Wednesday, December 23, 2009

4-3 BSTB Military Ball Ceremonies

First in the celebration is to honor the MIAs (those who are still missing in action):

The table is round -- to show our everlasting concern for the missing men.

The tablecloth is white -- symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to duty.

The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the life of each of the missing, and the[ir] loved ones and friends of these Americans who keep the faith, awaiting answers.

The vase is tied with a red ribbon, symbol of our continued determination to account for our missing.

A slice of lemon on the bread plate is to remind us of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land.

A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families who seek answers.

The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.

The glass is inverted -- to symbolize their inability to share this evening's [morning’s/day’s] toast.

The chair is empty -- they are missing.

Let us now raise our water glasses in a toast to honor America's POW/MIAs and to the success of our efforts to account for them.

Then, for those who have never had the pleasure of watching a Grog (or "Punch Bowl") Ceremony, you have missed a major event in military life!

The history of the "Punch Bowl" ceremony has become obscured with time. Legend has it that during the years of the Westward expansion, Cavalry Troopers would share their spirits with one another thereby insuring that all fellow troopers had something to drink.

The alcoholic spirits usually consisted of whatever an individual trooper’s taste was, and that when mixed with other alcohol created a powerful drink known as "GROG".

The camaraderie developed over the decades, and the various wars and campaigns provided the rare opportunity to share "liberated" spirits with each other. Today’s "GROG" or punch bowl ceremony is a symbolic reflection of this age-old tradition, and ingredients like 'axel grease' and 'dirt' are added to symbolize or honor members of the organization or a particular aspect of a particular group's type of work.

Here are a few shots of the Grog Ceremony:

With smoke rising from the concoction, a little song and it will be ready:

Once the Grog is mixed, someone must test it. This LT decided it might be emitting lethal gass, so he donned a gas mask! The General right behind him is enjoying it!

And he survives, so let the drinking begin!

The first to try it after the 'test' is the commanding LT Colonel.

Next it is the Command SGT MAJ's turn:

Here all three of the commanding officers, the General, the Colonel, and the LT. Colonel all take a taste.

When the Grog Ceremony concluded, the Color Guard retrieved the colors and the dancing was ready to begin.

Even the General got into the dancing:

This PFC really got into the swing of things, as well.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Weddings for Warriors, 11 NOV 2009

On Wednesday, 11/11/09, I had the honor of being one of the photographers at the 'Weddings for Warriors' project. I was a great event, and 38 couples either got married or renewed their vows. Here are just a few of my pictures.

Participant, SWTC Weddings For Warriors Project

Friday, October 9, 2009

My Review of Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4 IF AF-D Nikkor Wide - Telephoto Zoom Lens with Hood - Gray Market

Originally submitted at Adorama

Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4 IF AF-D Nikkor Wide - Telephoto Zoom Lens with Hood - Gray Market

Excellent All-Purpose Lens

By Russ from Savannah, GA on 10/9/2009


5out of 5

Pros: Durable, Lightweight, Rugged, Quick Focus, Sharp Focus, Easily Interchangeable, Consistent Output, Strong Construction

Best Uses: General Use, ReceptionsParties

Describe Yourself: Professional

For the money, this is one of the best lenses you can buy for a full frame Nikon DSLR (I use it on my D3).

I use this lens professionally for wedding receptions, parties, and even one of my engagement sessions. It is very sharp at f/4 and smaller and only slightly soft at f/2.8. The colors are rich and contrast is high. It uses the older screw-driver focus system, so it doesn't focus quite as fast as the newer AFS lenses, but it is plenty fast for party photography. It does have some minor vignetting in the corners at some f/ stops, but that is easily fixed in Photoshop if needed. Most of the time I crop my images, so any vignetting is not included.

This lens is also excellent for travel walk-around photography. It has pretty good bokeh (blur characteristics of the background) and it has an excellent macro mode.

I do not recommend this lens for DX cameras for most situations. The 1.5x crop factor makes the 24mm end not wide enough for many people shots, especially at parties or receptions.

I also own the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, and it is a better lens, but it costs three times as much and weighs a ton. I use it mostly for paid work where I need f/2.8 at all focal lengths. It is overkill for most family or travel photography.

The 24-85mm is much lighter and makes images that are mostly indistinguishable from the 24-70. Try it - you'll like it!

High contrast, good saturation, excelle skin tones


Tags: Made with Product

Excellent Macro capability


Tags: Made with Product


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Aerobatic Ride in a Super Decathelon

I went out to the open house at Midcoast Regional Airport (Fort Stewart) today and found a Flight Instructor giving an aerobatic lesson to a student. They both look pretty happy afterwards.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mandy and Colby Rehearsal/Dinner

On 9/25/09 I had the pleasure of photographing Mandy and Colby's Wedding Rehearsal in Johnson Square, Savannah, GA, followed by a wonderful dinner at Churchill's Pub.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Business Portraits

Had a fun time shooting business portraits for Russ. He is running for City Council and will use these images in his campagne: