art, photography, travel

andrew r. slaton // workshops

woo hoo!! ¬†i’m excited to announce my new workshop blog!!

check it out… find the learning adventure you’ve been looking for… ¬†and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date with what i’m offering.

i have several new classes and trips that i will be adding over the next few weeks, such as big bend, grand teton, and yellowstone national parks, and location lighting in dallas!

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all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2013

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art, photography, travel, writing

wyoming | the bounty of autumn

it’s been said before that fall in the mountains is a magical time.

the leaves are changing, the temperature drops, and the animals are energized with hormones for mating season.

moose populations in wyoming are declining because of the growing wolf numbers, and i’ve been seeing less and less of them every year. ¬†so i was really excited to see a huge bull with two cows at our campground one morning when we woke up. ¬†the state has recently opened a limited hunting season for wolves. ¬†there are at least two lawsuits in the courts currently, brought on by environmentalist groups to challenge the state’s new policy.

because of the close proximity of fires, the sunrises were often very hazy but quite colorful.

i spent many days out on the river road looking for bugling bull elk.  and i found plenty.

the bears were apparently out in full force.  fall is the time when grizzlies and back bear are fattening up for the long winter ahead.

and grizzlies, in particular, are emboldened by the fact that hunters are out in full force and leaving their kills’ guts in the field. ¬†it can be a dangerous time.

but i didn’t even see one bear the entire month i was there… just lots of signs…

mornings on the river road were marked by bugling elk.  they lead their harems up from the snake river to the high plains to strut at the foot of the tetons.

the evenings brought about the reverse.  the bulls, some with new females won from rivals, made their way back to the safety of the tall grass, trees, and water along the snake.

bugling is one of my favorite sounds in the natural world.  and spending the quiet times of my mornings and evenings listening to the haunting tune of elk replenished my soul.

autumn is a time of beginning and end.  the leaves fall from their branches, but not before they take on colors rarely seen so bright in nature.

bitter cold wind blows in from the north. ¬†but not without it’s gifts. ¬†the cold air brings with it the desperately needed moisture to alleviate the wildfires with the first snowfall.

i long for this time of year. ¬†i already miss it. ¬†and i’m already planning for next year…

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2012

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art, photography, random thought, travel, writing

wyoming | antelope hunt

** GRAPHIC HUNTING PHOTOS… PLEASE BE ADVISED**

i felt kind of silly writing the above disclaimer… but then i thought about it, and many of the folks that frequent my site are expecting beautiful landscapes, portraits, and *living* wildlife photography.

this post incorporates all of those elements, but it also adds photojournalism.  a documentation of what the vast majority of humans throughout the span of time have done in order to survive.  with graphic detail.

Elle and i are not big hunters, but we are both meat eaters and have a great respect for the people that go out into the wild to bring meat home for their families.

rarely, in this day and age, do we city-folk ever see the animals that we eat prior to their processing and packaging at our supermarkets. ¬†i think it’s good for all of us to experience a hunt. ¬†it gives us the opportunity to develop respect for the animals, and a thankfulness for the bounty of food that results. ¬†to get our hands dirty.

so here is our first real hunting experience in the sagebrush sea of sublette county, wyoming with our good friends Mike and Ellen.

elle was excited and nervous when we hopped in Ellen’s truck that morning.

Mike and Ellen had already harvested one antelope of their two for the year, so they were just ready to get the meat that they needed for the long wyoming winter.

antelope hunting is unique.  there are tens of thousands of high mountain desert acres in wyoming.

antelope roam those plains, sometimes alone, and sometimes in groups.

because of that, it is common for hunters to drive miles of dirt road until they spot a suitable animal. ¬†so we drove. ¬†looking….

after a while of looking… we spotted a huge, lone male. ¬†so Mike set up for the shot.

Elle loaded the 30-06 magazines.

it was a really long shot… probably around 750 yards. ¬†needless to say, Mike missed quite a few times.

the one that got away.

more looking….

then, finally… Mike found ‘the one’. ¬†it was downhill from us and still a very long shot.

not a clean kill, unfortunately, but Mike eventually got the kill shot…

now it was time to gut the antelope.

just as it sounds, gutting just means to cut out the insides in the field so that the internal organs don’t turn and spoil the rest of the meat.

really sharp knives are helpful…

it can be a messy activity.

all in all, Ellie was not a huge fan of the experience. ¬†though she understands hunting for food and respects people’s right and need to do so, she feels it’s not for her.

i, on the other hand, am fully prepared to reap the harvest of wild game… if i need to feed my family… and there are no cows or chickens nearby to ‘hunt’. ¬†though generally prefer to shoot animals with my camera.

we live in an interesting time.  one in which most of us never see where our food comes from, and many certainly like it that way.  ignorance is bliss, right?  and so is a fresh steak.

but still, there is something comforting about knowing exactly where your food came from.  and wearing the earth and blood to prove it.

i look forward to taking part in many more excursions with my frontier friends… to see how it once was, and still can be.

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2012

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wyoming | our time

thanks to our clients and friends at the goosewing ranch, and our new ranch HAND | photographic business venture, Elle and i spent nearly a month in wyoming this fall.

we headed up a week before we needed to be at the ranch so we could see our friends in pinedale and backpack a few days in the winds.

well, our plans didn’t exactly work out the way we wanted…. but it was some much needed time rejuvenating ourselves in the mountains….

me getting geared up for a day hike…

it’s weird for me to have photos of myself on here now that Elle is shooting too.

she makes fun of me for my new “fanny pack” camera bag, so i decided to pose for her to prove how useful it would be… especially when backpacking!

i do look pretty nerdy though.

the fall colors were just starting to ignite at soda lake and on the trail to little soda.

my girl exploring the light…

the beautiful wind river range in the distance.

we sat for a while and watched a family of bald eagles at little soda. ¬†i haven’t seen these guys there since 2005. ¬†it was a welcomed sight.

i used to sit and watch them for hours when i lived in pinedale.  it brought back good memories to see these majestic creatures again.

we soon decided to do a three day trek into the winds from the new fork trailhead, up new fork lakes to new fork canyon, then up through palmer canyon and back out doubletop.

not a tremendous feat.  but for some lowlander city dwellers, an accomplishment for having just driven 22 hours up only one day before.

Elle had been feeling awful that day, but we decided to embark in spite of her worsening condition.  and i had already (somehow after only being in hiking country for a little more than 24 hours) developed a few killer blisters on my heels.  no problem, i thought.  i can ignore them.

we got about two miles in.  both of us reeling from carrying too much gear, nursing illness and blisters, and decided to go ahead and set up camp.

Elle tried to sleep off her fever.  and i re-taped my blisters and went for a little day hike.

beautiful view from our tent of new fork canyon.

we were both ready for bed. ¬†“hopefully, we’ll feel better tomorrow.”

the sun rose with purpose.  we did not, however.

we decided to just relax and enjoy our surroundings.  we noticed a slew of woodpeckers all around us.  what a treat.

after a while, we went for a short day hike…

this bald allowed us to get in really close…

new fork canyon is beautiful, and we were really looking forward to getting up into the high country…. but it wasn’t meant to be on this trip.

so we eventually hiked out to the car and headed over to little half moon lake, one of my favorite car camping spots near pinedale.

dusk at little half moon.

stars over little half moon. ¬†that night, the moon never rose… it was VERY dark.

the next day we hiked around, explored a little, made our way to half moon lake, and enjoyed the scenery.

we watched more birds of prey… an osprey this time.

our time around pinedale was coming to an end. ¬†but our wyoming adventure wasn’t even half way done.

we had the privilege to go with our friends on an antelope hunt before we were needed up at the goosewing.

we didn’t hunt, but i documented the whole experience… antelope hunt images coming soon!

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2012

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film making, photography, random thought, travel, writing

…last week in wyoming…

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one of my first, and best, friends when i lived in wyoming was kim. ¬†she recently got married and had a gorgeous little girl, kate. ¬†first thing’s first… i had to go see them.

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now on to my animals.  a coyote searches for food in the elk national wildlife refuge near jackson.

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two ocean lake in teton wilderness provided fantastic scenery.

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on the way out of two ocean and pacific creek, one of my favorite views of the tetons materializes quickly.  almost out of nowhere, the jagged peaks come into view with force and drama.

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then, of course, the jackson lake dam provides unimpeded views of this beautiful mountain range, the grand tetons.

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a lone big horn ram wandered, grazed.

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early in the morning, the elk eat dew-covered grasses.

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lamar creek.  the hidden gem of the lamar valley.  always one of my favorite spots to sit in the morning.

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the lamar valley in the summer is a haven for the american bison.  they graze it heavily in massive swarms.

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the lamar valley is also home to many bears. ¬†this pair, one black bear and one cinnamon black were inseparable as i watched them cross miles of open landscape. ¬†i saw this same cinnamon about four years ago in the exact same spot. ¬†glad to see he’s got a lady to keep him company now…

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bull elk are scattered across yellowstone this time of year.  typically alone, they seem to know that the autumn rut and breeding season will be coming in a few short months.

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sulphur stained ponds dot the landscape of yellowstone.

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a lone black bear on the northeast entrance road scavenges in the shadow of the mountains surrounding the montana/ wyoming border, near cooke city.

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not even a mile away from the bear, a fox too looks for an evening snack.

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on the road to lulu pass, just outside city limits, seedlings, clear cuts, mountains, and sky provide the backdrop for cook city, montana.

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early morning, heading back from a night spent at the cooke city dump, the mountains and fog performed a ballet.  mist danced across the tops of trees as the light watched passively from behind the clouds.

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and it only gained dramatic crescendo as i made my way back, further into the lamar valley of yellowstone.

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after a long morning hike up the side of a peak in the lamar, a lone antelope kept his distance.

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a 45 minute exposure at oxbow bend in grand teton national park, well after sundown.

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morning glow over the tetons.  i love waking up to this view!!

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mid-morning at oxbow bend.  light slowly makes it way toward me from behind, painting my canvas.

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jackson lake was glass.  a rare site.

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string lake, near jenny lake, grand teton national park.

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back to my old haunt in sublette county… green river lakes in bridger-teton national forest.

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the lower lake was in tumult, with wild winds from the south rumbling like a freight train through the valley toward the upper green.

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the green river was calm the next morning, though the sky overhead read drama.

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i hiked the highline trail toward the upper lake.  squaretop mountain spectacularly reflected the patches of sun.

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i followed massive grizzly tracks all the way to the upper lake about three miles.  it was not alone.  two smaller sets of tracks alerted me to the fact that a sow with two yearlings could be around any bend.

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on the way into little soda lake, the aspen groves catch a reflection more colorful than reality.

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cactus patches keep me aware of where i place my feet…

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just a few minutes from the front door of my old house in pinedale, soda lake reflects the wind river mountains, creating impressionistic hues that would make any artist salivate.

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2009

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