Assignments Inspiration

FujiLove Magazine “Winter” Assignment Winner: Mark Seawell

· 23.January.2020

Mark Seawell is the winner of the FujiLove Magazine “Winter” photo assignment. Mark shot his photograph with the Fujifilm X-T2 and the XF55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 lens and here is his story behind this wonderful image.

In winter, the Wasatch mountains of northern Utah seem to come alive. Adorned with fresh snow and all the glory this brings, I return again and again to face the bitter cold of early morning, the light of dawn slowly erasing the pink alpenglow that often accompanies these mornings. A far cry from my time in the German countryside where I began (stumbled into) my photography journey so many years ago. I relish the first snow as much as the last and have come to appreciate the staggering beauty that lies within easy driving distance of my home in Ogden, Utah in the western United States.

What struck me that morning was the silence, the sense of stillness all around me as I made my way from the summit of the Wasatch Mountains  to the Ogden valley. From on high I could see the fog and low clouds shrouding the town of Huntsville, adding  to the feeling of solitude and mystery across the landscape. That was about the only similarity between my beginnings in Germany and my time here in Utah. Fog was constant around the area in Germany where I used to live but is not so prevalent here in northern Utah, except in winter…I welcomed it.

Gradually I descended into the valley as the land transformed around me. The grandeur of the mountains gave way to a more intimate view of frozen creeks, trees captured in hoar frost and barns adorned in white from the overnight snow. Huntsville itself isn’t a very large town and being surrounded by mountains gives one the impression it is far larger than what it truly is. Still, it has an old style western feel to it and the people greet you with a smile, very much the norm here in Utah.

There is a road I haunt in Huntsville. It seems to go on forever, stretching until it greets the distant mountains. As I turned onto the road, fog hung heavy over everything. To my left, a field greeted  me and I saw a small shed, its roof covered in snow and the wires from the fence surrounding it as well. Ordinarily, houses would be visible but on this December morning with the fog so thick, that was not the case. I carried on.

I looked to my right and the world was changing. The sky god finally crested the mountains, the immeasurable power of the sun immediately making its presence felt. Grudgingly, some of the fog gave way and I witnessed the land transform. Things that had been illuminated started taking on shadows, defining their essence and giving my vision a bit more clarity. And that is when I saw them, proud and beautiful, framed against the silhouette of two houses. I parked my car in an awkward spot off road and retrieve my Fujifilm X-T2 along with the lens I use the most when I capture mountains, the Fujinon 55-200 zoom lens. I set up as quickly as possible before the moment was irrevocably lost, steadying my X-T2 on the necessary evil of the tripod, unconsciously inhaling with my finger hovering above the shutter until the moment finally arrived…winter horses.