photography, portraits, travel

N O M A D // no 5

We have more options than we think to live the life we desire!”

Starr (@appreciateandlove) oozes joy. That is the first thing Ellen and I noticed when we met up with her in Telluride, CO just days before she was to embark on her maiden voyage in “Rodger”, her newly acquired 160 sq ft 2008 Coachman Freelander.

She has now been on the road a little over two weeks with her 4 cats, Essence (the senior, the Queen), Jacob William, Princess Mia, and Petunia (“Tootie”).

“I embarked on my maiden journey for this off-season and to see how it goes! I have stationary home in Florida for the winter seasons if I so choose, an option for a home base. Keeping Roamin’ Rodger on site, docked for edits and organization for future galavants!  I have a couple of ideas for cat-related structures I would like to install. And to paint everything pink is another goal. Currently feeling out how the cats are doing / what’s fiscally reasonable moving forward. Planning on traveling around Florida in Rodger on my off days to visit loved ones and see things I’ve never seen before!”

I love the wild enlivened freedom of being able to take your home with you wherever you want. To have everything you need right with you, like the biggest backpack ever! To see my loved ones in their space, while I am in mine. Conveniently providing a balance of independence and freedom, with the comforts and sentiment of home. To root down when I feel like it, or to boldly adventure into the sunset at the drop of a hat (and a releasing of the emergency brake!)”

Starr lost her mom recently, so she has decorated her new mobile home with a few mementoes that keep her memory ever-present.
“My sweet and sassy mom loved quilts and this blue quilt was one she frequently used. Using it feels like a hug from her. And I’m trying really, really hard to keep her plant alive! I love having life in my home, a breath of fresh air and a sentimental connection. Also got the plant pot at a thrift store, another beloved pastime we shared. I love my mom!”

  

When asked if she’ll miss anything about the “stationary” life, she responded, “Yes, the sturdy ground beneath me to be just as careless and quickly moving as I want to be, dancing around without shaking a whole vehicle, etc! Also ease of access to facilities like laundry, recycling, a large sink. The general feeling of longevity of a stationary home strikes me as something I’ll miss. Seems to be a safety in being sturdier or rooted down. The space inside. I bump my head a lot!”

So then… why a nomad?
“I want to balance my desire to be near the ones that I love with the desire for freedom and to discover new places. Having my sweet cat fam with me makes anywhere I am seem like home, and when I can be nearby my loved ones but still have my own independent space it increases my comfort and the longevity of these adventures.
I tend to work seasonally in the hospitality / food service industry, so being in my RV for the season in one place for a couple of months and then traveling in the interim is a fluid and workable setup!”

I am touched by the camaraderie I see in people living the nomadic lifestyle. I respect the courage of those who seek to follow their passions, even if not ‘conventional.’ I want to be open to the possibility of being able to do exactly what I want, while being fiscally responsible still. By letting my own light shine encourage others to shine as well! And I see that with the nomadic community. We have more options than we think to live the life we desire!”


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:
 
BIG BEND// LANDSCAPE + THE ART OF SEEING
PHOTO 101 // LEARN TO SHOOT LIKE A PRO // SELECT CITIES // USA
EVERGLADES // WINTER // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
 
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, random thought, travel

Telluride’s Bounty

I had the absolute pleasure of spending this year’s peak Autumn colors in Telluride, CO.

It’s rare that I stray to far from my usual Wyoming stomping grounds for the Fall, but 2015 was a little different. Thanks to some amazing friends, we had a golden opportunity. And though I missed ol’ Wyom, the southern San Juans put on a great show for us. I have to admit, it was the best display of Autumn I’ve ever seen.

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Wilson Mesa put on a show and lit up several mornings, evenings, and even once by starlight for us.

It would prove to be one of our more fruitful locations.

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Alta Lakes had shifts in hues I’d never seen up there…

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Several of us photographers went up to Gold King to shoot trail running, and the light danced for us. With bouts of clouds and snow, of course.

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With each new solitary morning I spent hunting for photos, the aspens grew bolder.

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We marveled at the beauty.

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Even Hunter Trek felt compelled to try to take it all in with us at Cornet Creek Falls.

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On my last morning drive, the high country got the dusting I had been waiting to see. The chill in the air noticeably bit harder.

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That rare mix of golden light and winter clouds appeared… it’s truly the most dynamic time of year. My favorite time of year.

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Fog rose from the warm valley floor into the sharp, cold. Golden warm hues mingled with blue, cool tones.

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Alta got colder, bluer, and snowier each day.

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It had arrived. That very short time between Autumn’s farewell and Winter’s settling in.

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There’s not enough money in this world to equal the richness of that feeling. To witness the fullness of Autumn. Especially in a magical place like Telluride.

— andrew


 
Join me on an amazing adventure… check out my exciting, NEW workshop dates:
 
Big Bend NP // Night/ Landscape // 2016
Isle of Skye // S C O T L A N D // 2016
Highlands // S C O T L A N D // 2016
 
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 2015
 
 
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photography, random thought, travel

To Share or Not To Share

The debate rages on.

You might ask, “exactly which debate?”

The subject of sharing is quite broad.

Well, let me explain…

And don’t be surprised if it opens some related subjects on which I too have opinions, and will probably write about later.

A few months ago I was scouting a location to which I was about to travel, like I always do. As a photographer, I spend many hours researching locations before I go, trying to find the best, most beautiful and pristine spots to capture.

So I came across a blog post that mentioned a beautiful waterfall.  And it recognized the fact that it is a little tough to get to and not very well known.  This is the holy grail for photographers. We are constantly searching for the “gardens of eden” that exist out there. Rarely seen. Even more rarely photographed, or at least photographed well. We want to have images and experiences that few others have.

First, let me put something out there.  And I think this provides a lot of confusion for some people. I am a conservationist, not an environmentalist. I line up more closely with Gifford Pinchot than John Muir, though I respect and admire Muir to the hilt. Muir is the heart, and Pinchot is the head.

And I believe wholeheartedly that the responsible use and enjoyment of our natural resources is necessary for nature’s healthy balance and an inherent right of humanity. The environmental movement has grown more radical (as movements led by pure emotion will) over the years, to include such theories as “the only way to preserve nature is to close it off to humans” and “natural resources are too fragile for mass human consumption” and “human beings are no more important than any plant or animal.” Somehow forgetting that human beings too are a part of nature, and in fact, the pinnacle of nature (as we know it), and therefore tasked with stewardship of the rest of the known, natural world. These facts are not inherently good or bad, just facts. It is what we chose to do with such knowledge that is so important.

The earth and its resources belong of right to its people.

Gifford Pinchot

So I believe we, as human beings (the only creatures that we know of with the capabilities of whole earth stewardship) are tasked with conserving the resources and beauty of the natural world for the sake of ourselves and generations to come. It’s pretty simple. And yes, I pump gasoline, use paper products, and eat meat. And no, I do not feel guilty for any of that. Though I do see the need to innovate in these areas and find more long-term sustainable alternatives.

Conservation means the wise use of the earth and its resources for the lasting good of men.

Gifford Pinchot

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So back to the sharing. I decided to go explore this waterfall with the excitement and wonder I feel anytime I get to see a beautiful location.

It was truly awesome.

It made me feel small and thankful all at the same time. I was enriched for having seen and experienced this place.

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And I wanted to share that with everyone.

Enter the debate.

Many of my kind (photographers, adventurers, explorers) are split on whether it is a good idea to share these lesser known, special places with the rest of the world, except by word of mouth.  And I get it.  I really do. I’m conflicted a bit by it in my heart.

But I want to examine the motivations first behind “to share or not to share” before I make my final decision on what’s right.

Why would I want to share:

+ The good: A genuine desire for others to enjoy the experience.

+ The bad, and the ugly: Selfish ambition and the desire to appear cool, or to be the “first” at something.

Why would I not want to share:

+ The good: A genuine desire to preserve the place.

+ The bad, and the ugly: Selfish ambition to keep it to myself, and to be “in the know” about something very few others have seen.

So both could very easily involve genuine, good desires, and also very selfish, ugly ambitions. Interesting. Well, since I can only know my own intentions, and it is futile to judge the heart and thoughts of another, I think it’s best to examine the eventual outcome of both scenarios.

What happens if I (we) chose not to share? Well, regardless of if I tell you (or anyone else) that I have a unicorn living in my backyard, eventually, people will find out. Whether the yard guy stumbles upon it, or the electricity meter reader, or my neighbor sees it, or a helicopter overhead catches the glint and shine from it’s iridescent rainbow horn, it will eventually become known to others. That is just a fact. Now, it may remain only known to a few for a longer while (if no one else shares), thereby preserving it perhaps a little longer. But the fact remains that eventually, it will become known to a wide enough audience that it may be in danger. So for that time of preservation, only a select few would be able to study it, enjoy it’s beauty, and even have the opportunity to learn something from the unicorn.

Okay, then what happens if I (we) chose to share? Can you imagine?? Immediately, upon finding a unicorn in my backyard, I share on Facebook and Twitter, and even a photo of it on Instagram that I found the earth’s only unicorn!! The world is in a frenzy for a week… news copters flying over my backyard, masses of people on foot peering over my fence, my street completely shut down with hoards of cars, anti-unicorn hate groups gain momentum online and plan attacks on my yard, etc. All of this lasts for a few days.  I have to keep a close eye on my backyard and prized unicorn to ensure that no one try’s to deface it, steal it, or worse, kill it. But before the frenzy even dies down, others start to come out and reveal that they too have unicorns living in their backyard, and it’s not really such a frenzy any more. In fact, a majority of people (except of course for the crazy anti-unicorners) would grow to revere, respect, and possibly even cherish the unicorns we have.  Maybe learn something from them, enjoy their beauty, and even teach their children about them.

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God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools.
John Muir

To me, it makes more since to share… to educate and inspire others with the beautiful places we have on this amazing earth. The fact is, these places are not unicorns. And a lot of people aren’t even interested to put their screens down long enough to go hike a few miles to see a waterfall. If I have the opportunity to inspire someone with a photograph to become one of us, those that revel in nature’s beauty and wonder and seek to responsibly enjoy and preserve it, then I think that is a wonderful privilege. Even a responsibility.

I cannot control the anti-unicorners out there. Neither can you. Neither can the government. There will always be those out there that have respect for nothing. That will seek to destroy the beauty. But we cannot try to hide all of the beauty and wonder of our world because of these few fools. If we do, more people become uneducated fools, and run the risk of hating the world’s precious “unicorns”. Even John Muir knew this…

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.

John Muir

 

— andrew


 
Join me on an amazing adventure… check out my exciting, NEW workshop dates:
 
Big Bend NP // Night/ Landscape // 2016
Isle of Skye // S C O T L A N D // 2016
Highlands // S C O T L A N D // 2016
 
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 2015
 
 
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photography, travel

Telluride // Fall Color

The timing was pretty close to perfect for this year’s Telluride Photo Fest.

Colors were in full force in the southern San Juans of Colorado.

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It was my first Fall in Telluride… and I have to say, it was pretty epic.  I only wish I had more time to actually shoot.  I was in meetings almost the entire week.  So next time, I will be heading up there just a few days earlier….

~ andrew


 
Take your photography to the next 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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photography, random thought, travel

Telluride // What I learned…

The biggest take-away for me from this year’s Telluride Photo Festival was… drumroll please….

….Shoot for yourself.  Not what you think editors/ agencies/ clients want… just keep shooting the way you see the world.

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Sounds pretty basic, right?  Well if you’re a full time professional photographer, trying to support your family, this basic concept can get lost.  Super lost.

It’s easy to go out and copy the style of the day… what’s running in the magazines and advertisements.  That takes technical expertise, but not talent or creativity.  And we as artists can get lost in the game of chasing trends and dollars.

That’s not to say that you aren’t going to need to adjust and grow and learn.  Don’t get me wrong.  And it also doesn’t mean that aren’t going to be assignments that require us to set aside our agendas and opinions to get the job done the way the client needs it.

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I think the point here is that we as artists are unique.  In fact, often the only thing that sets us apart from the bajilliun other “photographers” out there is our eye’s particular way of seeing and interpreting our world.  So what I’m saying is, don’t lose that.

It’s not a narcissistic rejection of everyone/ everything else.  Selfish pursuit of personal fulfillment.  No, quite the contrary.

You get hired for your distinct and unique perspective.  What really becomes difficult now is incorporating your style, your eye into what your client/ editor needs.

And this is what I tried to shift my focus to over the last five weeks on the road.

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As I mentioned in The Active Landscape post, it’s good for us to push ourselves, grow, and even adapt to the market.  But what good does it do if we lose our personal vision and style in the process.  Spoiler alert… it doesn’t.

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.  ~ Jonathan Swift

So keep growing, learning, and challenging the way you see, but don’t lose that which makes you unique!  No one else sees the world the way you do.

~ andrew


 
Take your photography to the next 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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photography, travel

Telluride Photo Fest // Preview

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I have had the pleasure of spending much time in the incomparably beautiful Telluride, Colorado.  But never in the Fall.  So the fact that I’ll be attending the 2014 Telluride Photography Festival in October has me really excited.

With Joel Sartore, Barbara Davidson, Aaron Huey, Ian Shive, and Jennifer Wu as the lineup of speakers, a lot of photography wisdom will be at the helm, ready to be gleaned.  And I’ll be ready.  In the past, I didn’t follow many photographers… But Joel has been on my radar since I was very young in my work, because of the amazing stories he has shot for Nat Geo.

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There are workshops, seminars, panel discussions, a photo contest, portfolio reviews, and all of the other usual convention perks.  Not to mention the opportunities to network with industry professionals and other great photographers.

But perhaps what I’m still looking forward to the most, is the fall colors.  I can’t believe that in the last 18 years of frequenting the town of Telluride, I have never personally seen the amazing explosion of color that is Autumn in the southern San Juans of the Rockies.

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If you have a chance to make it this year, please drop me a line, I would love to get out there with all of you and shoot some of the spectacular vistas of the surrounding area!

~ andrew

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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, film, landscape, nature, photography, travel

telluride // a few shots

By the time we got to Telluride, I was ready for a much needed break.

I had been working night and day for nearly 10 days in the park, not getting much sleep or rest.

It was nearing the Fourth, so I set the camera down for a few days to enjoy some time with Elle and our friends…

Except, of course, on two hikes… Bear Creek and Silver Lake.

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Soon our restful time in Telluride was over and it was on to work more in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas!

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

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