2017 Year in review

Most of my active thinking revolves around future planning, goal setting, and list making. However, I recognize the benefit of looking back too. A new year is a perfect time for reflection. For me this need is heightened by my New Year's birthday. Reflection brings both clarity and comfort.

2017 was a year of personal growth and professional milestones. I taught more classes than any year previous, attended and spoke at three conferences, continued to present for local clubs, and traveled for both business and pleasure.

Photography continues to be a constant wherever I am, with or without a DSLR, my iPhone is always there.

Professional Highlights

International Exhibition of Photography San Diego County Fair

I was unavailable to judge this year’s photography exhibition because of other commitments. Add to that this year’s cowboy theme, and I felt called to enter some of my images. It was a good decision, and I am honored by the results.

1st Place (portrait of my father) - B/W Portraiture
4th Place Fair 2017
4th Place Fair 2017
4th Place Fair 2017
4th Place - Wild Animals, B/W Architecture, Fair theme
Honorable Mention - Our Best Friends
Honorable Mention & Special Award Fair 2017
Honorable Mention Plus Special Award - Large Prints (portrait of my father, and the two of us posing in front of the print)
Accepted for show. No awards - Digital Illustration, Color Formal Portrait, Fair Theme

Teaching - UCSD Extension

This year I celebrated 5 years as an adjunct instructor for UCSD Extension, teaching a record 8 classes for the year. Each quarter starts with photographs of the Russel Scculpture that stands outside of the campus building. This serves two purposes. First, it puts me in the right frame of mind to teach, and second it provides fresh images with which to demonstrate.

The process of revisiting the same subject over and over has proven rewarding. Here are a few from 2017.

Teaching - MiraCosta Community College

I took an associate faculty position at MiraCosta College in January teaching two sessions of Photoshop, one on campus and one online. I taught the same two sessions again for the Fall semester which proved to be WAY easier the second time around. I’m looking forward to teaching both sessions again for 2018.

Lucky for me MiraCosta also has a sculpture worthy of repeated photography.


Creative Pro Week - Atlanta

I had the honor of presenting two sessions for the Creative Pro Week Conference in late May. Unfortunately I had to return for finals week at MiraCosta, so my time in Atlanta was quick. I saw the mall, the train and the hotel.

Hotel room view of the shopping mall parking lot.
Airport and train station.
The best part of any conference is spending time with old friends and making new ones.

Adobe MAKEIT - Sydney Australia

My professional highlight of the year was presenting at the Adobe MAKEIT conference in Sydney Australia. Everything about the experience was surreally perfect, including the view from the event venue.

Views from the venue, and my presentation.
Front row seats for Mark Heaps presentation with Cari and Jesús.

Adobe MAX

This year Adobe MAX was held in Las Vegas. It was my 5th MAX and definitely a milestone for feeling well connected. I love being a part of the Adobe community.

At MAX this year I shared a 5 minute story during the ACP summit, and I worked as a teaching assistant for seven lab sessions.

Presenting at the MAX Summit © Chuck Uebele
InDesign with Anne-Marie Concepcion
Photoshop compositing with Seán Duggan
Photoshop tips with Jesús Ramirez
Photoshop Masking and Selections with Dave Cross
Best part of MAX was the time spent with friends Chana & Sally.

The Adobe MAX text collage was created from images captured at the Neon Museum with Lr Mobile, edited and composited (while at MAX) on my iPad with Photoshop Mix.

MAX Bash

The MAX Bash is always a visual feast. This year was difficult to photograph, but I still had fun trying.

Photography - close to home

Throughout the year I felt as if I wasn’t finding, or making enough time for my photography. Turns out I took a lot of photos, I just didn’t find enough time for editing and printing. Here is a selection of images that I captured not too far from home.

Idyllwild, Ca.

Idyllwild isn’t exactly in our backyard, but it’s not that far away either. We spent a few “get away” nights there in January and were treated to record snowfall.

The cabin we rented was perfect, aside from having to dig out the car...more than once.
Most of my images were captured from the cabin's back balcony.

Safari Park

The Safari Park is nearly in our backyard, but I only visited it three times, twice in January and once in December. Three visits a year isn’t enough. I need to do better in 2018. It’s such a beautiful place, and so close to home.

New Years Day (my birthday), 2017
Gorillas, Tigers and the occasional bird are always favorite subjects to photograph.

Dog Beach

Dog beach is a favorite weekend treat for our dog Jameson, and full of photo ops for me.

Friend or Foe?

My favorite shots this year were captured with Lr Mobile on my iPhone.

Our pup Jameson in his happy place.

Hole In The Wall Gang

I had the honor of photographing the Hole in the Wall Gang cowboy club again this year.

Lakeside Hole in the Wall Gang

These guys are pros, which makes my job easy.


Life is short, and time flies too fast. Travel is an increasing priority of mine. This year I had the opportunity to travel several times, including to places I have been before, and places I never expected to get to see.


I spent 10 days visiting family in Michigan this summer. It was a much needed break, and time away to recharge after a challenging first semester of teaching.

I’m fortunate to have extended family who took me in on a short notice. They provided me with exactly what I needed, which included time to myself, time outdoors, photography, creative time, art galleries, concerts, kayaking, lazy beach days, trips to the city, long drives and lots of family love.

Aunt Pam & Uncle Bill's home on Loon Lake

Michigan - Loon Lake

My Aunt Pam’s beautiful art studio. She taught me how to use a potter wheel and helped me make two pots.
Details from around my aunt and uncle’s yard.
Kayaking on Loon Lake

Michigan - Detroit

If you haven’t been to Detroit recently, you probably picture something completely different than reality. I know I did.

Downtown Detroit
Around the city
Guardian Building

The Guardian Building opened in 1929. It is one of the most significant Art Deco skyscrapers in the world, and definitely worth a visit, especially if you love color and patterns as much as I do.

The photos barely capture how special this place is.
Charles McGee, Still Searching

My aunt studied with the artist Charles McGee as an MFA student. Fortunately we were able to see a retrospective exhibit of his work in downtown Detroit, just before it came down. His work really resonated with me.

I loved the semi finished space that served as a temporary gallery.
Dabl’s Bead Gallery and Museum

There really is no way to describe Dabl's place. We spent a couple of hours here inside and out. I was in my happy place taking photos, but couldn’t really capture it. You just have to see it for yourself.

Do you see me?
Dabl’s inside of his bead store/museum.
Uncle Bill and Aunt Pam, and me. I matched.
Michigan Central Depot

We visited the old train station just as the sun was setting. It’s a surreal place with new windows in the upper floors and utter decay at ground level. I hope that someday it can be completely refurbished, and returned to the beauty it once was.

I wished I could get inside.

I really enjoyed all the time spent in Detroit and the variety of things I saw. In a weird way I felt connected, like visiting an old home. I was born there, but have lived in California since I was two.

A few more images from Detroit which included a visit to my aunt’s artist reception, and a live taping of "Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me" in the luxurious Fox theater.

Michigan - Traverse / Interlochen

Aunt Kathy and Uncle Cliff's home.

I spent a few days with my Aunt and Uncle in the upper part of the state, close to Traverse City.

I enjoyed exploring their wooded backyard, except for the bugs that ate me up.

We visited the Interlochen Center for the Arts, a world famous music school just up the street from my aunt and uncle's home.

Some day I would love to see a performance here
Small rock and wooden cabins are spread throughout the property, serving as individual music practice rooms.
Aunt Kathy and Aunt Linda enjoying the windy day at Interlochen.
Lake Michigan with approaching storm

We spent time at the beach, hunted for rocks, and visited the Sleeping Bear Dunes

The color of rocks in my photos may or may not be real.

My favorite day was spent kayaking on the Betsy River. A storm threatened but never materialized, which worked out perfect for us. We were the only ones on the river.

Me in my happy place.
Life is good on the river. I want to go back.

Australia - Sydney

Sydney Opera House

I never thought I’d make it to Australia. Now that I have been, I can’t wait to go back. It’s a very special place, and we felt completely at home there.

I couldn’t seem to capture enough photos of the Opera House.
View of the city from the Royal Botanic Garden.

Sydney is a diverse city filled with history and modern architecture. We toured much of it by foot including Parliament, and the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Memorials, gardens, and architecture, old and new.

The reality of my good fortune and opportunity to visit Sydney hit full force when I visited St Mary of the Cross cathedral. I was overcome with emotions when I walked inside.

Australia - Bondi Beach

We spent our last morning in Sydney at Bondi Beach. It was a beautiful winter day, and reminded us a lot of winter in La Jolla.

Bondi Beach, Sydney

I was openly jealous of the beginner surfers. The waves look doable to me. Some day maybe I can go back and try for myself.

The cost of the taxi ride here and back was worth the few hours we were able to spend in Bondi.

Australia - Cairns (pronounced Cans)

After four days in Sydney we flew north to the tropical beach city of Cairns.

Cairns Australia
Cairns is an odd mix of Old West meets beach town, sprinkled with Aboriginal textures and color.

At first glance the beach is inviting, but after closer inspection you start to see the ground moving. Pretty much every lump of mud is actually a crab. Crocodiles live out there too. I tried hard to spot one but I never did.

Stay out!

Australia - Port Douglas and the Great Barrier Reef

en route to the Great Barrier Reef

The bus ride from Cairns to Port Douglas offered incredible views that were impossible to photograph. In Port Douglas we boarded a boat for an afternoon of snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. I'd go back and spend more time in Port Douglas if I could.

Top two images are from the bus window. The rest are shot from the boat deck before we headed out.

The boat ride was beautiful. We were even treated to a whale performing in the distance. The captain maneuvered us a close as possible, and even the crew took a time out to watch.

In this moment I was wishing for my telephoto lens.
The ride out to the reef was almost as enjoyable as the snorkeling.
When we approached our destination the reef was visible from above.

After a couple of hours we reached the floating docking station. It is big place fully equipped with everything needed. We were even fed a hearty hot lunch. Access to the water couldn't have been any easier. I'm not much of a swimmer, and happily availed myself to a cheater's flotation noodle. The water was warm. The suits were to protect from stingrays. Thankfully we didn't see any.

The water color is real.

I purchased a low budget underwater camera for the trip, and I got what I paid for as far as image quality. I'm still happy to have brought back the memories.

Tired and happy. What a day!

Australia - Kuranda and the Rainforest

We visited the Australian rainforest for our last day, riding a train up the mountain to Kuranda, and a skyrail back down in the afternoon.

The train debarked at Freshwater Station, transporting us up through the rainforested mountain side. Views included the Cairns coastline, rich landscape and several waterfalls.

We exited the train in Kuranda, a very cute touristy town. Kuranda is all about shopping and art galleries. I'm not much of a shopper, but I'd go back and spend a whole day here if I could.

We saw as much as we could in the short two hours we were there.

After visiting the town of Kuranda we headed to the nearby Rainforestation Nature Park which was by far the most touristy thing we did in Australia. Not something I would return to do again, but I'm happy for the experience, and would recommend it to anyone.

I finally got to see a crocodile up close. And yes, I also danced with the local Aboriginals, but why not? I was on the other side of the world. Who would know?
Rainforest from above

At days end we returned to Cairns by way of Skyrail over the top of the rainforest. There were two stops along the way for a closer view and more photography.

Wow! The view took my breath away.

Las Vegas, Nevada

I took some personal time while in Las Vegas for Adobe MAX so that I could spend some time with my UK friend Dave Clayton. Dave and I took a tour of the Neon Museum and stopped by the Brain Center Gehry Building on the way back.

Las Vegas Neon Museum - The old Las Vegas Casino Sign

I've done Las Vegas more than enough times. I have no real desire to return, but would definitely revisit the Neon Museum if I find myself in Vegas again.

The original La Conche lobby serves as the museum entrance.
Such a visual feast of shapes, textures, color and history.
Dave gave me the idea to capture letters with my iPhone.
Cool things are always best shared with friends.

Dave and I also visited the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health / Frank Gehry building for a few quick shots.

Seven Magic Mountains

I spotted this art installation on my way driving into Vegas. I wasn't familiar with it, and knew I would have to stop for a closer view on the way home.

I managed to arrive just as the sun was rising on the desert.

I love how the bright colors reflect on the desert sand.

Seattle, Washington

For the final trip of the year we spent a fall weekend in Seattle to visit friends, see a college football game, and catch up with our youngest son who had spent the previous 7 months hiking the PCT.

Portage Bay Seattle
Every visit to Seattle includes a stop at Pike Place Market

Our team lost the game which mattered little to me. There is no prettier place than UW to watch a football game.

Morning fog on the bay
Boating tailgates are the best.
Bruin family (missing our one Cal Bear)

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Created By
Theresa Jackson

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