landscape, photography, travel

WHERE I BELONG

I’ve always told Ellen that I just feel at home in the mountains… more specifically, our little mountain range in Wyoming. Well, we made it back to our summer/ fall home base, and I couldn’t be happier to be here. I’ve already done a lot of day hikes and a few backpacking trips. Out “there” is where I feel most at home.

In fact, I just completed a four day, three night trip this week to two of my favorite areas in my home range.

The hike in is pastoral and gorgeous. I’ve been to both of these areas a few years back, but I wanted to do a specific photographic trip on my own. It is bit of a haul to get to either area in one day though, so you’ve got to work for it.

I got a late start to the trailhead, and five long hours, 14 miles later, I arrived at my first destination.

It’s a stunning, alpine basin with miles of towering spires and still lakes to explore. I spent two days surveying all of the available angles.

Then, on day three, I used my route finding skills to blaze a trail up and over a pass only to drop down into the second basin of my choice. It wasn’t a lot of mileage that day, but the elevation gain and loss, boulder hopping, etc. made it a good half-day of adventure.

The last night, I finally got some good clouds and a lovely sunset. It was invigorating, as always when the conditions align.

All in all, the mosquitos were biblical plague level, and my water filter broke on day one, causing me to have to boil all drinking water, thus minimizing the mount I could drink. But in spite of the difficulties and set backs, it was an amazing and memorable trip. And it still felt like a place where I belong.

I will definitely head back out to both of these areas again before this summer ends… but I will likely wait at least until mosquito season is over…

— Andrew


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photography, random thought, travel

A REVERSAL OF OPINION

These days, most of us dig our heels in on the hottest issues. We rarely listen to the other side. We wait and formulate our counter argument, while we pretend to listen to the opposing view.

I assure you that I am no better. Nine times out of ten.

Let me briefly talk, though, about that one of ten moment. Well, I should say more accurately that I had a slow u turn.

Years ago, I wrote an article titled, To Share or Not To Share. I still hold to the majority of the stances and claims in that post. However, I have made a complete about face on the sharing issue. As many of you know, I am pretty libertarian. And sharing is a matter of choice, so I remain libertarian. But I do not think that sharing locations is a net positive any more, so I will no longer share locations publicly.

What I have witnessed on the road the last four years is degradation and disrespect for many of our special places. Places that deserve respect. Places that to us, and many before us, have been and are sacred. Do I have such a following so as to think that I am to blame for this? Of course not. But our over-sharing culture (of which I have been a direct participant) is. It saddens me that we, at this point in time, lack personal responsibility, but I unfortunately have to come to terms with this.

Many have argued this point for years, and I hoped they were wrong, but I now realize they were right all along, and I was naive and wrong.

I hope all of you will understand that if I do not personally know you, I will not under any circumstances share locations with you, and I suggest you do the same. I am even incorporating NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) into my workshops to ensure the safety and protection of these areas. I believe in being personally responsible on my part, so I don’t have to rely on laws and stricter regulations. I would prefer it this way.

Now, with all of this said, there is some positive to come out of this. And it is that we can now return to the good old days of finding places by studying maps, striking up conversations with locals, hours of in person scouting, and stumbling upon hidden gems. It really is a better way to explore anyway. There is nothing wrong with working a bit harder for the shot!

Please do let me know your thoughts in the comments below…

— Andrew


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photography, travel

LOCATION PEEK // HIDDEN WYOMING

Many of you will undoubtedly know the location of which I am about to showcase. It’s not exactly a secret. However, it is a little less well known than many other places, and I am more and more convinced with each passing day that we must start guarding these places a little bit better.

The more Ellen and I travel, the more we are seeing many of our sacred places being desecrated. So, I will continue to educate folks as best I can on the outdoor etiquette I’ve learned over the years… as well as keeping our special places a bit more secret. Honestly, it’s much more enjoyable to stumble on some of these places anyway, or to learn about them from a local you chatted up over a beer. I miss those days, anyway.

So heres my newest subject of obsession… a Wyoming mountain range of unparalleled beauty.

I had the pleasure of exploring a small section of these mountains for the last week, and I was blown away at the opportunities. This is going to require a lot more of my attention moving forward.

I did a fair amount of dirt road driving. Not enough hiking, as the weather was quite moody and rainy.

At times, I was reminded of the Pacific Northwest, among other areas. But I suspect the time of year had a lot to do with it. Late June up here is still very much spring weather. In fact, the roads were so muddy most of the time we were there, four wheel drive was absolutely necessary.

But if you’ve been following along a while, you know that I love dramatic weather. It can be hit or miss, sure, but when the beam of light hits, the storm clears briefly, the fog rolls in just so… you get the chance for magic. And if you happen to be in a magical place such as this when the magic hits… ahhhhh.

Thats what I live for.

— Andrew

If you enjoy my work and want to grow in your own photography, consider joining me in one of the most magical places at the most magical time of year… Fall in the Tetons! I have a few spots left, and I’d love to share some of my secret locations with you as we explore the light, landscapes, and the incredible wildlife. For more info and to sign up, CLICK HERE!


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photography, travel, workshop

AUTUMN FEATURE: THE SAN JUANS

Autumn is just around the corner, and as you all know, it’s my favorite season. The color and the drama are incredible, and as I’ve mentioned before so many times, I have a few favorite spots that I hit up every year in the fall.

This week, I wanted to feature the southern San Juans of Colorado, and more specifically, the Telluride area.

I’ve been visiting this little piece of heaven for 25 years now, and it never disappoints. Even in the years when I miss peak, it presents me with  something amazing to behold.

The uniqueness of the area, I think, lies in the combination of high elevations and lots of aspens stands. Because of the elevation, geographic location, and boxed in nature of the area, it tends to get a lot of snow in the winter. That’s why it is considered one of the best ski areas in the country. But also, it means that the colors typically catch fire in the fall because of high precipitation values leading up to it.

The vistas one can experience here are simply unparalleled. National Forest public land access is great, allowing for the leaf peeper to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time.

But another cool aspect of the area is catching the first snow. Typically in late September/ early October, the first significant winter precipitation hits and it often coincides with the peak color. The drama of the weather and contrast of the fresh dusting is my favorite!

And the colors aren’t at all limited to the autumn spectrum. The deep purples and blues, and even greens are still abundant even at that late time of year. It’s really spectacular.

And then the skyfire! Pinks, reds, orange, you name it. Every color in the spectrum is displayed in this gem of a location.

I’ve been exploring the area for a long time, and many of those years as a pro photographer. The last 5 or so, I’ve been leading intimate workshops for those interested in being led to some amazing spots and growing in their love for art, nature, and photography.

Oh, and it should also be mentioned that Telluride has some exquisite restaurants and bars, as well as shopping and spas, so we really get to pamper ourselves and even relax a little during this dynamic and exciting time of year.

Every time I visit Telluride and the southern San Juans, I find new nooks and lovely compositions. It really never gets old.

If this looks like a place you’d like to see and explore, let me guide you through one of my favorite places on the planet! We will learn, grow, experience awe, eat amazing food, and genuinely have a great time together. If you’ve ever wanted to just hang out with a professional photographer and get the one on one time to ask all of your burning questions, this is your chance.

I have just a few spots left for 2020, so check it out on my website and sign up for the experience of a lifetime.

— Andrew


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education, national parks, photography, travel, workshop

FALL IN THE TETONS

The Teton Mountains are, to my way of thinking, quite the grandest and most spectacular mountains I have ever seen.. .When viewed over the vast expanse of sagebrush which covers the valley, or with Jackson Lake and the marshes in the foreground, they present a picture of ever-changing beauty which is to me beyond compare.” ~ J.D. Rockefeller

If you have ever seen the Tetons, you probably remember that first time, cresting the hill coming up from the town of Jackson, WY. Or the harrowing, windy descent from Togwotee Pass. Maybe from the air, as you landed at the incomparably beautiful Jackson Hole airport. Or even perhaps from the flat plains of eastern Idaho. Whichever way you came to experience this dramatic mountain range, the first glimpse was likely unforgettable.

Well, I can truthfully say, that even 20+ years later, I am still in awe with nearly every approach.

I call the Tetons my “home park”, because for the last two decades I have lived close, or spent months out of every year up here, studying the many faces and the seemingly unending bounty of Grand Teton National Park.

Aside from the incredible landscape photography opportunities, the Tetons, and forests and mountains, are some of the absolute best places in the lower 48 to {almost} be guaranteed to see iconic western wildlife. Grizzlies and wolves are in steady increase, and the herds of bison, pronghorn antelope, elk, and so much more are in abundance. It’s even pretty likely one might see a fox, coyote, badger, owl, bald eagle, golden eagle, osprey, moose, and more.

This is why I love this amazing place.

In the fall, when the leaves begin to change, the air grows crisp and cool, and the animals begin to prepare for the long Wyoming winter, the photographer is in for a real treat. Everything becomes dynamic and quickly changing. Nothing at this time is at rest or stasis. Not the weather, not the animals, not even the mountains. Snow storms blow through just atop the peaks leaving a contrasty dusting of white against the graduated shades of granite.

It is a spectacular time. My favorite time, in fact.

I hope you find inspiration through my words and photos of this unique time in such a uniquely special place. And I do hope you will consider joining me and a small group of other fun photographers this September 24-27, 2020 to explore together and grow as artists, in my backyard.

— Andrew


SPECIAL OFFER for my blog followers – 10% off everything by using code “BLOG10” at checkout
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GRAND TETON // FALL COLOR // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
BIG CYPRESS // OFF-THE-BEATEN PATH // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
TELLURIDE // FALL COLOR // LUXE LANDSCAPES
GIFT CARDS
Give the gift of beauty, travel, and knowledge… buy a gift card. Help a small business.
The Photographic Guide to Our National Parks” series of eBooks:
Rocky Mountain National Park
Grand Teton National Park
PRINTS
Andrew Slaton // Limited Edition Prints
Andrew Slaton // Canvas + Metal Prints
STOCK
Tandem Stills + Motion // Andrew Slaton
ASSIGNMENTS
andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com
All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2020
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