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

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All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2021

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national parks, photography, travel

ONE LAST HURRAH

Just a few days before leaving Wyoming for the year, I was fortunate enough to have my nephew and brother come visit. They wanted to get some backpacking time in before the snow came, and of course, we had to see the Parks too.

We spent the first few days getting them acclimated by touring Grand Teton and Yellowstone.

We hit many of the main attractions, but mostly they wanted to try to see some animals. This year was a great one for wildlife viewing, and we got to experience a close encounter with a big male griz. Safely from our vehicle, of course.

We were able to view several moose, as well as other critters I didn’t document.

It is hard to beat the scenery of this part of the country, so our eyes were continually treated to the majestic surroundings.

We then headed down to our area for a few days of late season backpacking in the Winds.

The Labor Day storm this year devastated several of the main trails going in to the range, so we decided to base camp at Green River Lakes and head in to the base of Squaretop for a little adventure.

The days were just glorious, especially when I think about how this land can be covered in several feet of snow this time of year, and it commonly is.

My nephew and brother did a little fly fishing, with no luck, but who really cares when this is the backdrop!?

The smaller ponds and creeks were starting to freeze up. The nights and mornings were quite chilly.

All in all, we had a wonderful time together. I never feel like I get enough time with these fellas, but I cherish every moment we do get. Especially when we get to spend it in my favorite place on the planet.

I cannot think of a better way to have one last hurrah for the season. I will miss Wyoming… until (hopefully) next year!

— Andrew


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GRAND TETON // FALL COLOR // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
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TELLURIDE // FALL COLOR // LUXE LANDSCAPES
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Grand Teton National Park
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national parks, photography, travel

SLATON WEDDINGS

I shot weddings for over 15 years, but decided to take a break back in 2016. It was definitely needed, but starting early this year, Ellen and I began talking through what a comeback would look like.

We missed working together. We missed capturing the beauty of a bride walking down the aisle, and the look on a grooms face. Witnessing families come together to celebrate. One of the most ancient of celebrations.

So we planned our return… and here we are! If you would like to check out our work, you can find it all at www.slatonweddings.com

We are specializing in adventurous couples getting married in beautiful destinations, like, Telluride, Jackson Hole, 30A, Marco Island, Naples, Moab, and anywhere in the world we should be needed!

Here is our most recent wedding shot right here in Grand Teton National Park… enjoy!

— Andrew


SPECIAL OFFER for my blog followers – 10% off everything by using code “BLOG10” at checkout
VIDEO TUTORIALS
Check out my free and paid video tutorials and learn from a 20+ year professional.
NEW WORKSHOPS

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GRAND TETON // FALL COLOR // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE

BIG CYPRESS // OFF-THE-BEATEN PATH // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
TELLURIDE // FALL COLOR // LUXE LANDSCAPES
GIFT CARDS
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The Photographic Guide to Our National Parks” series of eBooks:
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Grand Teton National Park

PRINTS
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Andrew Slaton // Canvas + Metal Prints
STOCK
Tandem Stills + Motion // Andrew Slaton
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education, national parks, photography, travel, workshop

2020 TETON WORKSHOP RECAP

The Teton Mountains are, to my way of thinking, quite the grandest and most spectacular mountains I have ever seen.. .When viewed over the vast expanse of sagebrush which covers the valley, or with Jackson Lake and the marshes in the foreground, they present a picture of ever-changing beauty which is to me beyond compare.” ~ J.D. Rockefeller

September of 2020 in Grand Teton National Park has been spectacular. It is not like this always, so to have a year like this is very special.

The colors have been on point, and we even got a nice dusting of snow on the mountains a few days in to the workshop.

We saw numerous moose, elk, pronghorn, deer, and more.

We had a few lovely sunrises and sunsets at the most iconic spots.

We also had ample opportunities to get off the beaten path to find the unique compositions that no one else gets.

We even had an appearance by none other than the most famous grizzly bear in the world, 399, with her FOUR cubs! It is always magic to witness and capture the beauty and power of these amazing creatures. And they always draw a crowd!

The light here is just incredible and has to be experienced in person.

So why not just do a trip on your own? Thats not a bad option, but I have to say that it is a whole lot easier when you can lean on someone who has spent 20 years frequenting, exploring, and living in the area. That is what I do for you! I also lead you on a photographic journey that results in exponential growth as an artist.

There are so many faces and moods of the Tetons. Join me in 2021 for a guided experience that is unparalleled.

I hope you find inspiration through my photos of this unique time in such a uniquely special place. And I do hope you will consider joining me and a small group of other fun photographers September 23-26, 2021 to explore together and grow as artists, in my backyard.

— Andrew


SPECIAL OFFER for my blog followers – 10% off everything by using code “BLOG10” at checkout
VIDEO TUTORIALS
Check out my free and paid video tutorials and learn from a 20+ year professional.
NEW WORKSHOPS

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GRAND TETON // FALL COLOR // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
BIG CYPRESS // OFF-THE-BEATEN PATH // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
TELLURIDE // FALL COLOR // LUXE LANDSCAPES
GIFT CARDS
Give the gift of beauty, travel, and knowledge… buy a gift card. Help a small business.
The Photographic Guide to Our National Parks” series of eBooks:
Rocky Mountain National Park
Grand Teton National Park
PRINTS
Andrew Slaton // Limited Edition Prints
Andrew Slaton // Canvas + Metal Prints
STOCK
Tandem Stills + Motion // Andrew Slaton
ASSIGNMENTS
andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com
All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2020
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family, photography, writing

Revisiting Shirley

When we first hit the road, back in June of 2016, Ellen and I had an idyllic summer up here in Wyoming. We had already spent a good bit of time in the area, but now we had the time and freedom to explore and get a deeper knowledge of these spectacular mountains.

One of our first day hikes was to a little known high alpine lake. I was scouring my maps one day and saw it…

“I’ve never been here,” I exclaimed to Ellen.

And like that, it was settled.

We saw Islay’s abilities as a true mountain dog blossom on that long, challenging 13.5 mile day hike, our confidence and trust in her solidified. We skinny dipped in the crisp high mountain lake for the first time, ate cherries on the banks as we dried out in the warming sun. It really was one of our fondest memories from our entire time on the road.

But we haven’t been back in over four years. It’s almost as though we didn’t want to affect or soil the great memories we had from that experience by returning. As though we might be risking disappointment somehow.

However, this year, we decided to revisit this lovely spot. And this time, we wanted to do an overnighter and spend a little more time.

 

We set out with heavy packs, and a new companion. Well, new to this particular hike. Skye didn’t join our pack until the winter of 2017, so she’d never been on this trek with us.

The hike for me wasn’t as hard as it was the first time, even though on that initial trip I was only wearing a day pack. This year, I’ve been backpacking all summer already. To me, a seemingly unending resume of much more challenging treks than this.

It was nice to feel this good and confident as I approach 40 this year!

Skye of course loved every second of it and fit right in to the new landscape.

I even got to explore the lake just above us this time, which was just as gorgeous and peaceful.

Photographically, it wasn’t the best trip, as I didn’t get any of the clouds or light drama I love so, but regardless, we had a wonderful time as a family doing what we love best.  

It reminded me that our memories are important, and that the ones we hold dear don’t have to be jealously guarded so as not to lose the sacred nature of them. But that perhaps to piggy back off of them by revisiting them, honors the memory and often times expands their beauty and specialness. Good memories beget good memories. And good memories beget gratefulness. And gratefulness begets joy.

 — Andrew


SPECIAL OFFER for my blog followers – 10% off everything by using code “BLOG10” at checkout
VIDEO TUTORIALS
Check out my free and paid video tutorials and learn from a 20+ year professional.
NEW WORKSHOPS
Learn photography and enjoy a guided travel adventure.
SCOTLAND // SKYE + HIGHLANDS // FALL COLOR SCOUTING TRIP 2021
BIG CYPRESS // OFF-THE-BEATEN PATH // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
BIG BEND // WILDFLOWERS + STARS
GIFT CARDS
Give the gift of beauty, travel, and knowledge… buy a gift card. Help a small business.
The Photographic Guide to Our National Parks” series of eBooks:
Rocky Mountain National Park
Grand Teton National Park
PRINTS
Andrew Slaton // Limited Edition Prints
Andrew Slaton // Canvas + Metal Prints
STOCK
Tandem Stills + Motion // Andrew Slaton
ASSIGNMENTS
andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com
All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2020
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