art, photography, travel

telluride | color portraits

how fun to have two friends with birthdays, one after the other.

then add on top of it a quick trip to telluride to celebrate.

then, add on top of that a slew of buddies that are very good sports and will actually let you shoot their portraits in the midst of it all.

and here we are.  :)

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all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2013

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photography, random thought, travel

tELL(E)uride

well, it’s that time of year again; heading to telluride for my best friend’s birthday… no complaints here.

and this year, it gets even better.  i was able to share telluride with Elle for the first time!

wilson peak is beautiful, even socked in with snow.

the wine started flowing as the birthday celebrations kicked off…

we took the gondola from the mountain village back to town for some late night fun in telluride.

blurry telluride from high up on the mountain…

the next day i got to spend some quality time with one of my old friends, kona, a gorgeous chocolate lab.

it was a great time as always, and a refreshing quick trip up to the mountains for both Elle and me. ¬†it feels like it’s been too long. ¬†i’m really looking forward to the mountain trips planned for the summer and fall…

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

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art, photography, random thought, travel, writing

big bend birthday, year 2

if something happens at the same time two years in a row, does it become tradition? ¬†could we say “our annual big bend birthday extravaganza”? ¬†well, i’m going to. ¬†starting now.

elle and i took our annual big bend birthday extravaganza a little early this year. ¬†you see, some friends of ours decided to get married out in marathon at the gage hotel the day before elle’s birthday. ¬†“great!” we thought.

another good excuse to create/ continue, a short-run, but beloved “tradition”.

“what do you want to do for your birthday?” ¬†i enthusiastically asked elle a few weeks before her birthday last year.

“i wanna go backpackin’!” ¬†she screeched back.

well, there aren’t many places to go backpacking in texas, unfortunately. ¬†and my favorite place, big bend national park is about a nine hour drive from dallas.

so… in spite of the drive, we decided we would hike the chisos mountains of big bend (see sharing big bend).

this year, it really wasn’t much different. ¬†her enthusiasm was the same; wide-eyed, youthful, jubilant.

the main difference was that we decided to wander the desert this time, instead of the mountains.

we camped at a bend in the river, so our view (even though camping in texas), we could see the rio grande, mexico, and then the chisos in texas. ¬†it’s one of my favorite views in the park. ¬†makes you think a lot about borders and survival, and how small we really are…

as night fell, the stars caught our attention.  oh the stars.

the next day we woke up and my front left tire was completely flat. ¬†the road we were on claims many tires, and personally, it has claimed more tires (and cars for that matter) than i care to remember. ¬†the river road. ¬†it’s a 50+ mile long 4×4 “road”, if you can call it that in some places.

three years ago, my fourth vehicle found it’s final resting place on that road. ¬†long story… i’ll tell the whole thing if you ask me.

anyway, back to the task at hand… i put the donut tire on, and we fled the¬†chihuahuan desert to find a new tire.

we had fun on the drive to alpine.  elle was a belle about it.  even though it killed an entire day for us.

there may or may not have been a few swigs of wine on the way back from alpine, but i’ll never tell.

the next day we hiked into santa elena canyon, one of the park’s many popular attractions.

later that day, we also hiked one of the hidden gems of big bend, cattail falls.

and then later that evening, we did another short hike up the lost mine trail in the chisos.

that night we stayed at grapevine hills, just like we did the first night one year before.

it caused us to be a bit reflective, and think on the past year. ¬†and laugh a bit at how far we’ve come together.

we had some dinner and some wine, and talked about where we are going.  love and marriage, etc.  life.  together.

we can do this. ¬†life together. ¬†some of it will be mountain tops, and some will be the lowlands. ¬†but we seem to have a knack, and more than that, a commitment, to hiking through all of it together. ¬†and i think that’s pretty stinking beautiful.

we woke up bright and early.

we had to leave that day to make my friend’s rehearsal dinner in marfa that evening.

but we had just enough time for one more hike…

our sojourn to balanced rock wasn’t very long but we took our time, it was beautiful.

winding through earthen spires of stone and sage and sotol. ¬†the desert began to funnel us toward something. ¬†neither of us had hiked this before though, so we didn’t know where or what. ¬†but we kept going, though the landscape at times was eerie and foreboding.

along the way, ellie would jump up on the tallest rock around and scream with joy.

and that made me smile. ¬†how couldn’t it?

and then we reached balanced rock. ¬†it’s somewhat of a big bend cliche.

but then again, aren’t cliches cliche for a reason?

it was really amazing.  like the stonehenge of the desert, though clearly not human-born.

massive boulders balanced perfectly with one another for centuries, millennia.

resting on one another.  creating something good.  awe-inspiring.

all images and content © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2010

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photography, random thought, travel

ah… telluride

i made the 30 hour round-trip drive up to telluride, colorado at the end of february to celebrate my best friend john’s 30th birthday…

there are not many places i’d rather be for any occasion. ¬†we enjoyed great wine, great friends, and equally great scenery…

on the way home, i took a route i’ve never taken before. ¬†vast landscapes, towering earthen spires, and telephone poles dominated my field of vision.

maybe pointing my camera out the car windows while driving is not the smartest or safest practice, but it kept me busy.

all in all, i think i spent as much time driving to and from as i did in telluride… ¬†but as willie sings… we wouldn’t have it any other way.

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2010

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photography, random thought, travel

vegas redeemed

i traveled to las vegas a few weeks ago. ¬†not my favorite place in the world. ¬†but this time it wasn’t for a bachelor party or an¬†extravagant¬†birthday weekend. ¬†i went with some friends and clients for a photography convention, and it turned out to be a great time.

i only set aside $50 to gamble before the trip began, but by the second day, i had convinced myself that $150 was the right number.  stupid.

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the conference was very interesting though.  lots of good information, and i made a lot of new friends.

and actually, i ended up breaking even with my $150. ¬†something i’ve never done before in vegas. ¬†so i felt like a winner.

i also came home with three international awards for the below photos.  very exciting.

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so i believe the trip was a success; ¬†i made new friends, didn’t lose any money, and won some awards. ¬†much better than the previous three trips i made to vegas in my younger days, where i lost money, my dignity, and won 0 awards.

 

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2009

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