Birthday List


  1. Film photography seems mysterious now that we all have a (relatively) high resolution digital camera in our pockets. It's not.

  2. Every year brings new kinds of soreness.

  3. I'm getting more and more frustrated with notifications coming from my phone.

  4. Losing a dog is hard. Walking your family through it is even harder.

  5. The behavior and personality of your dog says a lot about you. They're a pretty good mirror.

  6. The difference between things that last a lifetime and things that last a couple years is vast.

  7. I have no use for drama. Drama is a show, and most often is intended to manipulate someone or something.

  8. For a long time I felt like I could get by with less sleep but now I'm pretty sure I was wrong.

  9. Raising a puppy is more work than I remember. I hope I remember what worked and what was a waste of time next time around.

  10. Some people are leavers.

  11. I'm pretty sure my chicken scratch handwriting isn't going to get better. I've always been envious of people with neat handwriting. I worked on it for awhile, but it hasn't made any difference.

  12. I've noticed a pattern in my hairstyles. It changes about every ten years. This was one of those years. I went back to my style from 1985ish.

  13. It is currently popular to add features to digital photos that come from either age or wear. This feels like a lie to me.

  14. Delete all presets that include fades or light leaks.

  15. For me, healthy eating revolves around discipline at lunch. I already eat breakfast religiously, but lunch is where I lose it.

  16. I love music, but this stage in my life is one without a dedicated stereo or time to just sit and listen. It's all headphones when I run or the tinny built in speaker on my phone at work.

  17. I have a few items of clothing that are older than my kids.

  18. I love the idea of "One Lens - One Body" but I never quite get there.

  19. I regularly get into conversations with adults that are half my age and unfamiliar with my cultural references.

  20. There are a lot of musical acts based on a persona and the music feels like an afterthought.

  21. I have no use for Lady Gaga or Kanye West (See Above).

  22. Artificial Sweeteners are dead to me.

  23. So is Turkey Bacon.

  24. I'm really glad we have no food allergies in our house.

  25. I've mentioned in the past that I'm a creature of habit, but I could literally eat a couple eggs every morning and be completely happy.

  26. Good coffee made well should be consumed without additives. Mediocre coffee benefits from cream and sometimes sugar.

  27. There are two color suits you need. Charcoal and Navy.

  28. My favorite coffee mug is big, sloppy and says "Hot Coffee" on the side.

  29. I've been an adult 4 years more than I was a kid.

  30. The nature of fear changes as you get older.

  31. Being a grown-up sucks because you can't blame your kids for not doing their own laundry.

  32. I've finally stopped choosing carbonated beverages when going out to dinner.

  33. Big ice cubes are better than small ones in your booze.

  34. My favorite is Bourbon.

  35. It's amazing how well cloud based data works most of the time, but also sad how completely it fails.

  36. I'm a big fan of declaring email bankruptcy every so often...or at least zeroing out the inbox.

  37. Don't underestimate the sound you can get from a good guitar plugged directly into a good amp.

  38. With all the computers around these days, it's really cool to use a completely mechanical machine.

  39. Family is everything. I know that sounds like something a mobster says, but my wife and kids are who I am.

  40. I became who I am slowly over time and any further change will take awhile too.

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.


Thirty Eight


I posted Thirty Seven last year after being inspired by a similar list posted by Noah Stokes. Here is this year’s list of things I’ve learned.

  1. Taking at least one photo each day isn’t that hard and you can watch yourself get better.
  2. There is a certain kind of relief that happens once you scratch something shiny and new for the first time. It’s like you can finally use it.
  3. Raw Spinach is fantastic. I avoided it for years, but discovered that it is a miracle food this year. Baby spinach is easier to eat in a salad. After 37 years, I also started liking Avocados. I guess tastes do change.
  4. My wife is my perfect complement. She fills in my gaps and makes me a better man than I could be by myself. This happens so often I sometimes forget that I don't have it this together on my own.
  5. I really like having a computer that I don’t share with anyone else. This past few weeks is the first time that has ever been true.
  6. Sales isn’t really about sales. It’s about relationships and being trustworthy.
  7. Though gear is fun to have and think about, it doesn’t make you better at whatever you are trying to do.
  8. 1 regular length prime lens is really all you need.
  9. Living simply is good, but getting rid of complication is hard.
  10. If you truly listen to people, it makes you a better person.
  11. I’m probably more selfish than my children. It’s learned over time. I hope to teach them to learn differently.
  12. Vampires are dumb.
  13. Clutter is suffocating.
  14. I wish I could enjoy this particular moment in my kid’s live as much as I will miss it when it’s gone.
  15. I try to find the best version of everything, then decide if I really need the best.
  16. It’s okay to carry a camera with you most everywhere you go.
  17. The best way to remember something like your wallet or keys consistently is to make a habit out of it.
  18. I feel more focused as I eliminate small, insignificant decisions like shirt color and meal choices.
  19. A small dab of moisturizing lotion on my face after shaving is a good habit and makes my skin feel better all day.
  20. My sons are too smart for their own good. They ask questions I didn’t even know they could think.
  21. Looped carpet with a big dog and kids is not a good choice. Go for the pile. It wears better. Hardwoods are even better, but it’s more obvious when they are dirty.
  22. Fun socks don’t cost any more than boring socks. I choose fun.
  23. Hawaii feels like home. How did I not go sooner?
  24. Drinking lots of water makes me feel 50% better each day.
  25. Sleeping 7 hours does the same, but 8 is too much.
  26. For the first time this year, I've had more moments when I felt like an adult than moments where I felt like a kid.
  27. It almost always takes me 3 times to remember someone’s name. 3rd time really is the charm.
  28. Just because I'm 38, doesn't mean I don't still love Legos.
  29. The older I get, the less being right makes me feel better.
  30. My best friends don't create drama in my life.
  31. When it comes to photography, and writing, I've learned to edit and delete ruthlessly.
  32. As a dad, it's important to wrestle and laugh loudly at burps and farts with my kids.
  33. Farts and burps are funny.
  34. Don't treat work clients better than your friends. Return their calls, emails and texts quickly. It's just the right thing to do.
  35. Strive to be awesome at one thing. It's better than half-assing multiple things.
  36. It is a virtue to say exactly what you mean. I despise subtext and unsaid expectations.
  37. The best cup of coffee I've ever had was made by grinding some beans and then pouring hot water over the grounds. It doesn't need to be complicated.
  38. When making photos, I’m aiming to capture the way it actually felt to be there.