Photographer Spotlight: Enjoy an Adventure and the Views with Isaac Borrego

What Isaac finds most important during his photo shoots is the opportunity to enjoy the moment and then capture each of those experiences from his own point of view through his photography. At Flickr, we are lucky enough to see all of those captured moments, from one vast and dramatic landscape to the next.

Walking Through the Desert - Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Shades of Blue

Before Isaac began pursuing photography, he was taught how to appreciate nature and his surroundings, through hiking trips with his parents.  At the time, video games were more of a priority, but with the simple gift of a disposable film camera and the guarantee that he would have to join in on family hiking time regardless, he soon found a new pursuit in photography. 

Isaac said,”Somehow the act of capturing the things I was seeing in nature gave hiking more of a purpose to my very objective-oriented mind, and I quickly became enamored with taking photos. In the end, the joke is on my parents, as the cost for all the film I went through as a kid must’ve really been something. And very quickly I became the one dragging them out on more difficult hikes.”

Maroon Reflection
Super Natural British Columbia
Home on the Range

When considering his style, Isaac expressed that his style is realistic. He is constantly in search of interesting composition. He has an eye for finding appealing and strong, contrasting colors that help his images pop. Isaac explained, “I do want to capture a moment as accurately and technically well as possible, though for me, it’s much more important to capture it in a way that feels real to what I experienced. Almost like a good memory rather than a fully faithful reproduction of a scene.”

As to scouting out his locations, early on, Isaac spent a lot of time virtually wandering sites like the now shuttered, Panoramio. Isaac said, “Panoramio was a photo sharing site similar to Flickr, the images were all geolocated and would show up on Google Earth. My inspiration grew out of that virtual wandering, with two goals; to go to the areas with many photos and capture them in my own way and also, to find interesting places that seemingly hadn’t been put on the map yet in order to capture something that maybe no one else has before.” What remained most important during this process was that the images were uniquely his own and a proper representation of how he experienced the shoot. 

Rocks of Lake McDonald
Sea Spires
Watersprite Lake Serenity

His gear of choice consists of a much loved Cannon 7D with equally weathered 18-135mm and 10-18mm lenses. Isaac joked, “One time I got my camera cleaned, and they told me it was the dirtiest camera interior they’ve ever seen. This wasn’t said in a particularly nice way, but to be honest, it’s probably one of my proudest moments as a photographer. Because I started with the cheapest possible cameras, I’ve always been a very firm believer that the best camera is the one that you have with you.”

Court of the Patriarchs

We asked Isaac to share one of his favorite shots from his Flickr Print Shop with us. The one he chose is called, Court of the Patriarchs, which he considers to be one of his best star trail shots.

Isaac went on to explain the photo, “This one, taken of a famous formation in Zion National Park, consists of many 30 second exposures taken continuously over about 45 minutes and stitched together using image stacking software. During one spring break in college, I met up with some family out in Utah. I asked my dad if he wanted to tag along for some night photography, and we just hung out chatting while waiting for the stars to move in the sky. It was a nice moment. Conditions were already good, with dark and clear skies, but they got even better when the moon suddenly rose over the opposite wall of the canyon and lit up the rock pinnacles in the foreground. Getting the stationary North Star in there was just the icing on the cake.”

To set up this shot, Isaac set his camera for continuous shooting and used a remote shutter with a locking mechanism. This allowed it to take 30-second exposures. Isaac said, “I used a fisheye lens to get the maximum view of the sky. This lens also had a manual focus that was much easier to set in the dark than my other lenses. Once I got all the shots, I used a photo stacking application to put them together, exported the image, and then did my normal processing in Photoshop. Star trails for me are about representing the passage of time spent with family and friends while the shutter is open.”

Down the Line
Last Light on the Mountains
Fence at the End of the Road

Not surprisingly, Isaac’s other hobbies also involve spending time outdoors. He enjoys hiking, rock climbing, backpacking and sea kayaking, as well as exploring the city.

As to his time as a Flickr member, Isaac said, “The most important thing is that it gives me an avenue to put my work out into the world and to see other people’s work in a setting that doesn’t feel contrived or profit motivated. I used to feel the need to share my work on various social media sites, but lately I’ve pulled back to focus on taking photos mostly for myself and occasionally to share with close friends and family. Flickr is the exception, because I do like to look at others’ work for inspiration, but more importantly because I view my photostream almost as a journal. Going through it is like going back in time, with basically all my crazy adventures recorded since I first started shooting with digital. It’s cool to look back sometimes and see how I’ve progressed as an artist.”

To keep an eye on what Isaac is up to, the best place to see his work is right here on Flickr.

Prints of some of his images are available to purchase in the Flickr Print Shop.

You can also find him on Instagram