Bob Wertz

You are currently being recorded.

Our neighbors installed a new security system a couple of weeks ago. When you walk anywhere near it – and that radius includes our driveway – a recording plays: “You are currently being recorded.”

We have great neighbors, but when I first heard it, I was a little annoyed. My wife was irritated, too. Every time we walked to our cars… “You are currently being recorded.”

A few days after this started, I was walking out to the car with my kids and the alarm system informed us that we were being recorded… and my 15-year-old daughter waived in the general direction of the camera, yelled “Hello camera” and got in the car. She repeats this greeting every day when she leaves for school, choosing to be amused instead of irritated.1

There are two lessons in this story:

  1. Don’t install a talking alarm system. It’s annoying. (My neighbor isn’t happy either. He says it is way too sensitive and goes off at the slightest movement.)

  2. We can choose to be amused instead of irritated. Sometimes, it’s best to greet the metaphorical camera and go on with your day.

Bob Wertz is a creative director, type designer, Ph.D. student and researcher living in Columbia, South Carolina.

  1. We asked our neighbor if the camera records audio. It doesn’t. Jill knows this. She says hello anyway. ↩︎

The rush to hype

Not everything is going to change the world tomorrow

I’m not sure when the “hot take” era started. It predates the internet1, but social media really seems to have kicked it into the stratosphere. There’s a rush to hype everything as the next disruptive invention. Wearable devices. Foldable displays. Ride sharing and self-driving cars. Blockchain and cryptocurrency. Artificial intelligence and machine learning. AR and VR. Federated social media.

While social media drives the hype train, it’s powered by money. Major companies are afraid of missing a big trend and becoming irrelevant. Small companies see an opportunity to move fast and take advantage of the new tech. VC firms are willing to gamble on the technology in hopes of a big pay day. Entrepreneurs sell grand visions with hopes of making it big. All of these entities benefit from building the hype around every new technology.

What technology really needs is time to mature. Time to work the bugs out. To discover the downsides and figure out how to address them. To build a sustainable business model. Instead, too often, the money-powered hype train moves too fast and the whole thing just derails.

I love reading about technology and learning about all the latest advancements, but I’ve been following technology long enough to know that slow and steady usually wins the race.2

Bob Wertz is a creative director, type designer, Ph.D. student and researcher living in Columbia, South Carolina.

  1. I’ve done some research on printing technology and let me tell you, the newspaper reports from the late 1800s about the Linotype are the definition of “hot take.” ↩︎

  2. Do you remember the TV show Beyond 2000? How many of those featured technologies actually became successful products? Not many. ↩︎

Star Trek Picard Speculation: Chekhov’s Starship

What’s in Hanger Bay 12?

WARNING: Spoilers and speculation about Star Trek: Picard.

In Star Trek Picard season 3, episode 6, The Bounty, the USS Titan jumps to the Starfleet Ship Museum to get help from Commodore Geordi La Forge. The first exterior shot of the museum includes a selection of familiar ships (like the Enterprise A, Voyager and the Defiant) positioned in rings around the exterior of the space dock. There was one empty ring, and so the Titan “hides” in plain sight among the museum ships.

When Geordi and his daughter Alandra beam aboard the Titan, they reveal that the Titan and all modern Federation ships are networked with each other. Starfleet will find them. Picard is pleading with Geordi to help when his daughter interrupts.

Alandra (quietly): “Dad. What about Hanger Bay 12?”
Geordi (exasperated): “Alandra. Please.”

And the dialog continues. I assumed that what was in Hanger Bay 12 would be the key to the episode, but it’s not. Jack Crusher steals the cloaking device from Star Trek IV’s Klingon Bird of Prey and the Titan rushes off to rescue Raffi, Riker and Worf on Daystrom Station. Hanger Bay 12 is never mentioned again.

So, what’s in Hanger Bay 12? Likely a new ship for the museum that was intended for that empty circle that the Titan parked in. Alandra clearly thinks the ship would be helpful — maybe because it’s not networked. I assume that the ship in Hanger Bay 12 was likely intended to be unveiled as part of the Frontier Day ceremony and then intended to fill the empty ring at the Fleet Museum. Instead, I imagine that Picard and crew are going to come riding to the rescue in that ship…

My guess: The Enterprise 1701-D.

I can’t think of any other ships that are significant enough and aren’t already represented in fleet museum. The 1701-D was destroyed in Star Trek: Generations, though. How could it reappear? Well, at least one of the ships they show in the museum, The Enterprise 1801-A, is a replica since the original was destroyed in Star Trek III. The new Enterprise-D could simply be a retrofitted Galaxy-class starship. Or the original 1701-D saucer section paired with a different Galaxy-class body.

It might seem like excessive fan-service, but if done well, I think it would be incredible to see the crew save the day in the ship from the TV show. Picard, Riker and Troi in the three command seats. Worf at tactical. Data at helm. Geordi in engineering. It would be a fun conclusion to this final season of Star Trek Picard.

Bob Wertz is a creative director, type designer, Ph.D. student, researcher and Star Trek fan living in Columbia, South Carolina.

First impressions of the Adobe Firefly Beta

The beta service gives some insight into how Adobe views AI’s role in the creative process.

I recently got access to Adobe Firefly, a beta generative AI system. It’s not a surprise at all that Adobe is experimenting with generative creative tools. Adobe is clearly looking at ways AI can integrate with the tools that they already offer. Thankfully, unlike an earlier wave of visual AI tools, Adobe has trained their AI model on properly-licensed images. Generated images are restricted to non-commercial use and a label is added to exported images, but you shouldn’t see a Getty Images watermark anywhere.

I’ve been following news about generative AI, but I haven’t really experimented with any of the other tools. It’s been more of an abstract curiosity. Now after playing with Adobe Firefly, I can see some of the practical implications of generative AI tools and started to think about how those features could fit into a design workflow. Also, as a Ph.D. student trying to settle on a dissertation topic, I see lots of research questions when I look at generative AI and Adobe Firefly.

Right now, the service has two features: Text to Image and Text Effects. I’ve spent a little bit of time experimenting with Adobe Firefly and wanted to share some initial impressions.

Text to image

The text to image feature is straightforward. Type in a prompt and Firefly generates four images. On the right, there is a palette with options that lets you refine your request. You can choose the aspect ratio, content type, style, lighting and composition. Below is a screenshot of the interface and a few examples of what it can do:

Screenshot 2023 03 26 at 9 47 54 AM

Prompt: green metal fish-shaped spaceship on an alien planet
Styles: art, concept art, dramatic light, flat colors

Firefly green+metal fish shaped spaceship on an alien planet art concept art dramatic light flat colors 77148

Prompt: green hot rod racing through the desert
Styles: photo, muted, blurry background, backlighting, science fiction

Firefly green+hot rod racing through the desert photo muted blurry background backlighting science fiction 50326

Prompt: loose sketch of a white male with a green sweater and a stubble beard typing on a laptop in a coffee shop
Styles: art

Firefly loose+sketch of a white male with a green sweater and a stubble beard typing on a laptop in a coffee shop art 39460

A couple of quick reflections on using Firefly’s Text to Image feature:

Text Effects

Text Effects lets you specify and apply an AI-generated effect to some text. Firefly has a few sample effects that give you a good idea of what the feature can do. You can choose from 12 different fonts.

Screenshot 2023 03 26 at 10 14 23 AM

Prompt: Green fluffy clouds, tight fit, transparent background

Green fluffy clouds, tight fit, transparent background

Prompt: Circuit boards, tight fit, grey background

Firefly circuit+boards 32694

Prompt: Flowers and Rocks, loose fit, white background

Firefly flowers+and rocks 34224

A couple of notes:

What’s next?

Adobe Firefly is definitely a work in progress – it is a beta – but there are more features in development. The Adobe Firefly site lists one feature as coming soon, Recolor Vectors. I’m not sure how that will differ from the Recolor Artwork feature in Adobe Illustrator, but I’m looking forward to trying it out. Several other features are teased as “In exploration” and some of them look interesting. No idea how close to release these are — for all I know, they are ideas on a white board — but “text to vector” and “extend background” could be fun to play with. I’ll likely write additional posts as new features are introduced.

Bob Wertz is a creative director, type designer, Ph.D. student and researcher living in Columbia, South Carolina.

Easy Category Pages in Navigation on Micro.Blog

Customize your navigation with filtered categories

When I first moved my blogging over to Micro.Blog, I struggled with the perceived rigidity of the navigation. It took me a little time to refine it, but I eventually figured it out. I’ve had a couple of people ask about my solution, so I figured I’d share a quick summary of how I set it up my navigation.

It shouldn’t matter what theme you are using, but for my site, I use the Pure plug in, which is a good foundation to build from. By default, the template presents a home page that includes all of your posts. Instead, I wanted to have different links in my navigation for my longer “blog” posts and my shorter “tweet-like” status posts.

It’s actually pretty easy to do, but it takes a few steps.

  1. Create the categories you want. I created two categories: Quick Updates and Long Posts. You can create as many categories or group them differently, but this worked for me.

  2. Set up filters. Filters will automatically apply categories based on different parameters. Click the “Edit Filters” button beneath the list of categories. I set up two filters. One that sorted untitled posts into my “Quick Thoughts” category and a second that grouped together all of my long posts with titles. This way, my posts are automatically grouped into one of the two categories. In the screenshot below, I used the “Post Length” setting. Screenshot of the category filter.

  3. Determine the URL for each category. Each category in Micro.Blog has a URL, typically formatted as http://DOMAIN-NAME/categories/CATEGORY-NAME. Find the URLs for each of the categories you want in the navigation.

  4. Create a new page. Name the page and then paste the category URL into the content box. Make sure “Include this page in your blog navigation” is checked. Repeat for all of your categories. You’ll then have a navigation item for each of your categories.

This technique works really well when paired with the Custom Home Page plug in. You can see the result in the navigation on my site. I know that I could do this by building a custom template. At some point, maybe I will. But right now, I’d like to keep it as simple as I can, and this works really well for me.

Bob Wertz is a creative director, type designer, Ph.D. student and researcher living in Columbia, South Carolina.

Reflecting on my first two months of being healthier

Solid progress

One of my goals for this year is being healthier. Eating better. Moving more. The hope was that by breaking some bad habits I developed during COVID, I could lose some weight and feel better. I wanted to post occasional updates to keep myself accountable.

Two months in, things are going great. I feel significantly better — that’s the “metric” I care about most — and I’ve dropped a significant amount of weight. I’m not doing any trendy diet or counting calories. I’ve adapted some principles from intuitive eating.1 I’m making smarter decisions about food and listening to my body. One example, I’ve pretty much stopped drinking beverages with calories. At Starbucks, I get a black coffee or hot tea. Unsweetened tea instead of sweet tea.2 I’m not drinking sodas. I’ve generally avoided alcoholic drinks, but had a glass of bourbon at our Valentine’s Dinner. My energy level feels more consistent through the day without the sugary sodas and extra caffeine. And I’m sleeping better. Wins all around.

Exercise wise, I’m just focused on movement.3 I’m walking regularly. My wife and I have started taking long walks on the weekends, exploring the trails that are literally in our backyard. I’m trying to walk at lunch and walk to meetings around campus. I’m not running on a treadmill — or running at all. I might get to that point, but that’s down the road.

I do want to address the tech side of this. I purchased a Withings Body+ scale, and it syncs my weight to my Apple Health account. I use Happy Scale to track weight because it does a nice job of showing averages instead of just focusing on the lowest weigh in. I’m tracking activity and workouts with Apple Watch. I tend to be a data person, and I like having all these metrics. I just need to make sure I’m not fixated on the metrics. Again, the main goal is feeling better and developing healthy habits.

Two months in, I feel like I’m heading in the right direction. I’m making long-term lifestyle changes, and I know this is just a start. I plan to check back in here every month or so with an update.

Bob Wertz is a creative director, type designer, Ph.D. student and researcher living in Columbia, South Carolina. And he’s trying to be healthier.

  1. Clearly, I’ve not bought in to intuitive eating 100%. I’m still trying to lose weight and I still weigh myself regularly. If you want to learn more about intuitive eating, I recommend Rachael Hartley’s blog. ↩︎

  2. I’m in South Carolina, y’all. Around here, sweet tea is the default. ↩︎

  3. This is another intuitive eating thing. More here. ↩︎

My five favorite new Star Trek characters

New Star Trek means new characters

Star Trek is all about the characters and relationships on the ship. With all the new series on Paramount+, they’ve introduced a bunch of interesting characters that I’ve grown to love. With Season 3 of Star Trek: Picard starting next week, I figured I’d share five new characters1  who I’m glad are part of the Star Wars Universe.


Ensign Sylvia Tilly

Played by Mary Wiseman on Star Trek: Discovery. When Star Trek first relaunched with Discovery, Tilly was such a different type of crew member. For all of the great Star Trek characters over the years, very few were quirky and likable.2  Her relationships with Burnham, Stamets and Saru are wonderful. I wasn’t happy how they used her over the last season — eventually shipping her off to Starfleet Academy — but I hope next season includes a healthy dose of Tilly.


Voiced by Rylee Alazraqui on Star Trek: Prodigy. If you haven’t seen Prodigy, you’re missing out. Rok-Tahk is my favorite character from the crew. At first, Rok appears to be a fierce creature, but once the universal translator kicks in, you figure out that despite her intimidating form, she’s actually just a young girl with an interest in science. Her relationship with the Janeway hologram was encouraging and nurturing and I loved every minute of it. I look forward to seeing how she interacts with Admiral Janeway next season.

Christine Chapel

Jes Bush on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. I know Nurse Chapel appears in the Original Series and a couple of movies, but Jes Bush’s interpretation of the character is so different and distinctive. Chapel is incredibly smart and capable. And yes, she has a crush on Spock, but their relationship is much more nuanced and complex. We know where this character is heading, but I look forward to seeing how this version of Chapel develops.

Ensign Beckett Mariner

Voiced by Tawny Newsome on Star Trek: Lower Decks. Lower Decks has so many great characters, but Mariner is my favorite. She’s a screw up, who also happens to be incredibly capable when she wants to be. Her relationship with her friends, her rivals and her mom are all complex and delightful. Depending on the episode, Beckett may create a massive problem — or she could be the one to save the day. The end of last season was heartbreaking when her mom and friends thought she’d sold out the Cerritos crew. Many of the relationships were patched up in the finale, but I wonder if there will be lasting repercussions.

Captain Saru

Doug Jones on Star Trek: Discovery. Look, I know Captain Michael Burham is the star of the show, but Saru is the captain I’d want to serve under. Intelligent, thoughtful and competent. His personal backstory is wonderful, and I’m really interested to see his relationship with the leader of Vulcan develop. I’m not sure how Doug Jones can express so much emotion through all of that makeup. It’s seriously impressive.

Finally, while it’s not a character, I want to give a shoutout to Lower Deck’s California class ships, especially the U.S.S. Cerritos. The idea that there are some average ships in the fleet is great. Other Star Trek shows focus on the glamorous flagship, but not every ship is the U.S.S. Enterprise.

  1. Well… Five new and one reimagined.
  2. You could argue that Barclay was quirky, but he was intentionally annoying. Neelix was intended to be quirky, but he was really just creepy.

Bob Wertz is a creative director, type designer, Ph.D. student and researcher living in Columbia, South Carolina.

Adding a "now" page

I decided to add a now page to my site. My challenge was deciding what to include on the page. I already had a pretty complete about page. After looking at a collection of now pages, I realized that there isn’t a single formula or approach. So for my first attempt, here’s what I decided to add.

I also moved the status of the fish in the header to this page. The fish changes from time to time based on my mood so that explanation makes more sense on my “now” page.

I’m sure my approach will change over time. Everything needs to be manually updated and I’m thinking I’ll update every month or so.

Bob Wertz is a creative director, type designer, Ph.D. student and researcher living in Columbia, South Carolina.

Medium length posts

I feel like I always write things that are either “tweet” length or “long.” I don’t feel like I ever post anything in between. This tendency isn’t new… I’ve always written that way and I’m not sure why. Most of my favorite online writers routinely share posts of various lengths, but I’ve never changed my approach. As I try to get back in the rhythm of writing, I think I need to embrace the middle ground. Opting to post reflections more than complete essays. Questions instead of answers. Paragraphs instead of pages. We’ll see how it goes.

Bob Wertz is a creative director, type designer, Ph.D. student and researcher living in Columbia, South Carolina.

Moving past commentary-driven media

Maybe it’s time for something different.

For years, I listened to local sports talk radio on my commute home. I live in the middle of SEC country, and — especially during football season — the talk shows were full of callers who were mostly annoying and overly opinionated.1  The host of the show was great and I really enjoyed his commentary, so I kept listening. One day, after a particularly obnoxious sequence of callers, I tweeted something like “I’d love a sports talk show without callers” and tagged him. He responded, thanked me for listening, but said that most people didn’t want to listen to him talk for a couple of hours. They tuned in for the callers. That was the format.

Audience commentary is part of every type of media. With newspapers, we’ve long had editorial pages, op-eds and letters to the editor. Radio has a whole sub-genre of talk radio that features callers giving their opinions and arguing with hosts. Television never really developed a feedback format because of obvious technical limitations, but developed something similar. Panel discussion shows are basically talk radio with a standard roster of characters, arguing with each other and representing viewer opinions.

The internet made commentary even easier. In the early days of the web, every news site and blog added comments to their stories to encourage feedback. The feedback quickly turned to meaningless noise, filled with extreme opinions and spam. Social media took it one step further. Facebook and Twitter are essentially just the comments section. Commentary became the media.

Some people love to read the letters to the editor and listen to talk radio. Many people — judging by ratings — watch television shows with a panel of guests arguing with each other about news or sports. There are people want to read the comments on news sites, although I don’t understand why anyone would subject themselves to that. And there are people who truly enjoy social media. This is all commentary-driven media.

I’ve realized that I don’t like any of those things.

I like to read articles that provoke thought. I visit news sites and blogs that cover my (many) areas of interest. I use an RSS reader to track all of these sites. I follow photographers, videographers and creators who make original art. I listen to podcasts that add value and knowledge. I follow people on social media who are experts in their field, but I rarely respond or comment on their posts. Yes, I want to be entertained, but I also want to learn and be challenged. In contrast to the commentary-driven media, I suppose this is expert-driven media.

The reality is that most people prefer the commentary-driven approach. They feel part of the conversation. They can contribute if they want. They want to hear the opinions of others and argue about topics. Our current social media landscape was designed for them. They want to feel that their opinion is a vital part of the conversation. That is the format.

Cultivating an expert-driven media environment is tougher and it appeals to a smaller audience. But there is a significant audience. There are plenty of people who want to read posts and articles from people who know what they are talking about. An ample audience of people who want to listen to podcasts and watch informative videos. We just have to design a system that prioritizes meaningful content and encourages sharing well-thought out responses over quick, thoughtless knee-jerk commentary.

With the implosion of Twitter, I feel like we have an opportunity to build something different. I’m happy with Micro.Blog right now and look forward to its continued development. I’m interested in the resurgence of RSS 2  and the momentum behind new indie-web protocols like ActivityPub. I’m encouraged that so many people are experimenting with different approaches to “social” media. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

  1. Every third caller wants their team to throw more to the tight end.

  2. Some of us never let RSS go.

Bob Wertz is a creative director, type designer, Ph.D. student and researcher living in Columbia, South Carolina.

Reset: 2023

Trying to find balance

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I ever found my footing after the pandemic shut everything down. I’ve been trucking along keeping everything going, but the last half of 2022 was especially challenging. This rhythm and pace is not sustainable and it’s time to reset the balance between family, work and school.

Family is first, as always, but even more so now that my oldest is about to head off to college. I want to spend quality time with her before she moves out and heads to school. Work is going well, but is constantly busy. With graduate school, I’m taking the spring semester off to spend some time getting into a new routine.

For 2023, I need to focus on four areas: health, writing, organization and creativity.

Focus on physical and mental health

I’ve got a list of things to work on — from getting enough sleep to finding time to walk at lunch. I feel like I know what I need to do, but making time for a healthy life has been challenging over the last year. I need to develop consistent, healthy habits.

Write more

I’ve been writing for school almost constantly for the last year. And that’s great, but it’s come at the expense of writing for myself. I’ll still be writing for grad school, and hopefully getting some journal articles published this year, but I want to expand the type of writing I’m doing and improve my skills. Writing on (via Micro.Blog) is going to be my primary personal writing outlet for the year.

Smartly organized

In general, I’m organized, but there are some areas that are an absolute train wreck. I’m working on some using the tools I have — like Notion and Tot — more effectively. There’s a fine line here, though. Time spent on getting organized is time that I’m not working out, writing or designing.

Rediscover creative endeavors

I’m a designer, but I’m not designing much right now. I have a bunch of projects, from stickers to typefaces that I want to work on. These always end up on the back burner when family commitments and grad school deadlines take priority. I need to carve out some time for visually creative projects that I’ve been neglecting.

I’m looking forward to hitting the reset button and restoring some balance to my slightly chaotic life. In past years, I’ve shared a check-in post at the midpoint of the year to evaluate how I’m doing on my theme and goals. This year, I’m going to try and post quarterly to keep myself accountable.

Bob Wertz is a creative director, type designer, Ph.D. student and researcher living in Columbia, South Carolina.

Hitting the pause button

Time to reset the balance

“I don’t know how you do it?”

I get this question a lot. I balance a full-time job, my family and grad school. I’ve been in grad school part time since I started my Master’s program in 2018 and I’ve become pretty good at carefully planning out and scheduling my time.

In 2022, I never really had a chance to achieve a balance. At work, there was a lot of change. My boss resigned in January and I assumed some of his responsibilities. I took over managing photography and videography staff again. We rolled out a new logo, which was — and still is — a lot of work. All of these things were positive developments, but required increasingly more of my time and attention.

At home, things were challenging. My wife tore her bicep in January and then had to have surgery in the summer, right as she was moving to a different school. My oldest started her senior year of high school and is trying to figure out where she wants to go to college, but then tore her ACL in a lacrosse tournament and also had to have surgery. My two youngest each started a new school, which changed our morning routine significantly. Everyone is doing great, but there is always a lot going on.

And grad school has been fine. I’ve done well. I’ve written lots of papers that I am proud of and had research accepted to a conference. I’m trying to get my papers edited and submitted to journals. Classes have been good, but honestly, I haven’t enjoyed grad school for the last year. And that has been weighing on me.

The balance is off.

I’ve been in grad school part-time for 4.5 years straight at this point — 3 for the Master’s and 1.5 for the Ph.D. With all the changes in my job and life, I wasn’t getting the most out of my Ph.D. studies.1  So I’ve decided to take the spring semester off. It’s a tough decision — I’ve been steadily working on my degrees one or two classes at a time — but it’s the right decision. I need to pause and reset the balance between work, home and school. I’m not quitting, just taking a break. I know I’ll start back up in the summer or fall, fully recharged and ready to continue to the finish.

  1. One of my professors told me that by working on my Ph.D. part time, I had the “gift of time.” Most people have to sprint through their program so they can get a teaching job. By not rushing through my program, I could get the most out of it and enjoy it.

Bob Wertz is a creative director, type designer, Ph.D. student and researcher living in Columbia, South Carolina.

Post Formatting

Testing out how I want to format my longer posts.

I haven’t had this Micro.Blog site for long, but I’ve written at my other site – Sketchbook B – for almost 15 years.1  Over time, my long form blog posts there developed a pattern. I had a basic structure with headers, footnotes, divider lines and a bio at the end. And I want to replicate some of that here and needed a post to experiment with. This is that post.2

I’ve already been using an H2 as a subhead and I like the way that looks. Like many writers, I often want to add footnotes as I write. Over on Sketchbook B, I used asterisks, but since I’m writing in Markdown, that’s kind of a pain in the ass. So I figured I’d go with superscript numbers, which is more conventional anyway.3  I continue to use divider lines to separate the body of the post from the footnotes, and a second divider line between the footnotes and a bio.

I’m not sure what I want to do with the bio. I found that most of my traffic came from Google, so the reader was dropping in on my site with no idea who I was. For now, I’ve decided to go with the shortest one sentence bio that I could and set it at the end in italics.

One aspect that I haven’t yet decided on is images. On my Squarespace-hosted site, each post had a preview image and I’d include a post image. So far on, I don’t need a preview image, but I do think I want to create some type of standard post image to include under the subhead. I’ll keep experimenting, but I feel good about my basic post format.

  1. I’m going to keep writing at Sketchbook B, but the content will be mostly Adobe Creative Cloud tips.
  2. I’m using a trial of MarsEdit right now. And I really love the preview engine that lets me see how this is going to look, even before I post it. Looks like I’ll be purchasing a license.
  3. I don’t love how the superscripts mess with the overall line spacing. It just feels wrong. I may try to come up with another approach.

Bob Wertz is a creative director, type designer, Ph.D. student and researcher living in Columbia, South Carolina.

2022 Favorite 8 Photos

My ❤️8️⃣ from 2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣2️⃣

This year was unexpected. Just about nothing went as planned — sometimes better, sometimes worse. Looking back over my photos, I took fewer “artsy” shots and mostly focused on my family. Here are my favorite shots from the past year, starting top left:

Evening snowfall. We don’t get much snow in Columbia, South Carolina. When it snowed in the evening in January, every thing was peaceful and serene… and then it was fun and chaotic, when all neighborhood kids came outside to play in the snow.

Norah’s prom. Our oldest headed to prom and had a great time with her friends.

Jill’s birthday. There are nine candles on the cake. Not the correct number of candles, but the perfect amount of light.

Soda City Market. We headed to our local market and took this picture as we were leaving. I’m not exactly sure what’s going on here — Jill hugs her kettle corn while Ryan proudly presents a giant carrot — but I love the shot.

Ryan playing the viola. Ryan started playing the viola this year and seems to enjoy it.

Sunrise at Hilton Head. Took a trip to Hilton Head with the family and woke up early enough to catch sunrise.

Lizzy’s birthday selfie. Here’s the thing… Our selfies are typically terrible and we have to take a bunch to get anything usable, but I grabbed this shot at Liz’s birthday dinner and we both like it. So it has to be one of my favorites.

Skee-Ball. I love skee-ball, and this beautiful skee-ball machine was at the arcade where we had Ryan’s birthday party.

This is the fifth year I’ve done a Favorite 8. You can see my previous posts from 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 on my other site, Sketchbook B.

Favorite 8

Picking out my favorite pictures from the last year.

Back in 2018, Instagram users started posting their algorithmically-generated “Best Nine” — essentially the nine shots from the year that had the most likes. When I looked at mine, the images that everyone else liked weren’t necessarily my favorite pictures from the previous year. I enjoyed the process of digging through all the images from the previous year — many of which I had forgotten about. I curated and built my #Fav8 in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. If you are interested in learning more about the thought process behind Favorite 8, the 2018 post has the most detail.

This year, I’m not posting to Twitter, so I’m ditching the #Fav8 hashtag and just going with “Favorite 8.” Although on Micro.Blog, I’m thinking ❤️8️⃣ might be appropriate.

In the past, several friends have done this too, so this is just a reminder that it’s time to start working on selecting your Favorite 8 shots from 2022. I’ll probably post mine next week. is hosted on Micro.Blog and uses a customized version of the Pure theme by Chris Hannah. "Bob Wertz" in the header and titles on the long posts are set in Powertrain Narrow Black, one of my typeface designs. You can purchase the my fonts on MyFonts.