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Best Of 2019: Favorite Photos From The Alpha Collective, Part 2

Before 2020 can really get up to full speed, AlphaUniverse.com is taking a last look back at some of the best photos of 2019. The Sony Alpha Imaging Collective is part of the #SonyAlpha community and they have a reputation for challenging the limits of their cameras' capabilities. We wanted to hear more about the Alpha Collective's work from the past year, so we asked these creatives to choose the image from 2019 that was most meaningful to them. See the photos that some of the members chose below and the story behind what makes each so meaningful to its photographer. This is the second article in a series and you can see more 'Best Of 2019' photos from the Alpha Collective in Part 1.

In the second part of our series, AlphaUniverse.com is taking a last look back at some of the best of 2019. We're showcasing the best photos from the Alpha Imaging Collective and why each was so meaningful to the photographer.

Oveck Reyes (@oveck)


Sony α7R III. Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master.

“While we visited many places in New Zealand, this was one of those places that takes your breath away. I shot this handheld on our Alpha Collective trip to New Zealand (#AICdoesNewZealand) on a beautiful sunset among friends. This is one of my favorite images I took this year because I wanted to challenge  myself to shoot landscape with a telephoto lens as opposed to a wide angle lens, and I feel I accomplished a great composition and compression of this incredible place. It was one of the places in the world I always dreamed of visiting.”

Tiffany Nguyen (@tiffpenguin)


Sony α7R III. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master.

"It’s easy to feel small when you’re surrounded by such grand landscapes. This composition immediately caught my eye and I wanted to make my audience feel as if they were right next to me when I took this photo. The glow hitting the rock cliff and reeds in the foreground was something I wanted to capture to bring some warmth into the image. The landscapes in Norway are like nothing I’ve ever seen before and I wanted to show how epic it was in just one single image.”

“Norway has been at the top of my bucket list ever since I started photography. I’ve seen countless photos from Norway and this year I was finally able to explore this country for myself. It’s one of those magical places that makes you appreciate the beauty all around you. I was lucky enough to see this spot while sailing through the fjords, but exploring it from the ground gave me a completely different perspective. Needless to say, this place has left me speechless with its incredible landscapes.”

Lizzy Gadd (@elizabethgadd)


Sony α7R III. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master.

“I discovered this tree in Scotland and instantly had this image in mind that I wanted to create.  It took four tries going back to this same location, each time being beat by bad weather, bad lighting, or too many watching tourists (I get shy when it comes to shooting self portraits!)  Finally on the fourth day everything lined up - I set up my camera in the grass (low angle for dreamy out-of-focus foreground), put on my green dress, and then I let the camera time-lapse while I walked out to stand by this tree, capturing this image.”

“I wanted to create an image that portrayed the words ‘Mother Nature’ to me. The image is  meaningful to me because it represents my connection with nature, or how I've always wanted to be connected.  It's my wish to care for, to protect and to allow nature to grow - and in return, nature feeds us, our souls and lives. When we mother nature, nature mothers us. We are one.”

Andrew Eggers (@andreweggers)


Sony α7 III. Sony 85mm f/1.8.

“I was on a road trip last January with a close group of friends and this was on the road back home to California after having spent several days in snowy Utah. My friend Jeff Hook (@jeffhook_) had his skateboard ready for takeoff as I got super low to the road and laid my finger on the shutter for a handful of frames. It reminds me of how fun that trip was and how we eventually drove into a huge snow storm after it was taken. My friend Felipe drove his Jeep the whole night to get us back home safely before the storm got worse. This shot just capped off a great trip and subsequently an even better memory for myself.”

Mahesh Thapa (@starvingphotographer)


Sony α7R IV. Sony 24-105mm f/4 G.

“I took this image from the balcony of a tall building during a holiday party. The evening was magical and the Seattle Space Needle was decked out in her finest holiday garb. This image really showcases the beauty of our Seattle holiday season. It was taken during a time where good friends gathered to share some great memories and enjoy each other's company."

Jeremy Cohen (@jermcohen)


Sony α7R III. Sony 85mm f/1.8.

“I was picked as the only photographer to get access to the Childish Gambino show at Outside Lands music festival in San Francisco. I needed to take advantage of the opportunity, and this was my favorite shot from the opening song. He's one of my favorite artists and also had one of the most interesting productions to shoot compared to other shows. He literally looks like he's getting abducted by aliens.”

Connor Surdi (@connorsurdi)


Sony α9. Sony 50mm f/1.4.

“There were two groups: one group going down to the bottom of the lake to see the icebergs from eye-level, and one group that walked up to have this top-down angle. I chose to walk up for this view first and I'm so glad I did. Watching the sun set on the snowy peaks with an iceberg smack dab in the middle of a glacial lake is something I won't ever forget. It was just such a stunning visual that I never thought I would have the opportunity to see something so incredible with my own eyes. I was also surrounded by amazing people which made this moment all the more meaningful and memorable.”

Dane Isaac (@dane.isaac)


Sony α7R III. Sony 35mm f/1.4.

"I started a new personal project this year called 'Segmented Portrait'. The goal of this project was to explore my subjects on a deeper level, isolating their body parts to tell a separate but overall unified story. After scouting the subjects, I explained to them my process and my intention. I primarily let them communicate with each other and I captured the conversation. Watching them grow more comfortable as the shoot proceeded. The set was lit with natural light, but I used a lens modifier to achieve the rainbow/ prism effect throughout the photo."

"As a dark skinned man, I cherish the opportunities to work with other individuals with a darker complexion. Reason being, growing up I was always made to feel shame for my skin color and now that I am in a story telling position I want to celebrate people that look like me. This image is very meaningful to me because it lets that story, but it also celebrates union and love."

Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors)


Sony α7R III. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master.

“I was swimming with whales off the island of Vava'u, Tonga. This juvenile was swimming with us along the surface before diving down to continue onward with its mother. Swimming with a playful and calm animal of this size transports you to another world and was a spiritual experience for me personally. Editing this as a B&W image shows the contrast between the whale's coloring, the texture of the surface, and the ocean below.”

Henry Tieu (@henrysdiary)


Sony α7 III. Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master.

“As an adventurous elopement photographer, I tend to showcase photos of my clients against gorgeous backdrops or epic places that require a bit of hiking to get to. However, when it comes to truly showcasing my couples for who they are, often times, the close-up photos are the best. Since I knew I wanted a close up but also needed a wide angle lens to capture the tattoo and the couple, I used the Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master.”

“This photo is so close to my heart because it's so simple and yet means so much to this couple. My client, Haley, who was diagnosed with bone cancer and had to go through multiple rounds of chemotherapy, got this tattoo. It says, ‘If you're going through hell, keep going’ and serves as a reminder of how strong she was and how strong she needs to be in order to keep on fighting.”

Juan Flores (@johnny.flowers)


Sony α7R III. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master.

“While waiting for the cloud breaks to allow exposure on the foliage, I predetermined my camera settings. Once the sun illuminated the color, I quickly adjusted my settings then took a few consecutive long exposure photos. This was the first photo excursion I felt OK in a long time. I was not worried much about any looming anxiety and depression, which allowed me to be and stay in the present moment. I was by myself to add to the meditative and therapeutic moment.”

Max Boncina (@max.bon)


Sony α7R III. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master.

"Outside of Paris, on the property of a small town mayor lies the opening of a cave. This unassuming entrance gives way to the labyrinthine tunnels of a former NATO military base. Now all is abandoned and eerily quiet. After many wrong turns, through decayed mushroom crops, offices and barracks, we found the forgotten tanks and armored cars. We set up back and side lighting to counter the inky blackness. Plus a smoke device to produce even more dynamic elements for the light beams. My friend put on his military grade gas mask and attempted to crouch motionless for 20 long seconds and voilà!

"I am a historophile, and to be walking through and even touching what was a part of the Cold War was immensely satisfying. I also had a sense of accomplishment for having found this virtually secret location and successfully navigating back out. It was truly a maze and with no cellphone service and utter darkness, thoughts of being trapped forever in here did enter our minds! The camaraderie I made with my French explorers was and continues to be indelible, and we were the last people to experience and photograph these vehicles and possibly the whole complex. A few weeks after, my friend sent me photos of the authorities removing the tanks and possibly permanently shutting the entrance as well."

Michael Hollender (@mrhollender)


Sony α7R III.

“The trek to Racetrack Playa is an excursion all on itself. Washboard dirt roads and miles upon miles of various desert terrain in Death Valley National Park. Scouting the location was the first challenge. During the hot desert sun I explored some compositions to revisit after dark. Second was trekking back out to the playa in the cold of night and finding the spot again. I set up my composition and exposed for the stars. Then I waited for blue hour in the early morning to take an exposure of the foreground. The entire process kept me out on the playa for over three hours. This adventure is my favorite because of the collaboration with my fellow Astro Photographers in the Sony Alpha Collective. We learned from each other and shared an adventure that lead us to create some of our favorite images of the year.”

Sal D’Alia (@timbuz)


Sony α7R III. Sony 35mm f/1.4.

“This photo represents the beauty of my trip to Bhutan in February. The trip was a journey beyond just work and art – it included culture and spiritual research. This monk was stationed right outside the Punakha Dzong during the Dance Festival. He had a very welcoming look so I approached and asked if I could take a photo, and what you see is his nod telling me that I could.”

Stevin Tuchiwsky (@stevint)


Sony α7R III. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master.

“Filling two cards with photos and standing in sunflowers for an hour, it finally all lined up. A busy working bee dropping pollen while flying to its next flower. My thought process for this photo went something like this: I originally just wanted a shot of a bee. I tried multiple variations of focus areas with continuous autofocus but noticed for this application it just wasn’t producing the reliable results I wanted. I then switched to manual focus, focusing on a field of view where I would have the best chance at catching a bee flying into the flower. After catching a few somewhat promising results I noticed I would lose the bee against the yellow flower, so I changed my angle to get the bee in contrast against the green. After several more shots I noticed the pollen falling off the bees as they flew around. With that in mind, I put my camera to the highest burst mode. When it all finally came together this was the final result. of trial and error, certainly a fun one to capture. It was my favorite just because of the trial and error process behind it and the amount of effort it took to capture. Also utilizing all technical aspects to make it come to life.”


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