Noel Bodle Creates Masterful Black and White Photos of the British Landscape

All images by Noel Bodle. Used with permission.

The British landscape will leave people in awe when they view it. For all the grey clouds and wet weather, the beautiful sites of the British landscape make it a hot spot for tourists and landscape photographers. Whilst many try to recreate the amazing scenery through their lens, few achieve it. Noel Bodle, however, is a photographer who has been able to transfer the majestic wonderment of Britain to his photographs. Borrowing from the natural elements, Noel is creating some truly stunning landscape photography – the kind that belongs on your wall.

We asked if he would take us on a journey, he was more than happy to oblige.

Phoblographer: How would you describe your relationship with the great outdoors?

NB: I have been very lucky that I grew up in the countryside. When I was very young both my parents worked on a local farm and I had a lot of access to the countryside. I would always go off and explore my local area to see what I could discover. Now I am much older I’ve changed very little in that respect, I just wander and explore that little bit further.

“Most of my images are taken within the winter months so in that way it works out quite well.”

Phoblographer: What role does photography play in regards to bringing you closer to nature?

NB: Photography has definitely made me look at my surroundings in a completely different way. Places I normally go cycling or walking, I now notice how the light affects a particular scene or how I can use natural lines to create a simple composition. My camera, like my bike, is another tool I can use to get me to beautiful scenic locations away from the hustle and bustle of our hectic lives.

For me, it’s a great way to chill out and unwind and be on my own with my thoughts.

Phoblographer: Do you pick up and shoot when you feel like it, or are you strict with the times you go out and make photographs?

NB: Unfortunately with a full-time job and other interests, photography is something I have to do when an opportunity arises. I am a bit of a fair-weather cyclist and not one to venture out on grey rainy days. However, these are actually the best conditions I like to photograph in. Most of my images are taken within the winter months so in that way it works out quite well.

Phoblographer: What’s your preference, shooting alone or with a group of photographers?

NB: I definitely prefer to be out alone taking pictures. For me, it’s a great way to chill out and unwind and be on my own with my thoughts. It’s also great that on most occasions I’ll have a location all to myself, so I can really take my time and enjoy the freedom. But it’s not to say I don’t enjoy being out taking pictures with other’s, which I have done many times. It’s a great way to meet new people and share ideas.

Phoblographer: The landscape is full of color, why did you decide to make your photos black and white?

NB: I’ve always loved black and white photography. I think it goes back to when I was younger and I was fascinated with old photographs, particularly of pictures of my local area. But more recently I saw a magazine with some lovely black and white long exposure images. I forget who the photographer was but they really did inspire me. They looked much more like art than photography, I thought at the time this is something I would really like to give a go one day.

I really like that sense of discovery.

I have always had an interest in taking pictures as I would always take snapshots of places I visited. My parents live in Cornwall in the south west of England, it’s such a beautiful area who would not want to capture some lovely photos? It wasn’t until about four years ago that I decided to really get into black and white [photography]. I, unfortunately, injured my back and was unable to ride my mountain bike for a while. So I decided I would start a little project and post my black and white pictures to Instagram and it’s just progressed from there.

Phoblographer: Do you make a plan for what you’re going to photograph, or do you pick a location and just go with the flow?

NB: It’s a bit of both really. I have several locations I like to go to that are local and if I’m free and the weathers looking right I’ll visit any of these. I always have ideas on how I would like to take pictures at these locations depending on the conditions. But also when I’m down in Cornwall out walking with my parents it’s a case of seeing what we find. I really like that sense of discovery. Also If I’m out cycling, particularly in a new area, I’ll keep an eye out for new places to photograph, so that’s really handy.

Phoblographer: We believe every photographer has a moment of being in their element. Can you think of a location which you photographed and thought, “this is what it’s all about for me”?

NB: Actually, pretty recently. Every May, myself and some friends go on a mountain bike/walking holiday and on this occasion it was the Lake District. It was not a photography holiday as such but I never travel without my camera. One morning I decided I would get up really early and try and get a nice sunrise shot and be back for our planned bike ride. I headed to a lake called Buttermere as it was only a ten-minute drive away and probably my favourite location in the Lakes. I arrived a little late, just after sunrise, but I was not disappointed as it was such a stunningly beautiful morning. The light was amazing and there was a mirror perfect reflection. Amazingly I had the place to myself and I did not see another soul all the time I was there. I took a load of pictures and at the time I thought to myself “yep this is my groundhog day. It really does not get any better than this”. If it was not for my camera I would have never been there to experience that moment.

Phoblographer: If you’re ever in a creative rut, do you have any other genres of photography that you like to dip into?

NB: Fortunately, that has not yet happened. That could be because I don’t actually get out much to take pictures. So there is always energy and drive to create something new. Though one area I do like is macro photography, but it’s only something I’ve ever dabbled in but I may get more into that one day.

Phoblographer: Tell us about your editing process. What’s your program of choice and how long do you spend on post-production?

NB: This is something that has steadily evolved, when I started my black and whites back in 2015 I was taking them with ether with my iPhone or my Nikon bridge camera. I would then edit these images using my old iPad and at that time I only had Snapseed and Dramatic black and white apps for editing purposes. As I was only posting these to Instagram they were actually pretty good. I do not like my images to be to clean and over sharp. I think you can get away with quite a lot with black and white and a little noise or grain personally adds to the image. However as time, technology and my passion have moved on, I now use a Fuji X-T1 camera and Affinity photo on my iPad Pro.

This method works very well for me as I do not really enjoy sitting in front of a computer. However, using my iPad is a much more pleasant experience. I tend to spend a fair amount of time on my edits as I can do it while happily watching tv or whilst in bed. Affinity on my iPad has changed things greatly as I can now import and edit from RAW files – so I can really get the best from my images.

Phoblographer: So many of your shots belong on a wall. Have you ventured into printing your work?

NB: This is something I am now considering for the future as my work has developed and I have become more passionate about it. I think it would be really nice someday to see my pictures hanging up on a wall. I have printed a few out, a friend of mine has a couple in his new house and I was really pleased with how they turned out.

Phoblographer: Do you have any plans coming up that you would like everyone to know about?

NB: Plan wise, it’s more of what I have been doing already. Hopefully, I’ll continue to improve and be inspired. I still have much to learn and I have plenty of ideas of images I would like to take. I do have a planned trip to Wales later this year where I’ve not photographed before, so I’m really looking forward to that.

We are certainly looking forward to keeping up to date with Noel and the year he has ahead of him. So can you. Simply go to his Instagram, @noeljbodle and hit follow.

Thanks, Noel!

Dan Ginn is a UK based street photographer and writer. Learn more about him via his website and Instagram.

Dan Ginn

Dan Ginn is a content writer and journalist. He brings with him five years' experience writing in the photographic niche. During that time he has worked with a range of leading brands, as well as a host professional photographers within the industry.