Brisbane art photographer Noel Buttler, who grew up on a farm in Ballarat, Victoria, captures an extraordinary sense of place in his travel and art photography, particularly in the heart of a city.
Here we take a tour of his urban, fine art and monochromatic photography, dazzling and distinguished all at once.
A patient support officer at a hospital, Buttler must appreciate the escape that photography brings.
“I feel very relaxed and energised like there are no worries in the world – like being in the zone,” he said.
A photographer for 10 years, with a focus on city landscapes for seven years, Buttler loves to paint a picture of the places he visits, shooting in a variety of styles.
“In a city or town I will shoot the architecture, people doing everyday things, the lights at night, transport vehicles, parks, trees and the food I eat at restaurants,” said Buttler.
“I use my photos to tell a story of that place as if I was describing it to someone in words,” he said.
Buttler said travel photography was like putting his favourite subjects and styles into one category, for example, landscapes, nature, streets, architecture.
“Even in Brisbane I sometimes walk around like I am in a new city travelling, looking for another angle, shot, style or aspect of the city,” he said.
With nature and landscape photos, Buttler likes to shoot at sunrise or sunset to get the beautiful warm colours – pinks, oranges, yellows, magentas and purples.
“I have an interest in weather and always check weather maps and forecasts on the net to see if certain conditions look like being good for nice sunsets, such as high cloud formations or, after rain, for raindrops on leaves and flowers,” said Buttler.
“I also like to keep an eye on if thunderstorms are coming, so I can take some lightning shots,” he said.
Fine Art Photography
With flora photography, Buttler likes to use a lens that blurs the background otherwise he does that on the computer later.
“Basically, when I am walking around with the camera I just look at everything, maybe look for details in the scene as well as the big picture,” he said.
“I pay particular attention to how I frame an image and composition, maybe shoot low angle to break the mould.
“Post proccessing on a photo editor is important to me. It makes a huge difference to the final print.
“I can increase colour vibrance and add some glow effects for a dreamy look, crop the frame or add some texture,” he said.
One of Buttler’s favourite shots is this black and white horse and carriage panorama near Flinders St Station in Melbourne, below.
“It’s iconic, with history still alive today,” he said.
“My favourite photos do capture a moment in time, for example, a unique sunrise, street scene of people doing stuff.
“Not all my photos tell a story, like a sunset or flower, but I think I try to tell a story with more than one photo.
“In Melbourne I shoot the lifestyle, people, buildings, trams, Yarra river and art – to tell the big story of that city,” he said.