Personal Bests of 2014 – Get Inspired and Share Yours

Personal Bests of 2014 – Get Inspired and Share Yours

We celebrate progress on all levels – whether you’re a pro trying to stretch your personal limits or a novice who just learned how to shoot manually. We get better every year that we stick to our photographic and cinematic goals. Here are the personal favorites of 2014 from a variety of our employees, friends, and partners from all backgrounds, styles, and skill levels. Check out the images and videos below, see what they shot with, and get inspired.

This is one of Seán Duggan’s favorite images from 2014. He took it while deep inside an ice cave that extended 300 meters back beneath an Iceland glacier. His guide provided the perfect sense of scale for this enormous “room”. This is an HDR blend of 3 exposures shot with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 lens.

In his worldwide workshops, Michael Corsentino teaches students how to achieve fashion and glamor portraits like this City Girl Fashion editorial he shot in Brooklyn. Corsentino lit this scene with a Profoto B1 Air Flash and an Elinchrom Deep Octa. His work and travels can be followed on Instagram: @corsentino.

Travel dominates every year of Michael Bonocore’s life and 2014 was no exception. He ran the second camera for a SmugMug Films production on the adventures of surf photographer Chris Burkard. Burkard documented a group of surfers braving blizzards, high winds, and freezing temperatures in search of the perfect wave. When Bonocore wasn’t shooting slow motion of Burkard in action on the Sony FS700, he was shooting behind-the-scenes images. This experience fueled Bonocore’s burgeoning passion for motion pictures, which he’ll be working further on in 2015.

Renee Robyn’s Leap of Faith is not only a piece of imagery but also a plea for perseverance in the face of failure. Read all about how Robyn shot this piece and her motivation behind it in her own words. It was taken on a Canon 5D Mark II with a 50mm lens and lit with Profoto in Halifax, UK.

Tessa Kit Zawadzki is an avid traveler and spent 2014 exploring the United States, including a first-time trip to New York City where she shot this cityscape. Zawadzki achieved energetic light streaks and calm waters with the help of a 30 second shutter speed on a Canon 5D Mark III.

Schmoo Theune is a recovering gear addict who now takes a streamlined approach to photography shooting almost exclusively with a Leica M 240. Her street and aerial photography has taken her all over the world, including Chernobyl! The above was taken at the Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska.

Lotus Carroll keeps herself busy every year by coordinating Drink and Click™ and being a teacher, mother, and photographer! The above image, I Should Know Who I Am By Now, was captured with the help of a Canon 5D Mark III and a Canon 24-105mm f/4 IS lens. She used her iPhone with a Triggertrap to fire the shot.

Jamie MacDonald had been out chasing storms all day and came back home empty-handed. While finishing dinner, his wife nodded toward the window and said she’d see him later. She knew full well that the reds and oranges of a post-storm sky would draw her husband right back out the door. MacDonald ended up at a little farm 5 miles from home. He captured this Northeasterly scene, titled Country Eve, with an Olympus OM-D E-M10 and a 12mm f/2 lens at f/10 and ISO 200.

Alexis Cuarezma’s 2014 was big. His work graced the cover of Sports Illustrated and he’s taken his techniques to new levels by mixing strobes and continuous lighting while shooting both stills and video. For this image, shot in Southern California, Cuarezma was setting up video lighting when the boxer, who was standing by for the main shoot, looked just right bathed in a single, hot light. Even on set photographers must always seek unexpected opportunities and this one was captured using a Canon 5D Mark II at ISO 1600. Get behind-the-scenes shots from Cuarezma over on his Instagram: @alexiscuarezma.

Andy Williams proves the rule that you should never throw away your soft shots. Through a little bit of panning experimentation with his Panasonic mirrorless camera at a 1.6 second shutter speed, Williams captured this painterly wooded scene in Scotland. His wife took a particular liking to it and now it hangs 8′ large in their home.

Julia Kuzmenko McKim is part of a team of established photographers and retouchers who teach beauty and fashion techniques through training videos and tutorials via the Retouching Academy. They are also releasing their free digital magazine, [RE]TOUCHED, in January 2015! This image is one of a dozen lighting setups explained in Kuzmenko McKim’s upcoming training video, Go Pro: Studio Beauty, which will be released in January.

Joe Ercoli and a couple of visiting photographer friends from L.A. camped out on Telegraph Hill to get a straight vantage point of San Francisco’s famous Lombard street. Dragging 5 tripods into the middle of the street, the group would fire off a couple of shots before running back, dodging traffic. Ercoli managed to capture 25 seconds of exposure during one of the run-outs. To add some magic to the entire thing, he composited in a pleasing sky. This was taken on a Canon 5D Mark II with a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS attached to a Canon 1.4x Extender to max out his focal length at 280mm. Even at that length, Ercoli had to crop in a bit in post.

Marc Silber creates award-winning interview and behind-the-scenes videos for dot coms and creative professionals. In this video, Silber Studios shoots over the shoulder of Stan Musilek during one of his almost nude photo shoots. Don’t let the thumbnail scare you – it’s fairly safe for work.

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief of The Phoblographer and rarely finds the time to shoot for himself. When he does, he spends his efforts on experimental work and alternative processes for personal growth. This pinhole image was shot with a Diana F+ on Kodak Tri-X film, ISO 400. The exposure was found with a hand-held meter and exposed for 6 seconds. He says, “One of the most important things to do as a professional photographer is to ensure that you keep a balance between your personal life, your work, and your personal work. And maintaining that balance will always be your greatest challenge.”

2014 was a very big year for David Crewe. He made a major move to a new home and got a brand new job with Phlearn. In between all of that, he rarely found time to shoot unless it was time lapse work. While staying in Las Vegas, Crewe assisted a colleague on a photography project just for fun and ended up getting to shoot cosplay model, RIN, with a Nikon D800 and an 85mm lens. He used an Alien Bees ABR800 Ring Flash to light the scene, which you can just barely make out in this character’s creepy eyes!

Folks who work at BorrowLenses, like Mark Shastany, are exposed to so much gear and so many images that seeking something a little different becomes priority. Shastany went on a personal architecture tour of Boston with a D4s and a 24mm PC-E Tilt Shift lens and pointed it straight up a building. It looks as though the sky is the floor in a long, strange hallway and reminds us all that perspective is half the fun of shooting!

Michael’s Frye’s Moon Setting on a Misty Night was taken in El Capitan Meadow, Yosemite. His intention was to photograph the moonset from Tunnel View but all of the low-lying mist drove him to the meadow instead. To avoid lens flare, he positioned the moon behind a tree. He tried a number of different in-camera compositions and chose the one that included the sky to remind everyone that this was, indeed, taken at night – hence his 1600 ISO and 8 second exposure! Frye used a Sony a7R with a Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 lens to capture this scene and you can learn more about this shot through the photographer’s own words over on his blog.

Sohail Mamdani spent 2014 transitioning from digital photography to videography and film photography. His burgeoning cinema skills have been used to help fellow photographers, like Faran Najafi. In this behind-the-scenes video, Mamdani captures the working style of Najafi and the modeling skills of Lizzie Gunst and Omid Jan, whose makeup and styling was done by Sara Dashty and Rebekah Carey, respectively. Mamdani worked with editor Suzy Fahmy for a polished finish proving that collaboration is key in almost any project. This video was shot on a Panasonic GH3 and a Canon 5D Mark III with a variety of lenses, including the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8, the Voigtlander f/.95 series (17.5mm, 25mm, and 42.5mm), and the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8.

Speaking of collaboration, this shot by Niki Aguirre took a lot of coordinating! This was a family portrait commission taken with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon 24mm 1.4L. She shot each family member individually for a Moonrise Kingdom-esque blending of the characters at the end.

For this shot, David Kingham hiked to the best overlook in the San Juans in Colorado. It’s a short but steep trail that leads to complete solitude and Kingham carried a light load in preparation for it: a Fuji X-T1 with an 18-55mm lens and a tripod. To get this scene of warm light pouring over the Cimmarons, Kingham made a 2-row panoramic of 25 single exposures!

Mike Sun is a videographer, photographer, and BorrowLenses employee who shoots a lot of music, promotional, and event work. He co-wrote, produced, and edited the music video for To Be Devoured by local Boston band Here We Just Dream. In his off-time he captures scenes such as this Fall Bike Ride, taken with a Canon 5D Mark III at 1/1000th of a second.

While many photographers are out chasing famous faces, Josh Norem of The Furrtographer has celebrity encounters of the animal persuasion. Norem is an A-list pet photographer in San Francisco and was named Best Dog Photographer for 2014 in Bay Woof magazine’s Beast of the Bay awards. He’s photographed Lil Bub, Jarvis P. Weasley, Boo the Dog, and was among the first to capture a shot of San Francisco’s first red panda, Tenzing. Of meeting Tardar Sauce, aka Grumpy Cat, he said, “She was in a bit of a bad mood.” To get your daily dose of cute, be sure to follow Norem on Facebook and Instagram. He used a Nikon D810 and a bounced SB-910 flash to get this shot.

When not curating content for BorrowLenses’ social media accounts and managing the affiliate program, Scott Roeder is taking on commercial and wedding gigs. This image was shot for SCUBA manufacturer Oceanic to feature their new regulator, the Zeo. Roeder captured this scene in a studio with a Canon 5D Mark III, a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8, a Profoto B1 Air Flash, and a softbox. He used a spray bottle to create the water droplet effect and then shipped the image off to Chris Quinby for post production and composite work.

Alexandria Huff is a 4 year veteran at BorrowLenses where her tasks include copy editing and writing for this very blog! She specializes in chiaroscuro style portraiture and is a contributing writer for 500px, SmugMug, and Digital Camera magazine. Benjamin Von Wong nominated her for the Ice Bucket Challenge. She accepted and shot in her signature style using 1 Einstein in “action mode” and fired an Olympus OM-D E-M1 using their app on a Nexus 7 while her husband dumped the bucket of water. You can see the behind-the-scenes in this video.

A fellow writer here on the BL blog, Kymberly Cortigiano specializes in travel, food, and experimental photography. She shot the Day of the Valencian Community celebrations on the streets of Valencia, Spain with the Sony RX100, which allowed her to be inconspicuous without sacrificing full manual control. Her oft-inspiring blog articles can be found here.

Marc Muench has spent over 100 nights sleeping under the stars in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and in all that time he never enjoyed a more colorful wave of clouds as he did when he took this shot in Tuolumne Meadows. 2014 has been marked as the “year of the wave”. Join him next year for more photo ops like this one on a workshop in the Eastern Sierras.

North Carolina-based wedding photographer Allie Miller battled an incoming storm in 82º weather while getting this shot. It was humid, muggy, windy, and darker than normal for the hour. Rather than fret she took advantage of the moody scene by going for a dramatically underexposed portrait illuminated by a Westcott Rapid Box Octa-Mini and 1 Nikon flash set to full power. The stressful circumstances forced her to produce one of her favorite images of the year! She shot this with a Nikon D7100 and a Nikon 12-24mm f/4.

Omari Stephens visited San Francisco’s deYoung gallery to see Peter Stackpole’s photographic coverage of the construction of the original Bay Bridge, which was a celebration that coincided with the opening of the Bay Bridge’s new eastern span. While waiting for a concert to begin in the atrium of the gallery, Stephens noticed a sense of calm among the bustle – a lone security guard looking down through a solitary window. Stephens writes photo essays using a combination of documentary and artistic street photography. He shoots with both a pair of Nikon D7100s and a Fuji X-T1.

Sarah Lynn Bowler is a BorrowLenses employee and wedding photographer. This year she shot a small same-sex wedding in a gazebo in a Boston park and at the end of the ceremony the officiant told everyone to lay hands on the new couple to show their love and support. Bowler got this shot while unexpectedly squished into the big group hug! This was taken with a Canon 6D and a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens.

When not working at BorrowLenses, Ryan Tubongbanua is shooting weddings and other events in a photo-journalistic way for a “photo story” result. He loves to travel and, therefore, particularly loves destination weddings. He shot this scene with a Canon 1D X and a Canon 35mm f/1.4 lens.

Wedding photographer Jay Cassario has always wanted to shoot a wedding on a mountain farm. He finally got the chance this year at an amazing venue in Massachusetts that was full of old barns, rolling hills, and traditional stone walls. Cassario convinced the couple to take a lengthy walk up to a wall that wrapped the property. He spotted the sun in a particularly pleasing position and used a Nikon 45mm f/2.8 tilt-shift lens to create this ethereal shot that’s soft in all the right places.

Jay Goodrich was 1 of 5 photographers invited to shoot the Leavenworth Mountain Association Invitational in Washington state this year. Each photographer competed against one another by producing a slideshow that best highlighted mountain biking culture. They had 72 hours to shoot and 1 day to edit. BorrowLenses provided the Nikon flashes for this nighttime ghostly action scene. To see the entire slideshow, check out Goodrich’s story here.

Lisa Czech is a BorrowLenses employee by day and a concert photographer by night. She has shot Imagine Dragons, Panic! at the Disco, and more, including this backstage moment with Tim Corrigan of We Were Astronauts. This candid was shot with a Nikon D600 and a Sigma 35mm f/1.4.

Jessica Nichols strives to capture the magic in the ordinary using a Canon 50mm lens. She is especially known for her botanical photography. When she posted this image to Instagram (follow her at @jessicanicholsart), she learned the Japanese word for “falling cherry blossoms” or “petal storm” from a fan: hanafubuki.

Andy Biggs is an outdoor photographer and conservationist who also launched his own camera bag brand, Gura Gear, in order to provide fellow adventure photographers with a lightweight solution for their gear. He leads workshops the world over, his favorite being Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees: The Ultimate Great Apes Photo Safari which gives photographers the unique chance to be with mountain gorillas in a lush environment.

As photographers we sometimes forget to capture not just the beautiful but the humorously mundane. Canva chief evangelist (and former Apple chief evangelist) Guy Kawasaki snapped this scene with his Moto X while on vacation. “What better way to share quality time than for everyone to get on their Apple device?”

Wedding and portrait photographer Andy Lim took this while on vacation in China. The pond was designed like a Chinese painting with the reflections creating something almost like second horizons. Lim captured this scene with a Nikon D600 and a Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. Shooting at f/9.5 helped him to keep the entire scene sharp.

BorrowLenses employee Sadie Fortin has a passion for both cars and cameras that started at a young age. She strives for bold images with very specific lighting. To get this shot, Fortin used a solitary Westcott Ice Light to light paint the car over a 30 second exposure!

Long Nguyen is an adventure/sports photographer and journalist who has shot for Red Bull, GT Bicycles, and more. This shot was taken with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and filled with an Alien Bee light triggered with Pocket Wizard TT5s.

We want to see your personal best from 2014! Show us in the comments below!

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Alexandria Huff's photography and lighting tutorials can be found on 500px and her blog. She is a Marketing Coordinator for BorrowLenses.com and also writes for SmugMug. She learned about lighting and teaching while modeling for photographers such as Joe McNally and has since gone on to teach lighting workshops of her own in San Francisco. Previously, she shot motorsports for X-Games, World Rally Cross, and Formula Drift. See her chiaroscuro-style painterly portraits on her website.

1 Comment

  1. Ha, I just found this! Way to go David! Us being colleagues has proven to be quite beneficial 😀

    Reply

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