2015 was a pretty full year. I traveled, had some new experiences, and continued to grow the success of my online business. Overall, things are going really well! Sure, not everything went as planned, but it was nothing that steered me off course. I thought I’d share some of the highlights of 2015, along with a few of my plans for next year.

I published four new books

waterfalls-waves small copyaoob-smallfood-v2Light Stories II

My online store keeps on growing! In fact, it’s my main focus and is doing great. I self-published two titles in my store, a free eBook here on my blog, and I also had a book published through Peachpit, the second edition to my very popular book on Food Photography. Along with the eBooks, I also released a video course on ON1 Effects, two texture packs, and a huge preset pack for ON1 Photo. (See for yourself in the Nicolesy Store: http://store.nicolesy.com.) My business is driven through my newsletter, so if you haven’t subscribed, now’s the time to check it out! Click here to sign up.

We got a new puppy!

In July we adopted our second puppy, Simon, a super cute Labrador & Border Collie mix. He gets along great with Kodak, and now that we finally have him potty trained he gets to sleep on the bed with us. He loves people but ironically is afraid of little dogs. He has also found enjoyment in one of our favorite parks, where Kodak loves to jump and roll around in the puddles.

I visited three new countries


Each year my goal is to visit at least one new country, and this year I made it to three: Iceland, Norway, and Italy! (I also went to Thailand earlier in the year, but that was my second time.) The photo above is me and Brian at Skógafoss in Iceland.

I got SCUBA certified

One of my life-long dreams is to dive in cages with Great White sharks, and to get the full experience (and go 30 feet down in the cage) I needed to be able to scuba dive. So this year I went ahead and got certified! I have always wanted to do underwater photography, and I decided that this was the year to start. I have yet to photograph anything underwater (I’d like to get more experience as a diver first), but I already have a handful of amazing diving trips booked for next year, including the cage-diving trip with the Great Whites. Hopefully I’ll get a few images worth sharing.

I (mostly) switched to FUJIFILM


Ok, so maybe I didn’t switch 100%. I still use my Canon gear for food photography, and will also be using it for underwater as well. But I am finding that the FUJIFILM X-T1 is a wonderful system for handheld and landscape work. I love the experience of using the camera, which is more important to me than image quality (I’m not saying anything bad about the FUJIFILM, just that pixel-peeping is less important to me than the user experience). It’s light, simple, and I really enjoy how mirrorless cameras give a glimpse of the actual image in-camera before pressing the shutter.

I stepped out of my comfort zone

FUJIFILM X-T1, FUJINON 56mm f/1.2R lens, 1/280 sec at ƒ/1.2, ISO 200

FUJIFILM X-T1, FUJINON 56mm f/1.2R lens, 1/280 sec at ƒ/1.2, ISO 200

In November, Brian and I attended our very first workshop. We’ve been to plenty of workshops in the past, but never as paid attendees (usually we are the ones instructing!). But when our friend David duChemin announced his portfolio series workshop to Venice, we were both 100% on-board. And it was great, and exactly what I needed. I consider myself an advanced photographer, and make my living teaching photography, but everyone needs a little boost now and then (myself included). David’s workshop in Venice helped me to see and approach photography differently, and I also learned to appreciate the patience and solitude required to create a compelling photograph.

On deck for next year …

So far I have travel planned and booked for next year, and have some really big gear purchases in my near future (mostly housings and ports for my underwater camera system). I’m currently writing a new eBook for my online store, and have plans for a few more projects before the year is finished.

I’d also like to use my pottery studio more this year (and maybe even master a good cappuccino mug off the wheel)! I kind of neglected it with all the travel and work (plus it had some moldy water damage that kept me out of it before it was cleaned up and repaired). I don’t sell my ceramic creations, and I’m honestly not sure if I ever will. I mostly have the studio to experiment with and create items for my food photography, but I may sell my items online eventually, probably when I create enough awesome things that I no longer have room on my shelves.

Some of my favorite photos and memories from this year: