Dragonfly photos available to license at iStockPhoto.com

Lately, I’ve rediscovered macro photography. My first macro photo was shot in 2014 during my photo project. I had a macro photo shooting session with my pal, Jamie Carroll and we discovered this dragonfly just chilling on a plant in my backyard. I decided to put my speedlight on a stand and shoot some macro photos (50mm lens mounted backwards). The speedlight adds some extra contrast and lighting that really makes these great.

My macro photo gear consists of lens extension tubes and a reversal ring. Altogether, this gear cost maybe $30. Combined with my 50mm lens and Canon Rebel XS camera, this setup is plenty good enough for me. It’s not about the gear, it’s about your eye.

I have 17 photos of the dragonfly available for license at iStockPhoto.com. See them all here!

Snacking and hanging at the beach

Amelia and mom on the beach


Have a clarify of vision but a flexibility in process

—Jon Stewart

This seems simple but I feel like I’ll take my whole life mastering this. I currently understand this to mean: focus on the end goal and don’t get tied up with the minutia of micro-managing your colleagues on any particular project. I think the prerequisite to following this advice is that your colleagues be highly skilled and great at their craft.


Macro flower photo

I used 50mm lens attached to extension tubes and used manual focus and natural light.

I like to work when the world is sleeping and share while the world is at work

—Austin Kleon, from his book Show Your Work

This is me as well. I feel most productive when I’m cranking away at a blog post, photography project or design project late on a Friday or Saturday night. ‘Share while the world is at work’ was a bit of lesson for me – as I haven’t always thought about the time of day I’m sharing via twitter, facebook, or instagram.

Family photo

It’s that time of year again: to see where I’ve been and where I’m going. This has become an annual tradition: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. And now for 2015…


  • Paid off 3 debts leaving just one debt plus the house left to pay off!
    • Paid off last student loan. We now have no credit card debt or student loan debt.
  • Sold our house for lots of profit and bought a beautiful, new home.
  • Continued following the principles from Getting Things Done – including:
    • Weekly review of projects and tasks to ensure I know the next task on every project and that my head is empty (see next point)
    • Constantly keep my head empty of things to remember – by putting them on lists in Wunderlist (with due dates & reminders)
  • Wrote 2 Design Myth articles: Put it above the fold & Show me some mockups, then I’ll sign the contract
    • I launched this website in 2014 after years of frustration surrounding outsider perception of the design industry.

Photo shoots from 2015

Creative Improv

  • Worked with 15 clients (Including many mini-projects for past clients – retaining clients has been great.)
  • 37% decrease in sales from 2014 (which matches my 2012 sales). Reason: new baby – but no regrets about this.
  • Tripled the number of photoshoots I completed for clients from 2014. I did 6 photoshoots this year! See some of the photos here.
  • Photoshoots and stock photography royalties made up 11% of my total sales.
  • Completed fun & fulfilling projects like the many photoshoots as well as the website and portraits I completed for First Baptist Church in Kirksville
    • aka: Fewer projects that I was just ‘meh’ about.

ITS website

Full-time Job

  • Redesigned the ITS department website. This wasn’t just any redesign. It was a 6-8 month, extensive process. I utilized a content inventory, analytics, and other data to build a case for a redesign as well as define real problems with the current website (based on data). I also made the case for WordPress over other website building tools. From there, I began designing in the open and getting client input on every piece of the design. See the redesigned website!
  • Attend An Event Apart – a web design conference in Washington DC – my second in 3 years!

What I shipped in 2015

Seth Godin talks a lot about shipping (or launching & putting things into the public). He is a big proponent of, ‘ship early and ship often.’ Meaning – if you have a project that you’re waiting until it is just right to launch – push through and launch it now. In 2010, Seth Godin challenged his readers to think about what they shipped the previous year. I think this is a great way to hold my own feet to the fire and assess what I launched/shipped in the last 12 months. Here is what I shipped in 2015:


f4.5 – 1/60 – ISO 400 – 50mm lens with 2 lens extension tubes (for a closer, more macro-type image)

Macro flower