January 18th 2013 by Andrew S Gibson
The last two years I’ve spent a few moments in January selecting my ten favourite images from the year before. It’s an interesting exercise. The first challenge is narrowing down my favourite images from the year to just ten. The second is seeing what themes emerge. And finally, it’s fun to compare them to my previous top tens and see how my work has developed over the years.
Last year’s photos follow three broad themes. I spent the first few months taking close-up photos to illustrate my ebook Up Close. The second part of the year was spent exploring the use of slow shutter speeds for Slow. And I spent the final few months taking lots of portraits. This is an area where I need to practise, and I found a model who has been keen to collaborate on a series of portraits. Will the photos appear in a new ebook? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
Here are my top ten favourite photos from 2012. You can compare them with my favourites from 2011 and 2010 by clicking on the links. This idea was inspired by Jim Goldstein, who invites photographers to send in their top ten favourite lists each year. I didn’t get round to it in time to be included in this year’s list, but you can read the article and see the top ten lists from 300 other photographers here.
My top ten favourite images from 2012
I took both these photos in the Auckland Winter Gardens, where there is a glass-house containing tropical plants. The first is a Royal Water Lily, the second is some kind of orchid (not all the plants are labelled). I used a 500D close-up lens on my Canon EF 85mm f1.8 lens to create these images. Both taken with the EOS 40D for the extra ‘reach’ of the crop sensor.
The next three images were all taken to illustrate Slow. I like the first because it explores an idea that I’ve had in my head for a while – that of a lone woman looking out to sea. I couldn’t have created this image without my model Sarah, who bravely spent an hour or so standing still in poses like this in the middle of winter. Everything came together for this photo, including two girls playing on a rock by the sea. I included them in the composition hoping their movement would add a sense of mystery. This is a long exposure photo; I used a shutter speed of 30 seconds to blur the motion of the sea and the girls.
The second is my favourite Intentional Camera Movement photo from the year. I set a shutter speed of 1/2 second and deliberately moved the camera during the exposure to create an ‘impressionistic’ feel.
The third is another image that I’ve had in mind for a while. It came together when I contacted Kathryn, a local fire performer. She bought along a friend and they stood on the roof of an old WWII bunker spinning whips soaked in burning fuel.
I made these two images in the latter half of the year, continuing with the theme of using slow shutter speeds. The first uses a technique called steel wool spinning (I wrote about it here) and is another photo taken in collaboration with Kathryn. The second is a return to Taputeranga Island (the same island in the earlier photo) taken in warmer conditions. It captures some of the elements that make Island Bay such a beautiful location – the cliffs of the Wairarapa in the background, along with the light from a distant lighthouse, the sun setting to the right, and a light trail from a passing plane approaching nearby Wellington airport.
Finally, three portraits taken in collaboration with the beautiful Miss Wimmy. The theme here is taking photos outside, in natural light. This simple approach to portrait photography appeals to me.