My Top 10 Photos for 2011


It is a tradition for me to look back on my year in photography each January. I find it a great exercise in seeing where I’ve been, what I’ve achieved and discover any strengths I may have been neglecting. It’s also a good chance to show off my work a little :) It’s always a challenge to distil a year’s work into just ten (plus two) photos, but I really do feel I’m left with the very best of my work. I hope you’ll enjoy looking at and reading about these photos as much as I did taking them.

January 16 – Sunset on Broken Pier

Sunset on Broken Pier

When I saw this gorgeous sunset, I wanted to try and create a slightly surreal photo from the scene. I used a deliberately long exposure to turn the waves into a misty appearance, and in processing I exaggerated the saturation. It's the first time I've had a vision for a heavily creatively processed photo when I actually took it, and was happy that it turned out as well as I imagined.

January 22 – Celina as Hikaru

Celina as Hikaru

I did a cosplay photo shoot with my good friends Annie, Sefie and Celina, and this shot came out of that. Cosplaying characters from Magic Knight Rayearth (link), we shot in the Dandenong forests around sunset. As the sun turned golden, it shone through a gap in the trees and provided this divine light as Celina spun to bring more life to her cloak. See more photos from this shoot.

February 27 – Siami as Luka

Siami as Luka

I really enjoyed this photo shoot with Siami and her friend Bonnie, taken with a small audience of friends. This shoot was a new look for both of the girls, and I think they looked very beautiful. They were dressed as Luka and Miku from the Vocaloid song Magnet. You can see more photos from this shoot. Incidentally, this is the third year in a row that Siami has been in my top 10 posts :)

March 3 – Nathan G

Nathan G

My brother-in-law Nathan is an extremely talented and successful DJ, producer and recording artist. On occasion I’ve done shoots with him which he has been to use as promo images. A photo from this shoot was used as the cover for his latest album Glow. This was my favourite photo from the shoot however. This shot was taken at home with a folding backdrop and a couple of small flashes. It just goes to show that professional photos are in just about anyone’s reach.

March 22 – St Columbar Falls River Panorama

St Columbar Falls River Panorama

Naomi and I returned to a favourite destination, Tasmania, to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. While there we paid a visit to the St Columbar Falls. The walk was a bit long and steep, but the falls were amazing (and very wet!) as was the incredibly lush and green forest along the river that flowed from them. I took this spherical panorama there. View the full interactive panorama here. See more photos from our trip to Tasmania.

View in high quality.

June 3 – Blacklight Celina

Blacklight Celina

I tried to push myself a bit more creatively this year, and one of the ways I did that was to collaborate with my extremely talented friend and beauty blogger Celina. I’ve had the idea to do a UV/blacklight shoot for a while, and I knew Celina would have the make-up expertise to create a cool look with it. This photo (taken with macro extension rings) is my favourite result of the collaboration. I also created a short video from the shoot. Have a look at more photos from the shoot.

July 30 – Naomi


Surprisingly, taking a great photo of my beautiful wife has been a challenge for me. I think it’s because I don’t think any photo I’ve taken has been able to capture the true beauty I see in her with my own eyes. This year I finally was able to do it. This photo means a lot to me, and I’m very happy to have been able to take it. Good friend and previous three-time top 10 feature Annie provided her skills with Naomi’s make up.

July 30 – Sagittarius Overhead

Sagittarius Overhead

This photo is proof of how easy night sky photography can be. I was away on a photography trip shooting friends last weekend, and we were hoping for clear skies to do some stargazing. It was cloudy for most of the weekend but we got one good break of half an hour or so. While chatting to my excited friends explaining the night sky to them, I snapped a few photos, only half paying attention. After processing, I realised that the photo was actually very striking. I’m thrilled with the result.

View in high quality.

October 14 – Reclining Min

Reclining Min

What happens when you go to an uninhabited island with 30 strangers and their cameras and one model? Photographic magic. I joined a Facebook photographer’s group called Snappy Shutters this year, and Naomi and I decided to attend a four day photographic retreat they organised. We had an absolutely fantastic time, made many new friends and took lots of great photos. If you had the opportunity to shoot a gorgeous model on the beach in front of a spectacular sunset, how could it not be in your top 10 photos for the year? Model: Minnie Sha. Have a look at more of my photos from the trip.

December 19 – Splashed Mai

Splashed Mai

I’ve wanted to do a photo shoot with splashing water for a very long time, and when I won a voucher for a free day’s shooting in a studio with a wet area (at the Snappy Shutters retreat), it gave me the perfect opportunity. Originally planned as an art nude shoot, the scope expanded to include swimsuits and a drum kit! See more photos from the shoot (more pics are still to come). The photo I have chosen as my last top 10 photo is of Mai, taken during her art nude session at the shoot (but not showing anything in this particular photo). Mai is a very free spirited person and he modelling style is very spontaneous and adventurous. I loved this pose, her expression, the dynamic element added by the torrent of water and the flawless make up as applied by my ever talented friend Annie.

Honourable Mentions

It’s always incredibly difficult to cull down all of my photos to just ten best, so traditionally I’ve included two ‘honourable mentions’ in my posts; photos that didn’t quite make the cut but I couldn’t leave out entirely.

July 23 – Queen of Blades

Queen of Blades

Good friend Sefie (aka Diana) is not just a great cosplayer and amazing make up artist, but she is also a gamer. She has long had the idea of recreating the Brood War cover artwork featuring Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades. It was my honour to be asked to help her with the photography. We had a lot of fun at the shoot, which was done in parallel with another shoot with Celina. You can see more photos here, and an awesome behind the scenes video made by Celina’s partner Toby here.

December 19 – Gorgeous Gin

Gorgeous Gin

Finally, another photo to come out of the “Splash” shoot. I don’t think too much needs to be said about this photo, it speaks for itself. A beautiful girl, lovely make up (Again by Annie), cool dramatic lighting, splashing water and a sexy pose. I couldn’t leave this photo out of the list :) More photos from the shoot.

If you enjoyed these photos, you may like to see my previous top ten photo collections:


  • […] Neil has been busy with other photography work including weddings, an interesting light painting job for AMP and ongoing sales of his stock photography. One image, a 360 degree panorama was recently bought by the online Smithsonian Magazine, which he was rather chuffed about. Neil continues to update his equipment and learn new techniques to keep ahead of the pack, so he can be prepared to write about it in his books. In February he started assisting Phil Hart, a good friend and brilliant astrophotographer in his new Night Sky Photography Workshops. These are held at Lake Eppalock, Victoria where light pollution is low and there is a large house for all participants to stay in. Neil always enjoys these weekend workshops and hopes to continue these with Phil when he returns from his overseas adventures late next year. If you would like to see Neil’s 2011 top 10 photos from various photoshoots, check out his blog post. […]

    January 3, 2012
  • It has only been in recent weeks that I’ve come to know your work. And your photos have left quite an impression.
    I especially like the beach sunset and… you know what? All the photos are lovely.
    Thank you for providing insight into how some of your photos are created.

    January 3, 2012
    • Thank you very much Melissa, it’s great to have you here! I’m so glad you like my photos. I love sharing my love for photography and what I know, so it gives me joy to teach others about my process. I’m glad you find it useful :)

      January 5, 2012
  • Roger

    Great set of photos. My favourite would be the sunset one. I have no doubt that this year will be another fantastic year of images from you.

    January 3, 2012
    • Thanks Roger :) It’s great to have your support and encouragement over the years. It’s especially meaningful from another photographer, and a talented one at that :)

      January 5, 2012
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    January 13, 2012
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    January 17, 2012
  • Some rely nice collection of shoot, amazing photo year (=

    January 17, 2012
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    January 18, 2012
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    January 23, 2012
  • Lyle

    You are a good photographer and I enjoy viewing your work.

    I see why you chose these as your best of 2011.

    I curious though why you feel a need to post them so large. I find the vertical shots loose something when I need to scroll to see the whole image.

    February 16, 2012
  • Good idea to do a best of the year. Thanks for sharing your inspiring work!

    April 29, 2012

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