Wow What a Year, A Look Back

Hard to believe that a year has already gone by.  I had been meaning for a long time to get my own website up and running.  My son and I own PhotosByJarrett (PBJ).  He started a second blog site around his love of cycling over at CyclesInLife.  So I decided what the heck and launched this blog site one year ago.

After I got the domain and learned some WordPress basics I was off and running. At that time one of my friends had a cousin that was playing in the IHSA Girls 2A Volleyball.  He asked if I would go to Illinois State University’s Redbird Arena to take a few photos.  I was still rocking a pair of Gripped 7D’s.  Wasn’t in there long when I was handed a press pass and was on the floor shooting at the net.


I used KodakGallery to store all my vacation photos for over 10 years, so early on I wrote a Vacations Through the Years entry.  I use this blog entry as a chronological time journey through the years.  One of favorites was my first golf trip to Arizona.


While PBJ is our business for Weddings, Families, Seniors, and all other “people” type photography, I had been hooked on Eagles and other wildlife.

I could see my photos improving over the past two eagle seasons, but knew I was limited by the crop body cameras I owned.  I went ahead and pulled the trigger on Canon’s top of the line 1DX and the new 70-200 f2.8 L IS Mark ii. No more excuses, I am after results.

WOW, my world changed!  I got my Canon 1DX right before Christmas, set it up and immediately went after my beloved eagles!  First day in the field results.

Copyright: PhotosByJarrett {2010-2014}

I wrote the article Eagles / Birds in Flight: How to, Tips and Tricks about my eagle setup and editing techniques.  It remains my most visited post with close to 10 thousand visits.

For the past 2 years I have done and completed a 52 week project.  That is where I force myself to shoot a new photo of the week every week for a year.  I completed year two in November 2013.  Took a few weeks off and started my third 52 week project with week 1 of 2014:  Still on the fence as to rather or not I will continue to do a Photo of the week for 2015.  What do you think, keep going or are you all sick of them?

Ixtapa Hummingbird

Early January, my Eagles were going crazy due to the cold and numbers were way up!  I spent 3 weekends straight with my Eagles.  It is crazy how many photos you can click off at 12 Frames Per Second with the 1DX.  A full fishing sequence.

AV8O6534 2-FrameShop

If fact the winter was SO cold that it forced Snowy Owls out of the Arctic and all the way to central Illinois.  Snowy Owls of Illinois (Third most visited post)


So cold in fact the waterfalls of Starved Rock State Park froze solid! (my second most visited post)


Even played with a little light painting with fire this winter.


During March I was asked by Matt and Ashly to do their maternity session.  Talk about pressure, try shooting for another photographer!  I was relieved they liked my work 🙂


Was lucky enough to score tickets to the Masters and spent a couple days in Augusta with good friends!  Bubba won again.  Both times I have gone to the Masters Bubba has won.


Stopped at the Great Smoky Mountains on the way back from the Masters and spend some time in Cade’s Cove.  Was too early for Bears, but still a great time!


No major trips during the summer, just lots of golf and a couple major home improvement projects:  First the landscaping, then granite and tile in the kitchen.



Little Layla Lou Jarrett finally was born on May 6th, 2014.  What a bundle of joy!


Got the crazy idea that I had enough followers and interest to publish a 2015 Wildlife calendar. Being too tight to finance the project my self I turned to a crowd funding site Kick Starter.  The project came really close.  the project raised $2,000 of the $3,000 needed.  It was an interesting case study of demographics and social media.  The older crowd the wanted the calendar didn’t understand crowd funding, and the younger crowd that understand crowd funding don’t want a paper calendar.  Look for an even better 2016 calendar, just ran out of time to make a 2015 this year!


Another good friend opened his life long dream of his own high-tech shooting range: Central Illinois Shooting Sports.  I was proud to be asked to have my work displayed in his member’s lounge!  My gallery debut.


My last major trip of the year was back to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park (GSMNP) to once again meet up with my sister to photograph the Elk of Cataloochee Valley.  What a special place.  I also spent 3 days in Cades Cove and found lots of whitetail deer, but the bears had gone back up the mountain to start on acorns.


Have a golf trip back to Phoenix this week, and as much as I hate winter, looking forwards to my Eagles on the mighty Mississippi river once again!  Not sure what 2015 will hold for me, but as life and wildlife happen in front of my lens, I’ll do my best to share it on this blog for you!

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Thanks for stopping by, Life is good, and I am blessed!




7 thoughts on “Wow What a Year, A Look Back

  1. Kent – got familiar with your work via a Facebook site – and I have to say I’ve become a fan. Your Eagle work has done nothing but inspire me! If possible – I want to visit the Locks you shoot at – if not this year then the next. LOL – we could dang near be twins for the shared interests – Photography (nature), Motorcycles, Shooting, Golf and I work in IT! I hope you keep up the 52 week challenge – I find it encourages me (at least) to do more myself. Best regards!

    • Thanks for the nice comments about my work. I would love to shoot next to you this winter sharing my eagles with you. Pick a weekend and let me know. I live in Bloomington, IL and they are 2 hours away near the quad cities. My sister lives South of Nashville and takes me 8 hours, so you are 8 hours from me, and 10 hours from the Eagles. Dress warm and in layers. AS much as I hate to say it the colder the better. The colder it is the river freezes solid and forces to feed in tight areas, and they have to eat more to stay warm.

      Hope that helps!

  2. I wish the 2015 Calendar would have be successful ! I would have bought at least 3 ! Still Love all your pics! Keep up the Great work!

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