Top 14 of 2014

I really believe that 2014 has been my best year for photography since I picked up a camera. Not only has it been my most "successful" year in terms of business, I finally went full frame, explored a few different techniques, and am finally happy with my photographic style. I have a terrible habit of looking back on old photos in disgust, but I'm doing that less often nowadays. I consider that a big step forward in artistic maturity, and it has been great for my sanity.  

The following 14 images are what I believe to be the best representation of 2014 through my lens. Looking back on these, I'm proud of when I stepped out of my comfort zone, learned something new, or just got plain lucky. I hope you'll enjoy them. 

This shot of Carlos' GTI is from one of the first shoots I did in 2014 for Brada Wheels.  While I have largely moved to natural light photography, I used my AB800s for this session in what became the new Rush MMA location in downtown Macon. Getting in this warehouse was an incredible opportunity, and I still owe Bubby Mitchell a free shoot for allowing it to happen. I know this shot isn't technically perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it reminds of me of when I was into off-camera lighting, and the work that went into it. I'm really hoping to incorporate more of it into my work for 2015. 

One aspect of car culture that I really wanted to break into for 2014 was the Donk/BigRim community. The inspiration for that was two-fold: first, they are everywhere in Macon, and I honestly thought it would be a good business opportunity and second, I hadn't really seen quality natural light photography of these cars anywhere before.  After getting in touch with Wesley Wilder, he arranged a shoot with this Chevelle in downtown Macon. I'd passed by this location thousands of times driving to work, and I was finally happy to do it justice. 

For some reason, I got really into color-matching cars to locations in 2014.  I suppose that it makes sense on a basic level, but its not anything that I had really ever thought about doing before. I did this quick little mini-shoot with Lee after he installed his new Enkeis. I had just bought my 85mm, and I fell in love with its incredibly crisp focus combined with the soft edges.  2014 has been about irresponsibly low apertures for me and this picture is largely where it started. 

It seems that everyone is shooting into the sun these days, and I'm more than happy to hop on that bus. Justin's Rocket Bunny FRS was one of the top 3 cars this year, and I was ecstatic that I got to debut the car on Canibeat. I actually re-edited this shot for this post in an effort to pull some of the sky back into the shot, so yeah, here's your exclusive. Thanks for clicking.

I had a blast finally figuring out light-painting this year. For this shot, Brent Horn brought his unique Chevrolet out to Lizella on a gorgeous summer night for a relaxing shoot. I really wanted to catch some ridiculous sky-filling heat lightning, but that never really panned out. That being said, I love the atmosphere of this shot, and the timelessness of the location.  

This shot of Joel Lopez's WRX has nearly identical EXIF data to the image above, but with a completely different feel.  I was inspired a good deal by 2011's Drive, as well as the resulting aesthetic look and sound-alikes that have followed. Unfortunately, Macon is a far cry from the rain-soaked streets of seedy Los Angeles, but I tried, and hopefully that counts. This was a shot that I pictured in my head and executed. I'm quite proud of that.

Shooting Jose Lopez's S2000 and Michael Gibson's Corvette was a bit of a dream come true. The two have walked a similar path with two extremely different cars, and the two together made for some killer photos. Riding down I75 in the back on my S10 while these two chased each other made for a real neat afternoon. This was the best rolling shot from that session.

Another I75 rolling shot, this shoot marked my first and only foray into the 2-wheeled side of automotive photography.  Two of my friends, Ben Smith and Tyler Shores, are both Harley owners, and were more than happy to allow me to practice on them. While we got a lot of great shots, I'm really happy with this picture from both a technical and aesthetic perspective. I think there's an element of joy that is captured in Tyler's face that really just makes the shot for me.

This shot is at best lucky, and probably more honestly an accident.  This is 100% a camera-over-the-head shot into the crowd. I had no focal point, no goal, and most importantly, have no idea who that gentleman is or why he is looking at this camera. Finding this picture after the upload was like opening a hilarious present on Christmas, and it deserves a spot here. 

This shot is probably my favorite of the year, and maybe the most important photograph I've ever taken. Capturing an honest-to-goodness surprise proposal was one of those times that remind you why you fell in love with photography in the first place.  The only person that had any idea this was happening was Chad (the proposer) and myself. Every other emotion in this photo is 100% real, and 100% spontaneous.  I'll never forget it. 

I have 500 of my most recent photos cycling though my Apple TV as the screen saver on my TV, and this set has generated more confusion than any other shots combined.  Josh Washburn, a friend of mine in Atlanta, contacted me about an idea he had for a concept shoot to promote his musical project Dear Woodland Creatures. Drawing a lot of inspiration from photographer Kyle Thompson, I feel like I produced exactly what we set out to do. I loved the challenge, and I really, really want to do more weird stuff like this in 2015. 

These final three images are all personal for me and represent my favorite shots of my favorite subjects for the year. This shot of my Fit was an image that I had been thinking about for a long time and finally took the chance to do. This was the under-the-bridge location that was featured in the movie Need for Speed, and catching it at sunset was amazing. This was a quick set, but it holds the title for my favorite location for the year. 

I've put an enormous amount of work into my truck this year, and this shoot was the debut of its current look.  Another great location from Macon's industrial district, I absolutely love the golden tones against the monochromatic paint scheme (hmm that seems familiar). Another set shot exclusively with the 85mm, I feel like this group of images really represents where I'm at with my photography these days, for better or worse. 

My wife Aimee is my greatest inspiration and the only person on the planet that I'd rather shoot instead of a car. This particular shot was from a visit to Lane Orchards, one of our favorite places in the area to get peach cobbler, southern snacks, and ice cream. I used my trusty 50 1.4 for this one, which is currently the oldest piece of equipment in my bag. I've had a lot of lenses come and go, but I'll never give up my 50mm. This particular image is a visual representation of contentment. I'm extremely blessed to have Aimee as a partner for life, and I wouldn't trade my life for anything else. We've had an amazing year, traveled to some great places, and met some really incredible people. I can't wait for the next one.  Bring on 2015.