photography, portraits, travel, workshop

THE MAGIC OF BIG BEND

I feel very fortunate to have been to Big Bend National Park a lot. I really mean it. A whole lot.

I’ve been to Big Bend at least 2-3 times every year since 2001. I’ve experienced the park in every single month of the year.

But this past December blew me away.

I’ve heard of snow storms hitting the Chisos mountains ever so often, but never seen it myself. Well, December 2017 brought a unique situation to the otherwise temperate Chihuahuan Desert.

A gorgeous snow storm hit the desert and Chisos mountains, bringing a rarely seen blanket of white to Big Bend.

It didn’t stick around long… maybe a few days. But the magic of seeing such a rare sight was just incredible.

I can say, that in all the times I’ve visited, I’ve never regretted being there. Whether it was hot as hell, cold as the north country, stormy, windy, dry. Doesn’t matter. There’s a magic to this place that you cannot explain. You just have to experience it.

The light is just magic here. And that’s why it was one of the very first places that I started teaching workshops.

I love sharing special places with people. I want them to love it as much as I do. And to understand it. To become concerned with its health and well-being. To want to take care of it. To treat it with respect, like I do.

So, if you love photography, and special places, you should come out to Big Bend sometime.

Join me for a 4 day, 3 night epic adventure into the heart of Big Bend National Park to learn everything from scouting a new location, to processing your images, the “art of seeing”, and most everything outdoor photo related and in between. Fall in love with Big Bend.

There are only a few spots left, so register fast…

— 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, made #ontheroad in my mobile print studio. 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 59 National Parks in 3-5 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:
 
EVERGLADES // WINTER // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
BIG BEND// LANDSCAPE + THE ART OF SEEING
 
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 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 2018
 
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photography, portraits, travel

N O M A D // no 4

We enjoy living with less and the tendencies of living in a home are to fill it with stuff, but stuff doesn’t equal happiness; if anything, it can weigh you down.”

We met the Fabers (@followthefabers) this summer in Wyoming, by providence. Ellen and I were having a beer at the local brewpub when Morgan ran up for the local run club that meets at the pub… Marc followed. I mistook Morgan for a waitress (still not sure why?!), and we struck up conversation.

It’s really eerie how much we have in common. They’ve been loosely spending their summers in and around Pinedale, living out of their 1981 Trillium 1300. It’s a molded fiberglass camper with 65 sq. ft. of livable space, if you’re being generous. They hit the road full-time nearly three years ago, when they left their home in Grand Rapids, MI.

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“We do miss is our family and friends and a sense of community, but we don’t have an end {to full-time travel} in sight,” Morgan reflects.

They just purchased a home in Wyoming, but have no plans to stop traveling. “We’re just going to use it as a home base and it’s in one of our favorite places in the country. Plus, now our friends and family can come visit us and have a place to stay instead of the other way around :)  Also, we plan on traveling in different ways.  Once Marc retires, we plan on hiking – a lot!”

They have goals to thru-hike the CDT, AT, PCT and the Arizona Trails, specifically. “We think it’s great to live minimally, and there’s something exciting about carrying all you need to survive (and thrive!) on your back!”

Ellen and I couldn’t agree more…

“We feel that we’re pursuing a life that is really intended for all of us. We want to gather experiences, not things. We want to develop friendships that encompass people from all walks of life. We want to explore this beautiful and crazy world that the Lord has created and revel in the beauty of it,” they said.

We don’t feel that God intended us to live in one spot, in one neighborhood, in one group of the same people, shut up into a routine and sheltered from the rest of the world.  The world is an incredible place filled with incredible people, and until you actually step outside of your comfort zone and experience that, you’re not really living.”

“Unfortunately for most people, ourselves included, ‘living traditionally’ is and was ‘living safely’ and in our minds, after what we’ve seen and experienced, that’s no way to live.”

They travel everywhere with their mascot, “Monkey”, a sock monkey given to the Fabers by a friend on their maiden voyage with their trailer.

“Yeah, we know, super creative. Just like our camper’s name, Trilly. We’re naming geniuses.” Morgan laughs.

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In the short time we’ve spent with the Fabers, we got a glimpse into their laid back, fun personalities. They are deeply caring and open people. They pour into others and the little communities they come across.

This sounds cliche, but traveling has restored our faith in humanity. People are inherently good and kind and that is not what is portrayed in our current society. The media and news paint a picture of fear and hatred and division and when you live ‘traditionally’, you’re constantly bombarded with those images and that fear of others or the unknown can be crippling. We lived in a neighborhood for years and barely knew our neighbors. We’d go to the same church with the same people and the same friends and not really ever try to branch out. Traveling has changed all that.  We are constantly meeting new people and doing new things. Our ‘neighborhood’ changes constantly and we make it a point to meet our neighbors.  I’ve always said, campgrounds are a great equalizer.  You have people from all walks of life and backgrounds and economic statuses. Where else will you find people with half million dollar rigs and others living out of tents because they have to, and everything in between – all within the same ‘neighborhood’ gathered around a campfire together? You won’t. If it weren’t for traveling – for camping – a lot of these people would never cross paths, but now, we call all of those people friends. It’s beautiful. ❤”

— 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, made #ontheroad in my mobile print studio. 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 59 National Parks in 3-5 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:
 
EVERGLADES // WINTER // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
BIG BEND// LANDSCAPE + THE ART OF SEEING
 
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 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 2018

 

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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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photography, portraits, travel

Travel Portraiture // It’s All About The Light

It’s not so easy to travel with heavy, bulky strobes.  But sometimes, it’s an absolute must.  And if that’s the case, I would recommend the battery powered Profoto D1 or 7b systems.  If you’re like me though, and have an A/C power system, strobes aren’t even an option when traveling to remote locales like my most recent job in South Sudan.

So what do I do to get those dramatic and compelling portraits that I have in mind before I ever step on the plane?  Well, in short… you work with what you’ve got.

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So what does that mean?

The first, and most obvious answer is an off camera flash, like my Canon Speedlite 580EX II on a small stand, triggered by PocketWizard Plus III.  When I want drama, that is usually my “go to” set up.  Here are a few field  examples with that system, including the shot above…

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So what are the pros and cons?  Well, the pros are that it is a very light weight, quick set-up, cost-effective solution to the problem of poor/ low lighting.  It can certainly take a little practice before hand to understand the power and ambient relationships you’ll need to achieve the look you want.  But it’s very effective.

The downsides are that you don’t get as much power as strobes, so it can be tough to overpower the ambient when outside on a sunny day.  Also, the quality of the light you get from most speedlights is not as rich as strobes.  It can be harsh and cooler looking.  But there are several ways to counteract this with light modifiers like small softboxes, grids/ honeycombs, and gels.  I recommend playing around with all of these options before your trip in various ambient scenarios to see what you like and don’t like.

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In the absence of our comforting strobes, it’s also a good time to get reacquainted with our old friend, available light.

It’s funny how we can rely sometimes on the trends and tricks of the trade, but when it comes down to it, for many of us at least, our first love is working with the light we’re given… not creating our own.  So on these trips I try to reconnect (when the situation calls for it) my eye to identifying my best available light.

Often times it’s the soft, indirect sunlight from a doorway or window.

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And other times, it’s the soft, diffused light of an overcast sky.

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But don’t get discouraged when the light just doesn’t appear any good at all.  It’s always a motivating excuse to get creative… and perhaps make a compelling silhouette portrait.  It’s amazing how much can be said with a completely shadowed subject.

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The point is to keep seeing and creating in new ways.  Push yourself beyond your comfort level, and make the most beautiful portrait you can with what you have.  This last one was the ugliest, hottest middle of the day (near the equator) kind of light you could get.  But her smile, her eyes, and the colors she wore compelled me to photograph her in this wrap-around light, and not worry about blowing out the background.  It was beautiful light to me.

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So keep shooting and exploring.  And don’t let your long-held notions about good light and bad light cause you to stumble.  Let it instead challenge your creativity to see that all light is good light… you just have to find out how to use it!

Happy shooting…

— 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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photography, random thought, travel

The Pursuit

I am in constant pursuit of the perfect image.  A story told through the capture of a singular moment in time.  Sometimes the pursuit is brought about by clients who hire me to go tell their story, and other times it’s a personal quest.  Either way the goal remans the same, and the lengths to which I will go know no end.

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A beam of sunlight breaks through the morning clouds in Kajo Keji.

This trip for Seed Effect went as follows: DFW to AMS to KGL to EBB to Kajjansi to RUA to Nimule to Kajo Keji to RUA to Kajjansi to EBB to AMS and finally back to DFW.  11 legs and 48 hours of travel each way to capture a story that is as old as the earth; the human struggle and God’s unfailing love.

And on this trip it occurred to me the amazing parallel that was happening. I was quite literally traveling to the far reaches of the earth to capture stories of God moving heaven and earth to pursue His people everywhere.  The LORD has given us all the privilege of being His hands and feet.  He has given each one of us very different gifts… in so many different capacities.  But the fact remains; God pursues His people relentlessly.  And sometimes we get to see it first hand.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.  Psalm 23:6

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Lily Lawa Isaac quietly prays. Last time we saw Lily, she was pregnant and enjoying the modest success of her business. Her daughter is now over a year old and healthy.

God never promises that we will not experience horrible trouble on this earth.  But He does promise us a hope in the midst of trials and hardships.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

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Local neighbor children watch as a Seed Effect loan group meets to encourage one another with scripture and fellowship. These meetings have a direct impact on their surrounding communities.

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Atem Anthony is already finding much success with his businesses. With his profits, he recently bought a home and is now renting it out.

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We visited a client in the hospital with her son suffering from malaria. She was distressed but not hopeless.

The people we met in South Sudan are a part of this amazing story about the God of the universe pursuing His people.  We met countless Seed Effect clients whose stories are difficult and heartbreaking.  But the ones who have encountered Jesus all had the same hope.  Hope in something much bigger than their circumstances.  Living water for all of our souls.

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Emmanuel has polio. In spite of being nearly crippled and having little control of his motor skills, Emmanuel has a profitable store and provides for his family.

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But Emmanuel’s blessings don’t end on the surface… God is meeting his deepest needs for companionship. Even though he would generally be considered an outcast for his afflictions, he has a large group of friends and just got married earlier this year.

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Christine has a sewing business in Wudu market in Kajo Keji. She used to be muslim but now she trusts in Jesus Christ. She is still grieving the death of her mother.

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Toban Francis is a butcher in Kajo Keji. He has used his Seed Effect loans to grow into several new business ventures.

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Please pray for Christine as she moves through this difficult season of life, struggling with her mother’s untimely death.

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This is Beatriz’s son. We met Beatriz in a tiny stall in Wudu market 18 months ago. She was selling beans and a few other small perishables. This year, she owns her own beautiful restaurant, supporting her children.

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Selena Guo is one of Seed Effect’s most successful clients. She owns three stores now and has put several of her children through school. Dagula is her eldest who is about to earn his diploma from university.

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Dagula is the first generation direct recipient of the benefits of micro finance. He soon will have his degree in accounting.

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Selena’s second eldest son will be the next in line to receive an education from the profits of her businesses.

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One of Selena’s neighborhood children.

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Sunrise, Kajo Keji.

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Mikaya Aloro is proud of his new store. He is thankful for Seed Effect giving him the ability to keep all of his goods in stock for his customers.

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New Seed Effect client and his son selling greens and onions under a tree.

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Helen Diko is a seamstress, but more, she is a leader in her community. She hosts education seminars put on by Seed Effect at her shop.

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Her restaurant is small but this Kajo Keji Seed Effect client’s dreams are big.

The book of Hosea is beautiful analogy of this great love.  The ESV study bible says this…

Hosea depicts Israel’s unfaithfulness with a number of images from family and nature.  Israel is like: a promiscuous wife, an indifferent mother, an illegitimate child, an ungrateful son, a stubborn heifer, a silly dove, a luxuriant vine, and grapes in the wilderness.  Yet Israel’s unfaithfulness and obstinacy are not enough to exhaust God’s redeeming love that outstrips the human capacity to comprehend.

I am thankful to have the opportunity to take a very small part in this great love story.  And to see God’s pursuit of us every day in my own life, and in the lives of people all over the world.  To Him be the glory!

— andrew


 
Take your photography to a new level… 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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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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art, photography

the superheros

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all images and content © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2013

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