The Pursuit

I am in constant pursuit of the perfect image.  A story told through the capture of a singular moment in time.  Sometimes the pursuit is brought about by clients who hire me to go tell their story, and other times it’s a personal quest.  Either way the goal remans the same, and the lengths to which I will go know no end.

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A beam of sunlight breaks through the morning clouds in Kajo Keji.

This trip for Seed Effect went as follows: DFW to AMS to KGL to EBB to Kajjansi to RUA to Nimule to Kajo Keji to RUA to Kajjansi to EBB to AMS and finally back to DFW.  11 legs and 48 hours of travel each way to capture a story that is as old as the earth; the human struggle and God’s unfailing love.

And on this trip it occurred to me the amazing parallel that was happening. I was quite literally traveling to the far reaches of the earth to capture stories of God moving heaven and earth to pursue His people everywhere.  The LORD has given us all the privilege of being His hands and feet.  He has given each one of us very different gifts… in so many different capacities.  But the fact remains; God pursues His people relentlessly.  And sometimes we get to see it first hand.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.  Psalm 23:6

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Lily Lawa Isaac quietly prays. Last time we saw Lily, she was pregnant and enjoying the modest success of her business. Her daughter is now over a year old and healthy.

God never promises that we will not experience horrible trouble on this earth.  But He does promise us a hope in the midst of trials and hardships.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

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Local neighbor children watch as a Seed Effect loan group meets to encourage one another with scripture and fellowship. These meetings have a direct impact on their surrounding communities.

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Atem Anthony is already finding much success with his businesses. With his profits, he recently bought a home and is now renting it out.

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We visited a client in the hospital with her son suffering from malaria. She was distressed but not hopeless.

The people we met in South Sudan are a part of this amazing story about the God of the universe pursuing His people.  We met countless Seed Effect clients whose stories are difficult and heartbreaking.  But the ones who have encountered Jesus all had the same hope.  Hope in something much bigger than their circumstances.  Living water for all of our souls.

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Emmanuel has polio. In spite of being nearly crippled and having little control of his motor skills, Emmanuel has a profitable store and provides for his family.

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But Emmanuel’s blessings don’t end on the surface… God is meeting his deepest needs for companionship. Even though he would generally be considered an outcast for his afflictions, he has a large group of friends and just got married earlier this year.

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Christine has a sewing business in Wudu market in Kajo Keji. She used to be muslim but now she trusts in Jesus Christ. She is still grieving the death of her mother.

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Toban Francis is a butcher in Kajo Keji. He has used his Seed Effect loans to grow into several new business ventures.

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Please pray for Christine as she moves through this difficult season of life, struggling with her mother’s untimely death.

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This is Beatriz’s son. We met Beatriz in a tiny stall in Wudu market 18 months ago. She was selling beans and a few other small perishables. This year, she owns her own beautiful restaurant, supporting her children.

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Selena Guo is one of Seed Effect’s most successful clients. She owns three stores now and has put several of her children through school. Dagula is her eldest who is about to earn his diploma from university.

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Dagula is the first generation direct recipient of the benefits of micro finance. He soon will have his degree in accounting.

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Selena’s second eldest son will be the next in line to receive an education from the profits of her businesses.

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One of Selena’s neighborhood children.

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Sunrise, Kajo Keji.

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Mikaya Aloro is proud of his new store. He is thankful for Seed Effect giving him the ability to keep all of his goods in stock for his customers.

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New Seed Effect client and his son selling greens and onions under a tree.

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Helen Diko is a seamstress, but more, she is a leader in her community. She hosts education seminars put on by Seed Effect at her shop.

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Her restaurant is small but this Kajo Keji Seed Effect client’s dreams are big.

The book of Hosea is beautiful analogy of this great love.  The ESV study bible says this…

Hosea depicts Israel’s unfaithfulness with a number of images from family and nature.  Israel is like: a promiscuous wife, an indifferent mother, an illegitimate child, an ungrateful son, a stubborn heifer, a silly dove, a luxuriant vine, and grapes in the wilderness.  Yet Israel’s unfaithfulness and obstinacy are not enough to exhaust God’s redeeming love that outstrips the human capacity to comprehend.

I am thankful to have the opportunity to take a very small part in this great love story.  And to see God’s pursuit of us every day in my own life, and in the lives of people all over the world.  To Him be the glory!

— andrew


 
Take your photography to a new level… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014

 

Autumn Rules // Top 10 Reasons Why Photogs Agree

I love summer, but in my opinion, nothing compares to the Fall.  Here are my Top 10 Reasons why professional photographers are salivating over the return of Autumn…

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10.  No Mosquitos… Okay, less mosquitos at least.

Depending upon where you choose to go this Fall, mosquitos could be the least of your worries.  Due to lowering temps, unfavorable for mosquitoes, they tend to hide in the autumn and winter.  They’re still there, but mostly inactive.  If traveling to more tropical locals, like the Florida Everglades, Fall could be the wet season, creating perfect conditions for the tiny insects to ruin your day.  Choose wisely, my friends.

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9.  Cooler Temps

It’s the reason for the lack of mosquitoes and other annoying bugs, but it’s also a welcomed relief to folks like me that appreciate the cool, dry air.  Whether you’re in the Smokies or the Rockies, the air begins to teem with a new, crisp energy starting in September.  It’s the coming of winter and the first snow that seems to charge the air with a sense of purpose, unlike the relaxed feel of Summer.  And the animals feel it too…

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8.  The Animals Are Active And Energized

The inevitable coming of Winter that is marked clearly by the changing from Summer to Fall, is perhaps the alarm clock for most animals, especially in the mountains and forests.  They come alive with the urgency of the moment.  Realizing they must feed as much as possible before the unforgiving Winter, they become bold and are easily viewed and photographed during the Fall.  And that’s not even to mention mating season… I’ll get to that later….

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7.  Less Crowds

I do enjoy people (sometimes), but when I’m on one of my nature/ landscape trips, I prefer to avoid crowds.  So if you’re like me, Autumn is the time for you.  The crowds of the Summer months dwindle away with the start of new school years, less hospitable weather, and reduction of seasonal services.  All is quiet.  And peaceful.  The way nature should be appreciated!

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6.  Catching The First Snow Is Exhilarating

Ah, the first snow.  It is something I strive to catch every year in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.  There is something so magical about it, and as mentioned before, it is the first real indicator of the coming Winter.  The animals get energized and a beautiful dusting of contrast is added to a yellow and sleepy landscape.  Which brings me to my next point…

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5.  Dynamic Weather

With the colder air from the north and first snow comes weather and dramatic clouds.  Those bluebird Summer days feel long gone, and the beautiful “drama queen” that is nature, peeks out to show you her moody side.  The light becomes magic as it penetrates small openings in the clouds, kissing the land.  I’m getting giddy just thinking about spending a month in Colorado and Wyoming this Fall!

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4.  Longer Nights…

I know, I know, this seems weird, right.  But let me just say, if you’re a seasoned photographer, you’ll know what I’m talking about.  We are often slaves to the light.  And during the Summer months, the days are so long.  We must rise before the sun to capture the gorgeous pre-dawn and dawn light (4:30-5 AM), and then we cannot truly rest until the sun has again hidden itself from our little part of the earth (9-10 PM).  It’s exhilarating, but exhausting.  So when the shorter days, longer nights of Fall come, it’s a nice reprieve.  Well, okay, let’s be honest; I still spend the same amount of time shooting, it just allows me to also capture the night shots I so love to shoot.  And thankfully, I still get a solid 5-6 hours of sleep.

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3.  Better Light = Better Photos

What is it about the Fall light?  Well, for one, the sun is lower in the sky, so the angle of sunlight is generally prettier and softer.  But also, as I mentioned before, the weather creates a situation for the light to be filtered and fantastically interesting.  There’s a harshness to the summer sun that fades away with the advent of Fall.

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2.  The Rut… And the Animals Get Crazy

If you’ve ever hear elk bugling, you’ll know what is so entrancing about the rut.  The rut is the mating season of many mammal species, including deer, elk, sheep, moose, pronghorn, caribou, etc.  The shorter day lengths of Autumn are the trigger for many of these animals.  And the side-effects of the increased hormones are what make this time of year so exciting and interesting for wildlife observers and photographers.

Males often rub their antlers or horns on trees and shrubs, fight with each other, wallow in mud and dust, self-anoint, and herd estrus females together.  Bull elk, in particular,  will loudly and frequently bugle.  A bugle is a vocalization made exclusively by bulls and can be directed toward other bulls or toward cows (female elk). A  bull will direct his bugle toward his cows while gathering them or while chasing a cow in estrus.  A herd bull might also direct his bugle toward another bull to express his dominance over the herd, while a satellite bull may use his bugle to challenge the herd bull.  Yelping also known as “grunting” is usually only made by herd bulls when they are excited. Seeing the steam from the cold air streaming from the nostrils and gaping mouth of a massive bull elk grunting and bugling is truly amazing.  But it’s the haunting bugles in the distance that one wakes to that heighten your senses and keep you coming back to the mountains in the Fall every year.

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1.  Fall Colors

What can I say?  This is self explanatory.  The colors of the fall just can’t be beat.  The deep greens and blues (to borrow from James Taylor) of Summer are magnificent.  Totally.  But the colors of Fall, almost exclusively during a few magical weeks each year, awaken my soul.  Red, orange, yellow, and every hue in between.  It’s earthy and warm, but those old familiar cool toned skies and purple hued mountains make for supremely balanced images.

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Sometimes as I drive down the road to Cora in the Winds, the leaves fall and dance in front of my car, and I feel like I might be in heaven.  Or some cheesy car commercial.  But it’s amazing and I really can’t get enough.  I miss Fall as soon as it’s gone, and I can’t wait until it arrives again…  Every.  Single.  Year.

If you don’t believe me… join me this Fall for my Grand Teton Workshop!

~ andrew


 
Take your photography to a new level… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014

Daring to Begin

All glory comes from daring to begin.

— Eugene Fitch Ware

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What does it take to be a “doer”?

Let’s be honest, it doesn’t take much.

Not a lot of brains or money, or even talent…

It just takes a little bit of courage.

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Well… here’s to a little bit of courage….

Happy Friday, my friends. May we all dare to begin today.

— andrew

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If you are interested in learning more about photography, taking your art to a new level please check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014

A New Day Dawns

As the year 2014 is just dawning… and the dew is still wet and sweet beneath our toes… I am struck with thankfulness.  Today is a new day, and this year is quite the new year.  I am excited for what it will bring, as I renew my passion of photography, and aim to see, yet again in new ways.  And to let the Light change us.

A Credo for Mountain Photographers

The mountain photographer is interpreting the face of nature – that mysterious infinity, eternally a refuge, a reservoir, an amplifier of spirit; a mother of dreams; a positive though elusive voice in whose depth lies its subtlety. They will interpret best who are never so content as when under the influence of situations where silence is rich in the mute assurance and beauty of mountain surroundings. The quality of emotional knowing has a finer integration with our spirit than anything that comes from barren intellectual processes. This point of view only accumulates slowly, out of long experience and contact with wordless influences. Under the spell of solitude and of natural beauty the root system of this kind of awareness establishes itself.

Great art is usually created under some such saturation of awareness. The work is then permeated with an inner perception of beauty and an inner personal philosophy. The hope for our photography is that it shall retain these high lights of more than beauty, that through it symbols shall be preserved of response to our mountains, keeping them to a flow, a golden thread, in our experience.

— Cedric Wright, 1941

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Cedric Wright’s words are resonating deeply with me today, and I feel refreshed and free to pursue my passion for mountain light.  I am hopeful for you and me in 2014…

Keep close to Nature’s heart…
and break clear away, once in awhile, 
and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods.
Wash your spirit clean.
— John Muir
 
________________________________________________________________________________________If you are interested in learning more about photography, taking your art to a new level please check out my new workshop dates:

Big Bend Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014

More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014

If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:

Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton

If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:

andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints

For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com

Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!

all images and content (except otherwise attributed) © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2014

the river of grass

They call the Everglades “the river of grass”, and a few weeks ago, I witnessed why.

Now just to clarify, the Everglades is not just limited to Everglades National Park.  The area is truly huge.

Much of South Florida is considered “glades” country.  It includes, but is not limited to, Big Cypress National Preserve, Collier Seminole State Park, and Picayun Strand State Forest.

All of which I had the pleasure to photograph over my 11 day, 4000 mile journey.

river of grass and hardwood hammocks near bear island campground

a white swamp lily in the river of grass in everglades national park

Mahogany Hammock trail boardwalk

barred owl at dawn

crows on a wire in pineland forest

The Everglades is a truly stunning landscape.  Very different from what my main focus has been for the last decade, the Rocky Mountains of the American West.

sunset at long pine key

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vegetation variety on the gumbo limbo trail

pineland forest of everglades national park

dead brown watersnake on the main road in everglades national park

morning at flamingo bay

air plants

air plants

anhinga

lily flowers

cattle egret near burns lake in big cypress national preserve

cattle egret near burns lake in big cypress national preserve

sunset over the river of grass and pine forests near bear island campground

sunset over the river of grass and pine forests near bear island campground

sunset over the river of grass and pine forests near bear island campground

coastal plain lobelia

sunset over the river of grass and pine forests near bear island campground

sunset over the river of grass and pine forests near bear island campground

As I mentioned before, Canon sent me the 5D MK III to test on this trip, and these are just a few of my favorites from my old 5D MK II.

The MK III images will be posted separately, and I’m so excited to share those with you.  I was absolutely blown away with the improvements made on the new 5D.

But next, I want to share an Everglades wrap-up video.  I plan to create episodic videos of all of my adventures from here on out…  “webisodes”, if you will.

I will release the Everglades episode first thing tomorrow morning, so be on the lookout!

Thanks for visiting!

— andrew

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If you are interested in learning more about photography, taking your art to a new level please check out my new workshop dates:

Big Bend Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2013-2014

More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2013-2014

If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:

Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton

If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:

andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints

For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com

Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!

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

flashback | everglades

It was thirteen years ago…. I sat at a crappy, college-student computer, playing around on a new website called “Priceline”.

Back then, all you could do was bid on flights.

And so it was, a 19 year old aspiring photographer and travel junkie, bidding (really low) on random flights.

Well, I didn’t realize that if they accepted my bid, that I would have actually purchased my first solo trip.

And they did.

I think the winning bid of Austin, TX to West Palm Beach, FL, round trip was around $120.

I was going to the Everglades.

The next few months were marked with frustrating phone calls, trial and error planning, and no luck finding a reputable rental car company to rent an out-of-state nineteen year old a car.

But eventually I found a shady car company, and I was on my way.

With only a hand-me-down Canon AE-1, two lenses, and about 35 rolls of film (Fujichrome Provia 100F and hand-rolled Kodak T-max 100/ 400 b+w), I set off on my first solo photo adventure.

I know that I have already attached several of these Everglades images to earlier posts, but I thought it would be fun to see them again in light of the flashback…

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I have SO many more images from this trip, tucked away in dark closets, nested within box after box, like Russian dolls.

Perhaps someday I’ll dig them back up and share them. But until then, these will suffice, as will the new ones I bring home in just a few weeks…

I’m getting really excited!

— andrew

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If you are interested in learning more about photography, taking your art to a new level, and/ or Big Bend photography tours and workshops, please check out my new workshop dates:

Big Bend Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2013-2014

More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2013-2014

If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:

Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton

If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:

andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints

For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com

Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!

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

planning an epic road trip // intro

It is said that “the road goes on forever”, but I prefer to think of it as having both a beginning and an end.

And the place to start and finish is always home.

For many years, the road was like home to me… now it is more a means to an end.

But it still has just as much of a draw on my spirit as it did before…

“Road…”, you are not home anymore, “…yet I love you, you express me better than I can express myself” (Walt Whitman).

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Often times people will compliment my images, and then inevitably ask how I did it.

I’ve found that many folks assume that I wander around, aimless, in amazing locations, and simply “happen upon” the perfect shot.  While that can happen, it’s really rare.  More often than not, a lot of work and planning go into each and every photograph.  And even after all that planning and hard work, sometimes it just doesn’t come together.  I am completely dependent on nature.  But it wouldn’t be as fun if it weren’t so challenging!

So it occurred to me after feedback from the last few posts that it might be interesting to my viewers to get a more in-depth, “behind the scenes” look into what it takes to plan, execute, and achieve success on a big road trip shoot, like my Rocky Mountain road trip and my upcoming Everglades adventure.

I will try to cover as much process as I can without boring you :)  I’ll season the raw information with poignant examples, along with hilarious and terrifying stories from the road.

You can expect several in-depth posts over the next few weeks, leading up to my trip… and here’s a brief outline of what I’ll cover:

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So thirteen years after my very first road trip alone – fittingly, also to the Everglades – I want to share some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way!

Planning an epic road trip is truly an art.  Don’t believe me?… check back in, follow this series, and then tell me what you think!

I would love to hear from all of you…  What have your experiences been, and what lessons have you learned on the road?

Thanks for tuning in!

— andrew

A lot of people don’t like the road, but it’s as natural to me as breathing.

Bob Dylan

Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.

J. R. R. Tolkien 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

If you are interested in learning more about photography, taking your art to a new level, and/ or Big Bend photography tours and workshops, please check out my new workshop dates:

Big Bend Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2013-2014

More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2013-2014

If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:

Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton

If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:

andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints

For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com

Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!

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