Saturday, October 30, 2010

112 Point Chandelier

Hello From Tara (UPDATED)

Last night we heard from our daughter Tara. Tara sent us this cellphone photo from Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, TX. At least she is still smiling!
Tara is doing her (AIT) Advanced Individual Training to be a 68 Whiskey Army Combat Field Medic. She is doing a lot of field situation training at the moment. Tara continues to think about possibly continuing her military education toward nursing in the future.
As for now, Tara will graduate from AIT on December 10th and be assigned a station post. She will leave San Antonio on December 11th to come home for 3-4 weeks before going to her post. That will be a sweet homecoming for us all. We are so proud of what she is doing. Tara is tough and she cares for others. Maybe you can tell I am a bit proud of her.
If you knew her, you would love to talk and laugh with her. Her military experience has helped her form quite a different sense of humor. Well, Tara left us on Memorial Day and it will be great to have her home for a while.
Updated at 7:26pm. Tara just called again to tell us that she will be stationed at Camp Casey in South Korea. After Christmas at home, she will leave around January 15th to report in South Korea.
Camp Casey is located in Tongduchon, Korea approximately 40 miles North of Seoul. Camp Casey spanned nearly 3500 acres and was occupied by some 6300 military and 2500 civilians. Its primary mission is to act in concert with the Republic of Korea to deter aggression, and, should deterrence fail, to defend the Republic of Korea.
Not too sure just how often we will see her after that departure. We continue to learn on the fly. So much for being stationed in the USA. Field medics generally don't get stationed in North Dakota.Thanks to those of you who are praying for her!
NikonSniper Steve

Horsewater Gate

Please HELP for Southern Utah & Nevada!

Hey, fellow bloggies! I could really use some help for places to go to shoot landscape photography in Southern Utah and Nevada. I have heard these areas are fantastic so I think I will jump a plane and head over there for a quick trip from December 2 to December 6. I will be flying in and out of Vegas so keep that in mind when helping with ideas. I have heard that Zion National Park is a good place to start. Any specifics would be appreciated. So PLEASE help with any ideas even if it is a bit of a stretch because I won't be wasting time shaving and combing my hair on this trip! Well, I guess that isn't really a pretty picture ... but you get what I mean.

Grass Insulation

Jazzin' Up Your Saturday

This week give a listen to a famous guitar who crossed over into pop rock during his career. In his early days, George Benson played jazz guitar. Give a listen to George Benson playing one of my favorite old classics, "The Shadow Of Your Smile". I also love Herb Alpert's version of this same song.
Here's hoping that the sun shines on your weekend and that the shadow of your smile is seen by all you love. Have a great one!
NikonSniper Steve

Thanks To All Of You

Well, my wife, Susan and I are heading home this morning from a very enjoyable week in Washington and Oregon. Thanks so much to those of you who have come along with us via the NikonSniper blog. Also, thanks your comments and kind words. The photos I collected here will be posted over the next few years as there are far too many good ones to post all at once.
AND Yes, I'm sorry, ... I really am a Yankee fan! I hope that doesn't chase you away from this blog. We lost last night to a very good Texas team so our season is over. Some of you will rejoice in that. But I am still wearing my Yankee hat in the Portland airport this morning. I am getting a few chuckles from Texas fans.
Have a great weekend. And I dare ya to find some time to get alone and read some of your Bible and talk to God. It feels so good to get away for a week. God is always there to help us get away ... right where we live!
God bless. Hope you enjoyed the photos. Will be continuing from Illinois tomorrow.
NikonSniper Steve
OH Yeah ... and this is the cave I crawled out of many years ago.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Waiting For Snow Flakes

And The Winner IS ...

The drawing for the 750 Gig Hard Drive and winner of the NikonSniper 3000 Celebration was held officially at 10/10/10 at 10:10 AM and 10 seconds.
Congratulations to Pat Winter of Indiana.
I want to thank all of you for entering and I want to let you know we will be doing this again in a few months so make sure you enter the NikonSiper 3333 Celebration drawing for an even bigger Hard Drive!
Good Luck, NikonSniper Steve

Photo Finishing Suggestions PLEASE!

Hey folks, ... we need your help!

(Update: WOW, thank you for all these ideas! Please keep them coming for those who want to use this for reference in the future. I REALLY appreciate your willingness to help. How about you pros out there? We could still use more ideas on specialty printing services.)

Angela from West Virginia Treasures recently requested some help from me in one of her comments to another post.
Angela asked me where I get my photos printed. She has had recent trouble with the WalMarts, Targets and Walgreens photo reproductions and would like to know where some of you would go if you needed a better quality. Do any of you have experience with a higher quality photo company?
You might think I could answer this type of question ... but I hardly ever get photo finishing done as I keep double and triple backups of electronic production only. The walls in my house are full of family pictures and wall real estate becomes precious for those type of photos. One day I will get a huge wall tv only for the purpose of scrolling photos that I have taken over the years.
Can any of you tell us what you have done to get higher quality reproductions? Any recommendations on professional quality productions? Perhaps you know someone that print on more than just photo paper? Names and phone numbers would be very helpful if they are a nation-wide service.
Thanks for your help!
NikonSniper Steve

Back to SK-ool

Folks, you gotta see this incredible collection of photgraphy. I just had another photographic atom bomb dropped on me. There is such incredible talent out there and I learn something from everyone. Check out Daliana or Wind from Romania and see her work. Stop in and say hello on her sight. Check out the pages deep into the blog when you get time. She is so creative and has been one of my favorites for a while now. Congratulations Wind! You just took me to SK-ool!
NikonSniper Steve

The Great Escape

Well, I am looking forward to another photography road trip. Here is the approximate route for our Great Northwestern Escape to Washington and Oregon. I'll be travelling with my wife, Susan this time ... so she will make sure I don't do the really stupid stuff I have attempted in the past. I know this will be a great getaway ... even if it rains!
We hope to bring you the very best in fall colors, mountains, rivers and Pacific coastline via photography. I am hoping we aren't too late for the peak colors. We will spend some days at Mount Rainier and Crater Lake National Parks. I have always loved this part of the country that is thick in beauty. God's creative touch is very unique here. The terrain was quite a surprise to me on my first trip so I expect it will be fun to share that with Susan now making her first trip to this very well kept secret.
So join us if you will on NikonSniper!
All the best.
NikonSniper Steve

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Keep Gettin' SKooled In Photography

Every now and then I stumble across a photographer with clearly outstanding work that doesn't seem to have been discovered enough for the talent they display. See the beautiful work by Beth at SkyWalkerBeth. These photos are from all over the world and she is a very gifted recorder of what she sees.
When you get some time take a look. Take the time to go back into the older posts when you have a rainy day. Here is another photographer that takes me to school when I see her portfolio.
Bravo Beth!
NikonSniper Steve

First We Swim The V ... Then We'll Fly It

Wow! We Hit 3000 Followers!

Wow! Here is a photo of me racing home after the Friday night football game to see if it's really true. Did NikonSniper really hit 3000? That's crazy!

Actually, I have learned a great deal about Internet activity by watching the number of followers for this long. There is about 6 to 8 times the activity on NikonSniper through the winter months. But I was delighted to learn that we hit this milesstone slowly gaining followers through the summer and then a rush at the end.

Those of you who follow this website know that photography isn't the most important thing in my life. However, it is great therapy for me to sit quiet and watch turtles or frogs with my lenses. God's creation has been so much to behold. I missed that for most of my life. I lived in the fast lane of career chasing and living like a human pinball while trying to meet the varied needs of very different 5 kids. When you are in those years it seems like there is no end to the list of "must do now's". I really do enjoy the years that time has allowed since to see and share some of what God has allowed me to capture with a camera. I married the most incredible women/saint, who allows me to be the "willy-nilly-hop-in-the-car and go-whim-chasing" guy that in a moments notice will be standing lost-in-time 10 miles away shooting Sandhill Cranes. I look forward to our trip together next week to Oregon and Washington. The wonder of creation is thick in our Pacific Northwest.

I feel lucky to have this opportunity to share these travels with you on the Internet. I am no blogging genius. I hope to one day get a pro to team with me in the presentation of these photos.

So YES, I am excited that we hit this milestone! I am not even trying to be cool about it. WOW!

Anyway, the drawing for the 750GB External USB 2.0 Hard Drive will be held on Sunday and I will announce it on Monday on the blog. Good luck to all of you.

You can now enter the NikonSniper 3333 drawing for a 1TB Hard Drive. Make sure you enter.
This is the only way I can express my thanks to all of you. Sorry that only one of you will be the winner of the NikonSniper 3000 Hard Drive. I wish I could afford to send one to all of you ... but my name isn't Bill Gates.

Again, ... Good Luck and Thank You so much for all your kind words and encouragement.
Stay tuned till Monday!

God bless. NikonSniper Steve

Mass Gospel E-Mailings

Well, … tonight I received yet another interesting gospel message mass e-mailing.

Don’t you just love email sent to you from friends and relatives with titles that are something like this:
Fwd: Fwd: Fwd: Fwd: Fwd: Fwd: Jesus Loves YOU!!!

C’mon … seriously? You think this is a form of communication? Christians that never even say hello to me forward these mails all day long. I notice that most of the people they send them to already believe exactly what they do.

I am in no way angry about receiving these mails however, I just believe there is a better way to communicate that Jesus loves you.

As for people I have known for years that I never see or hear anything from other than their forwarded emails, ... I guess I would rather that they simply wrote: Hey, Steve! Are you still as fat as you used to be? Burp! See ya!

Perhaps they think I am not getting enough junk mail on my own so I need copies of theirs too. Or perhaps, they simply think I am not receiving the real “quality” of junk mail they get.

Well, … If an email tells me that you need to read it to the very end of the last part at the very very bottom of the last page of the 14 page document so that I see that I have to forward this to everybody I know or I am somehow totally ashamed of the gospel and that I must not really believe in Jesus after all cause if I did I would surely know that I have to forward a mail written by someone who I never met to people I probably won’t meet. Ever!

So … here’s how I usually handle it. Delete! End of story. I do exactly what they say I better not do. In fact, I admit I live to do exactly the opposite of what people tell me I have to do in these mails. Man is rebellious … and uh, so am I!

When did telling someone about the good news of the saving gospel message become something that is forwarded from somebody else? Go ye into all the world and forward email?

Folks, let me tell you something. I believe in Christ. I think you should too. In fact, I believe it is the most important decision you could ever make. Sorry, I have no buts to add. Jesus is coming again. I believe the Bible and I believe that we are close to Christ’s return. Maybe not. But either way, I am not ashamed of Christ and I still won’t forward your email.

Again, I am not in any way trying to offend anyone who reads this blog. I am not trying to offend you even if you do not believe in Jesus at all. In fact I have many close friends that don't believe in Him. I cannot convince you that what I just said is fact. Convincing you of this truth is the job of the Holy Spirit. I can only report and tell you what I have discovered in MY life only. Folks, our job is to tell others what our experience has been. They need to search on their own in order to find Christ. There is no special bonus for you when someone believes in Him. Only God can make a seed grow. It has nothing to do with us. Our job is to simply tell our story. Doesn't that take the pressure off?

The real issue I have here is this: Why should you believe me … if all I do is forward a message to you that someone else wrote? Someone writes a cleverly worded little “diddy” and says, “If you love Jesus, you better send this here message I wrote to everyone you know”. Folks, don’t ya think it would be better to copy the Gospel of John into an email and send that instead of a poem you wrote? John knew Jesus and spoke to Him audibly ... and saw the miracles ... and saw the death and resurrection ... and refused to deny that He rose all the way to his persecuted grave! So, I might add … that the poem you wrote (though nice) doesn’t have the power to convince anyone as much as Scripture itself. So please chill on the “you better send this” guilt trips. It isn't productive!

The fact is … those who do not believe in Christ won’t care what you might know … until they know that you do care for them ... regardless of what they believe. Blasting mass emails does not necessarily communicate that you really care in any way. I don’t expect someone I have only vaguely known to be impacted by the story of someone who knows someone who wrote a poem to someone that another someone thought would be good in an email about Jesus.

Folks, I know God can use absolutely anything that someone is willing to do for His kingdom. However, the Bible says (Matthew 28:19, 20) to go and preach of the good news of Christ. Jesus died, rose and lives today offering you payment for your sin. Will you accept His payment? See Acts 4:12 and John 14:6.

I believe this is a very different message than what we see in many forwarded so-called gospel mails. I also know that some people are housebound and have little to no way to reach the outside world with the saving message of Jesus. I would just appeal to them not to make the reader somehow ashamed of Christ (Romans 1:16) if they don't forward their email. Can we agree that when something truly good is written ... there is a very good chance the reader or some readers will forward it anyway? I just think that constant email blasts make readers immune to the message of good news.

Jesus changes lives today! I want you to know that Jesus has done that for me. I don’t want to tell you about what He did for someone else because I can’t speak with personal authority on another man’s experience with Christ. I am telling you Jesus did it for ME. I won’t bore you with my junk mail. I only wish I could communicate my sincere heart and concern for you a whole lot better than this website writing. I guess I wish I could sit by a fire with all of you one at a time and tell you how he has changed and is changing my life today. I would want to hear your story too because hundreds of you have also seen Christ change your lives. And some of you are still searching for something real and just need to be heard without judgement or being blasted with instant remedy.

I pray that God will move in all of your hearts to accept His free payment of sin offered through His Son, Jesus. May God reveal to you what I can’t. May God cause you to seek Jesus. If you even wonder if Jesus is really there, earnestly pray this, “Jesus if you are really there, help me to find you.” Keep praying that … and let Him show you.

As for the thing I am supposed to forward to you. DELETE.
God bless you all.
NikonSniper Steve

Standard Issue Wisconsin Mailbox

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's Not Just Any Cab ... It's A Yella' Cab

Camouflaged US Army Soldiers

Clicking Heels Together In Texas

Well, at this writing I find myself sitting in the San Antonio airport with a delayed flight home to Chicago. Schedule delays have always been AND will always be a nasty part of travel. Either way, I am very happy to be heading home after an eventful week in San Antonio, Houston and Austin.
One of the very bright perks of this trip was getting to see our daughter Tara who is at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio working to become a 68 Whiskey Combat Field Medic in the Army. She is doing great in her class and physical training. Grabbed this reluctant photo of her in the city. It is very fascinating to sItalicee how much this new world is changing her future. The hours and moments that we shared together here will never be forgotten. I thank God for this bonus of travel to Texas.
Tara was very happy to advance far enough in her training to gain some extra priviledges like ... wearing jeans off the base on her down time. Sounds crazy, huh? The Army is a very disciplined world and she says they almost don't know what to do now when they have unexpected free time. Tara and her friend, PFC Crabbe, sat watching a movie last weekend on television ... and they got to hold the channel changer! We went out to eat to some special places and went to the Riverwalk on the last two weekends. It is cool to see her develop new friendships with people from all over the USA and even some in our military from outside the country.
I also got to have an evening with my brother in San Antonio. We had a great evening out at Austin's Oasis catching up on what getting older is like and had some old laughs. I miss family now everywhere I go. Our family is spread out over Ontario, Illinois, and Texas. If I am here ... I miss there. But there is still no place like home. So here I sit on another flight delay ... clicking my heels together and repeating "There's No Place Like Home".
Those of you who follow NikonSniper are a very special constant now. Your comments on what you see here are very helpful when I am away from home and I appreciate them so much. Photography keeps me out of trouble. It keeps me busy and always looking forward to something unique to photograph and pass the time. Thanks for your kind words. I hope you enjoy these periodic rants along the way.
Here's hoping that you all can experience a bit of joy in feeling the greatness of "being at home". God bless you all you do.
All the best. NikonSniper Steve

Houston, Seriously? That Often?

Wow! Houston, Texas! This is a highway intersection with flood depth gauges. I mean, WOW! It happens so often ... ya have to put the permanent depth gauge on the bridge wall? I figured that maybe you would take the height charts from the doors of the local 7-11's and just use them for the swimming season ... but evidently it's required year round. That isn't rain for sure ... that is an act of God. I figure this has to be hurricane season flood dangers that we in the corn belt know nothing about. If I was in the Gulf of Mexico region during a hurricane I would probably drive as far north as I could ... but the photographer in me would surely cause me to do something stupid. Either way, I am impressed with your gauges. Do any of you bloggies have flood stories to attach to this kind of photo?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

California Tee Shot

Praying For You Daily

We think about you constantly.
We pray for your strength, courage and wisdom every day.
Tara ... never forget the words of David found in 2nd Samuel 22:2-4.
He said:
"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior
from violent men you save me.
I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies."
Love you always!
Mom & Dad

Old Town Fountain

Woodstock Station Arrival