art, photography, travel, writing

wyoming | the bounty of autumn

it’s been said before that fall in the mountains is a magical time.

the leaves are changing, the temperature drops, and the animals are energized with hormones for mating season.

moose populations in wyoming are declining because of the growing wolf numbers, and i’ve been seeing less and less of them every year. ¬†so i was really excited to see a huge bull with two cows at our campground one morning when we woke up. ¬†the state has recently opened a limited hunting season for wolves. ¬†there are at least two lawsuits in the courts currently, brought on by environmentalist groups to challenge the state’s new policy.

because of the close proximity of fires, the sunrises were often very hazy but quite colorful.

i spent many days out on the river road looking for bugling bull elk.  and i found plenty.

the bears were apparently out in full force.  fall is the time when grizzlies and back bear are fattening up for the long winter ahead.

and grizzlies, in particular, are emboldened by the fact that hunters are out in full force and leaving their kills’ guts in the field. ¬†it can be a dangerous time.

but i didn’t even see one bear the entire month i was there… just lots of signs…

mornings on the river road were marked by bugling elk.  they lead their harems up from the snake river to the high plains to strut at the foot of the tetons.

the evenings brought about the reverse.  the bulls, some with new females won from rivals, made their way back to the safety of the tall grass, trees, and water along the snake.

bugling is one of my favorite sounds in the natural world.  and spending the quiet times of my mornings and evenings listening to the haunting tune of elk replenished my soul.

autumn is a time of beginning and end.  the leaves fall from their branches, but not before they take on colors rarely seen so bright in nature.

bitter cold wind blows in from the north. ¬†but not without it’s gifts. ¬†the cold air brings with it the desperately needed moisture to alleviate the wildfires with the first snowfall.

i long for this time of year. ¬†i already miss it. ¬†and i’m already planning for next year…

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2012

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art, photography, travel

wyoming | the many faces of the tetons

my working title for this post originally was “l’obsession des tetons”…

you know, referencing western wyoming’s french explorer roots.

then, thanks to google translate, i quickly realized it was essential that i think of new title.

needless to say, i don’t speak french.

so last year, i had a photographic obsession with squaretop in the wind river range. this fall, i can’t believe i’m saying this, but i didn’t even visit green river lakes (where squaretop lives).

yes, it’s sad. but i was just too busy. i had a two hunts to attend, a ranch to shoot, lots of hot wings to eat in jackson, many pints to consume at deadman’s bar in signal mountain lodge, etc. so since most of my (very important) activities were near teton park, I decided to spend some much needed quality time with the beloved teton mountain range.

enter my newest photographic obsession.

it started the day we finished at the goosewing ranch shoot.

we had a burger and beer at deadman’s bar, then sat on the edge of jackson lake to watch a phenomenal sunset over the tetons.

i then ventured out on the river road, looking for elk. ¬†and the interesting photographic opportunities expanded. ¬†in the next blog post, i’ll show more of the elk photographs.

the clouds and smoke provided most of the drama for me.  but it is the landscape itself that always draws me in and keeps me coming back for more.

come on… you knew i had to.

a portrait with my subject….

more bull elk in the shadow of the mountain.

where the antelope roam…

i hiked to emma matilda lake for the first time.

and then, of course, oxbow bend.  there is good reason that this is one of the most photographed places in the world.  especially in the fall.

that night the stars were out in full force.  i could see the milky way stretching high above the tetons.

i’ve been going to this part of wyoming at least annually since 2001, which i know in the bigger scheme of things is not a long time.

but for me, it’s over a third of my lifetime, spending some of my favorite moments up there.

and honestly, i can’t wait to find out what gorgeous mountains will capture my obsession next year.

God bless wyoming.

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2012

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art, photography, travel

wyoming | winter panoramics

as always, i shot some panoramics while in wyoming.

and i was happy to get some new mountains and landscapes that i haven’t shot previously.

please feel free to click on any of these images to view them larger… enjoy!

the tetons clouded in are still dynamic to me…

the reservoir outside of cody.  completely frozen, and completely beautiful.

again, just a wider view this time…

these cliffs just west of cody, heading toward the east entrance of yellowstone, were my favorite new landscape of the whole three week trip.  they were so dynamic contrasted against the flowing golden grass.

along the wind river, toward the northeast edge of the mountain range by the same name.

ah the tetons!  the clouds finally broke on the second trip through on our way down to telluride.

the tetons from the jackson lake dam, with a frozen jackson lake foreground.

flaming gorge, utah in winter.  not much snow, but even this time of year there are amazing colors.

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2012

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art, photography, travel

wyoming: panorama

i just finished a few panoramics from the trip, and thought i’d share…

the green river drift… my elle’s in there somewhere amongst all the cows and dust.

the view from my favorite campsite, upper green river valley.

beaver park, near the base of squaretop.

afternoon shower brewing in the tetons.  taken from the jackson lake dam.

side view of the tetons and jackson lake.

the winds river mountains from soda lake.

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2011

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family, music, photography, random thought, travel, writing

like brothers on a hotel bed

wyoming is not a place i share with other people. ¬†i do it alone. ¬†that may sound like a prick thing to say, but it’s true.

i go up there to experience solitude, peace, fear, loneliness.

this trip was a little different though.

i arrived to jackson hole airport late on tuesday afternoon.  i was supposed to be there by 3 that day to pick up my brother.

the inbound flight from austin arrived on time, so he took a taxi into jackson to get a beer. ¬†i told him i’d meet him there as soon as i could. ¬†the traffic coming down through the parks was miserable. ¬†it seems they always scramble to make improvements to the roads just before the ground freezes. ¬†thanks.

i finally made it to snake river brewery, after dark. ¬†but the alone time in wyoming didn’t seem to bother my brother.

after a hug and a few beers, we were off.  it was dark, and i have a spot in teton park that i always go to camp when i arrive late.

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we woke up the next morning to a cool autumn breeze, and my brother’s 34th birthday.

two months ago he called me. ¬†“there’s a fare sale to jackson hole. ¬†$89 each way from austin,” ¬†he said.¬†¬†“you planning on going soon?”

“well, yeah. ¬†i was planning a fall trip. ¬†september or october. ¬†why? ¬†you wanna go?”

i started to get excited.  no one had ever expressed this much interest or determination to go to wyoming with me since my mother visited 5 years ago when i lived there.

i was excited at the prospect, but then nervous.  could i share this place with others?  would they understand it?  no matter.

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most guys have the idea that if they’re spending any time in wyoming and montana, they better have a fly rod or a pair of skis. ¬†and i think they’re right. ¬†it is world class skiing and fishing, after all. ¬†no snow yet, so my brother brought a friend’s rod.

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we took a drive one evening up the beartooth highway outside of cooke city, montana.

regarded as one of the most spectacular drives in north america, the beartooth runs from red lodge, mt to the northeast entrance of yellowstone national park.

the beartooths are one of the highest elevation and most rugged areas in the lower 48 states, with 20 peaks over 12,000 feet in elevation. the road itself is the highest elevation highway in wyoming (10,947 feet) and montana (10,350 feet), and is the highest elevation highway in the northern rockies.

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we fished the lamar, the snake, the yellowstone, among others.  to no avail.  it may have been too late in the season, i guess.

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the fires in northwest wyoming were in full force this time of year though.  they even closed a few of the roads in yellowstone, preventing me from returning to the lamar valley.  very sad.

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but the drama of it all was truly impressive.

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the fire on the banks of jackson lake at dusk.  breathtaking.

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the next day, there was an unavoidable haze that covered the sky and mountains.  but again, to the naked eye, it struck as a little bit of a downer, but the dramatic effect can be artfully employed with a camera.

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it was my brother’s last day. ¬†he had a flight out of JAC in the afternoon, so we found a section of the snake river, just 10 minutes from the airport. ¬†he wanted to give it one last go.

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he didn’t catch anything, but i was happy. ¬†i think i got a few shots of him in this unreal landscape that will draw others in, and take him back… ¬†anytime he wants to go…

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i’ve never shared this place with anyone before. ¬†but it was really nice to do so. ¬†to see the look on someone else’s face the first time they see the sun rise over the lamar valley of yellowstone, or the moon as it hovers over the tetons before dawn…

the way the fiery autumn leaves shimmer in the cool breeze.  awaking in the cold to the sound of bull elk in rut, bugling.  or the sound of wolves.

it’s all so beautiful. ¬†i’m glad i had my brother there to share it.

i hope there’s more sharing of this place in the years to come. ¬†i’m ready for it.

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2009

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