Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year from NikonSniper

Happy New Year to all from NikonSniper. Be safe as you travel.
God bless! NikonSniper Steve

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

Well, folks, it's that time of year again. I am shutting down till January 2nd. So that's it for 2010. Your comments will be displayed here as usual but there will be a few days without any new postings. I need to just soak in the time with family.
And, there's no chance I'm quittin' on ya. I hope I can shoot and post photos for the rest of my life ... but a rest is good for the mind too. I want to thank you all for your kind wishes at this season. I hope you have a blessed Christmas with your families. May God bless you with His mercy and grace. Wise men still seek Him today.
Catch you in a few days.
NikonSniper Steve

Friday, December 24, 2010

NikonSniper ... Needs for 2011

I am a photographer. I have discovered that I need a professional website builder with limitless ability and creativity to help recreate in 2011. I want NikonSniper to be a ministry for Jesus Christ and I need a complete redesign in order to open up so many other areas of support. I want the website to include regular devotional encouragement, hope and support for those hurting in this world.
I am not a wealthy man ... so I need a Christian volunteer. It would be even better if you lived in Northern Illinois but beggers can't be choosers. Gee ... is that too much to ask? I believe if God wants this to happen he will provide a way. In fact, He is able to provide beyond all I ask or think. If you are interested, please write to Please title your email "Website Pro". Thanks. I look forward to this next year with the website.
NikonSniper Steve

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

What A Wonderful World

I am still basking in the new joy and excitement of another granddaughter (Javey Elizabeth Baird) born earlier this week. Have you ever heard the song "What a Wonderful World"? I love that song more and more the older I get. Louis Armstrong's raspy voice is beautiful when he sings it.

I know, I know ... it's very clear that the world is flawed. We earthlings have problems on the horizon everywhere.

I used to watch TV but for the most part ... I quit doing that. I guess I got tired of being told in every commercial and TV show that I wasn't good enough to own this car, that house, this boat, these vacations, this body, that portfolio, this lifestyle or that career. Crime is rampant and it is advertised moments after it happens in gruesome detail. It seems like bad news is broadcast wider than anything good. Any given day you can encounter stories telling us that we are heading to disaster with the O-Zone layer, famine, poverty, the destruction of human life and on and on and on.

So I shut it off.

It's not hard to see a very gray world. I just gotta stop! You may think I have put my head in the sand when I say this ... but this old boy can't deal with that picture anymore. I am not invincible ... as I once believed. I am older. I looked at my skin up close with a high power microscope and wow does that look scarey. I really am living under a curse. Nobody gets outta here alive!

This is why I photograph anything beautiful. I want people to see the remaining beauty in this world that is everywhere ... and it is screaming for our attention. When I take these pictures I feel incredibly blessed. I can also worship the creator God who breathed these things into being. I see God when I look at Javey's perfect little hands.

I celebrate the majesty of His creation. I am humbled by His willingness to provide a way for me to find Him personally. I am a very flawed man. Just ask anyone I work with or live with ... but in Christ alone I have been given great hope for eternity. Do you know Him?

One day, Jesus will repair this earth and it will be even better. Yes! Better! Can you imagine what it looked like thousands of years ago? One day I will have hands that look like Javey's again. Everything will be restored again. What a wonderful world. What a wonderful God! What a wonderful Savior IS JESUS my LORD!

Rejoice and be glad!
NikonSniper Steve

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Welcoming Javey Elizabeth Baird

On December 13th, we welcomed our newest family arrival into the world. Javey Elizabeth Baird arrived a little early to Joel & Chelsea Baird of Woodstock, IL. She is now our 6th granddaughter. Javey has made her self known from early on to be quite a kicker. We can now embrace her softly in our hands while she catches up on her sleep. Javey and Chelsea are recovering well and we are grateful to God for her safe arrival.
The surprise arrival of Javey this year makes the Christmas season especially exciting for her five girl-y cousins who live across town.
Javey is a tiny 5lbs, 6oz and is something to see. She is a beautiful miracle that God has allowed us to hold.
In Ephesians Chapter 1, we learn that we are eternally known by God. We learn that we were in fact known by Him prior to the foundation of the earth. What an awesome plan! God's love, grace and mercy have once again been bestowed upon us. We thank Him for allowing us the full joy of another safe arrival. I am such a blessed poppy.
Atta girl Chelsea! May God be glorified in Javey's life and through yours as you and Joel begin a house of three!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Welcome Home TARA

Well, folks, tomorrow my wife and I will travel to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX for the graduation of our daughter Tara from 68W Army Combat Field Medic training. While Tara was away she earned her National EMT Certification as well.

Tara will return home with us for a few days after all the graduation ceremony and hoopla but unfortunately she will be leaving home again before Christmas to begin her journey to her new station at Camp Casey in South Korea near the 38th parallel. For those friends and family who are following Tara a little more closely, you can read a bit more about Camp Casey here. We don't know much ourselves yet as we just take military parenting a day at a time. Tara will wear the patch shown above in South Korea as a member of the 2nd Infantry Division.

We will have some very precious hours with her here as she has now been away since Memorial Day doing basic training and now AIT. I will take many photos of her with our family before her departure as we will not likely see her again until summertime when she will get her leave.

We are very proud of all she has done. She has toughed through many things she didn't really like in order to serve her country and even prepare herself for the world after the military ... no matter how long that is from now.

Proud of you kiddo! I knew you could survive anything put in front of you since you managed to survive a Dad who still really needs some parenting education.

May the Lord guide you in everything and watch over your steps. May Christ grow inside you and cause you to fully understand the price He willing paid for you. May your heart learn to trust Him alone in all things and make you yearn deeply for His Word!

You are MY daughter! But God has known you before the foundation of the world. Read Ephesians Chapter 1. He loves you more than we can because He is perfect in every way ... and you know I ain't THAT!

With hearts full of joy anticipating being with you HERE again!

Love, Mom & Dad

Army Goodbyes

Photographing Christmas Lights On A Bull

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

13 Minutes About Jesus

Would you listen to 13 minutes about Jesus?

The older I get the more I see and experience the harsh reality that this world is out to get you. This life is full of tough struggles. There are lightening bolts that hit every age group. Heartache and disappointment knock on everyone's door sooner or later. You could very easily be in a world of tough stuff right now. Perhaps you unemployed or under-employed? How do you cope with life now? Is it working?
Jesus is greatest story ever told. Some consider Him a crutch that weak people need to get through their Mondays. I know Him to be quite different than that. Jesus is alive and well and will return to reign as King of Kings on this earth! Jesus permanently changes hundreds of thousands of lives all over the world every year. The more that a nation experiences oppression, the more you see evidence of Jesus delivering freedom. People are being set free by Jesus as every hour passes. Just take 13 minutes and listen to Andy Stanley speak about The Message of Jesus. New life always begins by trusting and making a simple step to follow that lead. I challenge you to investigate Jesus for yourself.
Praying for you! May the Lord God of heaven and earth bless you all with abundant life!
NikonSniper Steve

Wanna hear more?
The Message of Jesus II,
The Message of Jesus III,
The Message of Jesus IV,
The Message of Jesus V,
The Message of Jesus VI

Sway With Boo-Blay

This weeks "Jazzin' Up your Saturday" features a great young (relatively speaking) Canadian singer who has amazing worldwide following. His name is Michael Buble (that's boo-blay not bubbley like my son says). Listen to the glide of this swinging jazz standard called "Sway"

May your Saturday be full of joy ... that swings!
NikonSniper Steve

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Girl Talk Jazz

This weeks "Jazzin' Up your Saturday" features another great piano. All in, this is my favorite piano. Canadian Oscar Peterson plays his version of a jazz standard called "Girl Talk". Well, with a name like that, ya gotta like it and I believe you will. So give a listen!

Today our oldest daughter, Erin has a really big birthday. Erin is our first born and she has hit her first-est major birthday milestone. You know, ... that birthday that chicks cease to count. Erin is wife of Sean and proud Mom to 5 little GIRLS.

Well, ... Happy Birthday Erin! You are right. I never thought I would have a kid that made to your birthday age. You are still precious to us and ... we are so proud of that ugly determined-to-succeed streak you got from your mother. We love you no end! Dad.
May all your Saturdays have exactly all the Girl Talk you can stand. I guess you can take that two ways.

Good weekend to all of you.
NikonSniper Steve

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Prayers For You

I have become aware that many of you who follow this blog are hurting. I am aware of this from reading some of your blogs. Pain and suffering, hardship and difficulty are all around us.

I only want you to know that I KNOW Jesus loves you and cares for your trials. I know that many of you do not even believe He exists. But if you are searching for Him ... just pray, "Jesus, if you are really there, help me to find you and know that it is really you". Keep praying this from your heart every time you can think of it and keep your eyes open for signs of Him.

I hope you find Jesus. He loves YOU and died to pay for your sins. He is familiar with our suffering. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!

You can hear "Worthy is the Lamb" here. The scenes are graphic and they are from the movie, "The Passion of the Christ" 2004, so this may not be easy to watch or appropriate for some people. It is very difficult for me to watch what my Savior experienced in this clip. But it reminds me that I call upon Jesus who knows suffering and He carries me when I am near my wits end.

May you find Christ and experience His grace and mercy today. May you discover His goodness and be sheltered under His wings.

Praying for many of you.
NikonSniper Steve

Monday, November 8, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Changing Guns in 2011

In 2011, I will be selling my Nikon D90's to upgrade to the new Nikon D7000 cameras. I will not need to buy lenses so I will be buying bodies only and selling D90's with the unused kit lenses that came with the cameras.

If you go to the Nikon D7000 camera press release you will see many features showing exactly what the D7000 can achieve. Most often, I don’t even understand half the features they talk about. I got dropped a lot as a baby so I need a little extra help. So I have listed the key features and advantages FOR ME! If you are younger than me … some of the ones I mention may be totally useless for you. I know a man with Parkinson’s. He remains a great photographer because he knows how to use his equipment in order to be able to keep on shooting. Knowing your camera features and capabilities will help you produce better results and that can keep photography interesting for you!
So, here are the immediate advantages for me in upgrading to the Nikon D7000. You can get these features in other cameras. I am not by any means thumping Nikon as the only option. I am just deeply invested in their lenses and I am now a Nikon life-r. I respect all manufacturers!

Here are the key Nikon D7000 features for me:

1. High Resolution 16.2 MP DX-format CMOS sensor for large prints and tight cropping.I’ll try to use plain and simple language here. Having extra pixels means I can crop a photo and still have more pixels at the end of the job. It’s almost like having artificial zoom lenses that great out power what I can afford. I always buy pixels. For me, the more pixels, the better. I am using Nikon D90’s at the moment and they have 12.2 MP. Jumping to 16.2 gives you a greater cropping capability to move in tighter. It’s like every 100mm lens will now let you crop to the equivalent of having a130mm lens.

2. High Speed 6 frames per second continuous shooting up to 100 shots captures the most fleeting action.What can I say about 6 frames a second. The D90 shoots at 4.5 which isn’t horrible. In a four second burst this feature adds the possibility of an extra 6 shots to nail the one you wanted. This is a big plus in so many ways especially as I age. I am not the steady hand I once was so I like anything that increases my chances.

3. Twin SD Card Slots compatibility gives you options to keep on shooting or separate your NEF (RAW), JPEG and movie files.Capacity is big for me as you might be able to tell by now. The fact that you can put 2 cards in the D7000 just doubles on affordable memory. For example, … Have you ever noticed that you can buy two 8 GB cards cheaper than one 16GB card? Well, this is a quick way for me to double my capacity in less expensive ways.

4. Two User Definable Settings (U1, U2) right on the Mode Selector Dial let you store most camera settings so you can go back to them at anytime without the need for further adjustments or menu settings.This might be a little easier to understand if you were having to shoot very time constrained situations. Photography is the main reason I see sunsets. Do you ever feel like you haven’t seen enough sunsets in your life? Maybe not if you live on the West Coast. Sunsets are fun to shoot but there can be so much going on as you switch from one mode to another or change color temperatures. This feature just allows you to make a lot of adjustments by switching one button and in some situations added seconds matter.

5. Virtual Horizon Graphic Indicator shows whether the camera is level and in Live View mode, lets you place a grid over the scene you’re about to shoot — an invaluable tool for shooting landscapes and architecture.I love landscapes. I am planning to shoot as many as possible before I catch the big Tuna Boat to the sky. My recent trip to Oregon revealed that my camera hasn’t been as square in my hand as I thought. I reviewed shots in a hotel one night thinking that I am really losing it. It was obvious everything was tilted counterclockwise so this feature may become more use to me than I have ever anticipated.

6. Breathtaking Full 1080p HD Movies with Full Time Autofocus and external stereo microphone jack to record cinematic-quality movies up to 20 minutes all enhanced by NIKKOR interchangeable lens quality and versatility.1080p HD Video on board. Now I don’t need to remember to pack a video camera. The D90 had a decent 720p HD video package but it did not have Full Time Autofocus feature so you had to constantly focus and that is another thing that isn’t as easy for me as when I was younger. I waited forever to watch HD video improve and after my kids quit playing sports … I didn’t think I had much use for it any more. Well, now after ignoring video … video has come back to me in the D7000. I might experiment to see if I can use video to teach some things on NikonSniper.

7. Flash Synchronization at 1/250 sec.The D90 on board flash only allows shooting at 1/200 sec. I have the Nikon SB600 and SB800 flash units that are unlimited but more often than not a shot presents itself when it would be impossible to go and get one of the bigger flash units. I would have to carry one in my back pocket or keep it on the camera. Not always so easy … so every little bit counts in flash sync speed with the on board kit.

Hope you find this helpful.
NikonSniper Steve

A Clear Violation Of The Rental Agreement

The Great Pumpkin Porch

Jazzin' It Up Again

This weeks "Jazzin' Up yer Saturday" features the great horn of Miles Davis. This track is called "So What" on perhaps the number one selling jazz record of all time, called "Kind of Blue". This track was recorded in 1959 and you could say it launched Miles Davis to became bigger than ever as a result. It was all just a little over 50 years ago. I love listening to "So What" during a rainstorm. I have no idea why. Hope you enjoy!
May your Saturday listening be Kind Of Blue.
NikonSniper Steve

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Freedom Heads To The Polls

Election Day 2010
Is anybody else sick of their political candidate choices? Are ya sick of attack ads? I am not talking about one party being better than the other! I wish there was a way we could fire every blasted one of them. Why should they be allowed to bankrupt the future of your children and grandchildren and skate off with their personal life benefits? Exercise your freedom today! Kick someone out!
NikonSniper Steve

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Gettin' Skooled Up Again

If you have been following NikonSniper for some time, you will know that I have recently been trying to highlight photographers that I enjoy and believe are worthy of a greater following. There are hundreds and hundreds of you that impress me with your skill and photographic vision.
This month, drop in and say hello to Dagmar from the Netherlands. See Dagmar's work in Barefoot From Heaven. Scroll back into older posts so that you get a broader feel for what she does with her camera.
When I look at your blogs, sometimes, I ask myself ... Which of these photos would I like to brag was mine? Often it is very obvious to me. Sometimes picking my "winner photo" from a blog is much harder. If I can't easily pick which photo of yours I would like to brag was mine ... I keep looking deeper into previous posts. This usually means there are a ton of really good ones.
I soon discover ... I am once again being taken to photographic SKOOL. Thanks Dagmar!

My Small Business Needs Tax Cuts Now

Saturday, October 30, 2010