Category Archives: Self-Portrait Project

Selfie Project – July

Usually I don’t like to get this late into a month before I publish my favorite photos from the previous months SELFIE PROJECT, but I guess I’ve been busy and I’ve really been trying to be diligent with hitting up that 2018 backlog.

I don’t know that I did anything that was as interesting as what I did in June, but it wasn’t the worst month of the year for me.

Here are my favorites from July:

July 3, 2019
July 3

July 5, 2019
July 5

July 6, 2019
July 6

July 8, 2019
July 8

July 9, 2019
July 9

July 11, 2019
July 11

July 12, 2019
July 12

July 13, 2019
July 13

July 14, 2019
July 14

July 15, 2019
July 15

July 18, 2019
July 18

July 19, 2019
July 19

July 20 , 2019
July 20

July 21, 2019
July 21

July 24, 2019
July 24

July 26, 2019
July 26

July 27, 2019
July 27

July 28, 2019
July 28

July 31, 2019
July 31

I’d like to think that I’ve done some borderline interesting stuff in August so far, with a couple things left to go. A trip to Zeno’s. A trip to the Minnesota State Fair. The first Iowa State football game are all left to go!

Selfie Project – May

Now seems like as good of a time as any to check back in with THE SELFIE PROJECT and see what “amazing” things I did in the month of May. Some of these things I had already forgot about!

May 1, 2019
May 1

May 4, 2019
May 4

May 5, 2019
May 5

May 6, 2019
May 6

May 7, 2019
May 7

May 8, 2019
May 8

May 9, 2019
May 9

May 11, 2019
May 11

May 12, 2019
May 12

May 15, 2019
May 15

May 17, 2019
May 17

May 18, 2019
May 18

May 19, 2019
May 19

May 21, 2019
May 21

May 23, 2019
May 23

May 25, 2019
May 25

May 26

May 27

May 29, 2019
May 29

May 31, 2019
May 31

I think June is off to a decent start. I haven’t done anything amazing, besides see GODZILLA KING OF MONSTERS. But at least I’m 99% sure I’ll be leaving the state to go on a mission trip. So that’ll be something.

Selfie Project – April

Seems like a good time to share my favorite pictures from THE SELFIE PROJECT from April.

I’ve been trying to be more interesting with the pictures, or at least more interesting with my life, since it felt like in January and February I didn’t do anything.

I don’t know if I’m accomplishing that or not, but at least in the month of
April I did leave the Cyclone State once. So that is something.

Here are my favorites from April:

April 1, 2019
April 1

April 3, 2019
April 3

April 5, 2019
April 5

April 6, 2019
April 6

April 7, 2019
April 7

April 8, 2019
April 8

April 9, 2019
April 9

April 12, 2019
April 12

April 14, 2019
April 14

April 16, 2019
April 16

April 17, 2019
April 17

April 18, 2019
April 18

April 19, 2019
April 19

April 21, 2019
April 21

April 23, 2019
April 23

April 24, 2019
April 24

April 27, 2019
April 27

April 28, 2019
April 28

April 30, 2019
April 30

As of this writing, I haven’t taken my picture for today, but my May 1 picture does involve a giant check, so May is shaping up to be quite the month!

Selfie Project – March

It has been awhile since we checked in with THE SELFIE PROJECT. I figured today was as good of a day as any to check out March before April is over.

I’m not sure I did more interesting things in March than I did in February or January where it felt like I never left the house. I think I’ve continued that in April. I actually even left the state in April!

Here are my favorites from March:

March 1, 2019
March 1

March 2, 2019
March 2

March 3, 2019
March 3

March 4, 2019
March 4

March 6, 2019
March 6

March 7, 2019
March 7

March 8, 2019
March 8

March 9, 2019
March 9

March 10, 2019
March 10

March 12, 2019
March 12

March 14, 2019
March 14

March 16, 2019
March 16

March 17, 2019
March 17

March 19, 2019
March 19

March 21, 2019
March 21

March 22, 2019
March 22

March 23, 2019
March 23

March 24, 2019
March 24

March 26, 2019
March 26

March 28, 2019
March 28

March 29, 2019
March 29

March 31, 2019
March 31

No doubt you already excited to see my April “adventures”.

Selfie Project – February

Seems like a good time to check in with the progress on THE SELFIE PROJECT.

I don’t think that February was my best work. Apparently I need to get out more and see more people because it seems like I didn’t leave my house much in February from these pictures.

But looks can be deceiving. Nothing deceiving about that bear though.

February 1, 2019
February 1

February 3, 2019
February 3

February 5, 2019
February 5

February 6, 2019
February 6

February 7, 2019
February 7

February 8, 2019
February 8

February 10, 2019
February 10

February 13, 2019
February 13

February 15, 2019
February 15

February 18, 2019
February 18

February 20, 2019
February 20

February 21, 2019
February 21

February 24, 2019
February 24

February 25, 2019
February 25

February 26, 2019
February 26

February 27, 2019
February 27

February 28, 2019
February 28

I’ll try to be more interesting in March.

Selfie Project – January

Loyal leaders may recall that I started up the Selfie Project again in 2019. At the end of every month I will check-in with it to share some of my favorites from the month.

If you don’t want to wait until the end of the month, you can follow me on the Instagram to see what I have done and where I have been.

To follow me on the Instagram, scan my Nametag below:

Instagram Nametag

Spoiler: For January I’m not sure I did anything all that exciting. Although I did leave Iowa once to visit the Miller Triplets in Kansas.

Here are my favorites:

December 31, 2018
December 31, 2018

January 4, 2019
January 4

January 8, 2019
January 8

January 10, 2019
January 10

January 12, 2019
January 12

January 14, 2019
January 14

January 16, 2019
January 16

January 17, 2019
January 17

January 18, 2019
January 18

January 20, 2019
January 20

January 21, 2019
January 21

January 22, 2019
January 22

January 23, 2019
January 23

January 25, 2019
January 25

January 26, 2019
January 26

January 27, 2019
January 27

January 29, 2019
January 29

January 30, 2019
January 30

January 31, 2019
January 31

Hopefully I will be interesting in February. There is a baby I need to visit up in Minnesota. A baby I need to visit down in Des Moines. If the weather gets nicer, I could spend some time pursuing THE TOWN SIGNS PROJECT or I could spend the entire month hanging around the house with Naima.

The struggle is real!


Here is a big update on my pursuit of a drone:

  1. Car paid off. – I got the pink slip daddy!
  2. Training Budget Reimbursement – Bought about 10 books and signed up for an online portrait photography class that I will discuss someday.
  3. Purchase Popcorn Maker – The Union Street theater has procured its very own popcorn maker from Flat Earth Joe. The one that was borrowed from Andy’s friend of a friend has been returned.
  4. Computer Upgrade – I have completed upgrades on my home computer. I’ve put in a solid state drive to run the OS and the applications, I upped the RAM to 16 GB and I replaced the video card with a video card with twice the ram and that is capable of running 3 monitors.
  5. Figure out the effect of the Iowa GOP Tax Scam – The Iowa GOP Tax Scam will indeed result in me paying more taxes. There is about a $7 effect on my paycheck, meaning I am getting a tax cut of roughly $200. (Assuming the withholding from my paycheck is being done right.) However, since the Iowa GOP Tax Scam made it so a 6% sales tax is levied on all online purchases, I will be taxed well more than the $200 benefit. For example, I’ll pay over $100 in taxes on purchasing the drone that I wouldn’t have had to pay before the Iowa GOP Tax Scam became law. 
  6. Rear Brakes – I had the rear brakes replaced on my car last night. It costs me about 40% of what I was expecting Win!
  7. Computer Mine Bonus – I did indeed get a Computer Mine Bonus. I can’t complain about it one bit. 
  8. Bank Fraud Resolution – I am going to consider the bank fraud situation resolved. I haven’t received a letter saying that it is a done deal, but the bank did place the $350 that I requested in my bank account as a provisional credit. The investigation is still to be closed by January 31. I have a naive faith that the investigation will end in my favor. Otherwise, Credit Union Time?
  9. Federal GOP Tax Scam – The Tax Scam didn’t effect my tax refund at all. It was almost like it wasn’t meant to be a tax cut for lower class and middle class people. It is almost like it was a cash grab for millionaires, billionaires, and corporations under the ludicrous precept that some of the benefits would trickle down to us poor folks. I can say this with 100% certainty. I respect a person that believes the earth is flat way more than I respect somebody that believes in the Laffer Curve. 
  10. Change Jar -I have added some change to the change jar, including the change I won in a football pool at the Computer Mine. However, I am still probably 2 inches short of being almost full. I should effort to go through the cushions of my couches. If I can get within one inch, of the top of the jar, I will call this quest complete and proceed to order my drone.

That looks identical to last week’s drone update. This is because it is identical to last week’s drone update.

Here is what is different. I’ve decided not to wait until the coin jar is full to pull the trigger on the drone. I pulled the trigger last Friday and it should arrive to be safely caressed in my arms tomorrow.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to actually use it due to the weather, but I will monitor the weather closely. It is possible that the first day of decent weather I’ll take off of work and go play in the skies above us. No higher than 400 feet and not within 5 miles of an airport.

I know what you’re thinking, you snagged your reward before achieving your goals. That shows a lack of discipline. This is very disheartening, considering you have been yammering on and on to anybody that would listen that you are going to be more financially responsible this year.

This is true. My main goal of 2019 is to be lest wasteful with money in certain ways. However, the benefit of that is that I get to be more wasteful in other veins.

My way of being more financially responsible is to have set some goals.

Goal #1: Decrease my actual debt load my a certain amount of money. I’m not heavily in debt. I have a house payment and some credit card debt. However, while I don’t have a car payment, I want to hammer on my debt and get it below #X by the end of the year. I’ll report on my progress here, because congratulations, you just became my accountability buddies.

Goal #2: Figure out why my website is costing me so much more money than I ever intended. I have partially concluded this goal. I actually (I know people should do these things) sat down and reviewed what my webhost was charging me. I discovered that I was paying $10 a month for something called Website Builder, that I don’t use. I built my website with my own two hands and Vest’s two hands and WordPress. They are also charging me like 8 bucks a month for PHP 5.2+. I’m still trying to figure out whether or not I need that, but at the very least, I’m saving $120 bucks a year on this website.

Goal #3: To stop wasting so much money going out to lunch at work. It is not an exaggeration to say that in 2018 and the years before I went out to lunch, on average 4.5 out of 5 work days a week. If I conservatively estimate the average lunch to be $10, I probably spent $200 a month on lunch. That is $2400 a year. My goal is to only eat out for lunch 20% of the year. I estimate that just by bringing lunch from home, I can save $1800 a year. The good news is that I’m on track this year. In January there were 22 work days. I went out to lunch one time. I’m currently at a 4.5% eating out for lunch percentage. My worry is that I will get burned out on eating in. So I’m going to try to mix it up as much as possible. If you have any cheap, healthy lunches that are easy to prepare either at work or on the Sunday before the work week starts, throw them my way. This week I’m eating overnight oats. This space is a place where I might also share some of the recipes I come across. I have to thank American Ninja Steve for introducing me to overnight oats. I’m not making his recipe yet because it involves lots of exotic ingredients I need to be able to track down like flax milk and hemp heads. But when I make that for a week, I’ll share that recipe here.

Goal #4: Save money by buying used lenses. I’m still torn on whether or not I’m going to buy a new camera this year. It has been almost 3 years since I bought a new camera and I’m getting the itch. However, I am vexed on what camera to buy. I’ve thought about crossing over into the Sony mirrorless realm, but that means a whole new camera mount. The other option is to buy the camera that is above my camera in my current platform. That camera sells for about $3200. That price tag is going to take me a lot of meals of overnight oats to justify in my head. Especially with my debt lowering goals. While I don’t know about buying a new camera, I have compiled a list of lenses I want to buy this year. I’ve decided to hit the used lens market this year as I can save sometimes as much as 30% by going used. Some of the lens I want are pretty cheap, but some are not. The exciting news for you is that every time I get some used glass, you’ll get to read an exciting equipment review! Yay you!

Goal #5: Up % of the paycheck that goes into savings and 401K.

But none of this explains why I felt it was okay to pull the trigger on the drone with the change jar still 2 inches from the top.

There are two reasons for that:

#1. Through my works and luck at the computer mine, I had $325 in Amazon gift cards burning a hole in my virtual wallet. In my wildest dream, there isn’t $325 in the coin jar.

#2. I recently ordered a new photo toy called arsenal for $185. It is a camera attachment that allows you to control your camera with your smartphone. Now I can already control my camera with a smartphone, but there is limited control. It basically throws the camera into automatic and you get what you get. Arsenal allows you to control pretty much all the main settings on the camera. Plus it is supposed to do its own focus stacking and HDR. Plus it has some pretty sweet time-lapse settings. However, I got an email that they can’t make it Arsenal work with my camera and don’t think they ever will be able to. They refunded me that money. Although to be honest, that $185 isn’t going toward the drone. When the refund hits my account it is going towards some glass. Not sure which one I’ll pull the trigger on first. But don’t worry I’ll let you know.

So where is that change jar money going to go. Well, one camera purchase I am dedicated to this year is the Sony RX0. Therefore, when the change jar is full I will take it to the bank and then order up the Sony RX0.

This concludes your Tuesday camera equipment purchase updates.

Selfie Project – 2019

One of the goals of 2019 is to bring back the SELFIE PROJECT. So far I am 8 for 8, including Day 0.

I’ll share what I consider the best of the SELFIE PROJECT monthly. I’ll share the pictures daily on Instagram.

Here are the first 8 pictures.

December 31, 2018
Day 0

January 1, 2019
January 1

January 2, 2019
January 2

January 3, 2019
January 3

January 4, 2019
January 4

January 5, 2019
January 5

January 6, 2019
January 6

January 7, 2019
January 7

I haven’t decided yet if I will include other people in the SELFIE PROJECT or if all the pictures will be just me flying solo. I guess we’ll see.

Post #3252 – 2018 Year in Review

Happy New Year to people who celebrate such things.

I like to look at some meaningless statistics every 250 posts and I also look at fairly meaningless year end statistics.

Just so happens that I get to combine them today!!

Here is both a year in review and a celebration that I have made it to 3252 blog posts. I was on the Alamo Bowl Road Trip visiting submarines, cults, and reality television stars when post #3250 came around, so I hope you can excuse the tardiness.

The first thing I want to look at are the most popular CATEGORIES in the history of “An Artist’s Notebook”.

Top 10 Journal Entry Categories

1. Portrait – 527
2. Weekly Photo Challenge – 504
3. Flowers – 497
4. Animals – 405
5. Jesse – 361
6. Photography – 355
7. Shannon – 320
8. Teresa – 296
9. Black & White – 291
10. Carla – 280

Top 10 People Categories

1. Jesse – 361
2. Shannon – 320
3. Teresa – 296
4. Carla – 280
5. Jay – 279
6. Mom – 277
7. Derrick – 256
8. Willy – 227
9. Vest – 221
10. Jen – 209

Top 10 Not-People Categories

1. Portrait – 527
2. Weekly Photo Challenge – 504
3. Flowers – 497
4. Animals – 405
5. Photography – 355
6. Black & White – 291
7. Road Trip – 262
8. Personal Photo Project – 261
9. Life – 234
10. Nature – 215

“Photography” and “Life” are general categories that I have been working on eliminating as I go back and restore historical “An Artist’s Notebook” entries to their original glory. Hopefully they will have both dropped off the Top 10 Lists by journal entry #3500.

If you are wondering how to become a Top 10 person on this list. The easiest way is to submit to the Weekly Photo Challenge. After that, the best way is to volunteer to model and photo assist for photography projects. Then after that, I would suggest going on road trips with me or attending Iowa State athletic events with me or going on road trips to Iowa State athletic events with me.

The people that are right outside of the Top 10 are:: Sara, Kim, Dawn, Becky, and Nader.

If you are looking for a goal for 2019, you could do worse than trying to crack the Photography 139 Top Ten People Category List. You obviously could do way, way, way, way, way, way, way better too.

Now we will turn out eye towards 2018.

Top 10 Most Popular Photography 139 Galleries of 2018 by Views

1. 9 EMOTIONS PROJECT – 48,722
4. 2008 – JANUARY – JUNE – 26,032
5. SELFIE PROJECT – 2017 – 23,141
6. HOUSTON MISSION TRIP – 2018 – 22,046
7. SOUTH DAKOTA TRIP – 2017 – 21,868
9. SAYDIE HOWARD – CLASS OF 2017 – 14,808

The 10 Most Popular Photography 139 Images by Views

Selfie Project - January 27
1. 2524

2. 2386

3. 2327

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
4. 1958

No. 45
5. 1621

No. 43
6. 1456

No. 12
7. 1445

July 15, 2017
8. 1321

9. 1293

No. 38
10. 1241

On the Instagram, these were my 9 Most Popular Photos based on Likes:

My theme for my 2018 Instagram posts was Black & White. My theme for 2019 will be HDR Toning. Also, I will be bringing back THE SELFIE PROJECT to Instagram in 2019.

You can follow me on Instagram here:


I entered 3 photo contests with the following results:

Boone County Fair - 2018
Red Ribbon – Boone County Fair

Boone County Fair - 2018
Purple Ribbon – Boone County Fair

Boone County Fair - 2018
Blue Ribbon – Boone County Fair

Boone County Fair - 2018
Blue Ribbon – Boone County Fair

Boone County Fair - 2018
Blue Ribbon – Boone County Fair

Iowa State Fair Entry - 2018
Selected for Display – Iowa State Fair

Iowa State Fair Entry - 2018
Not Selected for Display – Iowa State Fair

Iowa State Fair Entry - 2018
Selected for Display – Iowa State Fair

Iowa State Fair Entry - 2018
Not Selected for Display – Iowa State Fair

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2018
1st Place Photoshop – Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2018
1st Place Photojournalism – Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2018
Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2018
3rd Place Hidden Treasures of Boone County – Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2018
Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest - 2018
Pufferbilly Days

Last note:

My goal for 2019 is the same as it was in 2018:

I’m gonna step my game up and get what is coming to me.

Good luck in 2019 everybody!

The Selfie Project – Denouement

It is over! The Selfie Project is over! But we should have a couple last looks at all that was “accomplished”!

Here are my favorite pictures from December:

December 2, 2017
December 2

December 4, 2017
December 4

December 6, 2017
December 6

December 7, 2017
December 7

December 9, 2017
December 9

December 11, 2017
December 11

December 12, 2017
December 12

December 13, 2017
December 13

December 16, 2017
December 16

December 17, 2017
December 17

December 18, 2017
December 18

December 20, 2017
December 20

December 21, 2017
December 21

December 22, 2017
December 22

December 23, 2017
December 23

December 24, 2017
December 24

December 28, 2017
December 28

December 29, 2017
December 29

December 30, 2017
December 30

January 1, 2018
January 1

Here is a photomosaic of the December 31 selfie:

Selfie Project - Mosaic

This photomosaic consists of 3000 tiles. 1 images is used a maximum of 10 times. If you would like to see the image at full resolution, click on the link below to download:


I also made a video featuring all 367 images. You can watch it below:

Of course, if you subscribe to this blog via email or RSS Feed, you will have to physically go to this blog entry to view the video!

It was a good project and while at least Michelle is sad to see it go, it is time to put it to bed. Maybe I’ll bring it back in 2019.

2017 – Year in Review

Time for a look back at 2017. While it was a disaster for our country and for the world, it wasn’t so bad for me personally.

Here are the 5 Most popular Photo Galleries on my website:



2007 – JULY-DECEMBER (30046 VIEWS)

2007 – JANUARY-JUNE (21923 VIEWS)


The 5 Most Popular Blog Entries (BASED ON COMMENTS):






The 5 Most Popular Photos on my Website (BASED ON VIEWS):

Selfie Project - January 27
Alisa & I at Winter Jam – 9565 VIEWS

Ground Squirrel – 4349 VIEWS

Me and Naima – 2619 VIEWS

Sidewalk Chalk – 1862 VIEWS

2017 Big 12 Tournament Championship
Jesse and I at the Pep Rally Before the Big Men’s Basketball Championship Game – 1800 VIEWS

There were 400 blog posts in 2017. Pretty sure that is a record.

In 2017, I got to see Beale Street, Mount Rushmore, The Civil Rights Museum, and the Badlands. All places I’ve wanted to see for years.

In 2017, I got see Iowa State win a Big 12 Championship in Men’s Basketball and win a bowl game and watch Iowa State beat the #5 team in the country.

In 2017, I got to be President of the Methodist Men, serve on the Administrative Council for my Church and go on a Mission Trip with the Youth Group to Saint Paul.

In 2017, I attended birthday parties, birthday dinners, 4 weddings (I think), and too many funerals. Even though, there weren’t many.

In 2017, I went on vacations to Minnesota, Kansas, South Dakota, and Tennessee.

In 2017, I established a new tradition of The Union Street Movie Theater Movie Night.

In 2017, I didn’t spend enough time with friends and family.

In 2017, I watched too much television and read too few books.

This brings me to my goals for 2017:

1. I’m gonna step my game up and get what’s coming to me. (My standard goal.)
2. I’m going to read at least 20 books in 2018.

I don’t have any new photo projects for 2018. I’m not continuing the Selfie Project. My Instagram account is going to go 100% black and white in 2018. I will finish the Photo Journal Project.

These are the things that I will do in 2018.