Medicine Labels: Dr. Slobek's Kit

The character of Dr. Slobek has been around the medicine field for a little while now, so she's stocked with the standard fare (iodine, malaria pills, ammonia), some staples from Eastern Medicine (acupuncture needles, Chinese & Japanese Herbs ), and some personal favorite remedies from the expeditions where she served as medic.

I researched what would be in a typical old medic kit and then added all sorts of remedies from Russia, Japan, Czechoslovakia, and Cambodia - pieces that Slobek picked up along the way.

Designing the labels was a feat that went deep into the night, but printing and pasting the labels on to many of the bottles that we found was really enjoyable. The final photographs, I think, tell a story about a curious worldly individual, who has sorted out her own methods and ideology for treating the body.

Ten Sleep

Probably one of the best town names in the country, Ten Sleep is an old Native American name meaning how many overnights it takes to get there from... somewhere else.

The canyon is a wide, beautiful drive that starts on the southwestern side of the Big Horn range. We scouted around for a while in the afternoon and finally found a really odd grouping of trees to shoot in.

Vostrum has been shooting with her Polaroid, documenting some of the wild flowers and the change in seasons. Most of the snow has melted at this elevation. Spring feels like it's springing. Ticks are out. Bear spray is at the hip.

Side note: As we were setting up the shot, one of the larger rocks rolled over; Slobek/Mis fell off and in the tumbling had a finger smashed under the rock. Finger injuries are the worst because there are so many nerve endings in the fingertips. The gut reaction is nausea and light-headedness, even for minor injuries. It was sort of a bloody scene, with a little bit of goriness in the way the finger was smashed. Some tape from local climbers, and we kept on shooting. That's how dedicated we are. Mis tried to get pictures in the moment, but that didn't happen. Here's tape and the remnants of a former mess.


In between travels, Caitlin’s been shooting a lot of the objects, artifacts, and props that belong to our characters.  We set up a very simple DIY White Cyc made out of poster board, using our south facing studio window as a key light and a little battery powered LED for some kick.  The idea is that these little still-lifes will be scattered throughout the book, serving as chapter headings and counterpoint to the larger scenes. 

Jentel Presents

Tonight Missy and I, along with our fellow residents - writer Zebbie Watson, playwright Kevin Doyle, sculpture artist John Melvin, and visual artist Lynda Smith - had the chance to present our work to the local community here in Sheridan, Wyoming.  We each gave a casual talk, showed some images, and had some time for Q and A.  All of the artists and writers were very well received and the crowd was really engaged and supportive.  Unchronicled Explorations got a great response.  Thank you Sheridan!

Big Horn Canyon

Oh, if you go up the road a ways there's a canyon with some overlooks, you can do a few trails, see what you see, sometimes there are some sheep or wild horses - said the ranger to us at a vacant visitors center outside Lovell, Wyoming.

With low expectations, we ventured north. Let me say, low expectations can be the recipe for unprecedented surprises. I will apologize for robbing you of the surprise with these pictures. The canyon is awe-inspiring.

Figure A.

In character, Caitlin... I mean Vostrum, took in the view. The wind picked up so heavily that we had to hold on to our hats and scarves. In complete solitude, we felt compelled to scream at the top of our lungs. It was lost immediately in the gusts from the corridors below.

Our shooting in Big Horn was only observed by some friendly little horned sheep. Not a soul around. Then a big rainstorm moved in and as we left to cross the mountain pass it turned to snow. Driving in the blizzard was a dramatic end to a few epic days on the other side of the range.

Hope to see you soon, Cody!


On the Road Again: Cody

..just cant wait to get on the road again. As it happens, this was playing in the café the other night by some Stetson-wearing, boot-stomping, musical cowboys. Loving Buffalo, Wyoming.

We mapped out our traverse of the mountains pretty thoroughly, making notes of all the potentially interesting places we could shoot - but of course everything changes in actualization. Our shots have been inspired moment to moment and our plans are usually greatly influenced by time, light, surprising finds, whims and fist fights (just kidding).

Cody has no lack of inspiring backdrops, and we did our very best to make use.

More Bison with capital Bs.

A funny antidote from my awkward planning session to find a boat.

Tedious because I had to collect all the numbers to call and drive up to the top of the hill, one of the only locations nearby with cell service. I called the Horseshoe Marina on the website and asked about boat rentals. The guy was really nice with a big drawl:

"Yeah, I'll rent ya a boat. I got both, canoe and the row boats."

We worked out the whole scenario - when I could pick them up, how he'd come in on his day off, how we'd drop it off the next day in the afternoon when they were closed, but he'd make an exception. The transaction was going great.  I told him that we'd be coming across the mountain a couple times as a matter of logistics --

Finally he stopped me. "Now..what mountains are you talking about?"

"The Big Horn ..Mountains," I said.

"Now, you do know we're in Tennessee, don't you."

Wrong Horseshoe Marina. He did his old south chuckle. "Well, now. I'll still rent it to ya."

I'd like to make a note of how amazingly kind and extremely helpful we've found the people in Wyoming to be. We went to a store in Casper to find a scarf. The woman inside did everything in her power to find one and finally sent us to another store. The lady at the coffee shop gave me a free copy of a climbing magazine I wanted to buy. A woman, three customers and another manager racked their brains for recommendations of nearby caves to check out. The guy at the corner store gave me detailed directions where to get bear spray, what aisle to find it and how much it would cost at another store. We've been blown away by the hospitality and helpfulness. Our cabin host in Cody said come on in, you don't have to knock!

Her dog, Weston got depressed when we left. I told him he belongs in the open fields; city life wouldn't suit him.

String, Tape, Clipping - Conspiracy

I have a long standing fascination with the conspiracy board. This hidden map that you keep in private with visual theories tacked on to the cork board, usually tucked behind the county map or on the other side of the chalkboard. There is something both hilarious and psychotic about having a huge interlaced theory.. Mostly because it takes so long to create; the maker obviously spends a lot of time on these ruminations. This was something that I pictured Vostrum and Slobek creating, but not necessarily admitting to doing it.

Perhaps one of them has a bit of hypergraphia. Too many ideas to contain. There are shreds of concern about an archaeological dig with some stolen bones, some shady characters, odd findings, newspaper clippings, maps, weather reports.. everything that might suggest there's more to this than meets the eye....

Professor Vostrum and Her Messy Desk

In our conception of the character Vostrum, we've spent a fair amount of time appreciating a world full of theories, wild hypotheses, and accumulated data. To support this, Caitlin and I have created a fraction of what Vostrum would have in her workspace.

There are graphs of tree growth and the speed of time, letters she has written to colleagues supporting her theories or dispelling her critics; small details like the stamp that she uses for her herbarium specimens and to label her books. All in disarray on her desk. (Not pictured, that's our disarrayed desk.)

This is a glimpse into the mind and world of a free thinker and a maverick. That's the goal at least.

Hell's Half Acre

Everyone’s been talking about this place Hell’s Half Acre.  It looks a lot like the badlands in South Dakota but much smaller.  We woke up at stupid o’clock in the morning to drive the two and half hours to get there for sunrise.  Well worth it.  Got some great shots of Dr. Slobek in the wee hours of the morning, then backtracked to Casper for the middle of the day, ate a big greasy cowboy breakfast, got some coffee, hit some thrift shops, and… went the the rock climbing gym!! We needed that.  Then we went back to Hell’s half acre for a pretty amazing sunset and more shooting involving bones, ancient mudslides, river crossings and arguments.  Thanks again Wyoming!

Snow Storm

A full on blizzard came through Banner yesterday and today and we took full advantage!  Got out the snowshoes and the snow goggles and the winter gear and trudged out to to make some photos.  We started at sunrise by the river, took a break to warm up, and went back out in the afternoon into the hills.  We got some great shots of the Doctor and the Professor.

Day 2

Our studio is set up! We have a million things tacked up on the walls.

Venturing into town is a full excursion and internet is limited here, which is all good as soon as we get our photo scenes prepped.

And guess what, after all of this spring-threatening BBQ-picnic weather across the northwest, it's now acting more like Wyoming. SNOW!!

Day 1

Our studio space is getting filled up with storyboards, props, to do lists, shot lists, location lists, maps, and .... more lists. Ready for this thing to get underway, right after a good nap and some of Caitlin's macha tea.

Big Sky

The sky really is bigger in Montana. Everything seems a lot bigger and more expansive out here. And the road feels a little straighter. Good thing the fuzz is forgiving.