Ten Facts About Declan Travis

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Barred Life Presents 10 Facts About Me, Declan Travis

1. I’ve never been big on equipment (snicker)

If it can make a picture I’ll use it, to the extent that I’ve never actually bought a camera, they’ve all been borrowed or hand me downs. The first picture I remember taking was with a Polaroid – a candid portrait of my sister applying a mud mask

I’ve since used a variety of cameras, including a) very fun Instamatic 110 with disposable flashcubes

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b) an early digital camera, the Minolta Dimage EX

c) a 3.2 MP Sony Cybershot >>> my first true digital crush, we fell in love in San Francisco…

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d) a Nikon F2 with Fujifilm Superia 200, then with Neopan Acros 100, which I spent some time ‘zoning in’ at the Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle

e) and last but not least, a 2005 Nikon D50 6.1 MP, primarily with older manual focus Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 and 135mm f/2.8 lenses

Each year I ask myself, “will this be the year I finally buy a camera?”

2. Probably not, seeing as how I just spent all my savings self-publishing a book

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3. Savings earned working for my dad’s business

Waterscapes, where we design and install custom water features. During a pond build in 2013, I accidentally crushed my ring finger with a granite boulder, then later took some artsy pics of the severed fingertip. I posted them on imgur.com, where I ever so briefly dog paddled in murky, meme infested waters (I was cordially advised to tag the pics NSFW, and also to “cut your nasty f**ckin’ witch nails”, both of which I did)

That it was the ring finger may have been an overly demonstrative omen, as I have never married, nor do I have any children (but I love my nephews tons!)

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4. A few of my favorite things of all time and more recently…

Movies: ‘Ikiru (To Live)’ by Akira Kurosawa and ‘Arrival’ with Amy Adams

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TV: ‘The Office’ UK and ‘The Honourable Woman’ with Maggie Gyllenhaal
Lit: ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ by D.H. Lawrence and ‘The Goldfinch’ by Donna Tartt
Music: ‘Speaking in Tongues’ by Talking Heads and ‘Is the Is Are’ by Diiv

5. My name means “Saint From The Crossroads”, a wonderful layer cake full of delicious irony

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6. I was a semi-pro bicycle racer

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The last race of my very brief and unsuccessful career was at the Cascade Cycling Classic in Bend, Oregon. Recovering from testicular cancer, Lance Armstrong won this race in 1998 before going on to win 7 Tour de France titles – he was subsequently stripped of all for doping. It was in Bend that I lost my taste for bike racing, and gained a deep appreciation for the Deschutes Brewery. Cheers!

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7. I have been photographing Barred Owls for the past four years

I’ve spent hundreds of hours following them around my home in the woods. I’m lucky in that the barred owl (Strix varia) is one of the most sedentary of bird species

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Indeed, living 20 years and mating for life, of those that have been tracked none were found to have traveled further than six miles. And yet somehow they’ve managed to extend their range thousands of miles across the US and Canada. I’m a total nerd, but I find that so cool

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Now, perhaps my obsession with them is crossing the line into madness, but I am beginning to believe that the owls are my spirit animal incarnate … that is, a physical manifestation of my soul if it were to live in trees and hunt for a living

Time will tell

8. I am a yo-yo dieter

Yep, men do it too. Since high school I have weighed any and everywhere from 148 lbs. to 265 lbs (at 5 feet 9 inches that places my BMI range from 22 to 39, from technically normal to officially obese)

Last year I did a lemonade fast, consuming nothing but fresh squeezed lemon juice, maple syrup, and obnoxious amounts of cayenne powder for 32 days straight!

Naturally I lost a great deal of weight in a hurry, exactly 32 lbs. in 32 days. The book I read in preparation claimed that a man had lived on this diet for upwards of 180 days, but advised against going longer than two weeks. After a month I became paranoid that I was, quite literally, eating my heart out. However, I did have a strangely high level of energy and stamina (apparently the digestive system shuts down and this frees up lots of energy…oh, and you quit pooping after a week, which takes some getting used to, mentally anyway (would you miss it?). In the months following this radical diet I not only gained back the 32 lbs. I’d lost, but also managed to add another 32 on top of that. Seems I triggered the Doomsday Genes…plus it was really nice to enjoy food again

9. I’ve always been a ‘night owl’

I hate mornings. Breakfast? No thanks. Coffee? Yes please, three cups of your darkest french roast

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Now lo and behold, recent studies disprove the notion that early risers are more productive, showing that us late birds can get more done under cover of darkness, free of the normal litany of daytime distractions. Yay us!

10. My nose is permanently pushed to one side

Years of camera use? Or was I born that way and it’s becoming more pronounced as I get older? My nose is a touchy subject with me. It is…pronounced. I wrestled in junior high and high school, and gained a reputation over the years, not for my sick moves and winning aggression on the mat, but for my nosebleeds. I could avoid them in practice sessions, but in matches and meets they were a routinely messy nuisance

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I underwent cauterization, where the blood vessels are burned shut, in this case with liquid mercury swabbed inside my nasal passages by a doctor. It was excruciatingly painful for two days, and this was long before I discovered painkillers. It didn’t work. My nose still bled

Apart from that, I’ve just always been very self-conscious of my nose, and even sent away for a brochure on cosmetic surgery when I was in college. Upon receiving the brochure in the mail I reproached myself for being shallow and materialistic (today I don’t believe it’s necessarily either, and feel it just wasn’t for me…or I was too scared)

A few women have flat out told me they like a guy with a strong nose, which isn’t really comforting. I toy with the idea of traveling to a country where a large proboscis is something to be proud of, entering the local village contests and winning acclaim as the magnanimous foreigner with the big heart, and bigger snoz

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Ridiculous. The truth is, my nose is only an issue in my own head, and only there does it loom so large. Lately I’ve been working on my self-confidence, on ‘owning my shit’. Part of this involves embracing what makes me different, and maybe seeing it as a strength, not a weakness or flaw. My daily mantra in this struggle, the daily struggle to love myself, is somewhat nostalgic – it’s a cheerleader chant…

“Be aggressive

B-E aggressive!

B-E A-G-G-R-E-S-S-I-V-E

Be aggressive!”

Cheers,
Declan Travis

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3 thoughts on “Ten Facts About Declan Travis

  1. Well done, Declan. I learned much and smiled the same. I’ve never even noticed your nose being ANYTHING unusual. I’ll have to check it out next time I see you. Thanks for the heads-up.

    Liked by 1 person

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