Pick of the 2012 pics: NIGEL McNEIL

Port News photographer Nigel McNeil was one of our "men behind the lens" again this year. This gallery is a  showcase of his favourites.

: I was just passing this display as I left the Glasshouse and I couldn’t resist taking a shot of the cicada and sugar ant sculptures.

: I was just passing this display as I left the Glasshouse and I couldn’t resist taking a shot of the cicada and sugar ant sculptures.

Australia Day 2012 was a wet one so we embraced the theme and went with it at Lake Cathie.

Australia Day 2012 was a wet one so we embraced the theme and went with it at Lake Cathie.

Love the colours of this pic at Port Macquarie's mountain bike track.

Love the colours of this pic at Port Macquarie's mountain bike track.

Clint Ritchie’s siblings Kylie Dyson, Belinda and Mark Ricthie with Peter Dobson gathered to remember the youngster when he was fatally injured with Kane Bramble on the Oxley Highway on New Year’s Day.

Clint Ritchie’s siblings Kylie Dyson, Belinda and Mark Ricthie with Peter Dobson gathered to remember the youngster when he was fatally injured with Kane Bramble on the Oxley Highway on New Year’s Day.

It’s not often we stumble across these types of stories. Young Ella-Jayne Wehlow turned 12 on the 12th of the 12th, 2012. We let the balloons do the talking. The only other time I have had a situation like this was photographing a woman who turned 88, on the 8th of the 8th in 1988.

It’s not often we stumble across these types of stories. Young Ella-Jayne Wehlow turned 12 on the 12th of the 12th, 2012. We let the balloons do the talking. The only other time I have had a situation like this was photographing a woman who turned 88, on the 8th of the 8th in 1988.

A fundraising effort for young Freyja Hines helped her improve mobility and the joy is there to see on her mother, Lee Christian's face.

A fundraising effort for young Freyja Hines helped her improve mobility and the joy is there to see on her mother, Lee Christian's face.

Murray Thompson training for GeoQuest 2012. As the ride is a day-night event, I tried to hit Murray with a flash to create a night-like photo that would be more authentic.  Pics: NIGEL McNEIL.

Murray Thompson training for GeoQuest 2012. As the ride is a day-night event, I tried to hit Murray with a flash to create a night-like photo that would be more authentic. Pics: NIGEL McNEIL.

Koala Hospital volunteers Milicia McCosh and Graeme Kennedy replant trees that had been vandalised. This shot exudes fresh life with the vibrant colours and I positioned the photo to show the tree’s growth despite the attempts by some to thwart it.

Koala Hospital volunteers Milicia McCosh and Graeme Kennedy replant trees that had been vandalised. This shot exudes fresh life with the vibrant colours and I positioned the photo to show the tree’s growth despite the attempts by some to thwart it.

Lighthouse keeper Mark Stone travels around the state to look after the maintenance of these nautical mainstays. It was a little tricky getting into position but worth the aerobic workout.

Lighthouse keeper Mark Stone travels around the state to look after the maintenance of these nautical mainstays. It was a little tricky getting into position but worth the aerobic workout.

This is one of the sadder parts of the job. Earlier in the year, a yacht ran aground overnight. The next morning the alarm was raised and surf rescue were part of the search attempt which unfortunately ended in another lost life.

This is one of the sadder parts of the job. Earlier in the year, a yacht ran aground overnight. The next morning the alarm was raised and surf rescue were part of the search attempt which unfortunately ended in another lost life.

Stepheine Figgins was giving up her hair to assist Shave For a Cure and the fact she had such a beautiful mane we asked her to show us the goods before kissing them goodbye.

Stepheine Figgins was giving up her hair to assist Shave For a Cure and the fact she had such a beautiful mane we asked her to show us the goods before kissing them goodbye.

The new skate park had an ongoing campaign about lighting issues so I totally underexposed the shot knowing the kids would be lit up in the centre and it worked out perfectly

The new skate park had an ongoing campaign about lighting issues so I totally underexposed the shot knowing the kids would be lit up in the centre and it worked out perfectly

Horizontal at Stoney Park.

Horizontal at Stoney Park.

The eyes have it at the snooker table.

The eyes have it at the snooker table.

Carving.

Carving.

And they're off ...

And they're off ...