One of my goals for 2012 was to push myself to think visually in non-work environments. I wanted to do this to keep my vision sharp and fresh. The daily grind at a newspaper can sometimes become a wall that is hard to break through, leaving you feeling as though you work at some sort of building-mug-producing picture factory. I experienced this before and was determined to increase my personal and self-assigned work in 2012 to stay creative and continue to find a sense of fulfillment in my work. My subjects ranged from lighthearted things such as family, friends, vacations and my girlfriend to more serious assignments such as the NATO Summit protests in Chicago. The results of this goal turned out to be some of, if not my best pictures of the year.