Bright lights, big city

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Posting photographs from my April trip to London has been somewhat interrupted – I guess the obvious answer would be to post them more quickly!

Juggling a tripod with troops of tourists on a bridge at rush hour in central London is not my preferred method of working – but needs must as I wanted detail in the sky and there’s just no moving the sunset! At the time I was peeved that the hurrying boat had ‘ruined’ my photograph and took another as soon as the bow wave had settled. On reflection (no pun intended!) I prefer this one; it has life and seems to sit better with the hustle and bustle of the moment.

Panoramic night photo of the River Thames and London skyline

The following day was my first visit to the Shard …. and the views were incredible; I had timed it to catch the last of the daylight before watching the city gradually light up – well worth doing if you can. With so much to see it was easy to be overwhelmed but this cluster of tower blocks repeatedly caught my eye; Strata SE1, otherwise known as the “Razor” (with the sloping black top to the left) was completed in 2010 with the remaining towers sprouting up since – interestingly, still little more than a building site on Google Earth.

Tower blocks in London, Island in the stream

Finally the last traces of daylight had gone, the city was fully lit and the dark artery of the Thames wound its way smoothly out to sea as aeroplanes, dots of light in the sky, followed each other in to City Airport.

Night time photo of Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf

So much to see and so little time …. if you’d like to see a few more images from my visit, including a selection of mono, please go to my Instagram feed.

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

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Exhibition!

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I finally plucked up the courage and participated in my first exhibition!
Representing fine art photography I was part of a group of artists of varied disciplines brought together to launch a new gallery and arts venue, the Hive Artspace in Warminster, taking part in the Wylye Valley Art Trail 2017, a biennial event held in South and West Wiltshire. My brief, in order to sit comfortably with the other exhibits at the venue, was to select images that were local whilst reflecting the natural world – easy to say but fraught with difficulties! After much deliberation I made a selection based on a standard size and format, all mono, similarly toned and linked by the prevailing weather conditions at the time of their capture – i.e. fog!

Pictures in a gallery at the Hive Artspace, Warminster

The response from visitors to seeing well known places through my eyes was incredibly rewarding and came with the added bonus of sharing fond memories and stories of places that had touched their lives. The exhibition was more involved and more successful than ever crossed my mind and, so far, the run down seems to be as busy as the run up!

Other exhibitors were:
Cath Bloomfield – printmaker and mixed media
Freya Brammble-Carter – ceramist
Susan Burrows – textiles
Fiona Campbell – mixed media sculptor
Diana Charnley – painter and printmaker
Dilana Nikolova – illustrator and cartoonist
Anna Shuttlewood – muralist, painter and illustrator
…. and my thanks to them all and The Hive Artspace for a great experience at a well received exhibition!

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

Lots Road Power Station

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Lots Road Power Station began operations in 1905, claiming to be the largest power station ever built, it soon powered most of the London Underground as well as serving several other works and facilities. It was remodelled in the 1920s to cope with increased demand, survived the bombing raids of the Second World War, revamped again in the 1970s for environmental reasons and finally in 2002, after more than 90 years of operation,  the longest serving power station in the world was decommissioned.

Long exposure fine art photograph of Lots Road Power Station

Retired, but not yet finished ….. it is once again being remodelled; this time forming the centrepiece of the £1 billion Chelsea Waterfront regeneration project. At 275ft the chimneys were at one time the tallest in Europe but they will soon be dwarfed by the two residential skyscrapers currently under construction.

I wanted to try and capture something of it’s architectural elegance and pay tribute to its longevity.

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

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.

Lord of the dance (South Newton, England, 2017)

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)