FAPA Nominee

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About this time last year I was pleased to be awarded with Bronze in the Fine Art Photography Awards; I didn’t do quite so well this year but am still pleased to have got most of the way through the competition and for my two entries, Elemental and Another Place, to be nominated for awards in the Amateur categories of Fine Art and Seascape respectively.

According to the FAPA press release there were more than 6335 submissions from 89 countries around the world. Winners were selected by a panel of international judges, including: Tim Franco, Nadia Dias, Liza Van der Stock, Matilde Gattoni, Amélie Labourdette, Valery Klamm and Pierre Abensur.

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

Contemplating irony

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For a long time I’ve wanted to photograph something of London – nothing in particular just a need to redress the mountain of mental images collected over time. A lucky opportunity came my way recently and whilst there we walked into town along the south bank of the Thames – it proved a truly fascinating way to see the city unfold.

From the relatively rural setting of the London Wetland Centre we soon found ourselves in Wandsworth where developments crowd the river bank and skeletal cranes pierce the sky. I’m not sure exactly what caught my eye here …. something to do with the shapes on the skyline, the steely blue colours and ruffled expanse of icy water. It seemed an almost two dimensional scene, a painting – and I had to stop.

Painterly image of Wandsworth riverside

Walking on towards the houseboats I found myself contemplating the irony of the place; these days, particularly so in the UK, river barges summon thoughts of rural leisure and on first impressions they looked a little out of place moored up in such an urban environment.

Barges moored at Wandsworth in London

Ironic considering that they were once the very epitome of industry and the lifeblood of the city. Where the fancy bars and restaurants now are, their river terraces bustling with gin sipping city slickers, the waterfront would have been thick with labourers, black with coal and ripe with the lingering odours of graft and poverty – once a place to be avoided it is now the place to be!

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

The end of winter

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Unless a freak weather front rolls in it seems that winter has come and gone for us in southern England 😦 My favourite photographic season passed in a sequence of ordinary days with barely any frost let alone snow – and not even much rain to speak of! Thankfully we had a few days of hit and miss fog which had me scurrying around my local patch, camera in hand to make the most of limited opportunities.

This tree stands alone in the middle of a field opposite a sewage treatment centre – a rather unprepossessing spot! I’ve wanted to photograph it for years but a jacket of thick ivy obscured its limbs and the resulting dark blob didn’t make for a picture. Trimmed a year or so back, the ivy is thinning and the old oak is finally coming into its own.

The old oak

The same field held hidden treasure in the form of these tracks not visible from the road – an unintentional artwork!

Lines

Another magical morning with not a soul around; when the world is hushed and the moments distilled and concentrated. There’s nothing quite like the luxury of immersing yourself in the simple things in life ….

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

 

Can’t see the wood for the trees …

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So, another month has gone already – what happened?!

Truth be told I’ve actually managed to get out and about a reasonable amount with my camera but, shooting in RAW (with the processing that necessitates) and trying to maintain some sort of discipline with Lightroom, takes time. I also find that having too many photos makes choosing difficult – definitely a case of not seeing the wood for the trees …. and all the more appropriate considering my penchant for them! 🙂

I’ve managed a few quick posts to Instagram so for now I’ll ‘cheat’ by reposting them here. Sorry to those who will now have seen them twice – I’ll try not to do it too often!

 

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

All Saints

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It was a picture perfect scene – the night before!
The full moon, hanging low in a star laden sky, reflected perfectly in the water; the balance of light, colour and detail was spot on.

On this night – it just wasn’t quite there …. moon rise was an hour later, the sky was too dark and the stars were obscured by clouds and the light they reflected from nearby Salisbury.
All Saints Church Steeple Langford at night with reflections in the river

As I waited I listened to the gurgle of the river in the reeds, the haunting sound of tawny owls calling across the fields and the occasional ‘plop’ as water voles dropped into the river whilst the fleeting shadows of bats raced by.

Maybe not picture perfect – but a perfect night nonetheless!

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

 

Who’d have thought it?!

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Apparently I’ve been blogging for five years now. I’m amazed …. I’m always complaining about not having enough time – but seriously – where did that five years go?!

WordPress’ notification has come at rather awkward time – I logged in to publicise my shiny new Instagram feed and now it seems a little churlish! Ah well ….
Thank you to all those who have taken time to look at my photographs and/or read my waffling; I hope you’ve enjoyed some of it enough to carry on …. and maybe see what I’m up to on Instagram too – or is that pushing my luck?! 😀

Noeline Smith Instagram launch

It’s taken a couple of false starts and I’m still muddling my way through with one or two issues still to resolve – not having a smartphone being one of them … I know, I know … ☺️

This first batch of photographs were taken last year but I never found time to do anything with them – there I go again!!

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

Farquharson evoked

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Joseph Farquharson (1846-1935) was a Scottish landscape painter whose evocative winter rural images are perhaps best known from Christmas cards. His many depictions of cattle and sheep in snow earned him the nickname ‘Frozen Mutton Farquharson’ and, to be honest, as I headed out recently he was the last thing on my mind!

Thick fog lay heavy in the valley, reducing my world to a circle of a few metres before blurring and disappearing altogether. The air, still and breathless, muffled the splintering of grass underfoot as indistinct rounded shadows slowly ghosted into sheep shape and dark ovals in the grass marked where they had lain before silently moving away to maintain a cautious distance and wary eye. Farquharson style image of sheep in a frosty field and sunrise through the fogAlmost imperceptibly the eastern sky began to flush a burnt orange as the sun crept into view. A blank, featureless disk, it slid through the trees and on upwards, bleaching all colour from the sky; as far as I was concerned it was still a perfect day but those few fleeting moments were magical – and worth missing breakfast for!

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

Winter harvest

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The holly tree in our garden has been a hive of activity recently, alive with birds making the most of the berries and, holding their own among the usual garden gangs, was a flock of redwings – one of our less common visitors.High key portrait of a Redwing eating berries in a holly tree

It has the dubious honour of appearing on the IUCN Red List. Created by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, this list identifies ‘near threatened’ species; their population having declined by more than 30% in the last ten years the redwing is considered to be at risk of extinction in the near future.

On a more cheerful note – this time last year I was lucky enough to spot a few tiny goldcrests ….

Goldcrest in a holly tree with berries

…. re-posted for no other reason than I like the photograph! 🙂

‘Tis the season of goodwill so here’s to a little more peace and understanding in this mixed up world ….

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

Alhambra

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In 1832 Washington Irving wrote of the Alhambra: “How unworthy is my scribbling of the place?” – and the same rings true for me today.

Its potted history reads like a tragic romance; small fortress flowers into exquisite palace, suffers under the heavy hands of a Renaissance king and marauding army, descent to a den of iniquity before recognition of its worth and finally the relatively safe haven of UNESCO 1000 years later.

Now the most visited site in Spain it somehow rises above it all; the passing of centuries still whispering in the shadows as the crowds throng the courtyards and corridors. Trying to capture something of the beauty and atmosphere without the intrusion of selfie stick wielders proved quite challenging ….

Cobbled stone roots at the Alhambra

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

Super moon

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A day early and at the eleventh hour I found myself with the only opportunity I was likely to get to photograph the super moon; ill prepared, ill equipped and short of time (not ideal!) I raced off to a nearby nature reserve. Any loosely laid preconceived plans were impossible and limited viewpoints forced a different approach whilst the moon was low in the sky …

Spider silhouette in front of the super moon

Super moon reflected in a lake

As it rose, the peachy colours faded, broken cloud moved in and a soft serenity settled in …

In reality these pictures could be of any full moon so, having been inspired, I’ll probably try to implement my loosely laid plans another time!

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)