It seems a bit of a tradition for photographers to compile their ‘best’ or ‘favourite’ photos in a calendar year. It’s something I used to do – compiling my best planetary images captured during that year (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008), though I haven’t done it for a few years.
I figured now is a good time to put together my ‘best’ photos from 2012. Of course ‘best’ is subjective, so I’d probably be better off calling it my ‘favourite’ photos of 2012. Art is subjective and photos that I love may not stir any emotion in some people, and vice versa.
Having said that, these photos are the ones that I loved presenting during 2012 – and it’s no surprise that most of them are from the Kimberley’s. It was such a memorable trip and it gave me the opportunity to photograph landscapes and skies that I’ve only dreamed about.
I still have quite a backlog of images taken during 2012 that I haven’t processed or presented – they might be in the 2013 list if they make the cut. I figured the criteria can be that the photo has to have been published during that calendar year 🙂
I had real trouble narrowing the list from 20 down to just 10, so here I present my favourite 13 images published in 2012.
Captured in the Kimberley’s, this has been my most popular image from the whole trip and the whole year. It made NASA’s Astronomy Photo of the Day (APOD) on September 11th, and was also the feature image on an album posted by Tourism Australia on their Facebook page.
I wrote a detailed guide on how I captured and processed the image, How To: Capturing and Processing the Arching Milky Way over the Bungle Bungles.
Source of Light
This image really means a lot to me because it was a perfect example of having a vision in my mind of how I wanted the photo to look, and being able to execute and have it turn out better than I could’ve hoped.
As soon as I saw the lighthouse when we arrived at Cape Leveque, my mind started planning the shot. Solving the logistical issues of getting through the locked gate (with the help of our guide, Cheryl!), the Milky Way, the light from the lighthouse itself – everything came together and I couldn’t be happier with this shot.
East Beach Sunrise
This is one of my favourite landscape images I’ve ever captured. The shadows and little animal footprints in the dunes, the jagged shadows from the rocks, the rays from the rising Sun and the colours across the whole image. I keep coming back to it over and over again. I took quite a few photos that morning, but none of them made the cut except this one – it had everything I wanted.
Mitchell Falls Moonrise
While I really really love this photo, it’s also the emotions it brings back in me that made me choose this to be among my favourites.
The scale of the falls is enormous – no picture can do it justice. The constant sound of the crashing water echoing through the gorge, the bright orange rock walls as the setting Sun blazed against them, and the stunning rising of the almost Full Moon gave me one of my fondest memories of the trip. And sharing it with Ken Duncan as we trekked into the falls at night and camped overnight on the rock ledge was an absolute privilege.
Road to the Milky Way
This photo brings back great memories too – it was another where I had an idea of a picture in my mind, and I was able to execute it pretty much exactly how I wanted it. It was also the first nightscape using my 5D Mk 2 and it opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me.
I entered it into the 2012 CWAS David Malin Awards, and received a Highly Commended – but even better, it was picked up by a media story on the awards and was published large on page 3 of the Sydney Morning Herald!
When I show people this photo, they just can’t believe that sort of thing can be captured. I had to stand still for 20 seconds which is no easy feat 🙂
Cable Beach Camel Train
This was captured on our first afternoon of the Kimberley adventure, at Cable Beach, Broome. The sunset was beautiful, the silhouette just right and in the end this is just the type of shot I was after. It looks like it could easily go in a tourist brochure.
It gave me confidence for the remainder of the trip!
The Diamond Ring
What an experience the Total Solar Eclipse was. We had clouds from sunrise right until 3 minutes before totality when we saw the sucker hole approaching. Then it cleared, and then the Moon covered the Sun.
It was a surreal experience – the sky got considerably darker in the minute or two before totality, then it was very dark, sort of like early twilight – could see planets and stars and it got quite cool too.
The bright corona was extending out from the sun and it was amazing to see like a ring of fire in the sky. The crowds were cheering and hollering. I just get goose bumps recounting the story. It’s a memory that’ll last for ever.
Cape Leveque at Night
Out in the middle of nowhere, the sky is so dark. Perfect for night sky photography. The setting crescent Moon in the West lit up the red rock cliffs of the beautiful Cape Leveque as the Milky Way galaxy shone brightly overhead.
I had such a great time on my own down on the beach at Cape Leveque.. I’ve never seen skies so dark. It’s one place I really want to get back to one day.
All it takes is a few minutes of the right light and it can make the day all worthwhile.
That’s what happened at Long Jetty on a sunset session at the end of October. It was my first photography session since my Kimberley trip and I was fortunate enough to end up at Long Jetty with a beautiful afternoon sky and calm water for a shot at one of the jetty’s.
The clouds had been fairly dull and lifeless but the Sun got to the right angle and they lit up, producing the light we were hoping for.
It’s a memorable photo for me because not only do I love the golden colours and reflections, being my first photo shoot since the Kimberley’s, it reminded me how much I wanted to do more landscape photography. It helped to inspire me to get out there more.
Bungle Bungles Star Trails
The Bungle Bungles at night was just so amazing. Having the unique privilege to be able to go back at night, take some of the type of photos I’d hoped I’d be able to get in this trip, and be able to teach 8 others how to take nightscape photos at the same time, just gives me such great memories of this night. The lighting on the bungle bungles from the crescent Moon was just perfect.
Boab in Twilight
The Boab Tree in silhouette against the twilight sky – who could resist such a cliche? 🙂 I’m really proud of this shot because it’s just the result I was after. The typical tourist brochure shot 🙂
I would’ve loved to stay later to capture nightscapes or star trails from the same location, but the treacherous road meant our guide wanted to get us out of there before it got too dark.
One day I’ll get back there!
Over the Edge
I had to include this one because it’s quite unique. I had to slither on my stomach up to the edge of the rock ledge and hold my camera and tripod over the edge to capture this shot of Little Mertens Falls, located on the Mitchell Plateau and about 15 minutes walk from the Mitchell Falls campground.
Little Mertens Falls really isn’t so little – it’s still about 10-15m high, but when compared with Big Mertens and Mitchell Falls itself, I guess that’s why it got the name ‘Little’ 🙂
The tripod (with camera attached) was held flat lying down against the rock ledge, while I tried not to move during this 3.2 second exposure.
Guardian of the Valley
This shot is memorable for me because it was my first opportunity to photograph a Boab Tree, and what better setting than to have the Cockburn Ranges as a backdrop. We spent about 30 minutes photographing this beautiful area. I climbed up an embankment to get a more elevated view and captured this 10 image panorama.
And that’s it!
Are there any others that you would’ve included? Any you would not have included?
2012 was a very interesting year for me – obviously anchored by the incredible trip to the Kimberley’s. It’s given me a new inspiration and motivation for photography, and I look at my work in a whole new way now. It’s opened up some new opportunities and through an increasing fan base on Facebook and Google+, I’ve been able to share my work with many more people than would’ve otherwise been possible.
Your comments, shares and likes continue to motivate me and I appreciate all of your feedback and support.
I’m hoping 2013 will be a continuation of what was a great year, and I hope to bring you more great images and nightscapes (and hopefully nightscape workshops!) during the year!