Category Archives: Self-Portrait Project

An Artist’s Notebook Post #3,500

Welcome to the 3,500th entry in “An Artist’s Notebook”. The blog portion of my Photography 139 website. It has been along time since I first took keyboard hand sitting in the old Computer Mine setup or possibly in my Mom’s basement, because that is where my life was at that time.

In fact, the first time I posted anything on “An Artist’s Notebook” was August 9, 2006. The very first word I wrote, “So”. Maybe not the best word. Maybe not the most forceful word. It is a word that almost feels like an apology.

I clearly didn’t know where this was going to take me and I’m not sure I even know where I’m at now. So.

I would go on in the first post to state that I had a few goals for this blog.

#1. To write in it.

I think I can say safely that 3,499 posts later, I have written in it. I often wonder if I were to print out every page of “An Artist’s Notebook”, how many pages it would be. While I know that most of those pages would just be pictures at not necessarily words, I’m still pretty sure that the entire thing would run several thousands of pages. While the things I write and the nature of what I write and post has changed over time and I’m sure it will continue to change, I will say for now, I’m still on track for Goal #1.

#2. To be as truthful as possible towards my true thoughts and feelings.

On this goal I’m going to give myself an incomplete. I feel that I am truthful to my loyal readers, but I don’t know that I necessarily share my feelings a lot. For example, I don’t know how many of you know how much I despise the open-faced sandwich. It is a pox upon mankind. Kind of like anti-vaxxers. When I think about it, I suppose I don’t hold back much. However, I’ll have to double down on my efforts to let you know about my true feelings. A 5,000 word piece on the worthlessness of the open-faced sandwich is coming your way on Sunday!

#3. Producing something that makes me worthy of having a pretentious sounding journal title like: “An Artist’s Notebook”.

The question here, is this: Is the blog any darn good? It would be arrogant of me to claim that it is. I have garnered a small amount of loyal subscribers. But I’m sure a better blog would garner more. My entries do occasionally gather comments. But I’m sure a better blog would gather more comments. I guess I’ll have to keep plugging away and let the sands of time figure out if this thing is any good.

On these mile marker posts, I like to look at what things and what people have most influenced this post.

On my 750th post, these were the Top 16 post categories and I’ll assume, the only categories I had for posts back then:

1. Photography – 295
2. Friends – 269
3. Life – 238
4. Family – 98
5. Religion – 63
6. ISU Football – 41
7. Jaycees – 40
8. Movies – 39
9. Blogging 33
10. Sports – 25
11. Work – 25
12. House – 24
13. Writing – 23
14. Comedy – 20
15. Politics – 17
16. History – 12

On post 1,000, these were the 10 people that I had tagged the most in posts:

1. Jay (144)
2. Jesse (143)
3. Shannon (140)
4. Derrick (117)
5. Jen (101)
6. Teresa (96)
7. Willy (93)
8. Sara (88)
9. Baier (65)
10. Dawn (64)

By post 1,447 these were the 10 most tagged people:

10. Dad – 117
9. Carla – 118
8. Sara – 122
7. Willy – 124
6. Jen – 143
5. Teresa – 144
4. Derrick – 157
3. Shannon – 160
2. Jay – 180
1. Jesse – 195

This picture of Evie was the most popular picture on my website:

By post 2500, these were the 5 most tagged people:

1. Jesse – 283 Posts
2. Teresa – 244 Posts
3. Shannon – 231 Posts
3. Jay – 231 Posts
5. Derrick – 220 Posts

By post 3,000 these were the most popular categories:

#10 – Jay – 262 Posts
#9 – Life – 274 Posts
#8 – Teresa – 282 Posts
#7 – Shannon – 289 Posts
#6 – Animals – 301 Posts
#5 – Portrait – 313 Posts
#4 – Jesse – 328 Posts
#3 – WPC (Formerly RWPE) – WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – 432 Posts
#2 – Flowers – 436 Posts
#1 – Photography – 440 Posts

And these were the most tagged people:

#10 – Vest 204 Posts
#9 – Jen – 205 Posts
#8 – Willy – 209 Posts
#7 – Derrick – 241 Posts
#6 – Mom – 247 Posts
#5 – Carla – 261 Posts
#4 – Jay – 262 Posts
#3 – Teresa – 282 Posts
#2 – Shannon – 289 Posts
#1 – Jesse – 328 Posts

Here we are, post 3,5000. I should point out before I reveal the current most popular categories on “An Artist’s Notebook”, I should point out that while I’ve been going back and fixing old broken entries via our Saturday night trips down memory lane, I have also been re-categorizing and breaking some categories into multiple categories. That is why some categories have actually lost posts. Hopefully some of those generic categories like “Photography” and “Life” will be down to zero some day.

Here are the most popular categories:

10. Photography – 311 Posts
9. Teresa – 312 Posts
8. Carla – 314 Posts
7. Shannon -351 Posts
6. Black & White – 390 Posts
5. Weekly Photo Challenge – 394 Posts
4. Jesse – 404 Posts
3. Animals – 477 Posts
2. Portrait – 516 Posts
1. Flowers – 537 Posts

10 Most Popular Not People Categories:

10. Art – 243 Posts
9. Nature – 260 Posts
8. Personal Photo Project – 261 Posts
7. Road Trip – 288 Posts
6. Photography – 311 Posts
5. Black & White – 390 Posts
4. Weekly Photo Challenge – 390 Posts
3. Animals – 477 Posts
2. Portrait – 516 Posts
1. Flowers – 537 Posts

10 Most Tagged Humans

10. Jen – 222 Posts
9. Vest – 234 Posts
8. Willy – 238 Posts
7. Derrick – 267 Posts
6. Jay – 294 Posts
5. Mom – 300 Posts
4. Teresa – 312 Posts
3. Carla – 314 Posts
2. Shannon – 351 Posts
1. Jesse – 403 Posts

You may be wondering, what does it take to improve my Photography 139 Score? How do I get on the big board by the time Post 3750 comes around next August-ish?

1. Submit pictures for the WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE.
2. Assist or pose for photo projects.
3. Be related to me.

If you are wondering who is just outside of the top ten? The 3 people just outside of the Top Ten are Kim, Sara, and Logan.

Here are the current most popular pictures in the Photography 139 Gallery, by views in the last 365 days:

Iowa State vs. Northern Iowa
10. Iowa State Cyclones Football Varsity Marching Band – 514 Views

Howard Family Photo Shoot - 2017
9. Howards 2017 – 571 Views

Ortho 2 Holiday Card Portrait
8. Michelle – Computer Mine Holiday Card – 2018 – 690 Views

Iowa State vs. Iowa 2005
7. Cy beating down Herky – 746 Views

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019
6. Rapid City Mission Trip – 776 Views

5. Autumn Sharp – 935 Views

January 1, 2019
4. Selfie Project – January 1, 2019 – 1251 Views

July 15, 2017
3. Selfie Project – July 15, 2017 – 1511 Views

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
2. Metropolis, Illinois – 2724 Views

January 14, 2019
1. Selfie Project – January 14, 2019 – 3215 Views

And these are the Ten Most Popular Albums in the Photography 139 Gallery by views in the last 365 Days (You can go to the album by clicking on the picture):

10. Autumn Sharp – 2020 -11,036 Views

9. Misc. Portraits – 11,198 Views

Ortho 2 Holiday Card Portrait
8. 2018 Computer Mine Holiday Card Portrait – 11,409 Views

Iowa State vs. Nebraska
7. Iowa State Cyclones Football – 2008 – 12,024 Views

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma = 2018
6. Iowa State Cyclones Football – 2018 – 12,715 Views

Naima at Dickcissel
5. Naima – 14,770 Views

Page 49 - Reject
4. Photo Journal Rejects – 14,872 Views

June 25, 2019
3. Selfie Project – 2019 – 37,416 Views

2. Weekly Photo Challenge – Year 6 – 43,174 Views

9 Emotions Project - Anders Runestad
1. 9 Emotions Project – 58,863 Views

Whew! Well, I’m spent. Thanks to everybody that subscribes to this here blog. You are a big part of whatever success that is does have!


This is your reminder that this week’s theme for THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is FRAMED:


Reminder that a FRAMED photo is a photo where your subjected is FRAMED by objects that aren’t the subject of the photo. Like a window. Or a door. Or literally anything that creates negative space.

Happy photo harvesting!

Selfie Project – September

Seems like as good of a time as any to check in with the Selfie Project. My September was incredibly busy. I had several photo shoots, youth group was back in session, Pufferbilly Days, Iowa State football season is ramping up, and Elainie was back in town.

But I confess that my selfies might not reflect that, it feels like.

Here are my favorite September Selfies:

September 2, 2019
September 2

September 3, 2019
September 3

September 4, 2019
September 4

September 6, 2019
September 6

September 7, 2019
September 7

September 8, 2019
September 8

September 9, 2019
September 9

September 13, 2019
September 13

September 14, 2019
September 14

September 17, 2019
September 17

September 19, 2019
September 19

September 20, 2019
September 20

September 21, 2019
September 21

September 22, 2019
September 22

September 24, 2019
September 24

September 25, 2019
September 25

September 27, 2019
September 27

September 29, 2019
September 29

3 months to go in the Selfie Project. I’m slated to actually leave the state in October. So that is something at least.

Selfie Project – August

Now seems like a good time to check-in with my favorite pictures from my August SELFIE PROJECT pictures.

It would seem that I had a successful month of August. I met Vice-President Joe Biden. I competed in a barbecue contest at the Iowa State Fair. I also competed in a photography contest at the Iowa State Fair. I dine at a Brazilian Steakhouse totally not for Jay’s birthday. I went to an air show. I met my great nephew. I went to the Minnesota State Fair. I dined at Zeno’s. I went to an Iowa State football game.

Here are my favorites:

August 1, 2019
August 1

August 2, 2019
August 2

August 3, 2019
August 3

August 4, 2019
August 4

August 5, 2019
August 5

August 9, 2019
August 9

August 10, 2019
August 10

August 11, 2019
August 11

August 13, 2019
August 13

August 15, 2019
August 15

August 17, 2019
August 17

August 18, 2019
August 18

August 23, 2019
August 23

August 24, 2019
August 24

August 25, 2019
August 25

August 26, 2019
August 26

August 29, 2019
August 29

August 30, 2019
August 30

August 31, 2019
August 31

I’m not sure I’ve had as busy of a September, but I guess we’ll find out in October when I get a chance to look back at it.

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.