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 ūüė¶ 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 Рwhat 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! ūüôā

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?!¬†ūüėÄ

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 … ‚ėļÔłŹ

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 Рand 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 Рone 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! ūüôā

‚ÄėTis the season of goodwill so here’s to a little more peace and understanding in this mixed up world ‚Ķ.

(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)

Exploring Jerez

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In the harsh light of day the back streets of Jerez can be a little unassuming, appearing to not offer much although there is always something there for the curious. At night they are transformed to a world of mystery and intrigue with time worn cobbles reflecting rippled pools of lamp light and each corner beckons you on.

Or was I influenced by an earlier visit to the Bodegas Tio Pepe?! ūüėÄ

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

Shooting from the hip

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The September End to End trip we had planned was, for one reason or another, fated not to happen – as it seemed were the couple of hours photography I had in mind as we cruised through North Berwick late in the afternoon looking for somewhere to stay. The photographic opportunities were many and varied and, having lugged my unused kit for hundreds of miles, I was looking forward to putting it to some use in the busy little seaside town.

The anticipated spare time rapidly dwindled as¬†we searched in vain for lodgings until finally striking lucky¬†leaving¬†town. With about 45 minutes¬†to spare I grabbed my kit and rushed off towards the unseen stretch of coast – across the golf course and through the dunes to be greeted by a distant tide and jumbled mass of seaweed covered rocks; not quite what I had in mind! Denied¬†the luxury of time that I usually prefer I was forced to make some quick decisions and ‘shoot from the hip’ – Craigleith Island caught my eye ….

Square format fine art image of Craigleith Island through the dunes

Square format fine art minimal image of Craigleith Island in the Firth of Forth

Surprisingly the hastily taken images turned out better than I could have hoped for Рmaybe every now and then we need to force ourselves to approach things differently ?!

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)