Naked at Dawn




Lately, I've been so busy cranking to get everybody out of the house on time that I haven't seen the beautiful things the sun does with the clouds in the morning. I don't subscribe to any sort of New year's Resolution ideas, but it just so happens that over the last couple weeks, I decided I'd like to be more intentional with how I use my time so I don't miss things like this that appear and then vanish while I'm "busy".

Thirty Nine


As in the previous two years, I’ve compiled a list of things that I’ve learned this year, my 39th. Some are things I've just realized about myself, others are things I aspire to be.

  1. For the most part, adding cream and sugar is only necessary with mediocre or bad coffee.

  2. I am an absolute creature of habit. Food, clothes, curmudgeonly stubborn habits.

  3. When you stop riding your bike to work everyday, it’s a lot harder to not gain weight.

  4. I used to only be a social runner, but that somehow changed. Now there is something centering about getting out there at 6:30 am a couple times a week.

  5. Photography is about light. The difference between an interesting photo and a throwaway is almost always about the light.

  6. It is harder to pick one of each thing to own than you would think. Multiples are sort of built into our western world.

  7. I almost never use things I keep as a backup.

  8. Batteries. Those are an exception. Stock up.

  9. I’ve had an iPad for almost 4 years, but this year it just felt like a thing so I got rid of it.

  10. A scarf is really useful and often negates the need for a coat. I never owned one before and then when it snowed this year I found one at a 2nd hand shop on my way back from lunch. Blue, Merino wool, fantastic.

  11. I have a lot of books that are about 3/4 finished on Amazon’s servers. I forget about them.

  12. I don’t mow my lawn anymore. I was always late getting to it and my wife found some great guys that knock it out in 10 minutes consistently instead of my 45 sporadically.

  13. I always bring too much stuff.

  14. Eating a good breakfast always makes my day better.

  15. This year, saving money felt rewarding for the first time. Sad that it took this long.

  16. I have no use for Radio.

  17. Watching the way my kids view and respond to commercials is disturbing.

  18. I used to think I had the Predestination/Freewill thing figured out. Now I’m not so sure.

  19. Marketing becomes more obvious and annoying to me the older I get.

  20. My 30+ year old Film camera will still work as well 30 years from now, but my newest digital camera probably won’t even power on 15 years from now. Think about that.

  21. Things that use software have a shorter life span.

  22. It’s easy to see selfishness in others, but hard to see it in myself.

  23. Lens caps are pretty useless except for storage and shipping. They make me miss shots and always get lost. Put a high quality glass filter on the front of your lens and call it good.

  24. Lens Hoods keep rain, waterfall spray and perhaps most important, fingers off the glass on the front of your lens.

  25. I don’t like the business model of streaming music services. I’d rather pay a few musicians I really like to own a copy of their art.

  26. I’m happy that computers are less about CPU speed and cameras are less about megapixels. Those wars were stupid.

  27. Though it sounds snooty, I won’t buy another computing device without a retina class display.

  28. I prefer a wool sweater over synthetic fleece. Breathability is priceless.

  29. Though it has been many years since I met my wife, her smile hasn’t changed and still says “home” more than anything else to me.

  30. Always dark chocolate.

  31. Many of my traits are amplified in my children.

  32. Life is too short to put up with horror movies or artsy films.

  33. I’ve always understood endurance intellectually, but the more of life that I experience, the more I feel it in my heart.

  34. Politics seem more and more pointless over time.

  35. There is an alive-ness that I feel when I’m creating something.

  36. In terms of weather, I’m happiest at the juxtaposition of cold air and bright sun.

  37. Few people are willing to endure early, cold and awkward to get a photo. I’m one of them.

  38. I hope that with age, my words will come more carefully and thoughtfully.

  39. Most wisdom comes from personal struggle and mistakes. I’m trying to pick some of it up by watching and listening to the stories of others too.


Catching Up With Your Creative Ambition


I found this great video when Conor McClure shared it earlier this week.

Daniel created a video accompaniment to a section of an interview with Ira Glass about the frustration of being in the place as a creative person where you have good taste, but aren't really satisfied with the quality of the stuff you're producing.

What a strange place to be. Understanding the difference between the good and the mediocre but not being able to push through. Here's Ira's advice-

You gotta know, the most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work...It's only by actually going through a volume of work that you're going to catch up and close that gap and the work you're making is going to reach those ambitions.

I've found this to be the case in so many creative endeavors over the years. Whether it's photography, songwriting, playing an instrument or graphic design, the same rule applies. You'll know what exceptional looks (or sounds) like long before you can pull it off. As much as it sounds cheesy, there really is something to the phrase, "Fake it 'till you make it".

By trying over and over again to make the thing that you can already feel inside of you, eventually it stops being fake.


Adding Something New to the World


The world built by the Internet is one of convenience. Buy anything without leaving your house. All knowledge is nearby and that’s a lot of knowledge, but don’t worry, everyone is pre-chewing it for you and sharing it in every way possible. They’re sharing that and other interesting moments all day and you’re beginning to believe that these shared moments are close to disposable because you are flooded with them.

You’re fucking swimming in everyone else’s moments, likes, and tweets and during these moments of consumption you are coming to believe that their brief interestingness to others makes it somehow relevant to you and worth your time.


This is not a reminder to over-analyze each moment and make them count. This is a reminder not to let a digital world full of others’ moments deceive you into devaluing your own. Their moments are infinite – yours are finite, too, and precious – and this New Year I’m wondering how much we want to create versus consume.

I need to hear this. I've been thinking about the balance of consuming information vs creation and Rands nailed it.




Clarity, or self-awareness is something that I've always felt should come all-at-once- like a sneaker wave or bad news. The older I've gotten, the more I realize it usually doesn't happen like that.

I've always loved the Robert Frost poem where the two paths diverge, partly because I long to know that I've done something right- to feel that I chose a wiser path. Sometimes the really defining moments of our lives feel momentous immediately, but when I put my finger on the specific pieces of life that define me, I have to admit that it doesn't always feel important when it's happening. Like the last refrain in Frosts poem, It's not until long after that you realize the weight of that decision.

This morning a tiny bit of clarity- as in a mirror dimly- is present. I'm just beginning to understand the weight and meaning of a series of turns in my path years ago. Nothing too dramatic, nothing to cause panic, but an area to make big, long-term sweeping changes. There's no shortcut to where I want to go. It took this long, and these choices to get here after all.

It's as-if this part of the path has paused on a high point with a view. From here, I can see where I started, the general direction of the path not taken, and a whole world spread out in front of me. Of course a view doesn't just open up like that all at once.

I've seen pieces of it along the way, but now that I've seen this much of it all at once, those distant high spots on the horizon seem less vague and the general direction seems less doubtful.

Time to start moving in the right direction.