell ... but for use in your churches, church websites, bulletins for anything that would bring praise, honor and worship to our King!

The best way to find something throughout this site is to drop down on the right hand side column till you see a category called "Labels". Search for a heading that might best fit your situation. If you click on that category you will get a display to scroll down for your search. Bear in mind that only about 50 photos will display at any one time. At the bottom of that page, you can continue searching within the same category by clicking on “Older Posts”.

At the current time you will see categories like Abstract (750), Animals (212), Birds (284), Flowers (285), Landscapes (670), Text (256), Waterscapes (648), Wildlife (166), etc. This displays the category heading as well as the number of photos available at this time within that category.

Note that "Texts" include things I have written on this blog regarding photography and my faith and walk with Christ. May God bless you as you serve Him!

In Christ!
NikonSniper Steve

If you are interested, you can learn more about how this whole thing started here.
By all means ... tell others! NikonSniper is for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Weddings - Portraits - Commercial - Special

Ordering Prints Delivered to your Door
Paypal Info Coming Soon
Photos are printed on Kodak Professional paper and delivered direct to your home.
You will get the full image available. What you see is what you get! Sizes are approximate.

8" x 12" - $17
12" x 18" - $26
16" x 24" - $37

Send email to
1. Title of photo.
2. Size of print.
3. Shipping address.

(Paypal info coming soon)

More Photographic Service Information

Wedding Photography by Arrangement
We will tailor make a wedding package to fit your needs. 
Book in advance to secure your special day. I can also shoot as a second photographer. Call or email to check available dates and to discuss a package that would best fit your needs.

Portraits (Family, Children, Babies, Graduation, Special Events)
Call or email to make photo session bookings or discuss your portrait, commercial or special photographic needs. I look forward to speaking with you.

Photo Repair and Editing
Alterations or rebuilding photographs can be done easily in most cases. Call or email to submit anything you would like to have done.

815-345-1462 phone

Lord bless!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Nikon Equipment - That's How I Roll

I am often asked what equipment I am using. I continually upgrade. All the photos on this blog were taken with 2 Nikon D70's, 2 Nikon D80's and 4 Nikon D90's (current).
I will be selling the used Nikon D90's soon to upgrade to the D7000's when it has been out for a while. There are some very cool features that I will find useful after that move.
Several years ago I discovered the hassle of dust in the camera and the cleanup process. I decided that I would not open cameras up to switch lenses. Granted ... this has been an expensive decision because each lens I use requires its own camera body. I don't switch lenses ... I switch cameras. When I switch cameras ... I want the systems to work exactly the same. In other words, ... if I get into a serious run and shoot situation, I don't want to be thinking about 3 different brands of Nikon cameras and lose a photo opportunity. All cameras have subtle differences and I dont want to be using a D70 when I am thinking D90 in my head.

So, at the moment I use these four D90 cameras and lenses.

1. Nikon D90 with AF-S DX VR Zoom-NIKKOR 18-200mm f3.5-5.6G IF-ED
2. Nikon D90 with AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED
3. Nikon D90 with AF VR Zoom-NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 ED
4. Nikon D90 with AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED

PLEASE understand something here! The camera and its feature capability is important in the art of photography. Like DUH! But, ... millions of dollars are spent every year by people thinking that the camera is the answer to ALL their problems. Many of those dollars are spent by people that never read their manual, always shoot in AUTO mode and never take a photography class in a community college. If you are going to invest $800 in camera equiment, I recomend that you are willing to invest $200-$300 in classes so that your $800 camera will actually BE better than a $250 camera. You are worth the investment even if it's just a hobby! A good photographer can take better pictures with a $200 camera than someone who invests $1000 and shoots in AUTO mode.

NikonSniper Steve

Monday, January 5, 2009

What Kind Of Camera Do You Recommend?

Recently I have discovered just how useless I am at answering the question, "What camera do you recommend for me"? I am most often speechless as to exactly where to start and what to say because there are so many important things when investing in a camera. I am asked about this subject many times so I decided that I better spend some time thinking this through and putting this into words so that I am not willy-nilly with varied answers for different people.

Ask yourself these questions.

1. What is photography to me?
Are you a potential deep sea diver or do you just want to water ski? Do you want to dive into photography or just kinda skim along the surface. I am not being critical of either choice. Both choices can yield great shots. I wouldn't recommend buying a Point and Shoot camera to someone who wants to spend their whole weekend taking photos. I also wouldn't recommend an expensive DSLR camera to someone who is only going to set the camera on the Auto Mode and let the camera make all the decisions. This would be a waste of money.
Simply said, ... If you want to Point and Shoot in Auto Mode, then buy a Point and Shoot camera and educate yourself by spending some time reading the manual. Most people don't and if you actually do this you would be surprised how much more fun you will have with your camera. If you are willing to buy an expensive DSLR camera, then I believe you should also think about taking a few short classes (minimum) to get some help getting started and familiar with your camera. It's a great way to meet people and learn together.
If you are a seasoned veteren photographer, you wouldn't ask me my oppinion in the first place so none of this really applies to you. If you have spent a lifetime in photography there are far better sources of information out there than me. I recommend Ken Rockwell because he evaluates equipment all the time and writes reviews that I can understand ... and I used to gargle with turpentine!

2. Am I already deeply invested in a camera and lenses?
Have you already invested in Canon cameras and lenses? If you have 4 decent lenses and a canon DSLR camera ... I would never recommend that you jump ship and buy Nikon. You likely need to consider more education about your camera and reading the manual is the first place to begin. Find out what is offered at a local community college. It could also be that you got into deep sea diving photography on a whim and really would rather enjoy a more simple approach with a Point and Shoot camera.

3. Do I like using my current camera?
If not, why not? If you are going places and you don't take your camera, why not? Too heavy? Never get the settings right? What is it? Make sure you get this resolved in your mind before you shop. A newer camera does not always yield better results. It's true that people seem to do well for a while (typically only in Auto Mode) but then they become bored and stop progressing because they don't have to think in Auto Mode. Folks, please again understand that there is NOTHING WRONG with shooting in Auto Mode if that's what you want. It's OK and the most important thing is that you enjoy shooting and your results. If you enjoy your camera, you will use it more and great grandkids will appreciate that someday.

I am really not qualified to recommend much to people in the way of cameras. I know the mid-range Nikon cameras. It would be impossible for me to be objective about other suppliers except to say that I am not a camera-brand SNOB. I know Canon and they make incredible cameras ... and I LOVE THEM. Why? Because Canon and others force Nikon to keep getting better. That's where I benefit. You may hate Nikon but they are pushing your favorite manufacturer to improve as well and so you will benefit by photographic feature and quality progress. So, my recommendations are bias toward Nikon. If you are thinking about a DSLR in Nikon and they do cost money so this means I recommend taking a class for these cameras.

There are professional DSLR cameras by Nikon and Canon that cannot be beaten. They are very expensive. If this is the class of camera you wish to purchase, I really can offer no wisdom because I have no experience with these cameras ... except to say ... uh, they are better than anything I have been able to hold.

Consider these mid-range more affordable (though still expensive for most of us) DSLR cameras:
Option 1 - Nikon D7000 - Nikon D7000 Specifications
Option 2 - Canon 60D - Canon 60D Specifications
Option 3 - Nikon D90 Nikon D90 Specifications (may have to get these used)
Option 4 - Canon EOS T3i - Canon EOS T3i Specifications
Option 5 - Nikon D5000 Nikon D5000 Specifications

Consider these great even more affordable Point & Shoot cameras:

Option 6 - Canon SX260 Canon SX260 Specifications
Option 7 - Canon PowerShot Canon PS ELPH 510 HS

No matter what kind of camera you have ... the technology today is great. Please don't feel bad that I didn't mention your camera. I am sorry and my head is in the sand about all that is out there. I currently have three brands and they are all very good. And you if you didn't like my oppinion regarding camera, that's OK too ... just know that one day when I was gargling with turpentine I accidently swallowed. This may explain many things! All the best to everyone who shoots.

NikonSniper Steve

My Bucket List Of Places To Photograph

Where would I go next if the Lord made it possible?
Well, honestly, a landscape photographer never has a short list of places to go and you add new places every time someone tells you about their travels. When I need a mental vacation I like to go to these places shown below and click on the photos others have been able to capture.
Maybe one day God will make it possible for me to travel in these areas to capture the glory of His creation!

Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! Psalm 34:3

In no order of preference, take a peek at these locations:
Serengeti National Park,
Jasper National Park,
Twelve Apostles,
Ayers Rock,
Yellowstone National Park,
Glacier National Park,
Pinnacles Australia,
South Pole Penguins,
Grand Teton National Park,
Wood Buffalo National Park,
Misty Fjords National Monument,
Denali National Park,
Great Barrier Reef,
White Sands National Monument,
The Wave, Arizona,
Crater Lake,
Mount Rainier National Park,
Mormon Row,
Bandon Beach,
Monument Valley,
Whitsunday Islands,
Saguaro National Park,
Bryce Canyon National Park,
Death Valley National Park,
Sequoia National Park,
Yosemite National Park,
Smokey Mountain National Park,
Hiawatha National Forest,
Grand Canyon National Park,
Niagara Falls Canada,
Carlsbad Caverns National Park,
Milford Sound,
Yoho National Park,
Kilauea Volcano,
Swiss Alps,
New York City,
San Francisco,
Point Reyes National Seashore,
Florida Everglades,
Maroon Bells,
Yellowknife Northern Lights,
Adirondack Park,
Shenandoah National Park,
Joshua Tree National Park,
Olympic National Park,
Babcock State Park,
and more to come!