I'm a words guy. That's at the core of my professional life. I develop strategic communications programs for leaders and companies. They tdepend on me to develop strategies on culture, brand and reputation, and then to share stories that engage and persuade key stakeholders.

However, in my not-so-secret second life, I shoot a lot of photos. My camera is always close at hand. You never know when a great image is going to appear. Visual storytelling is engaging and fun. Plus I love the adventure of composing a shot and capturing it creatively.

To celebrate the end of the wild ride that was 2019 and to look ahead to even brighter days in 2020, I created this "Photos of the Year 2019" video with favorite images. The pictures come from Florida, California, Texas, Idaho, Kansas and Missouri. They include lots of nature and an assortment of compelling backstories.

For instance, you'll see a couple of images of Spencer Jones, a neighbor overlooked by Power 5 basketball schools until late in his senior year. Then Ivy League and other coaches fell in love with his game. In just a few months, he's gone from starting for Bishop Miege in suburban Kansas City to starting for Stanford in Palo Alto, California. A wild ride.

Then there's Farmer Ted, the man who plows, plants and picks sunflowers on his farm near Tonganoxie, Kansas. Every August, thousands of people swarm the sunflowers to shoot photos. Farmer Ted wandered by one morning as I was shooting. We struck up a great conversation and I captured a portrait of him that captures his essential charm. He's just a farmer who likes to make people happy. As an aside for Modern Family and Eric Stonestreet fans, Tonganoxie is NOT in Missouri. It IS a real town. It's just located in Kansas.

You'll see a couple of shots from the Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach, Florida. The birds, like the one above, are wonderful, especially in winter months. The refuge is actually part of the Palm Beach County wastewater treatment system. Fortunately, it doesn't stink. The water is highly treated by the time it floods the wetlands.

And then there's the Big Tree in Huntsdale, Missouri, the final shot in the video. It's stood tall and strong since before Lewis & Clark passed through the area, searching for the Northwest Passage in the early 1800s. Rooted near the Missouri River, it makes a monumental impression as the sun fades over the Mid-Missouri floodplain. 

Every picture tells a story, and there's even more to the story behind every picture. Ask me anytime. Enjoy the wild ride of 2019 in the video.