A few weeks ago we started a new series on our Fotolia blog entitled ‘Story Behind the Image’ whereby we asked a contributor to talk about the inspiration and/or technical setup behind a chosen image from their Fotolia portfolio. We thought it would be a fantastic way of presenting the skills and dedication our contributors present in order to display such beautiful and intricate imagery. What we didn’t expect however is to find some truly captivating, personal and inspiring stories behind these images which we chose purely based on their high-calibre content and technical skills.

Mikhail Dudarev (photo above)

Since I became a full time freelancer in 2009 I have started to live in tropical countries during the Russian winter. I had enough ice time in my life. 

When I was ten years old my father taught me to swim in cold water. We have been doing the “ice bucket challenge” since 1991, every day, summer or winter, regardless of the weather, some days at -42 degrees Celsius. 

Such cold weather habits, which were built over more than twenty years cannot be destroyed by living six months in a warm tropical climate and can be restored in a few days.

Sometimes I come back to my home for a couple of weeks and live with my parents. It happens not so often and I can’t miss a chance to make winter series for my stock portfolio.

We have five to ten minutes to make a photo session with winter wind and temperature about -15C and usually there is no second chance for next dive for reshooting. Only on the next day!

I have tried to make pictures of swimmers under ice, but visibility in our waters is not perfect!

Man on picture titled “Ice Hole” is me, shot was taken by my wife in December 2014.

Frank Fennema

Once or twice a year my family visits my mom and sister in Palm Desert, California. It’s always a great time for golf, good food and cheer. This year’s visit was especially fun because it was Valentine’s Day weekend and the First Annual Cathedral City Hot Air Balloon Festival. I’d always wanted to photograph hot air balloons but this was my first opportunity. I was like a kid in a candy store, all the sweet colors and oversized balloons everywhere you looked. All the balloon pilots and crew were so friendly, they didn’t have any problem with me poking my head and camera anywhere I wanted.

This shot was during the fill-up stage where the crew blows a lot of air into the balloon to fill it up with a huge fan. As it fills up, sometimes they have to get inside the balloon to keep it filling evenly. At the top of the balloon is a small opening that I used to get this shot. The air was starting to push out this opening and to lift the balloon so I had to hang on to the opening with one hand and shoot with the other.

If you look closely, on the right part of the skirt near the basket of the balloon has some extra holes in it. The propane burners got a little to close and burned through the “flame resistant” skirt. You can see this even better in some of the other images in this series.

Website: www.FrankFennemaPhotography.com

Brian Scantlebury

Gliding had not been a passion of mine, however, I decided to give it a go and headed to one of the prime global gliding spots, Omarama, a small rural town  in the central South Island of New Zealand. Omarama exists essentially as a center for gliding. I had hopes of using the experience to obtain a collection of aerial images.

On arrival at the airfield I spotted this  stunning glider with its bright orange nose cone and wig tips. Set against the blue sky, angled slightly and close up it seemed to present an image that highlighted the aeronautical elements of flight and just had to be shot.

The Benmore Range in the scene behind the glider forms a backdrop to the airfield and is just a small taste of the backcountry scenic wonders that one takes in when gliding here.

The experience was so impressive I can’t wait to repeat the experience, both for the freedom of flight fun and the photographic prospects.

Website: www.brianscantlebury.com

Aleksey Teksomolika

On this day I was shooting with my wife one of our favorite families with whom we have known for a long time. We decided to shoot in the kitchen, “as it is”. We took a lot of different cereals, dishes, ingredients, and allowed the children to decide what to do with all of that stuff. Kids love to play so that is what they started to do, all we had to do is just to offer them one thing or another. And when it came to the flour the shots just started coming out just wonderfully, one of them being the one you likedThis shoot is also one of my favorite shoot with a family.  Children; the best inventors of ideas, just give them the necessary ingredients!

Ana Zeremski

For a long time, commercial photography has changed the development of photo shoots as well as retouching methods. For that reason, we try to shoot our images with real people and their real emotions, mostly by using natural light.

Models from these images are real athletes and competitive swimmers, also being our friends. They didn’t pretending or act for this shoot… They just did what they usually do on their trainings. That’s what we love the most about of this shoot. 

The edge of the pool was near by the window, so we had a beautiful natural light. The bubbles and the light effect under water made these images charming, with a mystical touch.

Photoshop has been used for contrast adjustment and color correction. 

Wishing to shoot from different angles, we had to swim and dive a lot. Our muscles get sore, but it was worth it.

Michał Bednarek

This was shot (gondola photo above) EXACTLY one hour before I proposed to my girlfriend in Venice on one of those gondolas from the image! 5:38 pm is the time of picture was taken, 6:38 pm I am on my knees in a shaky gondola offering a diamond ring to my girlfriend.

I was nervous so it is miracle that the image is not blurred and was accepted to Fotolia :-). The inspiration to this image was definitely a romantic mood I felt at that time!

Website: www.photocreo.com

Thank you so much to our fantastic contributors for sharing their stories with us. Stay tuned every week on the Fotolia blog for more inspiring stories shared.