My personal favourites from 2012 by Neil Alexander

Having let the dust settle on the images I made late last year up in the Lake District, it's time to trawl through my archive and select my personal favourite photographs from 2012. I can safely say, all in all, that I feel my work has once again improved upon the year before. It's always a very theraputic, yet time consuming exercise. I often find myself getting in a bit of a creative fug at the beginning of a new year, so I find this an extremely valuable lesson.

Click on an image to view the lightbox with my comments.

If you'd like to do your own comparison, here are the similar post from 2011 & 2010

Have you compiled your favourites from last year? Feel free links to them in the comments below.

Do you have any particular favourites from my selections above?

"Go Lakes" - Cumbria Tourist Board Campaign by Neil Alexander

Earlier in the year I shot the Lake House at Gilpin Lodge. I was recently notified that one of the images in particular was being used as part of an ad campaign by Juiced Orange on behalf of the Cumbria Tourist Board and their Go Lakes campaign to promote the Lake District on the London Underground escalator screens.

"The creative was focused on grabbing the audiences attention and offering them a moment of escapism as they went about their journey to or from work, with strong imagery, simple messaging and a clear call to action of The media consisted of 48 sheet, cross track posters and Digital posters at key interchange stations including Euston, Kings Cross, St Pancras and Victoria."

I think it's quite effective. What do you think?


The Lake House at the Gilpin Lodge Hotel by Neil Alexander

The Harriet Suite, Lake House, Gilpin Lodge Hotel, Lake District

 A couple of weeks ago, I was extremely lucky to be given the chance to shoot some images for my portfolio up at the incredible Lake House, part of the Relais & Chateaux Gilpin Lodge Hotel. There are 6 delightful suites set in 100 acres of woodland on the edge of Knipe Tarn. This 5 star boutique hotel, quite separate from the main hotel itself, is fully staffed with a bar, dining room, swimming pool, and lounge. Since opening in September 2010, many guests have been simply "blown away" by the Lake House, and I can safely say that on arrival, I was too.

The Harriet Suite, Lake House, Gilpin Lodge Hotel, Lake District

Photographically, the weather was far from ideal. The earliest I could get up there, for one reason or another was about 11am, and as it was a gorgeous summer's day with barely a cloud in the sky by the time I got to shooting, the light was harsh. And very contrasty. Very quickly, I decided it was pointless trying to attempt any exterior shots. All my work would have to be carried out inside, and even then a whole chunk of bracketing was going to be required. Lately I've been trialling a new technique for interiors which basically consists of shooting several bracketed exposures (the number of which depends on just how contrasty the scene is), and then "fusing" them in Lightroom using a plugin called enFuse. Similar to HDR, but not quite, this method produces far more realistic interiors by combining the shadows and highlights from different frames into one, rather than using tone mapping, and the lack of a round trip from Lightroom to say, Photomatix and then back again, has vastly speeded up my workflow.

The Harriet Suite, Lake House, Gilpin Lodge Hotel, Lake District

All that's really left after the fusing, is straightening any converging verticals in Photoshop (I really wish Nikon would do a tilt/shift wider than 24mm), and some simple tweaks in the develop module in Lightroom.

The Harriet Suite, Lake House, Gilpin Lodge Hotel, Lake District

The Harriet Suite, Lake House, Gilpin Lodge Hotel, Lake District

All that's left to say, is a huge thank you to Zoë and her lovely staff. Hopefully I'll be back up there in the not too distant future to get some exteriors and some shots of the main hotel too.