2015... so far

I set myself a few goals for this year, mostly related to photography... improving my eye, working on techniques, learning more about my camera.

It always feels good to do this, to set goals and work toward them. And getting goals down on paper so I can track my progress, that's just the best approach for me. I think it goes back to all those years of managing writing and publishing projects... tracking even small steps toward completion is a very positive thing. But I've not done much of this kind of goal tracking since I retired; with all my time my own, it's easier to get things done. But it's also easy to get lazy, and I feel like I've been lazy.

I really meant to do a level check earlier in the year, but then stuff happened. Like Hawaii... that wasn't planned when I set my goals for the year. And dropping a summer road trip to work on the bathroom remodel project (have you ever painted a room when it's 98 degrees outside? I don't recommend it). It was one of my goals for the year, so that was goodness. And there were visits from family on both sides of the genealogy chart. And then we turned a two-week road trip into four weeks. All good, all worthwhile, all fun.

Going with the flow is one of the great things about being retired, but it does (at times) wreak havoc with plans.

So, enough whining and justifying. Here are the things I accomplished this year:

Work more in black and white | I've explored both shooting in black and white, and using post processing to convert my photos. Both approaches have merit... shooting B&W requires you to think about value in a scene before snapping the picture; I think scenes with a greater range of values make the best B&W images. But taking it in color (and verifying value by looking at the histogram) means you can have both color and B&W in the end. So far, my favorite subjects are barns and cats.

Take a trip out of the country, to explore a bit more of this big, wide world | 2015 ended up being a year for travel: Hawaii in March, Ireland in June, and a road trip through the West in September/October. All these experiences were great, but Ireland was amazing. Before we'd left home I already knew I wanted to go back again. And DW, who has never yearned to visit Ireland (or the British Isles), was completely smitten by the time we were halfway through our vacation. A lot of bucket list items were checked off on this trip, but getting to fly a bird of prey is one I will never forget.

Clear out all the attics in my old farmhouse | This one is 4/5th complete, but even I won't spend time in an attic when it's 95 degrees outside. There are limits...  But if fall drifts into winter in a gentle fashion, I'll finish this one before Christmas.

Spend part of the winter, either at the beginning or the end of the year, in a snowy place | This one was nixed by the lack of snow in the Northwest last winter. But there's hope for this coming winter.

More fly fishing adventures | With a guide, DW and I floated the Yakima River this spring, fishing for trout. The Yakima is Washington's only blue ribbon fly fishing river, and floating it has been a wish of mine for several years. I'm so glad we finally made it happen.

There are still a few weeks left in the year, and once fall heads toward winter, I'll work through that Photoshop Elements class, and choose an online photography class to participate in. I'm nervous about that, but getting out of my comfort zone will be a good thing.

I'm still working on those other goals: letters and horses, barn quilts and photo framing, bathrooms and quilting, and a photography vacation in Palouse country. I nibbled around the edges of these and made progress, just not enough that I'd claim them as a success. Some of these will make it onto my 2016 list.

My 2015 list is here, if you're curious.

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