GIVE US A BRIEF RUNDOWN OF WHO YOU ARE, WHERE YOU’RE FROM AND WHAT YOU’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT
My name is Mike Borchard, but lots of people call me Borch. I'm a photographer by trade, and I'm passionate about spending time outside in the wild with people that inspire me.
I work as a commercial photographer in the outdoor space. An important part of that job is being able to understand the nuances of different disciplines in order to capture them authentically, as well as being able to keep up physically with the people you are shooting. So it helps a lot to be a 'jack of all trades,' and I'm always dipping my toes into different sports and activities. Right now I'm most stoked on spearfishing, surfing, and skiing.
YOUR GO-TO CAMERA KIT?
My go-to camera kit changes pretty heavily depending on the assignment and the type of environment I'm in. My workhorse these days is the Canon R5, but I'll use a range of other cameras, often times smaller bodies like those by Fuji and Ricoh depending on my needs. Lenses I keep simple as well. Less is more. A mantra I like to keep in mind is that cameras are 'tools not jewels.' Your gear should be working for you, not the other way around. Don't be afraid to get it dirty or break something. If you don't have full gear insurance you're blowing it. Get that figured out, and then get out into the elements with your gear worry free.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
I'm born and raised in Southern California.
WHAT OUTDOOR ACCOMPLISHMENT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
I'm probably most proud of my accomplishments as a diver and spearfisherman. I didn't have any mentors or friends to show me what to do when I was first learning. My friends and I were just grinding it out on shore dives for years, freezing our asses off in surf wetsuits and bodysurf fins, cruising around our local reefs with crappy pole spears trying to figure it out. More often than not, we came back with nothing. When we started going to the Islands, I used to run a 13' bay boat from Newport over to Catalina and camp on the beach. Had some sketchy crossings in that thing. For years we ran my buddy's 19' boat 60+ miles all the way to San Clemente Island and slept on the deck while anchored up at night. Just looking back and seeing how much you can learn just by figuring it out is awesome, and I'm stoked to keep learning as I continue that journey.
WHAT’S THE NEXT CHALLENGE FOR YOU?
I've recently started to get into hunting a little bit. It started with me photographing some bow hunts for work and has grown from there. There's a lot of similarities between the spearfishing world and the hunting world. I actually love the process of being a beginner and learning, so I'm starting small and slow. I've taken a couple smaller game animals like goats and pigs and birds, and thankfully I have some talented friends to help me out as I progress. But I'm in no hurry. I think it's weird that people always want to jump straight to 'knowing everything' and 'being legit' when the process of learning new stuff is the coolest part.
WHAT PIECE OF GEAR DO YOU TEST / USE THE MOST?
My most used piece of gear are the hooded sun shirts. I'm in the elements frequently for work and play, and a lightweight hooded shirt is essential for staying protected. They're obviously great for the sun, but work well for keeping bugs off too, or they can be a slightly warmer layer at night or in windy conditions. The new Florence one made from Airtex material is the best one I've used. It comes on every trip with me.