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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photography, travel

remembering travels of the recent past

a few weeks ago i posted about july being a boring month for me.  especially with the anticipation of an amazing upcoming august.  well, august has changed a little, but july remains the same.

so, with the “july-factor” in mind, i decided that reliving my recent travels might help lift my spirits a bit. ¬†and just maybe for a minute i’ll stop whining and feel thankful for the wonderful places i’ve been to see this year.

’07-’08 was a blessed year for me regarding travel, and ’08-’09 is already shaping up to be exponentially better.

i guess dallas is where it all begins and ends for me right now. ¬†and though i’m not so fond of her, dallas has enough work to allow me to travel more than most. ¬†so i’ll think kindly of her for the moment…

austin is kind of my secret girlfriend. ¬†we courted for over 5 years, but i had to leave her for a more practical lover. ¬†so sad. ¬†i do sneak around from time to time though… just to see her pretty face, and hear her alluring voice.

  

 

brazos bend, texas. ¬†my favorite place to play with alligators in texas!! ¬†if you want to see some prehistoric monsters, i highly recommend this park. ¬†it’s just a short drive southwest of houston.

cabo san lucas, mexico! ¬†my friends joe and erin got married there last summer, and guess who was able to go for free in exchange for a little wedding photography. ¬†well worth it…

  

not too far from the city, somewhere out in east texas, is a private getaway, known only as “timado” to the few elites who know of it. ¬†i was let in to the inner-circle last fall when i was invited to a double bachelor party extravaganza. ¬†well, okay, so it’s not very elite, more like a good place to drink beer, go fishing, and grow out your mullet. ¬†but it’s really fun. ¬†and a great place to catch snakes and shoot fireworks.

big bend national park, texas.  ah, the big bend of the rio grande.  one of my classic favorites.  this trip was the first of two for the year, but it ended in tragedy.  my truck somehow found its way to the bottom of a four-foot-deep washout.  at least i only had to hike 18 miles through the desert before i saw someone to get help Рhahaha!  what a great trip!

  

another friend of mine, adam, got married in wonderful savannah, georgia.  what a great place.  i had been once before, but rest assured that i could never get sick of savannah.

  

  

  

  

  

  

so, yet another friend, anna, got married in her home town of philadelphia, pa. ¬†big year for marriage apparently. ¬†and no offense to my other friends, but this was the best one yet. ¬†i’d never been to philly, but it quickly became one of my favorite cities. ¬†partially because two of my favorite people were there – anna and elaine.

  

another first-time favorite city, san francisco! ¬†i lucked out with this one because of some awesome friends of mine, john and bd. ¬†the brothers had an extra ticket to the 2007 baseball all-star game, and i got the invite. ¬†we had a fantastic time at the weekend’s festivities, and we even made our way out to¬†napa¬†for a day. ¬†amazing trip!

  

  

  

  

i lived in pinedale, wyoming a few years ago when i worked for a small newspaper. ¬†it’s a tiny town just south of jackson (or to you tourists, jackson hole… hahaha!). ¬†consequently, it is also very close to grand teton and yellowstone national parks. ¬†doesn’t get much better than that. ¬†so, since i reluctantly moved back to texas in 2006, i’ve made the¬†pilgrimage back at least twice a year. ¬†this was my first trip of the year, in the autumn. ¬†and it was breathtaking – just the way i remembered it. ¬†i hope to someday move back…

  

  

yee haw, boy howdy! ¬†ARKANSAS¬†|ňą√§r,kanz…ôs|!! ¬†the white river in arkansas is incredibly beautiful, no doubt. ¬†i went on a weekend trip up to northwest ar with some friends last fall to do a little fly fishing, and enjoy the scenery. ¬†i don’t know how to fly fish, so i just enjoyed the eye candy, and made photos all weekend. ¬†i think we’ll try to go again this fall.

  

  

  

  

 

oklahoma city, oklahoma. ¬†we have tons of family in oklahoma – our rival state to the north. ¬†and in all honesty, i don’t visit enough. ¬†it’s really a great state. ¬†though the university by the same name will always be my arch enemy.

the okc bombing memorial is stunning… a quiet experience… completely heartbreaking.

  

  

  

  

  

big bend, part deux. ¬†i took my new ride to experience the land that claimed my previous truck’s life only months before. ¬†wow, i really like my new car. ¬†especially with gas prices the way they are. ¬†i was able to do the entire 5 day trip for under $250!! ¬†that includes 1500 miles of driving, four days of bland camp food, and priceless nights under a clear desert sky. ¬†it was a really¬†rejuvenating¬†experience. ¬†i needed it.

  

  

the quintessential western road trip, executed at the worst time of year. ¬†my friend, bd, got a wild hair in early november, and decided to plan one of the most classic of american road trips, down the 101. ¬†it was originally planned for the next spring, but neither of us could wait that long…

we set off just a few days after thanksgiving.  we left dallas, and spend the first night in denver.  then from denver, we made our way through blizzards, over togwotee pass to jackson, wyoming.  we had the privilege meeting up with my old roommate, emily, and previous editor, noah.  we had way too much fun.

the next day in spite of splitting headaches, we were off to boise, idaho and then to portland, oregon. ¬†portland may be my new favorite city (i know… i say that a lot). ¬†it reminds me so much of austin, but even prettier. ¬†we spent a few days there, and then made our way up to seattle. ¬†another great city. ¬†somehow, we ended up at a seedy bar called “shorty’s” that night. ¬†it was clown-themed, which made it creepy to begin with, but it also happened to be in, what i found out later to be, seattle’s “crack district”. ¬†that was the first, and hopefully last time i’ve ever seen someone smoking crack. ¬†right outside the bar, in the rain!? ¬†interesting.

so we were ready to get back on the road after that night. ¬†from seattle, we drove back to portland, then on down to eugene… ¬†go ducks!!! ¬†from eugene, we headed over to the coast, and that’s where we hooked up with the legendary highway 101, which we followed the rest of the way down to los angeles. ¬†the scenery was absolutely amazing from the oregon coast all the way to big sur. ¬†and even south of big sur to monterey was quite nice. ¬†really, the trip down the 1 was so overwhelming in its grandeur and raw beauty, that for me (someone who is already a painfully bad writer), is too hard to put in to words. ¬†plus, i’m a photographer anyway. ¬†so i hope the images speak for themselves.

in spite of taking this trip in the most off part of the off season, it was incredible.  i can only hope that i have the opportunity to do this trip again at some point in my life.  i should be so lucky.

my virgin voyage to chitown. ¬†seriously though, i was such a nerd on the flight there, and in my rent car. ¬†the only two albums i listened to the whole weekend were sufjan stevens’¬†come on feel the illinoise, and greetings from michigan, the great lake state. ¬†but they fit so well! ¬†and¬†they are two of the best albums of all time. ¬†so at least they had that going for them.

chicago is certainly a cool town. ¬†i need to spend more time there. ¬†also, it was december, sooooooo, just a little cold. ¬†maybe i’ll see what it’s like in spring…

  

  

  

  

  

 

ah, spring in wyoming… what a segue – damn, i’m good!! ¬†so this was the second (well, technically third, if you count the short drive thru on the road trip in november) time for me to visit my old haunt in about six months. ¬†what a treat!

yet another friend, kim, was getting married in pinedale, so it was as good an excuse as any to go visit one of my favorite places in all the world. ¬†and it certainly did not disappoint. ¬†i camped for the first time in single digit weather on eight feet of snow pack too. ¬†so that was cool. ¬†but i learned a valuable lesson: ¬†don’t¬†ever¬†do that again!!

in all seriousness, there is something about western wyoming. ¬†a special quality that lacks clear¬†explanation. ¬†ask anyone that has spent any time there, and they’ll tell you… ¬†it’s a deeply spiritual experience. ¬†and there’s something about the winter (which is much of spring as well). ¬†it is what quiet looks like… if that makes any sense.

anyway, if you’re still reading, i feel sorry for you because you may have severe mental problems. ¬†or into s&m or something. ¬†but i promise that i’m almost done.

there are two innocence mission songs that always make me nostalgic about my travels, so i’ll end with some lyrics. ¬†if you’re unfamiliar with the innocence mission, i would highly recommend you give them a good listen. ¬†the first song is called,¬†song about traveling. ¬†really… go figure!? ¬†and the second is the brotherhood of man.

“a man said, ‘why?’ ¬†why does traveling, in cars and in trains, make him feel sad? ¬†a beautiful sadness, i’ve felt this before. ¬†it’s the people in the city, you’ll never know. ¬†it is everything you pass by, wondering will you ever… return.”

“waiting at the airport on my suitcase,¬†a girl traveling from spain became my sudden friend. ¬†though i did not learn her name. ¬†and when the subway dimmed… a stranger lit my way. ¬†this is the brotherhood of man.”

“i¬†never can say what i mean…¬†but you will understand…¬†coming through clouds on the way. ¬†this is the brotherhood of man. ¬†this is the brotherhood of man.”

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2008

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