Prehistoric Tranquility

There's a sublime stillness the hour before the sun rises in the desert. A quiet that reaches deeper than merely a place without sound, a quiet that creeps through you, and you realize that out here, there is no rush. I'm sitting, and a light breeze brushes across my face. To the East the false sunrise starts to glow a deep indigo ever so subtly illuminating the surrounding hills and for the first time I see the valley I'm in. I stand up and reach down, hoisting my bag over my shoulders I start to move further East, searching. I've been up since before early and have long finished the coffee I brewed back in camp before heading out to capture the morning light.

There's a mystery in arriving at a place long after dark, as I did here late last night. With the morning comes the surprise of what you've discovered, and where you called home just the night before. This place is no different, and after a few hours sleep, a quick cup of black coffee, and a two day old half eaten bagel I head out on foot into the dry expanse of darkened desert to wander the scene and wait for sunrise.

Adding to the stillness is the complete lack of animal life.  The baking heat of the daytime forces most desert creatures to become active during the long cool hours of night, but as I eagerly await the sun, these animals have long ago taken refuge from its inevitable rise.  They are a bit smarter than I am, but I'm here to photograph and have come well prepared with enough water to make my own oasis. 

The false sunrise has passed and a cool deep purple glow is starting to spread across the open sky.  Setting my bag down I unfurl my tripod and set it down as well.  I've walked a few miles and found a small group of boulders that will make a fine foreground.  Unzipping my bag and attaching it to my tripod, I can already see the composition I want and setup my camera in preparation for the light.  I have awhile before it's full sunrise and so wander off.

It's getting lighter by the minute, and the expanse of the valley is becoming more apparent.  I seem to be the only person here, which makes me smile.  It's a necessity for me to come to these places, not only to photograph, although that's a driving reason, but to become whole again.  Perhaps when we're alone in these places, forced to confront the barest of life's essentials we come to understand something within us that cannot be reached when in the presence of others.  A sudden rustling jerks me from my meditative trance and I see a small jackrabbit dart from under a bush a few feet from me, it's huge radiator ears pumping blood to dissipate it's body heat. 

The sun is almost up now and I wander back to my camera.  In a few minutes all thoughts will narrow to the subtle technicals of making photographs, and I'll be at home as I begin to make image after image.


Prints, Portfolio, Deadlines

In the five years I've been printing fine art images I've never been completely satisfied with my portfolio designs. I say plural because I've been through more box, paper, slipcase, book combinations than I have images to put in them. Printing traditional silver prints requires one to dry-mount them onto a matte board because they curl quite extensively, and coming from the place I learned all this photography stuff from if it wasn't dry-mounted forget about showing it to anyone, let alone a professor. When I switched to printing digitally this curling dilemma went the way of the darkroom and yet I still insisted that they be mounted and over-matted because well, that's what you do, otherwise don't bother showing it to anyone. The problem with this is each print becomes bulky and heavy and therefore the portfolio housing for them is also bulky and heavy. And so I switched to a book form, but that wasn't much better in price and the construction was a nightmare. My fine art portfolio is seldom called in so another portfolio redesign was extremely low on my ever growing to-do list, until two weeks ago. Having a deadline really pumps the creative juice flowing and so after throwing out all my old ideas, wanting to start from scratch, I brainstormed and researched. And I'm happy to say the result is better than I ever expected. I am one happy photographer. The beauty of whole system is in its simplicity, it's ability to change on the fly, and it's low cost.  I opted for loose prints, but instead of a heavy box I folded a thick piece of acid free paper to create a 'wrapper' of sorts. The viewer opens the package of prints and really gets a tactile as well as a visual interaction with them. If a print gets damaged, it's easy to replace as is the paper envelope they are housed in. Here's some shots of the package of flower prints I'm putting together for a possible commission project.


An Explosion of Color

Okay, so I've joined this fantastic web storefront called Etsy.  For those of you in the know I'm sure it comes as no surprise when I say that this site has incredibly talented artists and crafters, for those of you who have no idea what Etsy is just click here and get yourself lost in the vast warehouse of handmade coolness.

For me, Etsy has been a wonderful venue to showcase my selection of bright and colorful flora themed prints.  I shoot these particular images when I'm in need of some photographic meditation.  Living next to a huge state park allows me to wander aimlessly with my camera and intimately capture the colors and graphics of nature.


The Start of Something......Unknowable.

Welcome welcome to my first posting.  Finally joining the early 21st century, I've started this blog to keep people updated with new images I photograph, news of what I'm doing in the world of freelance photography and random thoughts and ideas from a 30 something creative.  The start of any project is always fresh and exciting, and this is no different.  My website (www.scottmansfield.com) is organized by subject, place or theme and not by chronological date so any updates in imagery tend to get lost in the individual portfolio.  To keep viewers better informed of changes to my site I'll be posting updates as they happen to the sidebar 'Website Image Updates' to the left.  I'll also be posting  images directly to this blog from trips, jobs and random shoots as well as stories and articles.  I truly hope you enjoy what you see and read, and please leave comments to your hearts content!  Many cheers!