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
 

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travel, wildlife, workshop

Totality // 5 Things I Learned Photographing An Eclipse

There was quite a bit of fervor leading up to the “Great American Eclipse” a few weeks ago, to say the least. The little town of 2,000 we call home in the summer and fall, Pinedale, Wyoming, was expecting to swell to nearly 10x its normal size.

And Jackson, WY, just at the center line of totality and home to Grand Teton National Park, expected nearly half a million people to flood in to the town of around 20,000! Knowing what the area was expecting, the hype seemed a bit overblown to me.

I was wrong.

I’ve never experienced, much less photographed, a full solar eclipse. I’ve seen and shot several full lunar eclipses, and I was comparing my expectations for this to those… WAY different. WAY cooler.

So, what did I learn as a photographer, shooting my first, full solar eclipse?

1. If you plan to shoot any portion of the eclipse other than totality, you really do need a solar filter. I initially thought this was nonsense… just another way to try to sell me something. I was wrong. Thankfully, I had a few good friends that joined us for the festivities of the day, and they were prepared enough to have extra filters. The reason you need them is pretty simple…. your lens acts like a magnifying glass and channels the sun’s light and heat straight into your sensor, potentially frying the cells. Just like when you were a kid and you used a magnifying glass to fry ants.

2. You’d better be quick on your feet if you want to get great shots. You really need to be super comfortable shooting in full manual. If you’re not, you will be thinking way too much and might miss the shots you want. Everything happens quite fast, and if you are frenzied or flustered, chances are, the moment will pass you by AND you won’t get any good shots!

3.  Shade your eyes every time you look in to your viewfinder. This was something that I would’ve never thought of. Your eclipse glasses will allow you to see nothing but the sun, so as a consequence, you will likely not wear them much as you are shooting. So that means you are very vulnerable to accidentally damaging your eyes. Every time you look through your viewfinder to reframe your shot, you are protected because of your solar filter, but it’s in the moments just before and after your eye contacts the eyecup on the back of your camera that you need to be careful. It sounds like overkill, but I promise it’s not. Just use your hand or a hat to shade the sun. Simple as that, but oh so important.

4. Have a second camera body and look around you just before, during, and after totality. Two bodies is not within reach for everyone, but for the professional, it is an absolute must. So, if there’s any way you can get your hands on two, it will be of supreme value. One camera can be set up on the tripod with a long lens… ready for the traditional, up close shots (this one will definitely need a solar filter!). But the second can be wrapped around your neck, with a wide angle lens, ready to capture the overall scene. Perhaps a unique landscape during totality, or even the onlookers reveling at the sight of it all. Which brings me to point 5…

5. Don’t forget to enjoy the experience! There really is nothing like this experience on earth. So be present, and enjoy the moment! It is possible to step out from behind the camera and take it all in…

The next full solar eclipse will be passing through my home state of Texas on April, 8, 2024. You can bet that we will be there, ready to take it all in. I hope you will too. Check out this great, interactive map to see where you can experience totality.

— Andrew


Ellen and I have hit the road full-time! Help us on our mission to inspire and educate everyone on the importance of getting outside by checking out my workshops and my prints, made #ontheroad in my mobile print studio. The revenue will help propel us further and further on this great adventure. Enrich yourself and others… and feel great about it too as you’re helping to ensure our wild lands are cherished and to keep the wild spirit of the American Dream alive. Our goal is to visit all 59 National Parks in 2-4 years. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE



Want to learn photography and enjoy a guided experience? Check out my exciting, NEW workshop dates:
 
BIG BEND // LANDSCAPE + THE ART OF SEEING // 2017 – ONLY 4 SPOTS AVAILABLE
LEARN PHOTO + CAMERA BASICS // USA // 2017-18 – SEE IF I’M COMING TO YOUR CITY
EVERGLADES // LANDSCAPE + NATURE // 2018 – SNOW BIRDS UNITE!
SEE THE REST OF MY EXCITING DESTINATION WORKSHOPS
 
I’m excited to announce my “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 R. Slaton // prints from the road
 
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
  
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2017
 
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travel, wildlife, workshop

10 Reasons To Love The Everglades

Often, people are surprised when I tell them one of my favorite places is south Florida’s Everglades. I immediately fell in love the first time I visited, over 15 years ago. And every visit since then, I find new reasons to love this unique ecosystem.

So, what makes the Everglades so special?

10. There is a magical quality to the light.

9. It is a haven for a plethora of bird species.

8. Wildlife abounds.

7. The sunsets and sunrises are routinely awe-inspiring.

6. There is no shortage of backroads to explore.

5. Even the smallest of details are stunning.

4. The ecosystem is unique and intensely diverse.

3. It is accessible, yet feels remote.

2. Beautiful beaches are only minutes away…

1. It’s a National Park for a reason, folks!

If I have piqued your interest, consider joining me this winter in Everglades National Park and the surrounding areas on my most diverse nature photography workshop!

— Andrew


Ellen and I have hit the road full-time! Help us on our mission to inspire and educate everyone on the importance of getting outside by checking out my workshops and my prints, made #ontheroad in my mobile print studio. The revenue will help propel us further and further on this great adventure. Enrich yourself and others… and feel great about it too as you’re helping to ensure our wild lands are cherished and to keep the wild spirit of the American Dream alive. Our goal is to visit all 59 National Parks in 2-4 years. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE



Want to learn photography and enjoy a guided experience? Check out my exciting, NEW workshop dates:
 
BIG BEND // LANDSCAPE + THE ART OF SEEING // 2017 – ONLY 4 SPOTS AVAILABLE
LEARN PHOTO + CAMERA BASICS // USA // 2017 – SEE IF I’M COMING TO YOUR CITY
EVERGLADES // LANDSCAPE + NATURE // 2017 – SNOW BIRDS UNITE!
SEE THE REST OF MY INCREDIBLE DESTINATION WORKSHOPS
 
I’m excited to announce my “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 R. Slaton // prints from the road
 
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
  
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2017
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equipment review, photography

5D MK III // Field Review / Everglades

Before the Canon 5D MK III came out, I remember talking shop with a few other photographers about whether the change would be significant enough to justify purchasing a new camera body.  I thought not.

Wrongly.

Canon sent me new MK III a few weeks ago for my Everglades adventure, and from moment one, I was impressed.

It would seem impossible to improve on the color, clarity, and ease of use from the MK II, but they did.

And it is very quiet.  So, immensely helpful with wildlife.  I never realized how loud my MK II’s shutter is until I shot with the MK III.

roseate spoonbill

roseate spoonbill

a pair of burrowing owls on marco island

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brown anole on the anhinga trail in everglades national park

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lubber grasshopper

The color and the contrast straight out of the camera in RAW is incredible.  I would actually liken it to some of the more advanced Nikon bodies I’ve tested before.

I know, I know, sacrilege, right?  Well, I have always been a Canon guy… literally from day one (AE-1, 35mm).  But I have played around with Nikons as well, and I’m not afraid to criticize my brand and give credit where credit is due.  Often times the color and contrast that came out standard on raw files from Nikon seemed to have more punch to me.  Finally, Canon has an answer.  It is partly due to the lateral color fringe correction (that most newer Nikons have).

brown anole on the anhinga trail in everglades national park

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american crocodile at flamingo bay

american crocodile at flamingo bay

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road through pineland forest

I’m not much of an HDR fan, though I am asked all the time whether my work is processed as such.  The MK III has an in camera HDR function that I found fascinating and tastefully done.

And the internal processing is incredibly fast.

sunset at long pine key

sunset over the pines at long pine key

night sky and stars with palm at flamingo bay campground

The high ISO noise reduction is of course, phenomenal.  And truly, it would be difficult to see much of a noticeable difference from its predecessor, but you absolutely can.  It’s that much better!

night sky lightning storm through palms at flamingo bay campground

night sky and stars with palm at flamingo bay campground

morning at flamingo bay

green treefrog in dwarf palmetto

green treefrog in dwarf palmetto

american alligator

tricolored heron

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burns lake at dusk with passing storm

morning at flamingo bay

green treefrog

green treefrog

green treefrog

green treefrog

green treefrog

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centipede in dwarf palmetto

brown anole mating

white tailed deer doe at dawn near bear island campground

white tailed deer doe at dawn near bear island campground

nightfall over burns lake

sunrise over burns lake

green treefrog near big cypress bend boardwalk trail

green treefrog near big cypress bend boardwalk trail

stormy chokoloskee bay

men on a tour boat in chokoloskee bay

green treefrog

river of grass with pineland forest in the distance

orb weaver spider

great white egret

american alligator at long pine key

great blue heron in flight at flamingo bay

red shouldered hawk with kill

great blue heron

american crocodile at flamingo bay

red shouldered hawk drying off after rain

barred owl at dawn

cypress forest swamp landscape

boardwalk trail in big cypress national preserve

tricolored heron hunting

great white egret

mosquito on human hand

lingus tree snail

green treefrog on dwarf palmetto

giant swallowtail butterfly

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

 

I’ve never been one of those guys who just buys the new thing right when it comes out… I’m a little bit more cautious than that.  But to all those who did with the Canon 5D MK III… kudos.

Canon really changed the game with the 5D MK II, but after spending a week in the Everglades with the MK III, I’m reassured that they continued the game changing camera bodies with this one!

There are so many improvements made with the MK III like color fringe correction, copyright and shooter info embed (not to mention you can finally customize file name in camera!), and dual memory card slots.  I highly recommend it as a huge improvement over its predecessor…

The two main improvements though that I would like to see, and my only criticisms would be the lack of built in WiFi or GPS.  I would assume that the MKIV will incorporate these (now) necessities.  But I don’t see myself waiting until Fall 2015…

For further tech specs, please visit: CANON 5D MK III

– 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

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art, landscape, nature, photography, random thought, travel, wildlife, writing

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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ARS_ENP_0913_0052-32_blog

ARS_ENP_0913_0052-35_blog

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

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

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