I usually look over my Lightroom catalog at the end of each year and pull out my favourite images, as many of us do. I think it is a beneficial part of the creative process to periodically review our work, see where we were and where we are going.
Keeping our annual collections of favourite images as collections in Lightroom then enables us to compare our progress year on year. The changes in the style of our work, our choice of subject matter, improvements in our technical skills (both with the camera and in post processing) as well as our creative vision can be very enlightening.
I usually make it a habit to go through all of my images over the Xmas holiday. I cull the years work, deleting all of the images I know I will never work on. I am ruthless in this. I had almost 12,000 images in my Lightroom catalog from 2016 (and this was after the many I delete soon after import too). By the end of my cull I had just over 2000 left. I know many photographers keep everything ('just in case' - although I am never really sure quite in case of what) and this is fine. However bloated catalogs will gradually slow Lightroom down, they will be harder to manage, especially as regards backing up (and take up resources and bandwidth copying massive amounts of data to our Cloud backup service). I really see little point in keeping 48 images of the same sunrise or 6 bracketed exposures of an image. So I sit for a couple of days at the computer, knuckle down, suck it up and make those difficult decisions and delete away. It is very cathartic.
Another benefit is finding images I have forgotten about. Hidden gems lurking in the catalog. I keep a collection synchronised with Lightroom Mobile which holds all the images I am working on. Following this years review of my images I have over 1000 to select from to process, many from days in the field I had completely overlooked. Last year I didn't have chance to cull my 2015 files so I am doing it now. I am about half way through, but I have already deleted another 6000 images. It feels really good to be rid of this dross.
So this is why I have sub-titled this collection 'My Favourite Images of 2016 So Far'. It may very well be that some I show here will be relegated by ones I still have to process. But for now, these are the 12 I am happiest with, in chronological order
This image was made in the Lake District in January. Like the vast majority of my work these days, it was shot hand held, using a high ISO and wide aperture. I am enjoying the freedom from the constraints of the tripod. It does mean I make more images (hence my deletion rate) but it also means I make images I wouldn't have made before when tied to the tripod, either because they would be too awkward or I would have missed the moment faffing about setting up. Working hand held allows me to experiment with shooting height, angles and positions much more than when using a tripod and suits my love of prime lenses too. In this image I love the unusual colour of the light, the graphic shapes and the high contrast.
This image was made, again hand held, on the glorious North Norfolk coast. A place that is neglected by so many landscape photographers who don't realise just how stunning it is. I'm not sure whether to encourage more to visit, or to keep quiet about it and savour it for myself and the few of us who appreciate it glories. In this image I love the soft muted colour palette, the silvery water channels and the lovely cloud details. Norfolk has the most wonderful skies. Made in the middle of the day it is a demonstration that having to shoot only in the 'golden hours' is a myth.