Adventures with Bill Slider Photography
Billy says he feels like he's one of those friends I need to explain before I let him meet my other friends. So, since this is the internet and we're all friends here, let me tell you a bit about him.
Billy is an adventurer, a skilled outdoorsman, and a loyal & true friend. He is the kind of guy that you feel like you've known for a long time even when you've just met him (I may have asked him to officiate my wedding after knowing him for about ten minutes...). He's the kind of guy you want on your team: he works hard, he plays hard and he gives everything his all. He is kind, generous and just overall so much fun to be around. Watching him pursue his photography has been an inspiration to me and when he told me he wanted to collaborate, I was over the moon excited to see how things turned out. So, without further delay, here's what he had to say.
I'm hijacking Christina's blog this week to bring you a tale of opportune moments, photography, adventure, and dirty chai lattes. Oh, and a pretty girl in awesome handmade clothes. Before we begin, I want to introduce a word into your vocabulary that I feel everyone should know: Kairos. If you've ever been going about life and stumbled into a moment that just felt meant to be, or where you realize "this is it, this is the right moment to act", that is kairos. That perfect moment. Keep that in the back of your mind now...
I'm a total vagabond at heart. I like being able to go places most others won't or can't. I like honing my skills as an outdoorsman. I do my best to spend every free moment I have outside, traveling, on some kind of adventure. Sometimes those are grand affairs in the mountains of Colorado. Sometimes, it's me geeking out over a crazy looking bug outside my apartment. Usually I just drop off the face of the Earth for the weekend, to try and find a place my cell phone doesn't work and there isn't another soul for miles. I like that solitude. Nothing beats a sky full of stars and the smell of woodsmoke.
These days, no matter where I am or what I'm doing, I have my camera with me. I've dabbled in photography for over a decade, and still consider myself an absolute novice at it. I don't see myself as an artist. For me, a mountain is art, a sunset is art, the stars are art, the human form is art...Oreo cheesecake: art. I've just been lucky enough to have some talent at recognizing and capturing that art from behind my lens. And social media has given me the perfect way to share these memories.
So, where I get involved with high fashion comes from my relationship with Christina's favorite model: the ever stunning Monika. Love of my life, best friend, personal muse, and woods bumming sidekick. She may look like a dainty flower but she comes along on most of my adventures and holds her own in the backcountry. Monika and Christina have been friends since the beginning of the known universe as far as I can tell. And when I came along I was accepted into the tribe with open arms. Christina and I were talking about how she was going to use a recent photoshoot with Monika to re-launch her page and start a social media campaign for her newest collection. I jokingly said I should take Mon out into the backcountry in her fancy new duds and show the audience how versatile they were. And just like that: Kairos. High fashion was headed for the bush.
It is important to note that I generally take pictures of nature, or the night sky, etc. This was to be my first foray into portraits or fashion photography. Despite that, Christina green-lit my project and Monika and I headed for the mountains of West Virginia. The trip started on a warm October morning, so warm in fact I walked out of the door in flip flops. When we got to the mountain top that is Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, it was 37 degrees. Monika changed in the warmth of the SUV, and I put on a pair of thick wool socks with my flops. I ninja'd my way along the trail and got set up while Mon put on finishing touches. Lighting was poor, it was freezing, it was windy...I was not feeling very positive. And then, through the clouds: dappled sunlight. The wind started picking her hair up just enough. And I realized I was getting nature's version of perfect studio conditions. We shot in the thick hemlock and pines, then the windblown meadows full of blueberry and huckleberry. The weather held, I stubbed my toe and raged, we took many hilarious shots of Monika's hair and clothes being tossed around by the wind. I may actually release some of those “blooper” shots because they are solid gold.
Then it was time to warm up, fill our bellies, and move on. We headed for the small, yet awesome, town of Davis, WV. Full of artisan shops and great little eateries, it is located right next to the beautiful Canaan Valley. We ended up settling on coffee and pot pie. Monika introduced me to my first dirty chai latte. It's chai, it's espresso, it's magical. Chai and potpie in hand we resumed our journey. At our next location, I immediately tried to kill my muse by giving her a cookie she was allergic to. While she recovered, I set up and got my socks wet, and was very dramatic about it. By this point the wind had died down and the remainder of the shoot was largely uneventful. It was a great day and I learned many ways to not take a great picture. In spite of all of these obstacles, twists, and turns, we managed to get all of the photos that you see before you. Things turned out pretty well, all things considered...
I also learned that Christina makes pretty tough clothes. The places these photos were shot are true wilderness. The clothes survived thorns, trees, bugs, wet, and cold without so much as a snag in the fabric. And aside from being a tiny bit cold (which isn't unusual), Monika was perfectly comfortable all day. If she can adventure with me in these clothes, there's no doubt in my mind that these pieces are truly ones you can go out and live your life in...no matter where that takes you.