Shwmae, my name is Neil Mansfield. I am a photographer based in the Brecon Beacons. I am married and have a six year old boy. I’m old enough to have seen Concorde fly and young enough to know that Astro Wars, Texan bars and choppers should still be on sale on the high street. I spent many years in London, but now reside deep in the Brecon Beacons, having spent many years in Cardiff also. I enjoy folk music and Dylan and the more I write this bio, the more I feel it would actually be better placed on a lonely hearts column. Mountains are my love, so any ad would probably be misplaced unless any potential partner existed in the form of large sloping mounds, perhaps it is best if I stop there!
The hill of Wales are my real home, I spend hours walking the hills, the winter months are my favourite time of the year. I love nothing more than packing a rucksack, heading up the A470 and jumping out in the dark, with a headlamp, map, a flask of coffee and a Texan Bar. I blame my Mum, she was a frustrated mountaineer and I have picked up all the traits of exploration from her. Actually, blame, couldn’t be further from the truth, in all honesty exploring the hills is what gives me life and soul. I breathe deeply in the mountains, I release, exhale and absorb. The release comes in many forms; creative ideas flow and making pictures becomes a free flowing subliminal action.
I am wondering if eating two chocolate eclairs whilst writing my bio has given me some comedy stand-up powers, the truth of it is this: I am a fairly chilled out fella, who is lucky enough to be living his dream, unlucky enough to have experienced some tough times, but happy enough to enjoy making the most of three pieces of carbon fibre, a dark chamber and the outdoors.
Where do you get your Inspirations?
Inspiration is a funny word, what exactly does it mean. Who do you admire? How do you create? What gives you an idea? What pushes/pulls you in the right direction? Being outdoors inspires me, climbing mountains, walking through forests, walking down a stream, climbing a tree, exploring….
Now is there a more interesting place to explore than directly above your head…..at night! The Brecon Beacons is a dark sky reserve, one of only a handful in the world, eleven to be precise and two of them are in Wales, Snowdonia bing the other, now that is inspiring.
I am a professional photographer, I photograph commercially for clients in the UK and overseas, I’m an ambassador for the Brecon Beacons National Park, whilst also being a Dark Skies ambassador too. I have taught and trained people for many years and look forward to meeting many more through our new and very exciting dark skies adventure!