advanced, art, film, film making, landscape, nature, photography, travel, wildlife

rocky mountain np // motion

For fun, I decided to make a short video of some of my time-lapses and motion captures from the trip.

And yes, I just had to sneak some marmots in for a cameo or two….

I hope you enjoy!  For best results, watch in HD.

All motion clips are available for commercial and editorial licensing through Tandem Stills + Motion.

all images and content © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2013

Standard
advanced, art, beginner, city, equipment review, film, film making, intermediate, landscape, photography, travel, workshop

canon 17-40 f/4L // review

Okay, so I’m going to embark on a journey through territory that is quite new to this blog… reviewing gear.

I’ve been asked by a few folks to give my thoughts on new and old equipment I’m currently working with, so what better opportunity than the recent purchase of a new lens?

I was giddy as a schoolgirl when UPS knocked on my door last week.  It has been a while since I’ve needed to order a new lens.  And I really toiled over this purchse.  Nowadays more than ever before, I wanted to make sure I was really getting the most “bang for my buck”.  I did my research, and I pulled the trigger.  And so the moment of truth; a knock on the door and a shiny new black, white, and red Canon box.

ef17-40

 

Photo courtesy Canon

The toil I went through was over whether I should purchase the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L (US $1699) or the 17-40mm f/4L (US $839).  Both are “L series”, Canon’s best glass, and as a professional I generally don’t buy anything less.  As the saying goes, “you’re only as good as the glass you use.”

So I really had a decision to make.

For me, this lens will fill a big gap in my repertoire of focal lengths.  And as more and more of my business is landscape/ cityscape/ architecture, I am in desperate need of a quality super-wide zoom.

Now, just by the nature of super-wides (and zooms for that matter), some sharpness is sacrificed on the edges for the sake of versatility.  If you need tack-sharp, you need a standard prime.  Wide focal lengths will also cause some distortion on the edges… nothing that can’t be easily corrected in post.  Already knowing these drawbacks, I began to research.

Aside from the obvious difference in focal length, the 16-35 is a full stop faster.  But do I need that full stop?  I decided no for the majority of its use.  I would primarily use it as a landscape lens… so shooting outdoors, it’s nearly inconceivable I would need (or want) f/2.8.  And the second most useful application for me is interior architecture.  But again, I typically light the spaces and rarely shoot wider than f/8.  Okay, so is there a sharpness difference between the two?  Well, without having both lenses in front of me to do my own tests, I had to rely on the careful data of others.  I found a fantastic technical analysis of this very comparison on Luminous Landscape.

The information provided by the good people over there really helped me solidify my choice to go with the 17-40.  With no major differences in sharpness, the fact that the filter ring is the popular 77mm (and I have three other 77mm L series lenses, so I was relieved to know that I wouldn’t have to buy all new filters for the newer 82mm on the 16-35), and not to mention the fact that the 17 is half the cost of the 16, I felt good about the choice I made.

Now the moment of truth… would I find a new, helpful tool in the 17, or would I be disappointed with its results?

Well, here’s the very first project I shot with it here in Dallas at White Rock Lake.  And I was VERY happy with the versatility and clarity from my new Canon 17-40mm…

_MG_9445F

White Rock Lake Wildflowers, Canon 17-40mm f/4L, Canon 5D MKII, 1/60 sec. @ f/22, ISO 400, Singh-Ray 4×6″ Galen Rowell 2 stop Soft-Step Neutral Density filter with Cokin Z-Pro filter holder

_MG_9475F

White Rock Lake Landscape, Canon 17-40mm f/4L, Canon 5D MKII, 1/400 sec. @ f/10, ISO 400, Singh-Ray 4×6″ Galen Rowell 2 stop Soft-Step Neutral Density filter with Cokin Z-Pro filter holder

_MG_9478F

White Rock Lake Lone Tree, Canon 17-40mm f/4L, Canon 5D MKII, 1/640 sec. @ f/10, ISO 400

_MG_1383F

White Rock Lake, Canon 17-40mm f/4L, Canon 5D MKII, 1.6 sec. @ f/22, ISO 50, Circular Polarizer with Singh-Ray 4×6″ Galen Rowell 3 stop Soft-Step Neutral Density filter handheld

_MG_1413F

White Rock Lake Dusk, Canon 17-40mm f/4L, Canon 5D MKII, 1.6 sec. @ f/22, ISO 50, Singh-Ray 4×6″ Galen Rowell 2 & 3 stop Soft-Step Neutral Density filters with Cokin Z-Pro filter holder

_MG_1452F

White Rock Lake Sunset, Canon 17-40mm f/4L, Canon 5D MKII, 0.3 sec. @ f/22, ISO 50, Singh-Ray 4×6″ Galen Rowell 2 stop Soft-Step Neutral Density filter with Cokin Z-Pro filter holder

_MG_1755F

White Rock Lake at Dusk, Canon 17-40mm f/4L, Canon 5D MKII, 3.2 sec. @ f/22, ISO 50, Circular Polarizer with Singh-Ray 4×6″ Galen Rowell 2 stop Soft-Step Neutral Density filter handheld

White Rock Lake Sunset Time Lapse, Canon 17-40mm f/4L, Canon 5D MKII, 0.3 sec. @ f/22, ISO 50, Singh-Ray 4×6″ Galen Rowell 2 stop Soft-Step Neutral Density filter with Cokin Z-Pro filter holder

White Rock Lake Time Lapse, Canon 17-40mm f/4L, Canon 5D MKII, 1/25 sec. @ f/22, ISO 50, Singh-Ray 4×6″ Galen Rowell 2 stop Soft-Step Neutral Density filter with Cokin Z-Pro filter holder

Note:  If using the Cokin Z-Pro filter holder, you can expect the edges of the filter to creep into your shot at focal lengths below 20mm.  It’s kind of frustrating.  But it’s not the lens’s fault…

Overall, the Canon 17-40mm f/4L is fantastic.  Like I said, it’s versatile, sharp, fast (enough), light weight, and durable.  I can already see it being an incredibly useful lens in my arsenal.

Please stay tuned… I’ll be reviewing more equipment soon!  And please feel free to share your comments/ questions below!

all content © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2013

Standard
art, film making, landscape, nature, photography, travel, wildlife, workshop, writing

brazos bend | where the wild things are

If you’ve visited this blog more than once, you probably know that I love Brazos Bend State Park.  And I LOVE alligators.  Strange, I know.

But an interesting new development from this last trip to the park uncovered a love for birds that I never knew I had.

Thanks to my amazing wife, this interest has been unlocked and given new life to the park I’ve been visiting for a decade.

I actually spent more time on this trip looking for different species of birds than with my alligator friends.  Go figure!

Don’t get me wrong though, I still love my gators.  But my appreciation and knowledge for the feathered fauna is growing.

I can’t wait to share this park with students and teach them the amazing nuances of nature/ wildlife photography at such a phenomenally bountiful and biologically diverse place.

We will also spend some time on time lapse and video… If you’re interested in learning more, visit my Brazos Bend workshops page.

Also, all images and video will be available for purchase as stock via Tandem Stills + Motion.

american alligator, brazos bend state park, texas

american alligator

white ibis, brazos bend state park, texas

white ibis

white ibis, brazos bend state park, texas

white ibis

white ibis, brazos bend state park, texas

white ibis

white ibis, brazos bend state park, texas

white ibis

white ibis, brazos bend state park, texas

white ibis

white ibis, brazos bend state park, texas

white ibis

tree lined trail with spanich moss, brazos bend state park, texas

tree lined trail with spanish moss

american alligator, brazos bend state park, texas

american alligator

male red cardinal, brazos bend state park, texas

male cardinal

yellow-crowned night heron, brazos bend state park, texas

yellow-crowned night heron

black-bellied whistling-duck, brazos bend state park, texas

black-bellied whistling-duck

american alligator, brazos bend state park, texas

american alligator

american alligator, brazos bend state park, texas

american alligator

american alligator, brazos bend state park, texas

american alligator

american alligator, brazos bend state park, texas

american alligator

american alligator, brazos bend state park, texas

american alligator

great egret, brazos bend state park, texas

great egret

juvenile yellow-crowned night heron, brazos bend state park, texas

juvenile yellow-crowned night heron

live oak landscape, brazos bend state park, texas

live oak landscape

butterfly in showy primrose, brazos bend state park, texas

butterfly in showy primrose

eastern bluebird, brazos bend state park, texas

eastern bluebird

yellow-crowned night heron, brazos bend state park, texas

yellow-crowned night heron

wild blackberries, brazos bend state park, texas

wild blackberries

Herbertia, brazos bend state park, texas

herbertia

texas dandelion, brazos bend state park, texas

texas dandelion

anhinga sunning, brazos bend state park, texas

anhinga

white ibis, brazos bend state park, texas

white ibis

cattle egret, brazos bend state park, texas

cattle egret

ARS_BBSP_0413_0085

ellie and hunter bird watching

ARS_BBSP_0413_0087

white-marked tussock moth (orgyia leucostigma) caterpillar

red tailed hawk flying, brazos bend state park, texas

red tailed hawk flying

red-tailed hawk, brazos bend state park, texas

red-tailed hawk

male red cardinal, brazos bend state park, texas

male cardinal

male red cardinal, brazos bend state park, texas

male cardinal

yellow-crowned night heron, brazos bend state park, texas

yellow-crowned night heron

yellow-crowned night heron, brazos bend state park, texas

yellow-crowned night heron

american alligator, brazos bend state park, texas

american alligator

alligator time-lapse… watch in HD!

american alligator, brazos bend state park, texas

american alligator

elm lake time-lapse… watch in HD!

elm lake, brazos bend state park, texas

elm lake

elm lake time-lapse… watch in HD!

elm lake, brazos bend state park, texas

elm lake

elm lake time-lapse… watch in HD!

elm lake, brazos bend state park, texas

elm lake

40 acre lake, brazos bend state park, texas

40 acre lake

yellow-crowned night heron, brazos bend state park, texas

yellow-crowned night heron

white ibis during it's first spring, brazos bend state park, texas

white ibis during it’s first spring

white ibis during it's first spring, brazos bend state park, texas

white ibis during it’s first spring

american alligator, brazos bend state park, texas

american alligator

swampy landscape, brazos bend state park, texas

swampy landscape

white ibis first spring, brazos bend state park, texas

white ibis during it’s first spring

white ibis first spring, brazos bend state park, texas

white ibis during it’s first spring

white ibis first spring, brazos bend state park, texas

white ibis during it’s first spring

northern rough-winged swallow, brazos bend state park, texas

northern rough-winged swallows

northern rough-winged swallow, brazos bend state park, texas

northern rough-winged swallows

northern rough-winged swallow, brazos bend state park, texas

northern rough-winged swallows

snowy egret, brazos bend state park, texas

snowy egret

white ibis flying, brazos bend state park, texas

white ibis flying

pilant lake, swamp, brazos bend state park, texas

pilant lake, swamp

pilant lake, swamp, brazos bend state park, texas

pilant lake, swamp

pilant lake, swamp, brazos bend state park, texas

pilant lake, swamp

swampy forest, brazos bend state park, texas

swampy forest

black-bellied whistling-duck, brazos bend state park, texas

black-bellied whistling-duck

black-bellied whistling-duck, brazos bend state park, texas

black-bellied whistling-duck

40 acre lake, brazos bend state park, texas

40 acre lake

american alligator, brazos bend state park, texas

american alligator

white tailed deer fawn, brazos bend state park, texas

white tailed deer fawn

red-tailed hawk, brazos bend state park, texas

red shouldered hawk

live oak and spanish moss time lapse… watch in HD!

live oak and spanish moss, brazos bend state park, texas

live oak and spanish moss

live oak and spanish moss time lapse… watch in HD!

american alligator, brazos bend state park, texas

american alligator

barred owl footage… watch in HD!

barred owl, brazos bend state park, texas

barred owl

barred owl, brazos bend state park, texas

barred owl

yellow-crowned night heron, brazos bend state park, texas

yellow-crowned night heron

pilant slough, brazos bend state park, texas

pilant slough

woman stoking fire at dusk, brazos bend state park, texas

ellie stoking fire at dusk

woman stoking fire at dusk, brazos bend state park, texas

ellie stoking fire at dusk

full moon, brazos bend state park, texas

full moon

full moon time lapse… watch in HD!

full moon, brazos bend state park, texas

full moon

full moon, brazos bend state park, texas

full moon

horseshoe lake time lapse… watch in HD!

horseshoe lake, brazos bend state park, texas

horseshoe lake

large black wild pig, brazos bend state park, texas

large black wild pig

live oak with spanish moss time lapse… watch in HD!

male red cardinal, brazos bend state park, texas

male cardinal

great blue heron flying, brazos bend state park, texas

tri color heron flying

juvenile yellow-crowned night heron, brazos bend state park, texas

juvenile yellow-crowned night heron

juvenile yellow-crowned night heron, brazos bend state park, texas

juvenile yellow-crowned night heron

black-bellied whistling-duck, brazos bend state park, texas

black-bellied whistling-ducks

american alligator, brazos bend state park, texas

american alligator

black-crowned night heron stalking, brazos bend state park, texas

black-crowned night heron stalking it’s prey

yellow-crowned night heron, brazos bend state park, texas

yellow-crowned night heron

common moorhen, brazos bend state park, texas

common moorhen

yellow-crowned night heron, brazos bend state park, texas

yellow-crowned night heron

Water Hyacinth, brazos bend state park, texas

water hyacinth

male alligator during breeding season, brazos bend state park, texas

male alligator during breeding season

anhinga swimming, brazos bend state park, texas

anhinga swimming

yellow-crowned night heron, brazos bend state park, texas

yellow-crowned night heron

red-bellied woodpecker, brazos bend state park, texas

red-bellied woodpecker

red-bellied woodpecker, brazos bend state park, texas

red-bellied woodpecker

anhinga sunning, brazos bend state park, texas

anhinga sunning

red-tailed hawk, brazos bend state park, texas

red tailed hawk

snowy egret, brazos bend state park, texas

snowy egret

snowy egret, brazos bend state park, texas

snowy egret

red slider turtle crossing a road, brazos bend state park, texas

red slider turtle crossing the road

violet wood sorrel, brazos bend state park, texas

violet wood sorrel

red-bellied woodpecker, brazos bend state park, texas

red-bellied woodpecker

great blue heron, brazos bend state park, texas

great blue heron

great blue heron, brazos bend state park, texas

great blue heron

alligators, brazos bend state park, texas

american alligators

ARS_BBSP_0413_0263

american alligator

snowy egret, brazos bend state park, texas

snowy egret

red slider turtle on a log in the water, brazos bend state park, texas

red slider turtle on a log

snowy egret, brazos bend state park, texas

snowy egret

texas rat snake, brazos bend state park, texas

texas rat snake

all images and content © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2013

Standard
art, film making, landscape, nature, photography, travel

lake hudson | time lapse

A few weeks ago we went to my cousin’s cabin on Lake Hudson in Oklahoma.

It was a wonderful time to relive warm childhood memories, and help create new impressions with our little nephews.

It also happens to be a beautiful place.  So I took the opportunity to shoot a few time lapse videos to share.

I’m excited to be offering time lapse classes soon… Be on the lookout at Slaton // Workshops.  Enjoy!

all content © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2013

Standard
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

Standard
film, film making, music, photography, random thought, writing

yann, not yanni

my favorite french musician, yann tiersen, came to dallas (of all places) a few weeks ago.

he is best known for composing the amelie soundtrack, but his repertoire is comprehensive and complex.

tiersen does it all;  from traditional french accordion compositions, to classical violin melodies… he even performs pop, rock, and hip hop.

this show was mostly his hard rock stylings, and ethereal post-rock, violin infused atmospheres.

it was a real bonus as well to have local favorite doug burr opening for yann…

doug is a folk artist, with a southern tinge.  his melodies are hypnotic and lyrics thoughtful.

yann came out with force behind strings…

he even played the mouth accordion.

it was such a treat to see yann tiersen live.  to have him come to dallas, texas… i still can’t believe it.

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2010

Standard
film, film making, music, photography, random thought, travel, writing

january fan, july flame

note:  i’m really excited about this post for a few reasons:  first, because i’ve been trying to finish it for a month, so it will be nice to have it done.  second, i am anxious to share mine and elle’s experience because it was so amazing.  and third, because i hope it is the first of many posts that will be full multimedia extravaganzas!  i have incorporated writing, photography, video (both hd and iphone quality), and music to capture a mood and create an enjoyable viewer experience.  i hope it works!


so this year, my Christmas present to elle (and myself for that matter), was a trip to seattle and portland to see laura veirs.  if you haven’t heard of her, do yourself a favor… seriously.

laura was kicking off her july flame tour in her city of residence, portland, oregon.  july flame is her brand new album, and i can say that it is by far, one of the best albums of the last few years.

elle originally turned me on to laura by strategically placing some of her tracks on the various mix cds she made for me over the years.  but i didn’t really start getting into her until recently.  laura quickly latched on to the audio pleasure centers of my brain, and i am now a life-long fan.  you know those artists that you can tell immediately that they have the talent, relevance, and longevity to remain in your collection forever?  well, she is one of those…

for your listening pleasure, laura’s title track from her newest masterwork.  enjoy!

okay, enough gushing about laura… on to our “january fan” adventure!

we landed in seattle late thursday night.  we walked about downtown and found a great little italian joint, il bistro, that served food late.

waking up early friday to a typical seattle winter morning was surprisingly refreshing…

we sampled local beers and seafood at lunch in the market, and talked of quintessential seattle matters, like kurt cobain.  ha ha ha.

we left seattle after lunch and began our thousand mile journey up the columbia river gorge, down the oregon coast, over to portland, and finally back up to the olympic peninsula.

our first stop was in seaside, oregon, friday night to catch some sleep.

we awoke saturday morning to the kind of weather locals dream of this time of year; 50 degrees and clear skies.

i got coffee, elle got tea, we walked out to the ocean.  it was breathtakingly exciting and serene at the same time.

my heart leaps in my chest when i think of the look on her face that morning.  i think it had been quite a while since elle had seen the ocean… i was so glad to share that with her.

after seaside, we snaked our way down the 101 to ecola state park.  famous views of cannon beach awaited us… a real treat.

a track from another great album of laura’s, slatbreakers, also turns my mind to this fantasy we lived for a few short days…

the light was fantastic as it danced across the surf, illuminating rocks and waves without discrimination.  it’s amazing how nature seems to have such an appreciation for aesthetics.  i guess God too is a connoisseur of beauty…

correction:  the creator and purveyor of beauty.

cat power’s the greatest was our soundtrack as we inched along the ancient forests of the pacific coast.  oh that life could be this sweet always… but then i guess times like these would hold less weight…

we then parked and explored cannon beach for a while by foot.

probably mine and elle’s favorite tune from july flame

oh laura, you’re a freakin’ genius!

elle finally took her shoes off to feel the sand in between her toes and let the cool tide wash over her feet.

we finally made it to portland around dinner time.  it was the famed night for our show, the july flame tour kick-off!  we didn’t know what to expect.

and oh what a pleasant surprise it was… the artistery, the venue, was a home-turned-into-an-artist-studio on the east side of the city.  we walked in to find a young man on a laptop checking names.  he stamped our hands as we bantered a bit, letting him know that we had come from nearly two-thousand miles away.

we cautiously walked down the narrow stairs past post-modern paintings and sketches, and followed the sweet sound of portland folk.

on the stage was justin power, a portland local.  he was fantastic.

we made weird he-man self portraits in the bathroom…

we met justin in between acts and gave him our appreciation… he went to his van and gave us an album with him and the portland cello project.  if you can find a way to get your hands on it, i highly recommend his music as well!

led to sea came on next, a one woman performer, songwriter, violist and multi-instrumentalist, l. alex guy.  she too was fantastic, but elle and i lost our spots in the crowded basement, so i didn’t get pictures of her until later when she played with laura.  watch out for alex as well… she is a very talented songwriter…

then along came laura…

she had been sitting in the back at a table where people could purchase merchandise.  elle and i kept contemplating going over to talk to her, and we easily could have, but we didn’t want to be one of “those people”, gushing about how much we love her music.

“she looks pregnant,” elle said.

“don’t be rude,” i quickly returned.

well, she got up and strapped an acoustic guitar around her bulging belly and cracked a joke about how she was leaving monday to start the european leg of the tour, being 6 months pregnant.

i looked at elle and smiled.  i’ll never doubt your prego radar again, i thought.

laura rocked it in her mostly-quiet way.  the lyrics dripped from her lips and fell like honey into our ears.  us and the fifty or so others that stood silent in the artistery.  it was truly magical.  a time that i know elle and i will never forget, judging by all of the glances we gave to one another as laura played on…

the next morning we woke to a lazy portland sunday.  we saw mount hood for the first time.  a rare site from the city in winter.  a lenticular cloud hovered over.

then the rain started again.  we headed north on the 5 toward the olympic peninsula.

giant trees and ferns guided us through this primeval landscape.

we camped within earshot of the sea outside kalaloch, just off the queets river.  it was raining so hard that we stayed all night in the car.  we played gin for hours, laughing in the dim glow of an ipod.

as we rounded the northern end of the olympic, lake crescent came into clear view.  the light was less than ideal, but the view still made us gasp.

it’s funny, we took this trip on a whim not knowing where the road would take us.  and up until this adventure we found ourselves constantly asking one another, “can i call you mine?”

it’s really fitting that this question is repeated over and over in the chorus to july flame, a song that we never knew until this trip.  because as we drove and listened and saw everything we experienced on that long weekend, we both gained a confidence in each other and ourselves that has given us an answer to our question.

if you enjoyed any of the music on this post, please support a fantastic independent artist…  here is a link to her label, and all her music.  thanks so much!

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2010

Standard