art, family, film making, music, photography, random thought, travel, writing

a real vacation

i travel a lot.  but it would be a bit of a stretch to say that my traveling is “vacation”.

it’s not that i don’t enjoy the destinations, or have real moments of relaxation, it’s just that when i travel, it’s usually with a purpose.  and that purpose does not involve sitting still or vegging out.

so this year, now that i have a travel companion… we took a real vacation.

anna maria island, florida.  it’s a small island south west of tampa, with caribbean clear water and white sand beaches.  they say that it not very well known to outsiders, but it’s where floridians go to get away.

the beaches were uncrowded and beautiful.  it was truly relaxing.

yea for real vacations!  i think i’ll have to take one of these more often.

but don’t get the wrong impression…..  i still had to “work” a little to keep my sanity….

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2010

family, film, film making, photography, random thought, travel, writing

now that it’s Christmas time!!

to me, there is nothing better than Christmas time with the family…

we spent the morning with the family in dallas…

then we all headed down to austin to spend the rest of the weekend with my brother, his wife, and their kids.

it’s always chaos.  but it’s always a good time to remember the things that are important in life.

a time for restructuring priorities… and with our family, there is never a dull moment!

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2010

family, photography, random thought, travel, writing

four(?) musketeers

when i lived in wyoming in 2005, i didn’t have many friends.  but don’t feel sorry for me.  it wasn’t because of the excessive whiskey drinking, or the lack of bathing.  no, it was mostly due to the simple lack of people in the great state of wyoming.  a numbers game.

you see, the entire state boasts a smaller population than the city of austin, tx.  i believe the last count was around 750,000.  and it didn’t help that i lived in a town of only 2000.  so the few friends i had were very important to me.

among those few friends were two of my closest; anna and kim.  we called ourselves the “three musketeers”.  original, huh?

this last trip up to my former home partially happened because i had a good excuse.  well, two.  the first was that anna, who now lives in new york city, had planned her first trip back to pinedale since she had to leave in ’05.  and the second reason was that kim, who is from the area and thus stayed, had a baby a few months earlier.  kate.



kate is a darn cute kid.  so the three musketeers, plus one, set out for a reunion hike.  we decided to hit up sacred rim in the wind river mountains, just outside pinedale.





it was a great time to be with my ladies again…  and i must say, kate is quite a nice addition.


i was raised by a family of grizzly bears in a former life (or so i tell people), so we reenacted a scene from my past when i used to attack unassuming hikers…







it seemed as though we hadn’t skipped a beat.  and truly, i guess we never did.  i’ve been going back up to wyoming a lot since i left, and almost every time, i get to see kim.  i also have had the opportunity to visit anna up in philly and new york, and we tend to email, talk on the phone, and mail each other music mixes every so often.  so really, the unique situation here is that we were all together again in the very place we met and became friends…











sacred rim is a pretty amazing place….



but it seems that we wore little kate out.



more bear attack scenes…


by the time we made it back to the car, kate was out.

it was really special for all of us to get together.  we all live thousands of miles from each other, and our lives have all gone their separate directions.  i hope we can reunite again before time gets away from us.

regardless of how much time passes in our busy lives before we’re all together again, it was evident with this short reunion, that we will always stay connected.  these are the type of friends you keep for life.

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2009

family, music, photography, random thought, travel, writing

like brothers on a hotel bed

wyoming is not a place i share with other people.  i do it alone.  that may sound like a prick thing to say, but it’s true.

i go up there to experience solitude, peace, fear, loneliness.

this trip was a little different though.

i arrived to jackson hole airport late on tuesday afternoon.  i was supposed to be there by 3 that day to pick up my brother.

the inbound flight from austin arrived on time, so he took a taxi into jackson to get a beer.  i told him i’d meet him there as soon as i could.  the traffic coming down through the parks was miserable.  it seems they always scramble to make improvements to the roads just before the ground freezes.  thanks.

i finally made it to snake river brewery, after dark.  but the alone time in wyoming didn’t seem to bother my brother.

after a hug and a few beers, we were off.  it was dark, and i have a spot in teton park that i always go to camp when i arrive late.



we woke up the next morning to a cool autumn breeze, and my brother’s 34th birthday.

two months ago he called me.  “there’s a fare sale to jackson hole.  $89 each way from austin,”  he said.  “you planning on going soon?”

“well, yeah.  i was planning a fall trip.  september or october.  why?  you wanna go?”

i started to get excited.  no one had ever expressed this much interest or determination to go to wyoming with me since my mother visited 5 years ago when i lived there.

i was excited at the prospect, but then nervous.  could i share this place with others?  would they understand it?  no matter.




most guys have the idea that if they’re spending any time in wyoming and montana, they better have a fly rod or a pair of skis.  and i think they’re right.  it is world class skiing and fishing, after all.  no snow yet, so my brother brought a friend’s rod.





we took a drive one evening up the beartooth highway outside of cooke city, montana.

regarded as one of the most spectacular drives in north america, the beartooth runs from red lodge, mt to the northeast entrance of yellowstone national park.

the beartooths are one of the highest elevation and most rugged areas in the lower 48 states, with 20 peaks over 12,000 feet in elevation. the road itself is the highest elevation highway in wyoming (10,947 feet) and montana (10,350 feet), and is the highest elevation highway in the northern rockies.







we fished the lamar, the snake, the yellowstone, among others.  to no avail.  it may have been too late in the season, i guess.



the fires in northwest wyoming were in full force this time of year though.  they even closed a few of the roads in yellowstone, preventing me from returning to the lamar valley.  very sad.







but the drama of it all was truly impressive.










the fire on the banks of jackson lake at dusk.  breathtaking.










the next day, there was an unavoidable haze that covered the sky and mountains.  but again, to the naked eye, it struck as a little bit of a downer, but the dramatic effect can be artfully employed with a camera.


it was my brother’s last day.  he had a flight out of JAC in the afternoon, so we found a section of the snake river, just 10 minutes from the airport.  he wanted to give it one last go.





he didn’t catch anything, but i was happy.  i think i got a few shots of him in this unreal landscape that will draw others in, and take him back…  anytime he wants to go…







i’ve never shared this place with anyone before.  but it was really nice to do so.  to see the look on someone else’s face the first time they see the sun rise over the lamar valley of yellowstone, or the moon as it hovers over the tetons before dawn…

the way the fiery autumn leaves shimmer in the cool breeze.  awaking in the cold to the sound of bull elk in rut, bugling.  or the sound of wolves.

it’s all so beautiful.  i’m glad i had my brother there to share it.

i hope there’s more sharing of this place in the years to come.  i’m ready for it.

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2009

family, photography, random thought, travel, writing


three weeks ago, i left dallas for a 10 state, 5,000 mile road trip.

the vast majority of the two week trip would be spent wandering my old haunts in the great states of wyoming and montana.  however, the first night, having blown through oklahoma, kansas, and nebraska, i laid my head for the first time in south dakota at badlands national park.




it’s an eerie landscape.  i have to say that i have never really seen anything like it.







all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2009