Jasmine Riley » You Can Sleep When You're Dead: Blog by Colleen Miniuk

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May 132015

“Generous Departure” photo copyright Jasmine Riley

“Generous Departure”
A friend and I set out for an adventure exploring off the beaten path.  We chose a remote location on an off-road trail.  I pointed to a hill in the distance and said, “let’s climb that one.”  We parked the car and set out on foot.  It was apparent that probably very few people have done what we decided to do, as there were no trails and no trace of people.  Looking out over the dried fields of dead grass, it looked as though the truth of this location was all there; there was nothing to it.  I remember thinking, “From a distance, it’s hard to see the hidden treasures that nature holds.  I really hope we find something interesting…maybe a snake? Maybe an abandoned structure?”  We then set out on foot to the chosen hill; it was farther away than we expected.  It was a lot taller too.  When we arrived at the base of the hill, we saw something in the distance.  We thought maybe it was a fallen tree, but thought nothing of it.  After a lot of breaks and heavy breathing, we finally made it to the top.  It was a beautiful view of the San Francisco Peaks with the melting spring snow cresting the top.  Miles and miles of open yellow, fields and rolling hills surrounded us.  My car was but a tiny speck in the distance.  At the base of the hill, we could see an aerial view what looked like a ribcage.  This is what we had previously thought to be a tree.  We made our way back down to the bottom to check it out.  It was indeed a ribcage, a bull ribcage with the rest of its body attached.  It was a very cool find.  I am guessing that the two of us are the only ones who have ever laid eyes on this carcass, as it looked untouched.  That was a very special feeling, which I intend on sharing with others.

I was inspired to take this photograph because it shows an untouched life that ended.  It encourages mystery.  The most intriguing thing I found about this carcass was that there was a ring of green grass around the bull while all of the rest of the grass was dried up and dead.  It showed that the life of this animal was not lost, but transferred into the environment around it.  This action of death demonstrated the flow of energy and the breath of life into the grass, the hawks, the insects, and the coyotes that all gained nourishment from this involuntary sacrifice.

I took this photo, titled “Generous Departure” with my Sony A7 with a 55mm f/1.8 Carl Zeiss Prime.  I took it with a shutter speed of 1/6400, an aperture of f/1.8, and an ISO of 50.  When editing the photo, I brought up the clarity to enhance the details on the skull.  I also brought up the shadows and brought down the highlights.

About the Photographer:
My photography is centralized around Northern Arizona where I was born and raised.  I have a strong love for exploration of the outdoors.  I am driven by adventure, and I especially love being able to capture those experiences to share with others.  In my photography, I like to take a closer look at ordinary, everyday objects, activities, or people to bring about a better understanding and appreciation for life that is often looked over in the busy everyday lives.  I strongly believe in taking life day by day and being able to appreciate it for what it is.  I absolutely love being able to capture these expressions through my photography.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at http://youcansleepwhenyouredead.com/wordpress/3rd-annual-northern-arizona-university-behind-the-image-guest-blogger-project/Please take a minute to leave your insights and constructive comments in the Comment section below – the student would love to hear from you!