April 27th.

Posted on 27.4.12 - 3 comments -

Today is the anniversary of the horrible series of tornadoes that wracked Alabama for eight hours last year, leaving destruction, death and broken lives in their wake. It was a very traumatic and memorable day, one I will never forget, and yet one I'm not really ready to talk about.

As I read the wonderful tributes, prayers, and messages of hope that people are offering today, my mind is filled with two things: bleary memories of that awful day, and intense shame that I would care about my own experience when so many others lost so much, and suffered for so long.

I'm grateful that the Lord spared my life in so many ways that day, both in guiding the weather around my home and in caring for me as I scrabbled around the fallen power lines and blasted trees that night. (I still can't believe I drove home from Birmingham that afternoon.) I'm grateful that my amazing father refused to give up, even when things seemed hopeless and scary. He set a tremendous example in caring for others ahead of himself, and even more than that demonstrated a patient love by continuing to give his time and resources for months to come, rebuilding homes and lives. I'm especially grateful to my brave friends who, despite losing nearly everything, showed the strength to persevere, move on and heal. Their endurance and love for each other during that time and after gives me hope, and a high standard to live up to as I deal with trouble in my own life.

My heart goes out to everyone touched by the power of that storm. To those who lost homes, loved ones, and property... I am so sorry. I hope this intervening year has been full of healing for you. But if you are reading this, you are alive. For me now, every morning that I have the privilege to sleepily yawn and swat at my alarm clock is a gift, and thanks to the lessons from April 27th I will never treat each day the same. The Lord gives, the Lord takes away, and He has ordained how long I have left. And that's ok with me now.

One year ago today, I woke up on a morning just concerned about how well I would do in my finals, and how I would say goodbye to all my friends as I finished up my last semester at school. Twelve hours later my former priorities seemed trite and childlike. The events of that day continue to change and shape me, and thankfully for the better. (I hope.) If you are having trouble dealing with the questions that arise from terrible circumstances, I'd love to talk with you.

It is just that we should remember this anniversary. We should feel sorrow at the loss of loved ones; grieve with those who had the misfortune to have homes in the wake of the tornado. But we should live with hope, and without fear. The sun will continue to rise, the rainbow will continue to come out after the storm clouds clear. What is left to us is to choose to treat each day as the precious gift that it is, and treasure the time we are given with our families and friends.

The swiss really know how to build an airport.

Posted on 14.6.10 - View Comments

I <3 swiss design. So clean. So symmetrical.

They have *really* good chocalate too.

When we got to Zurich, the security was thorough, but very nice. They had a huge plexiglass box at one end of the room with all the things they'd confiscated that day to warn people.

#1 item confiscated? Swiss army knives. Figures.

(I'm beginning to post the photos from the trip on my flickr page, check it out!)

Travers are traveling

Posted on 14.5.10 - View Comments

As many of you know, the Travers family is taking a two-week trip to go see the places in the Bible. We'll be visiting Egypt, Jordan, and Israel. We are very blessed to have this opportunity, and want to share it with you. We'll be posting at the below blog address, so stay tuned!


Would You Like a Cookie?

Posted on 28.12.09 - View Comments

Would You Like a Cookie?, originally uploaded by evantravers.

The lights I set up were actually quite similar to my last portrait session. One SB-900, slightly above nose level and to camera right, set up with a Lumiquest Softbox III. I once again was using the SB-600 with a LumiQuest BigBounce as a hair light... using the silver reflector and sitting behind Santa and to the left on the couch.

I did a little photoshop to remove a bright pink and yellow present, but that is pretty much all the editing. It was pretty warm already, but I added a few more touches to bring it to that Norman Rockwell look I really wanted out of the shots. I'm pretty pleased with it.

Identity Crisis

Posted on 6.10.09 - View Comments

Identity Crisis, originally uploaded by evantravers.

Don't worry, I'm not having an emotional breakdown. My financial identity was stolen over the past week, and I've been quite tied up between school and dealing with that. Still not over, so if you have any advice as to what to do I'd appreciate it.

As a result of this thievery, I got very angry, and last week decided to turn that anger into some photos, both to calm down and to maybe capture something about feeling out of control of my own social security number/bank account. (How I intended to get that into a photo, I don't know.) I went into a room, snapped off a few photos, they all stunk. Horribly. I threw them into the computer and forgot about them for two weeks. But… last night I decided to see what I could do with them. This was the result.

It's hard proof just how important post production is in this day and age. Here's a progression of what I did. First, monochrome and levels, followed by dodge and burn a judicious crop. Still not the greatest self portrait ever taken, (the model isn't that great) but at least it's not worth tearing my eyes out over. Incidentally, all the work was in Aperture 2.0, not photoshop itself.

This got me thinking. I pondered about how the total image I project on the internet is 50% post production, just like this picture. I send out to the world what is me, and what I want to be me, and it gets jumbled up until it is what you get when you google Evan Travers. It's not really an accurate image, really. After a year of making myself completely open and trying the whole open life/internet thing, I'm slowly limiting access to myself. Turning off notifications, unsubscribing, unfollowing… I guess you could say I'm trying to get quality over quantity but I'm really just trying to focus on the real things. I'll still comment on your photos, but maybe not all of them. I'm going to still post photos. But not every day. Just a strategy.

New Tech and Productivity Site!

Posted on 15.8.09 - View Comments

I've moved my productivity and tech blogging to a new site, born just yesterday.

I'm going to leave this blog for other things, mostly photography, so do subscribe to Multithreaded Mind for helpful tips and tricks for working on your computer.

For photography stories of mine and others, also subscribe to www.28thfloor.net.

Have a great weekend!

Mac Productivity Tip: Fluid.app

Posted on 14.8.09 - View Comments

One of the programs I use the most on my mac is a free application called Fluid (http://www.fluidapp.com). Fluid very simply, creates a copy of safari that is restricted to a certain website. So you can create an “application” that only runs facebook, or google calendar, or whatever you need. It’s more powerful than that, with built in support for URL shortening, plugins, and skins. Also, if your app crashes, it won’t take the tabs you have open in Safari with it. Here’s how I use it. Today’s examples are going to be google calendar, google tasks, and the excellent music site www.lala.com.

Google Calendar is an easy one. You simply launch fluid, put in the URL (http://www.google.com/calendar), and hit go. It creates the .app, places it in your applications folder and launches it. You can then launch the app, stick it in your dock, and most importantly access it instantly from quicksilver.

this feature places it nicely out of the way... in your menubar

Google tasks is slightly more complicated. Use this URL (http://mail.google.com/tasks/iphone), and hit go. For extra flair, you can go to the menu bar, and select “Convert to Embedded MenuSBB”. This places it in your taskbar as a handy menu item that drops down on click. Very handy.

the asterixs are wildcards, allowing you to hit any page on the site

Lala.com has one special feature that I will highlight. Lala.com can share the current playing track on twitter, but fluid.app by default restricts your browsing to the domain you set it up on originally. You can expand these restrictions in the pref pane, under Advanced Preferences. Just add twitter.com as one of the options. If you don’t do this, it’ll open up the link in your default browser.

google voice is a very handy app... as is delicious, and google docs!

Lastly, as a mac fiend, we usually like things very pretty. Fluid has an option when you create the app to choose an alternate icon. If you don’t, it’ll use the website favicon, which isn’t quite high enough resolution for me. A great source of icons is http://www.flickr.com/groups/fluid_icons/. Plenty of user submitted high res png goodness to choose from.

So that’s it. As you start to use this, you’ll find yourself sticking more and more of the sites you use constantly in these fluid instances. It’s a bit like a bookmark, but it’s really handy, especially for you social network nuts. PC users, you don’t have to feel left out. The same basic principles hold true for Google’s Chrome browser, which has a very similar feature. If you have any ideas, questions, or suggestions, please leave a comment.

Mac Productivity Tip: Safari Bookmarklets

Posted on 13.8.09 - View Comments

I keep flip flopping back and forth between safari and firefox, but one feature on safari that keeps pulling me back is the hotkeyed bookmarklets.

Safari and other browsers have two kinds of bookmarks... traditional bookmark folders (which I don't use anymore, more on that in a later post) and what is called the bookmarks menu. In safari, these bookmarks can be accessed by pressing CMD + [number key], where [number key] is the number in order. So in my toolbar, above, CMD + 1 is "Share on FriendFeed," and CMD + 2 is "Read Later."

The real power of bookmarklets is that they can store little javascript programs, not just websites. In fact, that's what all of my bookmarklets do, and they are real handy. I'll focus on just one of them today. It's the one labeled "Read Later". It hooks up to www.instapaper.com.

Instapaper is a great service, that can be best summed up as a place to store temperorary bookmarks. So when I encounter a long blog post, or a youtube video, or a shop item I want for later, but I don't want to log it in a text file or create a bookmark, I simply press CMD + 2, and it's logged away until I come for it. Very handy for all those little things you come across at work that you want to save till later.

So that's it. Bookmarklets can be used on any browser, even stinky old IE, but I wanted to highlight the power of them on Safari. Other bookmarklets I use constantly include Subscribe in Google Reader, Add to Wishlist, and Bookmark on Delicious. I'll talk more about bookmarking and delicious later.

Mac Productivity Tip: Navigating the Finder Using the Keyboard

Posted on 12.8.09 - View Comments

I’ve always been frustrated since I switched to mac by the file picker dialogues in the Finder and in different programs that utilize that format. I got past the return key being the rename button, but what frustrated me was the inability to navigate down through levels in programs, specifically in coding or editing software.

A good example is software like the excellent FTP program by Panic Software, Transmit. When I want to drill down to a folder called “Banter”, I can start typing “ba…” in order to get to there, but up to this point I’ve grabbed the mouse, double clicked on the folder, and continued as such until I found the document/folder I was looking for. This having to grab the mouse every time has *frustrated* me to no end.

No more.

Today’s shortcut is so mind-blowingly simple, I found it by accident and I feel stupid for not figuring it out before. In the Finder, the shortcut for moving up a level is CMD + UP ARROW. Logically enough, the default open behavior in file pickers is CMD + DOWN. Before, I was frustrated, because in the Finder you can press CMD + O to open, but in software CMD + O brings up an Open File dialog by default. Using the CMD + DOWN ARROW shortcut, you can navigate the file dialogs such as the ones in Transmit, Coda, Textmate, and Espresso with speed and ease.

Stay tuned for more mac tips such as this one, and please share the link with your friends!

Mac Productivity Tip: Using the Help menu as a Universal Shortcut Bar

Posted on 11.8.09 - View Comments

Are you a l337 keyboard shortcut maniac? Do you wish you could access menu items using a spotlight/quicksilver like interface? Well now you can! Press CMD + SHIFT + /, and on most leopard applications the Help menu will show up, with a spotlight-like box in focus immediately. Start typing what you want to find like "stabilization" for getting at the Analyze for Stabilization in iMovie '09, and items that match the text will show up in the window. This trick is also great for finding filters and tools in photoshop that you can’t remember the shortcuts to.

I'm going to feature some more tricks for keeping you productive and happy, stay tuned!