national parks, photography, wildlife, workshop

PARK PEEK // BIG CYPRESS

I usually stick to National Parks here, but I just had to share this incredible swath of land with you all. It is technically run by the US Department of the Interior as well, so really the only major difference between a National Preserve and National Park is that more recreation is allowed, like hunting and ORV trails, as well as regulated resource extraction.

Now, it may just be a National Preserve, but Big Cypress down is south Florida is every bit as beautiful and important as the Everglades, in my opinion. Situated almost equidistant between Naples and Miami, it is also quite accessible.

The plant life is much the same. Incredibly lush and diverse.

There are some more back roads though, which is a huge plus for me. However, you need to have a special permit to drive them and most of the roads are ORV only. But anyone can walk or bike them.

Masses of birds call this area home, some seasonally, and others year round.

And just like the Everglades, alligators and many other reptiles thrive here.

 

The mangrove swamps are vast and accommodating… to the birds and alligators, at least.

It is the buffer between the Everglades proper and where the water starts to flow south in Lake Okeechobee. The importance of the health and proper management of Big Cypress cannot be overstated.

  

Flora and fauna alike abound here. The winters are mild and inviting, and the summers (basically the rest of the year), are buggy, hot, and humid. But manageably so, believe it or not.

It’s an explorers paradise and a nature lovers dream. It’s a tough landscape. To hike and photograph. It’s flat, but general under water.

It’s one of those last places that is still quiet, where one can find solitude. And it’s only a short distance from major cities.

I love sharing this area so much, and it is so rich with photographic opportunities, that in January/ February/ March of 2021 I plan to have two Everglades (based out of Miami) and two Big Cypress (based out of Naples) workshops. As of now, dates are tentative, and registration is not yet open. However, if you would like more information, please email me to express your interest, and I will add you to the list of first notified.

–Andrew


N O M A D  Magazine // Issue 1
Order your copy today and receive this 100 page full color travelgasm at your door!
Want to learn photography and enjoy a guided experience? Check out my exciting, NEW workshop dates:
INTO THE WINDS // BACKPACKING + PHOTOGRAPHY ADVENTURE
GRAND TETON // FALL COLOR // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
TELLURIDE // FALL COLOR // LUXE LANDSCAPES
I’m excited to announce The Photographic Guide to Our National Parks” series of eBooks:
Rocky Mountain National Park
Grand Teton National Park
If you are interested in purchasing a “print from the road”, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
Andrew Slaton // Limited Edition Prints
Andrew Slaton // Canvas + Metal Prints
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
Tandem Stills + Motion // Andrew Slaton 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2020
 

Standard
nature, photography

BRAZOS BEND | Working to Relax

Nowadays, at least in the U.S., we’re all expected to work more and more. The saying used to be “working 9 to 5”, but not too long ago it became 8 to 5… and now if we’re honest, most of us work a lot more than that.

Well all of this would be fine if we had no life outside of work, but we do. No kids, no spouses, no friends, no hobbies. But more than that, we need balance in our lives.

ARS_BBSP_160228_4969

When I get home from a 2-3 week road trip, I’m usually stuck in my dark office staring at a computer most of the day working. Contacting and working with clients, retouching, editing, blogging, updating websites, pre-producing new shoots, etc. For another 2-3 weeks. It’s very up and down, back and forth. It’s unhealthy.

ARS_BBSP_160229_5005

That’s when Ellen and I will take short trips to our favorite state parks, like Brazos Bend in Texas. Just a few days to get out. Away from the house/ office. We had one such trip recently between two long work road trips and it was exactly what we needed.

ARS_BBSP_160229_5053

ARS_BBSP_160229_5061

Studies show that being outside and “unplugging” a little from our digital life is so good for us. It doesn’t mean we have to throw the smart phone in the lake, it just means intentionally setting aside time to reconnect our brains to nature.

ARS_BBSP_160229_5349

ARS_BBSP_160229_5359

It is also now known that camping can help us to reboot our sleep cycles. There is something about going to bed when the sun sets and waking when it rises that connects with a primal part of our brains, that relieves stress and brings about true relaxation.

ARS_BBSP_160229_5376

ARS_BBSP_160229_5409

ARS_BBSP_160301_4759

ARS_BBSP_160301_5434

The benefits of spending intentional time outdoors are still being discovered, but I can say as an expert :), that you have to experience it to believe it. And in this day and age, many of us don’t even need to be in an office setting, so we have more opportunity than ever to at least take the laptop or tablet outside to work under a tree. Try it!

ARS_BBSP_160301_5528

ARS_BBSP_160301_5539

ARS_BBSP_160301_4795

ARS_BBSP_160301_4834

Well, okay, the alligator part of this may be a stretch for you… but I love these creatures, and in a strange way, they help me relax and reconnect to more primal parts of my brain. Perhaps it’s the “survival” part of my brain. But I’ll tell you this; when I’m hanging around photographing alligators, I never pull out my iPhone to check my email. Just sayin’.

ARS_BBSP_160302_5670

ARS_BBSP_160302_5672

The fact is, we modern humans want to ignore or forget that we too are a part of nature, and even used to live in nature. But it doesn’t change the fact that all of this technological sensory overload is new for our brains. We need time outdoors for our physical, mental, and spiritual health. And that will trickle down to your work life too, I promise.

— andrew


In honor of the NPS Centennial this year, I have put together a special collection of (some never before seen) my favorite National Park prints. Please check it out and know that 5% of all the profits from the sale of this artwork will be donated to a wonderful organization that works hard to help preserve our Nation’s most magical places, The National Park Foundation.. We will be visiting almost all of the 59 National Parks this year, so check back often as we will be updating the page regularly. Thank you so much for your support!


 
Want to learn photography and enjoy a guided experience? Check out my exciting, NEW workshop dates:
 
TELLURIDE SUMMER 2016 – 4 SPOTS AVAILABLE
TELLURIDE FALL 2016 – 4 SPOTS AVAILABLE
ULTIMATE WYOMING SUMMER 2016 – SOLD OUT, WAIT LIST ONLY
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agencies:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // Andrew R. Slaton
Image Brief // 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
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2016

 

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, photography, travel

the goosewing ranch | part 2

the beautiful goosewing ranch had us out again for a week in september, and it was fantastic.

with wildlife abounding and the trees aflame with fall colors, this time of year in the mountains is my absolute favorite.

below are just a few of the images we captured during our week at the ranch.

to see more, visit our ranch HAND website, and check out our trip to the goosewing this past june!

a huge thanks to the goosewing, all of the amazing staff, and the gorgeous guests (who were kind enough to be our models).

we are so blessed to have clients that we enjoy working with so much!

we are really looking forward to the Dude Rancher’s Association convention this January, and to meeting all the new ranches that we’ll partner with next year!

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer & ranch HAND | photographic 2012

Standard
art, photography, travel

ranch HAND | the goosewing ranch

we traveled back up to wyoming in june to service ranch HAND | photographic’s newest client, the Goosewing Ranch.

just minutes from jackson, wyoming, the Goosewing is a phenomenal guest ranch for the whole family.  they offer phenomenal views, amazing wildlife, horseback riding, daily activities, and even the finer amenities like massages and fine wine.  they have their own trout stocked pond, and the gros ventre river right in their front yard; a true angler’s paradise.  they are also at the doorstep of grand teton and yellowstone national parks!

here are just a few of the images we captured for them this summer… and we can’t wait to go back in september to shoot their fall photos.

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer & ranch HAND | photographic 2012

Standard
art, photography, random thought, travel, writing

brazos bend

my wife and i haven’t been camping since new years… that’s been weighing heavy on us.

we LOVE camping.  to get outside, cook over an open fire, lay in open fields, etc.  it sets us free and recharges our batteries.

Elle had a few days off work this past weekend, so naturally, we decided to get outdoors.

brazos bend state park has been one of my favorite weekend destinations for the last 7 or 8 years.  it about a half hour southwest of houston, so not too bad of a drive from dallas.  a little over four hours.  well worth the drive though because it’s crawling with gators!

did i mention that i LOVE alligators?

american alligators are one of the most fascinating creatures left on our planet.  and they’ve been on our planet a really, really long time.

they have a primitive sophistication about them that has created in me a thirst for experience with these creatures.  i suspect it will never be quenched.

it’s similar to my love of bears.  i have a very healthy respect for both of these animals.  but that respect has to find a way to waltz around the room gracefully with my curiosity.  they are equal forces.  and i have to reconcile the two.  i want to get close… but not too close.

elle has not yet been to this park with me, so she was excited when we finally got the chance to go.

and there’s a lot more to this park that ranks it in the top ten state parks in the country.

the campsites are spacious and well kept, the facilities are that of a small national park, and the landscape, wildlife, and vegetation are stunningly beautiful.

the swampy landscapes created a great opportunity to get another unique star picture.

i’m just thrilled with the way this 30 minute exposure turned out!

sometimes we get bored in the heat of the day, so we goof off with my camera…

brazos bend also has a ton of great hiking, biking, and equestrian trails.  we didn’t bring bikes or horses, so we just hiked.  though if hunter were a little bigger, i might have tried to hitch a ride on his back…

lots of vines on which to swing and play tarzan.

and lots of little critters for hunter to sniff out and bay at in his cute, harmless little way.

baby dillos!

so, back to the alligator obsession.  this next series of pictures is not meant to be mimicked or tried at home.

believe it or not, i have a decent bit of experience with these creatures, so my comfort level is considerably different than most people’s.  i am fine with getting very close to alligators because i know their capabilities and body language very well.

so disclaimer out of the way, i called this 10 footer in from across the pond.

he slowly crept up the bank through the grass, and i stayed low, allowing him to think i was smaller than i am.

he came right out at a decent pace.  i had my camera on a tripod, extended vertically out in front of me with a cable release attached to i could click the shutter at will and maintain a few feet distance.

he got a little too close for comfort on this one!

when i stood fully erect, he finally realized that i was too big for him.  i thanked him for the good time and great pictures, and left.

the experience was refreshing and invigorating.  i never felt in major danger, but it tapped into that wonderful, scary, primitive survival part of me that runs on adrenaline and instinct.  thoughts race and reactions are sharp and focused.  i needed that.

having an experience with the wild like that is nourishing to my soul.  so i’m thankful i had that opportunity, and that it all went well and safely.

so i went back to camp.  where waited my less than wild, but just as amazing dog, and way more wild AND more beautiful wife.

we had a fantastic weekend.  and i know it’s not the last time we’ll visit brazos bend.  i hope it’s sooner rather than later, but right now i’m satisfied that wyoming is coming up just around the corner…


all images and content © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2011

Standard