Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Traverse City Wedding Photographer: Dan Stewart

Now that the wedding season is coming to an end, I'd like to recap some of my favorite photos from the best Traverse City Wedding Photographer I know: Dan Stewart. You can follow his blog, twitter, or become a fan on Facebook.

And my absolute favorite from this year is:

Traverse City WeddingGreat Season Dan! You're definitely the best Traverse City Wedding Photographer I know.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Why is it so hard to believe in God?

I wrote this note a while ago to a friend of mine, and thought some others might benefit


Dear Friend,

Throughout the course of the last two semesters I thought a lot about my own life, where I was, where I wanted to be, and where I was going. Of course, it's probably no secret that this was all sparked by your announcement that you had been diagnosed with a terminal disease. Selfishly, I thought about my self in the aforementioned ways but largely neglected to think about you in those same regards. The cornerstone of my beliefs is that as a follower of Christ I should always put others before myself, and until now I was not fully following that principal, but God has given me a heavy heart to reach out to you and remind you of his love and that "life" is not the end.

I was an Atheist not too long ago; one who would passionately denounce the presence of God and find reason to convince myself that "this" was it. Arrogantly I thought that I had the capacity to perceive and understand "this" existence. I made sure there was no room for God, the unexplainable, or the incomprehensible in my life. It was quite a painful and hollow existence looking back on it now. I'm sure you've heard this all before so I'll just get to it: I thought I had it all figured out, or that I was at least on my way to figuring it all out, but I soon realized that I was only equipped with tools (math, science, logic, reason) to explain what I could perceive around me. I held on tight to these tools as it was comforting to to "know" that I could explain almost anything depending on how far I went down the rabbit hole. But these things only serve to reinforce our existing views, not explore or perceive new ones.

The one thing that we can perceive with these limited "tools" that is of any significance is love. We, as humans, haven't developed a framework to explain this phenomenon try as we may (music, poetry, language) and we won't be able to because it is something not of "this", but of "that". "That" of course is that which is incomprehensible, unfathomable, and inexplicable. Love is something that just barely dips into our perceptive range, but a realm in which God exists and from which Jesus came. I thought I knew love before I knew Christ, but what I thought was love was a ruse, a small and misleading feeling meant to trick me into being content with something twisted and much less than the real thing. There is Good and there is evil. Evil, in its most basic form, is holding onto "this", while Good is knowing that "this" is not it and "that" is where its at. I urge you to not be content with "this" and to seek a path towards knowing Christ. Having been lived a life for both "this" and "that" I can attest to quality of a life in "this" while living for "that".

God speed.

- Jason

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Jetty Rae Enters Nine West Vintage America Voices Competition

So, I'm sure by now it's not a big secret that I'm in love with Jetty Rae. Her voice is angelic, and her message much the same, so you can imagine my excite when I learned she had entered the Nine West Vintage America Voices competition on YouTube with her song "Blink of an Eye". I for one will be showing my support by giving the video a 5 star rating; and you?

More information about the contest can be found here: Vintage America Voices.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Leelanau County never lets go

I got a call a week or so ago from someone at the Leelanau Enterprise asking me if I wouldn't mind being interviewed for an ongoing series they were doing on what those who left Leelanau County and what they're doing now. I spent the next 1/2 hour on the phone and this was the result:

In the spring of 2003, an article published in the Enterprise about Suttons Bay senior track star Jason Stewart was titled, “Stewart Can’t Be Stereotyped.” It detailed his widely ranging interests as well as his athletic talent. Six years, two degrees, a marriage and numerous travels later, that headline still rings true.

Read the rest of the article over at the Leelanau Enterprise. I gotta say, it's nice to be remembered...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Traverse City Wedding Photographer Dan Stewart gets married!

Two weeks ago I attended Traverse City Wedding Photographer Dan Stewart's wedding in Traverse City, MI. Needless to say the wedding reception was extremely beautiful and transpired amid the sole 30 minutes of sunshine seen that day (thank you God!). The reception, however, was just... well, you'll get the idea if you watch the photobooth video from the Wedding:

The Stewart Wedding Photo Booth, One to Remember

Congratulations Dan and Liz!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Photoshoot with Jetty Rae

A few weekend ago, I had the pleasure of tagging along with Jetty Rae and Dan Stewart for Jetty's upcoming "Nobody" CD photo shoot. Wow, Dan Stewart totally nailed the style and feel for which Jetty was going. She wanted a sort of eclectic, vintage, organic feel and I really think Dan got it. Check out photos from the shoot at his blog.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Empty Folder Creation with Wordpress as CMS

Another experience I thought I should document to be helpful to others... this time it's about the wordpress installation on

A while back we decided to move away from a proprietary Ruby on Rails application for and opted for a Wordpress CMS + Pictage web presence. ProPhotoBlogs provided the awesome CMS + Template and Pictage provided the commerce and client interaction. Great solution for a photography who has a brother who doesn't have enough time to work on said ROR app anymore :)

Since Wordpress was going to act as a CMS as opposed to just a blog as before, we decided to give wordpress it's own directory as to not clutter up the root dir (as if it weren't already) and so the URLs for the various Wordpress Pages wouldn't all be /blog/page_title (higher level directory and more relevant semantics = more SEO friendly). So we moved wordpress from /blog to /wordpress, brought index.php out into the root and modified it to use /wordpress for dependencies. Simple enough, right? Well... not quite.

Since the blog had already been in use for sometime, there were countless references in the db to /blog, including uploaded images for post content. So, we dumped the db through phpMyAdmin (4.8mb mind you!) fired up TextMate, searched and replaced all instances of /blog/ with /wordpress/, and updated the db.

At this point there shouldn't have been anymore problems due to the move... like I said, there shouldn't have been anymore problems. Of course, there were.

Every once in a while a folder named "blog" would show up in the root directory. Normally, this would just be an oddity but in this case it was interfering with a permalink we had setup for a Wordpress Page rendered the actual blog. If a directory with the name of the permalink for a Wordpress Page is present in the site root, the directory gets precedence. In this case, the directory was empty, so when a user visited they'd see an apache generated directory listing of *nothing*. Not good for those subscribed to blog!

Further investigation revealed that the folder was being created every morning around 5:30am. There were no existing cron jobs that were creating this folder, there were no references to it in the db, yet there it was, every morning around 5:30am. Very strange.

I still have not determined what is causing this folder to be created. My only guess is that there is some configuration file used by one of the plugins (or possibly Wordpress itself) that is referencing that directory and creates the folder when it hits a "!exists" statement. Argh, still bugs me.

I didn't have time it trace the problem any further, so instead I turned lemons into lemonade...

Wordpress uses clever (and simple) .htaccess files to direct URI requests to permalinked pages (Rails does the same thing). So, I just put a modified .htaccess file in the suborn /blog directory which made the browser redirect to the correct permalinked location:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . . /index.php [L]

The RewriteRule . . /index.php [L] is the important bit that routes the URI request to the index.php in the root folder. Case closed... sort of.