Photography by J.D. Magers

Filtering by Category: Goals

So What Exactly Did I Do In 2015?

Added on by J.D. Magers.

Here it is, the last post of 2015.  I thought it might be a good idea to reflect on what I accomplished photographically in 2015.  That way I can have a sort of baseline for when I do this exercise again at the end of next year.  So here goes:

  • The first one can't be considered an accomplishment.  According to my Lightroom library, I pressed the shutter button nearly 3,000 times less in 2015 than the previous year.  I even took less photos than I did in 2013.  For someone that wants to keep learning, I need to practice, which means I need to be shooting more.  There certainly is a good reason for shooting less, as the baby came right when she was supposed to.  In addition, my day job keeps me extremely busy, and I am pretty much limited to creating and shooting to on the weekends.  Shooting on the weekends is hard with an infant, but I should be photographing her instead.
  • I did start the year off with a trip to Barr Lake State Park (which I will actually be doing again this year.  Have I started a tradition?).  I went at sunset, and got a really great photograph of mullein against some out of focus cottonwood trees.  I posted that image here.  We love this photo, and it's now hanging up on our walls.
  • I took 200-300 photos of various kids' birthday parties.  The first one, I actually took the best photos of each of the kids and made prints to give away to the parents.  I was hoping this would lead to a family photo shoot, but that never materialized.  Maybe this year.
  • I took some maternity shots of my wife before the baby came.  That practice will come in handy this year too, as I have a plan for doing more of this.
  • In my limited birding time, I knocked a few new species off my bird photography life list.  This is also something I will be doing more of.  Especially now that I have a little bit more reach with the 7D.
Western Grebe, Barr Lake State Park, Adams County, Colorado.

Western Grebe, Barr Lake State Park, Adams County, Colorado.


  • My first attempt at light painting was a resounding success in my book.  Light painting is a lot of fun.  If you want to check out someone who's really good at it, check out Dave Black Photography.  More on my light painting later.
  • I made it up to Rocky Mountain National Park once.  That's also unacceptable and will change in 2016.
  • In October, I walked in the annual Kelby Photowalk in downtown Denver.  Our leader was not very organized, and even forgot to pick a winner.  In 2016, I resolve to lead a walk along the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder.
  • On the photowalk, I got an idea for a photo of Sports Authority Field (where the Broncos play). My idea was to shoot the stadium at sunset during a game when it is all lit up.  That shot became reality in November, and it was one of my favorite photo shoots of the year.

Looking at this list, I did more this year then I thought I had.  When I first started looking through the library, I felt disappointed like I didn't shoot enough.  But, as I said, it gives me a sort of baseline to compare to for all the ideas that are floating around in my head for where I want to go this year.  And I will get there.  I have a plan.  I have goals.  It's going to be an exciting ride in 2016.  I invite you to please join me.

December Goals and Metrics

Added on by J.D. Magers.

I talked last week about how November wasn't a very good month for achieving the goals I had set for that month.  Well it was a very good month metrics wise.  According to my Google Analytics page, I had 240 visits to my blog in November compared to 51 in October.  That is a 370% increase in page views.  Growth here in the US was up 335% (135 page views versus 31 in October).  If we eliminate the U.S. entirely, my page growth was up 425%.  Not only are more people coming to the blog, they're actually reading it as well.  Worldwide, people are spending an average of 3 minutes and 14 seconds reading what I have to say.  This is extremely exciting for me.  I sincerely thank everyone who have chosen to spend a few minutes of their day here in my little slice of the internet.  I sincerely hope I can continue to provide content that is worth reading and that you'll keep coming back.  Please tell your friends.

So we need to put some goals in place for December as we continue to relaunch FocustheFrame. I think November's goals were a little bit too aggressive.  We're going to dial it back just a little bit this month and continue to build good momentum.  Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Post three times per week during the month.  You should see new posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  In order to be successful in this goal, on Saturday or Sunday of every week, I am going to plan what my posts are going to be about.  That way I no longer will be sitting at my computer the night before (and after a long day of work), thinking about what I want to write about.
  2. I think 300 page views for the entire month of December is doable.  That would be 10 per day.  In order to be successful with this goal, I will need to continue to interact with other blogs and websites to build some community.  If you come here from Google + or Facebook, or anywhere really, please drop me a line and tell me where you saw this blog.
  3. I will write the Vision and Purpose document for this website.  This will be my effort to define my ideal reader (and eventually customer), and put some thought into the kinds of content I want to create.  I am going to get some feedback from a couple of friends first, but I do want to be transparent, so I will post it here, probably near the end of the month.  

As with any type of goal setting, we need a deadline.  Just like last month we'll say the end, so 31 December 2015 will be when I need to have these goals accomplished.  I think this is realistic, although the second one might be a little bit of a stretch goal.  That one will challenge me to get out there and interact, hopefully driving some traffic back this way.  

It's gonna be a fun, busy month.  Christmas is upon us, and very soon we'll be in the new year. I am determined to make 2016 the start of something new and wonderful in my life, which is launching this blog and creating a business.  I know we're in the beginning stages of creating content, but if there is something you want me to write about or just want to say hi, please leave a comment (I got one in November!) or send me an email from the contact page.  With that, thank you for reading and see you Wednesday.

How Did I Do With November Goals?

Added on by J.D. Magers.

Back at the beginning of November, I posted my intent to state some monthly goals to accomplish during the month.  You can read more about why I'm doing this here.  Since November is over, it's time to pay the piper and see how I did.  We'll take these goals one by one and do an assessment.  Here we go:

  1. Rick Sammon suggested in one of his recent Kelby One training classes to read the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.  The book has been purchased, and will be read by the end of the month.  Assessment:  Complete.  This book is a very quick read for being a 300 page book.  I liked it.  It turned out to be a little different than I thought it was going to be, but I think I got the message.  Success equals work.  I already knew that, but it was nice to be reminded of that fact.
  2. I will write a post detailing what I currently know about curves in Photoshop.  Assessment: Not Complete. This was an unrealistic goal.  I realized that I know a little bit about curves, but not nearly enough to write a post that is going to be useful for my readers.
  3. I will finish reprocessing the bison image and the Double Arch image that will go into my portfolio book I talked about last spring, and send the book out for publishing. Assessment:  Also not complete.  I worked on the Bison photo a little bit, but it still isn't done.  I just need to carve out time, which has been a struggle lately.
  4. I will write blog posts every business day in November.  That's five days a week! Assessment:  Yeah.  This was much harder than I thought it was going to be.  I started off with some pretty good momentum, but I ran out of steam.  I quickly realized that I would much rather take my time and write meaningful content than throw something together at the last minute.  I owe that to my readers.  Five days a week is just too much.  I know that publishing regularly is important for building a community, so I am going to shoot for three days a week here in December, posting on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

As you can see, I didn't do very well. I only hit on one of the four goals I identified at the beginning of the month.  If anything, I am accountable for my actions and that is why I am writing this post here.  I will do better in December.  I did learn some things during the month though. For Example:

  • This is hard.  Publishing five times per week is a lot of work, especially with a day job and a family.  I only get to work on my photography for around an hour per night.  I will need to apply time management and take a project management approach to get where I want to go.
  • Publishing valuable content is more important than throwing spaghetti at the wall.
  • I still have a lot of planning to do regarding what kind of content to create and who my ideal reader is.  I need to draft and implement some rules around this so I can develop some consistency.

There you have it.  A no holds barred self critique of my month.  As we get going, I think it was valuable.  It helped me to realize there is much work to be done.  I'll get there, we just have to keep moving forward.  I'll publish my December goals soon, but for now, I think I'll work on the bison image...

November Goals

Added on by J.D. Magers.

On the first business day of each month, I intend to post 3-5 goals to accomplish in that month.  Goals are very important in helping us to achieve what we want to achieve, and announcing them publicly will help keep me on track.  I'm hoping that you all will help to keep me accountable.  Goals have to be SMART (that is: Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic and Time-Based).  Following this formula usually leads to success, as long as you have given yourself enough time, and the goal is realistic. 

We'll reconcile the goals at the end of the month to see how I did.  So, real simple, here is what I would like to get done by November 30 (see how I threw the deadline in there?):

  1. Rick Sammon suggested in one of his recent Kelby One training classes to read the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.  The book has been purchased, and will be read by the end of the month.
  2. I will write a post detailing what I currently know about curves in Photoshop.
  3. I will finish reprocessing the bison image and the Double Arch image that will go into my portfolio book I talked about last spring, and send the book out for publishing.
  4. I will write blog posts every business day in November.  That's five days a week!

Another stretch goal I would like to accomplish is to get Adsense set up here on the blog.  I know I don't have much traffic here, but I have to start somewhere.  If I get to a point where I don't need to run ads that's great, but I also need to start having the blog pay for itself.  Ads will be one way to make that happen.

So there you have it.  This is what I will accomplish in the month of November.  I sure hope you remember to come back at the end of the month to see how I did.  Maybe you should set a reminder on your phone.  Thank you for reading today.  More later...