photography, random thought, writing

METAMORPHOSIS: PART 1

Originally posted on December 15 at the Red River Paper Blog.

I’ve learned that stagnation often seems to be the natural state of humanity. But this is not how people thrive… it is merely how one survives. And Ellen and I need change.

Light changing as the sun drops behind the Tetons in our summer/ fall backyard.

Dallas in December is a crap shoot. For many reasons, really. First, the weather is often all over the place. Blustery and in the 40s one day, and the next, 75 and sunny. It wreaks havoc on my allergies. Also, we spend most of the year away from the masses and when we arrive in Dallas for the holidays, we are bombarded with work, social events, and family.

The breakup on Jackson Lake occurs with the changing of seasons from winter to spring in May and June.

Have I mentioned that we have 11 nieces and nephews between Ellen and myself? Well, with all those human interactions, not to mention those with illness-incubator kiddos abounding, I always get sick. Weakened immune system from under-exposure the rest of the year or simply the time of year, who really knows what’s to blame. Regardless, the holidays are a time of warm reception for us, but also extreme exhaustion.

I’ve escaped to Lake Whitney in central Texas, where Gertie is parked, to write this episode and recover from the busyness of city life.

“Have I lost the ability to live in the city?” I ask myself this question every year. I grew up in a city, but I’ve always felt drawn to the rural, quiet life. As time passes, I feel much more at home in our little Wyoming town of 2,000 than in the urban/suburban sprawl of nearly a million-and-a-half I’ve called “home” for 30ish years of my life.

With the ushering in of spring, deep greens and blues are the dominant colors of the landscapes in Wyoming.

The reason I bring all of this up is simply that as I reflect on the last leg of our nearly four year journey, this theme keeps surfacing: city vs. open country. The change seems inevitable for us.

Life on the road is not as romantic as you might think. I was criticized by one reader of this blog early on that I focused too much on the trials and disappointments of our new, transient life. Fair denunciation. Maybe I focus too much on the negative. Perhaps the struggle is a bit more interesting to some of us than the vapid mountaintops. I tend to think we learn more from failures than successes.

But it is abundantly accurate to say that the highs we experience on the road serve to inspire us and remind us that life does, in fact, grant us beauty and reprieve as well as truth and trial. So let me give you a little of both.

Light glides across the landscapes of Wyoming, constantly changing.

Our view from Gertie for much of May and June this year.

A mountain bluebird perched with the Grand Teton as a background.

Snow was falling in Wyoming last May when I wrote my previous installment. Spring is basically a more dramatic yo-yo-ing version of winter and it lasts through June. We agreed to manage (with the option to buy) a small tourist shuttle business for a friend this summer.

Great Outdoor Transportation Company (GOTCO) has been servicing our little area of Wyoming since ’97, shuttling people and their vehicles throughout the Wind River mountains, anglers up and down the Green and New Fork Rivers, and tourists and locals alike to and from Wyoming airports.

The dramatic metamorphosis of the Wind River Range in spring.

Skye darts into a seasonal pond created by the massive amount of runoff.

As summer begins to take hold, lupine abound across the prairie.

The momentarily changed landscape, scarred from the Boulder Lake fire of 2019.

Our home for the summer near the Wind River Mountains.

There was a ton of work to do to get ready for the season. Vehicles to buy, insurance to set up, employees to hire, marketing/ social media strategy, not to mention just learning a new business. It was a wee bit stressful for us, mostly because we weren’t used to moving at any pace other than our own.

But Ellen and I also had to learn how to be business partners, which created challenges of its own. I also realized I would have to set my own photography business aside for a time to focus on this new venture. What happened next gave us a whole new skill set and was far more rewarding than we ever thought possible. [To Be Continued in Part 2.]

–Andrew


Ellen and I hit the road full-time in June of 2016. We are on a mission to inspire and educate everyone on the importance of getting outside. Check out my workshops and my prints. The revenue will help propel us further on this great adventure. Enrich yourself and others… and feel great about it too as you’re helping to ensure our public lands are cherished and to keep the wild spirit of the American Dream alive. Our goal is to visit all 60 National Parks in 3-5 years. We are currently in year 4 and half way thru the Parks. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE



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:
 
EVERGLADES // LANDSCAPE + WILDLIFE
BIG BEND // WILDFLOWERS + STARS
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 // 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 Slaton
  
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2019
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photography

BRANDS + CREATIVES // Why We Need Them, and They Need Us

Creatives and brands have always had a close relationship, but there’s never been a time in history when these two groups have been more dependent on each other.

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Content, content, content. 

We are bombarded daily with images and moving clips. It comes from everywhere; TV, billboards, social media, news articles, texts, etc. If there’s one day that passes in our modern lives when we don’t look at hundreds of images and short clips, we’re likely dead. Where does all of this content come from?

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Much of it is what is referred to as “user generated”. This just means, me and you, and every other Jo Schmo who snaps a pic with his iPhone and uploads it to Instagram. Well, this is a huge pool from which brands can draw. And it’s all free marketing.

So what about us? The professionals who make a living shooting for brands?

It’s the same old story since the beginning of commercial art… There’s always someone out there willing to give their work for free, and a host of creatives sit around bitching about how the market is flooded and so and so’s ruining our industry, and the sky is falling…. blah… blah… blah.

Well, I subscribe to the philosophy that we as creatives have an innate need to grow creatively and to work hard, contrary to popular belief. Clients will always recognize the inherent worth of our work, if we’re willing to create work that is worth anything! Even if it’s meant to look user gen.

So back to my point…. user generated content can only be taken so far. Companies know this. It is fantastic to mix in the user gen pics and video, but brands will always need professional quality and consistency. Even the big dogs can’t count on good user gen content everyday.

In the old days, a medium sized company would only license about a hundred images in a given year… now they will likely go through thousands. True, some of that is free content, but the amount of paid, licensed work a brand will purchase annually has skyrocketed.

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The Old Faithfuls

That’s where creatives come in. The ones they can count on, every time.

More and more, I am creating “image banks” for my clients and brands, where they are able to go and grab what they need, when they need it, to fill in the user gen gaps. They even find it useful for print and other marketing needs.

It’s a great relationship. We want to be out there being creative, pushing ourselves and growing. They need eye catching imagery, again and again and again…. So be sure you are there when they need you.

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The market is definitely changing. But in my opinion, there’s more of a need for us “old faithfuls” out there than there ever has been. The world is only demanding more and more content, and it does’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. So, as much as we need them (so we can continue to put food on the table and pay rent)… they need us, and our creative, beautiful, and consistent content.

— 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:
 
Big Bend NP // Night/ Landscape // 2016 – ONLY 2 SPOTS LEFT!
Isle of Skye // S C O T L A N D // 2016 – 4 SPOTS AVAILABLE
Highlands // S C O T L A N D // 2016 – 4 SPOTS AVAILABLE
 
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
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
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2016
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photography, portraits

Shameless Wife Promotion

Let me take a moment to brag on my better half…

Being the wife of a photographer, Elle has the “privilege” (these are air quotes and denote sarcasm) of being my model when doing test shoots.  But she also gets free commercial photography when she decides to start a business of her own :)

So when she created Ellen Slaton Yoga last year, I knew we were going to have fun, impromptu shoots together.

I’m so proud of her dedication, hard work, and love for yoga and building her business.

And her talent for writing, and the down-to-earth, personal style is really shining through with her blog, Highway Sounds.

So I just wanted to share a few portraits from our short shoot the other day…

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It should be no surprise to me, her husband.  But I have to say, that she keeps impressing me more and more every day.

— andrew


 
Come learn light with me… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 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 © ARS Media, LLC 2014

 

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