Tag Archives: Anticipating the new year

Planning for 2017

This is a year I’m certainly looking forward to as there are plenty of activities entering our calendar but also am getting a little concerned there is too much to accomplish to enjoy all I would like to. Last year’s goals were mostly accomplished with our travels to National Parks in Texas and Arkansas, taking thousands of pictures which I’m certain has improved my photography skills but still more to do, fixing broken portions of this website, as well as making it to Rocky Mountain National Park to hike Flattop Mountain and Long’s Peak.

Spring blooms

What does that leave for 2017? Plenty! How about starting with our Monopoly goals of visiting Dinosaur, Little Bighorn, and Yellowstone National Parks? Yellowstone has been a place I’ve wanted to visit for a long time as it’s one of the marquee parks in the United States. The more I read about Dinosaur the more interested I get in exploring such a place tucked in Colorado’s northwest corner revealing pre-historic fossils among a beautiful landscape. What’s not to look forward to here? And Little Bighorn, a place among US history commonly known as Custer’s last stand. I get chills just writing that as it reminds me of Gettysburg and all those lost there.

Isle Royale National Park

There’s also a return trip to Isle Royale National Park for a more intense backpacking trip in the works. Our family took on an adventure here in 2012 at which time I insisted I was done backpacking and would never go back to this island. Well, a few months after my muscles and joints recovered I began to think about improvements I could do to enjoy it more but still never really seriously thought about another trip here. The most difficult part was carrying such a heave backpack. Last summers adventure to Long’s Peak convinced me I could backpack and enjoy it. After almost despising an extended hike I’m now really excited about returning to the island and taking in more of what it has to offer. What’s different you ask? First I’m confident in my abilities after hiking 14 miles at higher altitudes and really want to know how much more I can enjoy it at elevations I can breath more easily at as well as I know how to prepare and train for an extended hike.

Clear winged moth on a warm summer night

Add in to this landscaping projects and a small remodeling project at my house, a camping trip, a snowmobiling excursion, and celebrating 20 years of marriage to my wife and this year will fly by I’m sure. I hope 2017 becomes a great year for you as well!

2016 Plans and Goals

Reflecting on 2015, which you can read about here, I came up with some things I would like to accomplish in this next year.  First and foremost, I want to enjoy the activities and adventures we embark on. We did a lot of fun and exciting activities last year but I didn’t feel like I got the most out of them that I could because there was always another event coming up soon requiring attention to plan and prepare for taking attention away from what I was doing. It seemed like we were always in a rush to do whatever it was we were doing because there was something else that needed to get done or was scheduled. If I can help it that won’t be the case in 2016 for us!

An ocean sunrise

My next goal is to explore Window Trail in Big Bend National Park, Padre Island National Seashore, and Hot Springs National Park. I’m pretty confident in being able to complete this in the next year as we already have some lodging accommodations, airfare, and a car reserved. I’m looking forward to this trip as we will be staying in Big Bend which will only be the second time staying right in a park reducing travel time and increasing exploration time.

Using the GoPro Hero 4 underwater

As has been the case for the past several years, I want to continue learning and improving my photography. Originally I set the bar at wanting to take 3,500  photos this year. That just makes me laugh now after having taking over 11,000 in the past year. I’ve decided to up that to 5,000 photos towards the goal of improving. That means working on composition and technique, not just randomly taking pictures of family and friends or the dog. As part of this I want to capture images of individual snowflakes.

A woodland mushroom

Along with the photography goal I would like to complete the Photography Experiment board by learning more about flash, fill flash, rock climbing, and travel portraits. This is a goal that would be nice to complete but if it doesn’t happen I won’t be too concerned. Still, working a little on it would be good.

Time at the lake

Continuing to update and improve this site is another one of my goals for this year. Since I needed to re-build this website in 2015 I find several broken links that need to be addressed as well as some programming pieces that need to continue to be worked on to get them to work as I have envisioned.

Being watched in the woods

I’ve wanted to put together a video from all of the photos taken on our trip to Alaska in 2013. It’s probably time to get this done so I can remove the photos from my computer and free up space. It is uncertain at this point if I will be able to post the video as I’m probably going to use music that is copyrighted preventing me from being able to use it on the internet.

Just floating on the water

One final goal for 2016 is to volunteer more. I feel like I failed at helping others in 2015 and that is something important to me to get back to this next year. Sure I volunteered to help coach my daughters basketball team and spent a number of hours volunteering at our church. I guess it comes down to volunteering at food shelves more. Seeing people starving is something that affects me and a priority for me to help reduce to the best of my ability. We are so fortunate to be able to have all that we need and it is up to us to help those that we can. Food and shelter are at the top of my list to help with when possible.

Lunch on the prairie

That should keep me busy this year and hopefully allow me to enjoy our adventures. If not, there are more homeowner projects to undertake and a potential hiking trip in the Rocky Mountains.

2015 in Review

This past year seems more like a blur that lasted a few months rather than a full year as our family kept quite busy with lot’s of projects and activities. Now that 2015 has wrapped up and we’re on to 2016 it seems like a good time to review which goals were accomplished and those that I fell short on. Looking over my goals for this past year, which were published in this post (click on ‘post’ to read it), I see we managed to achieve half of them.

Warm Caribbean Waters

Exploring Padre Island and Hot Springs ended up being delayed until this spring. Instead we took in Great Smoky Mountain National Park and Shenandoah National Park to see Lewis Falls. The timeframe for Padre Island and Hot Springs became filled with an anniversary celebration trip for Karen’s mom and dad who have been together for over 40 years. Definitely an accomplishment worth celebrating in my book!

Putting in windows

It may have almost killed me (at least it felt like it) but we completed our window project. I estimated my time spent which ended up at over 110 hours of my weekends and evenings to complete. That doesn’t include the time of others that helped me tear out the old ones and lift in the new ones. You can’t imagine how greatful I am to those that helped us and to be done with this home improvement.
Water Lily

Continuing my learning of photography took a back seat for much of the year so I didn’t complete my Photography Experiment Monopoly board once again. Maybe this year. In spite of this I did still manage to take over 11,000 pictures with my Sony Nex. That doesn’t include the thousands of images taken with my new photography addition – a GoPro Hero 4. By the way, I really enjoy the GoPro and where it can go and what it can do. I have definitely learned more about photography composition and techniques with the opportunities I was fortunate to have.

There were other accomplishments during 2015 which may end up in a different post.

2014 In Review, On to 2015

Reflecting on the Setting Sun

Reflection is an important piece in learning but I don’t want to spend too much time on it because going forward provides the ability to experience new things. With that in mind, how did I do in accomplishing my 2014 goals? Here’s what they were from my 2013 in review post:

-Finish the Photography Experiment Monopoly Board

-Explore Gettysburg, Edison, and the Lewis Falls Trail

-Share these travel experiences with others creating life long memories they can reflect on.

-Send Lysa off on her own European adventure

As I look over these I see I only accomplished a parts of most of them. Finishing the Photography Experiment Monopoly Board was close. There were five spaces that I didn’t complete – Flash, Fill Flash, Rock Climbing, and Travel Portraits. There are a couple of reasons they went uncompleted. First, these are unavailable on Peter Carey’s blog, and secondly because these aren’t experiments that seem as interesting or useful for me. Having said that I did start playing around with fill flash late this fall and realized there are times it can be quite useful so I may try to accomplish this space in the new year. Travel portraits are something I should probably pay more attention to as I tend to focus on scenery more than people taking in the scenery. Another goal for 2015.

Looking Towards the National Mall

We did get to explore Gettysburg and Edison but changed our plans to include the National Mall, Valley Forge, and a stop in New York which means Lewis Falls Trail is still on our list of places to experience. I have been debating since we started this National Parks adventure on how many places to cram into one trip and if it should be done at one time or split into multiple trips. Opportunity provided the answer with a conference in Baltimore making more sense to visit areas around that city. Lewis Falls Trail goal will be added to another year. In addition to only partially completed Gettysburg, Edison, and Lewis Falls Trail, I didn’t fulfill the goal of sharing those travel experiences with others. That was a little bit beyond my control. I did share other travel experiences with people beyond the four of us on a journey to Mammoth Cave, Churchill Downs, and a few days in Las Vegas.

Lysa made it to Europe so that goal was completed.

Another goal that I made but didn’t really push for was to take at least 3,500 photos to improve my photography. Surprisingly I took over 5,000 pictures this year. I write surprisingly because by the forth of July I had only taken 1,300 photos so the last half of the year provided more opportunities.

The Sun Setting on 2014

That essentially recaps the 2014 goals. Let’s move on to 2015.

The goals for this next year don’t include quite as much travel at this point. Here there are:

-Explore Padre Island and Hot Springs

-Complete the window replacements at my house

-Finish a few more spaces on the Photography Experiment Monopoly Board such as Fill Flash and Travel Portraits

-Take 3,500 more photographs in an effort to continue improving.

I started replacing windows in the house back in 2011 and figure I better finish all of the windows before styles change or the stain I used at that time become unavailable along with trying to keep all of the windows about the same age. Since there is not expected to be as much travel in 2015 I figured it’s a good year to complete windows.

Celebrating the New Year

2013 in Review

Olympic Mountains in Olympic National Park

It’s always interesting to look over the last year to see where you were so that you figure out where you’re going. We choose what point we call a year in order to do this. It doesn’t have to be when the year changes. Maybe there’s an anniversary of something meaningful or another date in the year that makes more sense for you. Most people decide to do this as the year comes to a close on the calendar and a new one is beginning. I guess mentally it gives us a sense of finality and an opportunity to start fresh with the change of a number in the year.

Questions I like to ask are:  Did the goals set get achieved ? If so, were they beneficial goals? Was there satisfaction in achieving them? If not, why not? Should those goals be extended another year? Where there other achievements that weren’t set as goals but happened anyway? How did those unexpected achievements affect you? There are a number of other questions you can use to analyze the year and how you used it but these will get me started.

An Alaskan Cruise

My goals for 2013:

-Complete the Photography Experiment Monopoly Board

-Explore Olympic National Park

-Cruise to Alaska traveling through Glacier Bay National Park and hiking on the Chilkoot Trail.

-Share these travel experiences with others creating life long memories they can reflect on.

Well, how did these come out?

Before the Photography Experiment

I completed over half of the Photography Monopoly Board but have yet to finish it. I will continue this in 2014.  While working on this I got involved with photography so much that I spent quite a bit of time out and about taking pictures. Just to give you an idea of what I’m referring to, I took over 55,000 photos in 2013. While this seems like an incredible number to me, 48,000 of them are from a time-lapse project covering our entire Alaskan Cruise. That leaves 7,000 images taken while working on photography this year. Still a lot of images to go through for a year. Many of these are not great pictures but I still like looking through them as they remind me of the adventures taken in order to get the images. As I’m sure you can imagine there are a number of really nice photos as well. Just the laws of probability suggest that if you take enough pictures, some of them will turn out. This has created an unexpected issue for me. How do I display the number of images I really like? There are too many and not enough wall space. This photography experiment will continue into 2014 because it has helped me improve and I enjoy it a lot.

During the Photography Experiment

We did explore Olympic National Park and were joined by 5 other family members as we did so creating some wonderful memories while learning some great information. Also, the Alaskan cruise taking us through Glacier Bay National Park and to the Chilkoot Trail was accomplished. There were a total of 14 friends and family on that part of our adventure, 7 of which had never been on a cruise before. There are a couple of posts yet to come from this trip. So, all in all, 3 out of the 4 goals were accomplished. Why is sharing these experiences a goal of mine? I love seeing and doing things I’ve never seen or done before. Probably the only thing that I enjoy more than that is to watch others as they experience new things. These adventures don’t mean much to me unless I can share them. As an example, while working on photography I found a nearby park reserve that offers many opportunities for some great photos. There have been numerous trips there this fall with many more coming I’m sure. Only a handful of times has there been someone with me. It is those few times that stand out for me more than the others because I get to share that with the people who have been with me.

Some unexpected achievements this past year include a couple of trips to the North Shore of Minnesota along with a few weekends camping with friends. One big one was the opportunity for Lysa to go to Europe during the summer of 2014. That one has definitely altered this next year for all of us both economically and time constraints.

Minnesota's North Shore

Moving on, what are some goals for 2014?

-Finsh the Photography Experiment Monopoly Board

-Explore Gettysburg, Edison, and the Lewis Falls Trail

-Share these travel experiences with others creating life long memories they can reflect on.

-Send Lysa off on her own European adventure

May you have new life experiences in 2014 and find some great adventures!

What Will 2012 Bring?

The Dawn of 2012

As one year ends and another begins I like to reflect on the events of the previous year. On what worked well, things that did not go so well, and maybe even pass briefly over those memories that are better off forgotten. Why do this? For me, I imagine myself much older and unable to do the things I can now. When I get to that point in life I want to have as few regrets as possible. Whether that be things I regret doing or things I would regret not doing. Reflecting on the past year helps to find things to improve upon or objectives I did not meet as well as those I did. Once I figure this out I can determine why I did or did not meet those goals and what I need to change for the next year. The ultimate goal is to end the year completing all of my objectives unable to improve upon them. Well, I’m sure we all can guess how many years go by that I can improve on nothing else. NEVER!

Watching the World Go By

Last year was almost a blur if went by so fast. Every year one of my goals is always to take a beautiful summer day and watch the clouds float by enjoying a light breeze and the sounds around. I may have forgotten to do that in 2011. Fortunately there were some nights sitting by the campfire after everyone else had turned in for the night watching the fireflies and enjoying the peace of the moment. Watching the world go by for at least part of a summers day is yet again one of my goals for 2012. Along with that, a trip to California to explore Yosemite and a week in Northern Minnesota/Michigan camping in Isle Royale and possibly Voyageurs National Park are on the list of places to experience. Travel tends to be a fairly high priority in my house so many of our goals are centered around that. There are objectives to provide as many experiences for Lysa and Kristy without over doing it. They are still kids and need to spend some time being one.

There are home improvement goals, financial goals, and professional goals to go with the objectives decided on for travel. It is fun for me to look at what we accomplish in a year and sometimes there is disbelief that certain goals are met. I tried the New Years resolution for a couple of years and decided that setting goals was more encouraging and ultimately more successful.