photography, random thought, travel

SPRING RENEWAL

The pungent waft of wild onion dominates my senses. But the sights of early morning light through the bottomland forest in spring competes for my attention. And wins. Youthful leaves and grasses, deep greens. The odd palmetto. Wildflowers of white, yellow, pink, blue, red, purple, and so on.

The Brazos river below me runs muddy and slow. Meandering seemingly unknowing. Perhaps unknowable. Alligators lurk below the murky waters, unseen. Wild pigs and venomous snakes, hidden on the land above. White tail deer, woodland hare, squirrels, and nutria, their prey. Soaring above, the hawks and vultures watching us all with precision. And the wading birds… abundant and voraciously feeding all day.

As I walk the trail below, owls observe silently from their perches in the Spanish moss strewn oaks. These ancient, giant trees are impressive. I’ve stood beneath the redwoods and these southern brothers hold court. I move through this scene swiftly but quiet.

These hikes are my work, exercise, and holy communion all at once. Two cameras dangle from my neck and shoulders. One for landscapes and the other for wildlife, or any other presented beauty. My 16-35mm is quite straightforward in utility, but my 70-200/2.8 is more opportunistic. It is part vulture and part honey badger. It takes what it can and doesn’t care about it’s so called stated purposes. It is just as happy with portraits and details as it is with landscapes, or the occasional wildlife.

I haven’t visited this special place since we hit the road for good nearly five years ago. I needed this. It is my favorite spot in Texas, except for perhaps Big Bend country. But it is only by a narrow margin.

All of the seasons are noteworthy here, but spring reigns supreme. Winter has a strange chaotic life about it, that most other places don’t. It is the haven for almost countless species of bird. Summer slows to a southern drawl. Everything trying to regulate the insane heat and humidity. Autumn, is probably the least notable. Its just the short, in between phase from oppressive, high temperatures to the avian plague.

Spring is the renewal. When haunting grays and browns turn to green, and all other manner of vibrant color. If you stare for long, the ground seems to move with lizards, snakes, bugs. Stare into the middle and far distance and the water-logged landscape comes alive with rodents and gators. Deep and ghostly bellows fill the morning with the bass-line melody of mating calls. This time of year, the alligators (and many other species) procreate and give birth.

The rhythm of the frogs is the ever-present musak of the swamp. You only seem to notice at first, and then it seeps into you fully. The cool mornings boast blues and drops of dew. But in a short amount of time, it is flanked by the increasing heat of the day.

And as they days pass and grow longer, the season is quickly lost to the dominant phase of the year, summer.

— Andrew

Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com

All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2021

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It’s back…

On November 13, Seed Effect, will be celebrating their fifth year of bringing  transformation to the people of South Sudan through Christ-centered micro-finance.

Most of you know that Elle is now their social media guru and chief storyteller, and we returned this August to capture more stories and images from the embattled region.

Come out to Seed Effect Turns Five to see my work, hear Elle’s stories, and as a special treat this year, filmmaker Trey Hill will be premiering an amazing short film.

Please join us, and help give the South Sudanese a hand-up…

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Date: Thursday, November 13th, 2014 | 6-9 pm

Location:  The Laundry, 1818 Chestnut St., Dallas, TX 75226

Admission: $19 per ticket

Cocktail Party | Fundraiser | Photography Exhibit | Short Film Premier

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— 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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Images of South Sudan | Solo Exhibition

In January of this year, I was asked to shoot a job more than half-way around the world in a country I new nothing about.

Ravaged by decades of war, disease, poverty, and hopelessness, South Sudan is struggling for rebirth.

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On November 7, Seed Effect, will be celebrating their fourth year of bringing hope, love, life, and transformation to the people of South Sudan through Christ-centered micro-finance.

My life, and countless lives in Africa have been changed through the work of Seed Effect, so please help me support them by coming out for this fantastic event… anyone and everyone is invited, so please spread the word!

This is also very special to me because they will be featuring my photography from the trip in January in my first solo exhibition.  All proceeds go directly to empowering the South Sudanese people.

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Those who come will see a variety of work, all shot within a 10 day period. ¬†From broad landscapes to intimate portraits, Africa street scenes and the beauty of nature. ¬†All tell the story of hope and redemption for a tired yet resilient people. ¬†A people that you can help through Seed Effect. ¬†Not with a “hand out”, but rather with a “hand up”.

Seed Effect offers group-guaranteed small business loans, teaching folks how to start, maintain, and grow a business.  As a consequence, they can provide for their family, send their children to school, and make a better life for their community.  This movement is crucial to the success of this fledgling country.

I have seen first hand the amazing work that is happening in¬†the world’s newest country through Seed Effect. ¬†So please join me and support them however you can! ¬†I hope to see all of you at Seed Effect Turns 4 in November!

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When:  November 7, 2013, 6-9pm

Where:  The Laundry | 1818 Chestnut St., Dallas, TX, 75226

More information available at SeedEffect.org/SETurns4.

–andrew

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

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art, photography, random thought, travel, writing

south louisiana red fishin’

a few weeks ago, i had the priviledge of fishing the gulf for reds.

my good friends and clients took me on one of their corporate retreats to capture the activities of the weekend.

i didn’t fish much, but as you can image, i shot a ton. it was just too much fun…

we landed in new orleans, one of my favorite cities. but after a long cajun lunch and a few beverages, we headed south. way south.

in fact, i didn’t even know where we were going actually existed. thought it was all marsh land. no highways, buildings, people, etc.

i was obviously wrong. happens every once in a while…

we stayed at woodland plantation, a fantastic old set of 100+ year old structures.

one of which is the famous house on the southern comfort bottle.

local cat and mouse game.

but that mouse bites back.

so the next morning we rose early to a dense, eerie fog over the gulf.

we headed out, deep into the byways and bayous of deep south louisiana. the light was gorgeous for me. bad for fishing.

the fog finally cleared in the afternoon and we started catching a few fish.

back at the plantation, we could see the massive ships coming up the mighty mississippi river over the levee.

there it is… recognize it?

spirits hall was a 138 year old church, converted into what else… a bar!

beautiful on the inside.

the next day there was still plenty more fishing to do…

and alligators to watch…

it was a fantastic experience.

meeting these guys, the great food and drink, and of course that famous south louisiana hospitality.

i love my job.

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

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lebanon …day 2

al jnub (the south) of lebanon is very beautiful. ¬†but it’s also high security, because of it’s proximity to israel, and a relatively strong hezbollah presence.

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basketball.  lebanese style.  we met an american couple up in the mountains of the south.  it was a welcomed break after the long drive from beirut.

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the american couple’s kids were great. ¬†and this little guy was official. ¬†he had just been with his dad to renew his visa, and i guess he had a little fun with the rubber stamp.

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the south has a very strong hezbollah presence. ¬†these three flags, lebanese, palestine, and hezbollah, are on the southern border of israel. ¬†a strong statement, though the majority of the lebanese are anti-syrian and angry with hezbollah for firing at israel. ¬†hezbollah¬†receives¬†almost all of it’s funding from syria and iran. ¬†they have no¬†allegiance¬†to lebanon, and as a result, the lebanese people are beginning to withdraw any support they may have given in the past.

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mount hermon and israel in a haze.

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the village of marjeyoun, where my family is from, looked tired from war and violence.  i hope to spend more time there before i leave.  i only passed through this time.

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mount hermon.  

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israel straight ahead.  but the border is insanely secure with lebanese forces and droves of un tanks and soldiers.  on the other side, 24 hours a day, israeli soldiers fiercely guard their borders.

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a giant un complex near the lebanese/ israeli border.

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lebanon is know for it’s wonderful crops. ¬†this is the biggest lemon i have ever seen.

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all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2009

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