These shots are from the Fort Collins Digital Camera Club field trip to Lory State Park in mid June. The topic was wildflowers and macros.

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I read a great article this morning from Andy Rutledge of Design View, all about the skills one needs as an aspiring web designer coming out of school and looking for a first job.

I agree with all of his points. I think it might surprise some new or aspiring web professionals how important the general business knowledge and the professional interaction skills actually are.

I’m not a good public speaker (INFP here) but I’ve gotten extremely good at selling my services during the pre-client meeting. When I started this business about 3 years ago, I would never have have thought that; but I guesstimate I win about 75% of the jobs where I meet them face to face. That’s huge for me.

Also, the value of writing well can’t be underestimated. I’ve gotten a few interviews because I was one of the few who wrote a coherent cover letter.

Finally, the project management stuff. When I’m working on 6-7 different projects in various stages of development, having a defined workflow is all that keeps me straight on what’s happening where and when. I used the workflow from Web Redesign 2.0 (Kelly Goto) as a basis for what I have in place now.

I didn’t go to school for web design, but the few curricula I’ve seen have been all about the craft and very little to do with ethics or business or marketing or dealing with people. So I think Andy is right on with his observations.

On Sunday I went on a run down to the big city park near our house. On the way back I was coming up to a tall berm and bridge over a canal, and approaching it I saw a kid with a dog stopped on the other trail on the other side, looking at the spot where I was going. I heard something loud – like a bark/howl but definitely not a dog.

There’s a stand of cottonwoods (generating all manner of fluff this time of year) above the intersection of the three trails that come together just west of the bridge.  Sitting under the tree was a big red fox, one of the largest I’ve seen in Fort Collins (and I’ve seen quite a few). He/she was looking at the kid with the dog, letting out the occasional yowl. The fox turned when I was approaching and walked casually to the bridge, then sat down in front of it and yowled at me, watching me as I walked up slowly.

I’d never been that close to a fox, maybe 30 feet away. I wish I’d had my digital SLR! He/she was gorgeous and irritated. But I needed to get across the bridge so I kept going up the hill pretty slowly. Eventually the fox got the idea and headed off at a casual trot along the canal trail, never running.

I crossed the bridge and headed east up toward the street and saw the fox eventually disappear into the tall grass. He/she didn’t seem too upset at being scooted off the trail.

I went on a photography field trip out about 60 miles east into the Pawnee National Grasslands. We stayed at the Crow Creek campground, which has a nice little riparian area and lots of songbirds. Here are some shots from the trip.

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I’ve built a few recent sites using WordPress as a CMS. For the most part this has worked out really well – the main thing that’s been problematic is when a user adds a new page that is not supposed to show up in the menu.

In the past I’ve had to go find that page number and add a bit of code to remove it from the list. But yesterday I came across this great plugin by Simon Wheatley to exclude pages. Works like a charm; this will give me greater incentive to keep creating WordPress/CMS sites and encourage my clients to go this route.

We just watched Battlestar Galactica’s ‘mid-season finale’ on the Tivo – oh my God, is it really true that we have to wait another 7 months to find out what happens? I think ‘Revelations’ is a misnomer! I really love this show, it is brilliantly written and executed, but this season is by far the darkest yet. Waiting impatiently until fall for the prequel movie.