Nikon Gear – and FORTY Puppies!

August 23, 2019

Nikon Gear D850
Nikon D850 photograph by Tamara Lackey

I LOVE PUPPIES. They are sweet, soft, loving, playful, vulnerable and incredibly snuggly. But 40 puppies in the course of 48 hours with Nikon Gear? Well, that was a whole new level of wonderful madness.

This brand new campaign for Nikon has the most complex and wonderful combination of subjects I am lucky enough to photograph yet! FORTY tiny little, sweet, adorable puppies paired with a huge variety of brand new Nikon gear.

And HERE are the results, free for you to keep and share as you wish!

Nikon Gear D5600
Nikon D5600 photograph by Tamara Lackey

How we pulled this all together

For this brilliant shoot, we rented out a large commercial space that has giant cyc walls painted a clean white. Nikon HQ shipped us a bunch of brand new Nikon gear. Lights and equipment were set up. As well as puppy gates, blankets and pillows. And we greeted all of our on-set Puppy Handlers, which is a real job description for these shoots.

And then got to work.

Because “Work” included welcoming puppy after puppy after puppy, we had to constantly wipe away fur, dust, puppy licks. As well as all the “gifts” they kindly left us while setting up shot after shot.

Keeping the Nikon gear dust, fur-free AND in position while constantly being knocked over by 12 puppies going in 12 different directions was not easy. I know that this gear is tough, but it is definitely confirmed with all the puppy chewing. Because they didn’t even leave a mark, hah!

I shot the entire campaign with the Nikon Z7 mirrorless system. Also paired with the adapter for F-mount lenses for a variety of images.

Here’s a BTS video of our two days of shooting, to get more of a feel for it: https://www.nikonusa.com/…/puppy-love-one-photographers-que…

Thanks to so many that made this shoot happen!

We are so grateful to Peak Lab RescueFarm Friends Rescue, and so many others, for offering up even more of their time and effort so that we could photograph these sweet little pup faces.


Nikon Gear mirrorless Z7
Nikon Mirrorless Z7 photograph by Tamara Lackey

And a BIG thank you to Nikon – it’s incredible to work with a client who knows what they are looking for while offering a huge amount of creative freedom to the photographer.

Specific thanks to The Idea Man Mark Soares, the awesome Michael Corrado, our on-set marketing wunderkind Brian Hettrich. Also to each member of our extremely helpful campaign project group: Nick MoyMarc CutlerMarie Fallarino McKinley, Jessica Cruz, Carmelina McGuire and Judith Paul. Thank you to Diane Berkenfeld for the great piece she put together on Nikon’s website: https://www.nikonusa.com/…/puppy-love-one-photographers-que…

Major props to Kim Williams Pollard, our Studio Manager, for meticulously checking in and out an *enormous* amount of gear, as well as orchestrating tons of model releases while also working to set up, break down and very actively assist on all of the shoots.

And more major props to our Special Projects Producer Rhesa Versola for also helping to set up and break down both days – and for all of her rather detailed pre-production efforts, coordinating shoots with so many puppies from so many places (wow, such an effort!), as well as filming on set, too.

And big gratitude to Robert Cummins for filming the shoots, assisting with lighting, bringing more great energy to the shoot, and creating our puppy BTS!

All of the images are yours to use as free wallpaper!

Most Exciting International Workshop!

May 29, 2019

La Selva Lodge in the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador.
La Selva Lodge in the Amazon Rainforest

Photo Shelter Blog names our Workshop as one of 40 most exciting for 2019/2020 – Don’t miss out!

Joe McNally, Ami Vitale and I are all thrilled to be named within this amazing group of the most exciting Photography Workshops! And, we still have spaces available, so make sure to check out our Amazon Workshop page.

Come join us for the first few days in Quito, Ecuador and we will explore the City before heading out to La Selva Lodge in the Amazon Rainforest. You will see a variety of Flora and Fauna that make up this amazing location.

At the Lodge, not only will you participate in our Workshops, but you can also enjoy the Spa and much more that the Lodge offers.

La Selva Lodge in the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador.
La Selva Ecolodge

Amazon Rainforest Workshop with Ami Vitale, Joe McNally and Tamara Lackey

Why Photo Shelter Blog loves it: 

“Who wouldn’t want world-class photographers leading you through shoots, lectures and daily post-processing lab time during an all-inclusive trip?”

Chasing Frames – Airing this Fall on PBS

May 6, 2019

Photographed with Nikon D850 and 16mm f/2.8 lens.

We are in the thick of filming 12 episodes of our new series Chasing Frames. This is our new television show airing this fall on PBS’ regional affiliate Public Media NC. The show will reach into five states along with incredible Emmy-Award winning content & some amazing shows on UNC-TV!

I am SO very grateful to have Nikon and ON1 Software underwriting this series!!

One of our recent episodes was all about Search & Rescue Dogs. These rather furry guys do pretty big jobs. One of the coolest things I learned while filming this episode, is that in order to track someone for miles, these dogs open up pretty much all of their pores. This, of course, is also a bit exhausting for a four-legged creature racing through the woods. Even though they were training hard for life-saving work, I also loved that I could get a pretty hilarious shot like this during this dogs recovery.

Look out for Chasing Frames broadcasting on PBS in the Fall of 2019!

THE AMAZON RAINFOREST WORKSHOP with Ami Vitale, Joe McNally and Tamara Lackey

April 30, 2019

La Selva Lodge
La Selva Ecolodge & Spa

Join THREE renowned photographers: Ami Vitale, Joe McNally and Tamara Lackey on the trip of a lifetime to Ecuador. You will experience the culture of its historic capital, Quito. As well as the abundant wildlife of the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest.

This all-inclusive 10 day and 9 night adventure is a complete immersion into photography, storytelling and exploration.

This unique workshop will focus on landscape, portrait and travel photography. The days will be full of lectures and daily post-processing lab time.

It will be impossible not to be overwhelmed by gorgeous Quito, a UNESCO heritage site and the country’s capital. A visit to magical Old Town will be filled with colorful people and culture. Panoramic vistas and brilliant historic cathedrals. The people of Ecuador are what make this destination so very special.

After two days, you will travel in-country to the Amazon basin where you float by the banks and tributaries of the Amazon River. You will spot wildlife, surrounded by the sights and sounds of the jungle. 

The majority of the workshop will be held at the stunning 5-star luxury eco-resort La Selva Ecolodge & Spa, located in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest. The Lodge is located off the Napo River, inside of the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve.

The Reserve is one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet, home to millions of species of plants, birds, rare animals and stunning scenery. There you will find your accomodations in breezy, stylish cabanas. The sounds of the rainforest will soothe you to sleep while the singing of birds will awaken you in the morning.

As an all-inclusive workshop, all freshly-made, deliciously cooked meals will be included, too.

Click below if you would like more information or to sign up and join us on this amazing Amazon Rainforest Workshop

Bees and Macro Photography

March 22, 2019

Spring is finally here! It’s time to get your macro lens to photograph bees.

This is the perfect time to re-visit an episode of The reDefine Show: Animal Edition! See it here:>>>Backyard Bees <<<

It’s all about photographing bees using a macro lens. I have always been nervous/terrified of bees while some people are all, like, One With The Bees. As for me, I am pretty much the exact opposite of that. I feel the hairs on the back of my neck rise up anytime I see a bee or hear a buzz nearby, so, to put on a beekeeper’s suit and walk into the same space as 70,000 bees? Well, it was a full-on personal challenge.

This is where photography comes into play because every time I photograph something or someone I am struck by how beautiful they are, in so many ways. I love that my job is to look for that beauty, which is one of the coolest parts of the work, and yet, I was surprised I still felt the same way during this shoot. These little fuzzy bees are intricately beautiful and hard-working and expressive, looking directly at you with head tilts, butts out, wings splayed out & more! My job was to photograph them as well as possible while speaking to what I was doing and using a variety of means to do so, and I got lost in it almost immediately. This was not just a wonderful shoot, it was personally transformative for me. 

A Macro Lens to Face Your Fear

It’s amazing how spending time with that which you fear can change everything. Oh, and wearing a beekeeper’s outfit helps.

I’d LOVE to invite you to check out our first episode:

>>>Backyard Bees h<<<

Big gratitude to Miriam MJ Beckman & Rhesa Versola for the fantastic filming, Heather Guffee Burgiss for a beautiful edit and expert beekeeper Mark Powers for the excellent education.

All images shot with Nikon D850 & 105mm f2.8 macro and D500 and 24-70mm f2.8.

Using a macro lens to capture these busy female worker bees tend to their duties inside the hive.
Buzzing female worker bees tend to their duties inside the hive.
Beautiful macro close up of the delicate wings of a female worker bee
Cool macro shot of a worker bee prepares to fly from the hive to collect fresh pollen.
A worker bee prepares to fly from the hive to collect fresh pollen.
Close up of a female worker bee wags and dances to communicate with other bees.
This female worker bee wags and dances to communicate with other bees.

Triangle Area Welcomes Its First 100% Vegan Market

January 18, 2019

Triangle Area Welcomes Its First 100% Vegan Market 

CHAPEL HILL — Nested inside a local, family-owned coffee shop, customers will find a rare resource for the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area — Coco Bean Vegan Market. This newly-opened 100% all-vegan market is the only one of its kind in Central North Carolina offering a wide variety of plant-based products, including foods, artisan chocolates, and gifts.

Locally Made Goods

The vegan market is a natural expansion of Coco Bean Coffee Shop and Cafe, which opened its doors in September of 2016 and won Chapel Hill Magazine’s 2018 Best Coffee Shop in Chapel Hill. The eco-friendly cafe offers a bounty of vegan baked goods, pastries, and fresh farmer’s market foods like grain bowls, salads, tamales and soups, all made by local bakers and chefs. Many selections are gluten-free, as well.

As a natural complement to this, Coco Bean Vegan Market offers pre-packaged vegan and gluten-free foods, including refrigerated and frozen grocery items, making it easy for customers to grab a basket, stock up and go. Both the cafe and the vegan market provide options for consumers with other food allergies or sensitivities, as well as simple grab n’ go or heat-up-at-the-shop items.

Find More than Food

Inside the cozy and well-stocked market space, customers will also find candles, essential oils, skincare products, sundries and gifts made by local artists. In addition, there are great reads and resources from the mini bookshop, specializing in plant-based living and vegan cookbooks, as well as subjects like mindfulness, minimalism and creative journaling.

“We’ve enjoyed amazing growth in this wonderful community of ours and are so heartened by the kind feedback,” said Tamara Lackey, who co-owns Coco Bean Coffee Shop and Coco Bean Vegan Market, along with her husband, Steve. “The initial response from our customers was even more enthusiastic than we’d hoped for, and we’re delighted at how quickly the market has taken off.”

Plant-based Diets on the Rise

Coco Bean Vegan Market seeks to meet increasing customer demand for more vegan and vegetarian options, and plant-based owners Tamara and Steve Lackey are ahead of the curve on this upward trend in the food industry. Sales of plant-based food increased by 20% in 2018 over the previous year, which amounts to over $3.3 billion, according to data from Nielsen and the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA).

The Economist and Forbes magazines published articles declaring 2019 as the Year of the Vegan. Uber Eats reports vegan meals as the most-ordered trend of 2018. And, Grub Hub reports vegan burritos as the most popular food in 2018. The food industry continues to see a steep rise in demand for eco-friendly, plant-based, meat-free diets nationwide. 

For more details, contact Kim Pollard or Anna-Rhesa Versola at 919-883-9003 or hi@cocobeanmarket.com.


Dinner for 40 Orphan Children in India

January 10, 2019

OUR NEWEST PROJECT — Dinner for 40 at The Joy Home Orphanage in India

We created our Dinner for 40 Project to provide nutritious dinners to 40 children between the ages of 6 and 15 years old for the next four months. Dinner will include lentils, chapatti flour, oil, semolina, rice, vegetables, and fruit. We hope to do more over time, but we want to have an impact as soon as possible! Your contributions to this effort will go a long way to help support this orphanage. And, with your support, these children will know someone cares for them because none of these orphans can actually be adopted, due to current government restrictions.

An estimated 20 million orphans live in India alone. It’s a country that has the largest child population in the world. That is such a staggering number, 20 MILLION children. Many are homeless, living on the streets and resorting to begging for food. It is almost impossible to envision it. Orphaned children in India are in great need of care and protection, too, being susceptible to not just poverty and illness but also child labor and child trafficking. Even worse, current projections show that number to grow to 24 million orphans by 2021.

We are working to support The Joy Home Orphanage, located in a village called Madhapur, near Hyperdad. Their orphanage facilities include accommodation, food, schooling, healthcare, clothes, and an initial counseling session with children who are entering the orphanage. 100% of all donations to The Joy Home Orphanage go directly towards meeting the needs of these children.

You can make your tax deductible refund here:
https://beautifultogether.org/project/dinner-for-40/Donate to help Beautiful Together provide dinner for 40 orphans in India

Tamara Lackey Speaks at CES 2019 on the Power of Personal Projects

January 7, 2019

CES 2019 Welcomes Tamara Lackey and the Power of Personal Projects

From Tamara: I am heading back to the GIANT Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2019) in Vegas on January 8th, and I am thrilled to be speaking for Nikon again! AND I will join a panel of incredibly talented photographers, Jen Rozenbaum and Stacy Pearsall, led by the amazing Mike Corrado, to discuss the power of personal projects.

Personal projects are a powerful way for professional photographers to focus on topics that are most important to them. It’s a way to fuel their creative spirits and explore another source of inspiration. My focus will be on my work with Beautiful Together. Jen will be speaking about her experience with breast cancer – and some powerful resulting imagery. And Stacy will be sharing her striking work with veteran portraits.

If you’re not going to be in Vegas with the million+ other CES attendants (bejeebus, it’s big), you can tune in to watch my program and panel discussion via nikonusa.com/live.  Plus, you can watch ALL of these seriously amazing speakers — some of the top photographers in the world — via nikonusa.com/live. 

You can check the speakers schedule below to find out when Nikon will livestream globally!

Here’s part of the line-up:

There are so many speakers to choose from, like Joe McNally and Jerry Ghionis. Also, you can catch multi-speaker panels where they offer insights through interactive conversations. For example, if you are just starting your career in photography, you can watch Taylor Gray, Kiamarie Stone, and Nicolas Bruno share their experiences during On the Rise|Getting Started in Photography.

Just don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to listen to Nikon’s photography experts!

Tamara Lackey, CES 2019, Nikon, Speaker

CES 2019 Schedule of Speakers

Nations Photo Lab Fall Photography Contest Winners!

November 7, 2018

fall photography contest winners, Nations Photo Lab, Tamara Lackey

Announcing the Fall Photography Contest Winners with Nations Photo Lab – and Honorable Mentions!

I teamed up with Nations Photo Lab, who I have partnered with on previous contests, and we launched this new one together. I am excited to now announce the photography contest winners!  This brand new photography contest which was opened for submissions, and we were excited that so many of you shared your beautiful fall images. The winners had a chance to win $50 with them, and there were multiple prizes to win and a lot of submissions to judge. I was inspired by all of your contest submissions, as I got to judge the contest, alongside the team at Nations Photo Lab.

Here are the three photography contest winners and three honorable mentions:

First Place: Kristin Hoag with The beauty of Fall

photography contest winners, Nations Photo Lab, Tamara Lackey

Second Place: Kimmarie Keane with Beauty Beneath the Bridge

fall photography contest winners, Nations Photo Lab, Tamara Lackey

Third Place: Marie Schmidt with Stocking up a few peanuts for Winter

fall photography contest winners, Nations Photo Lab, Tamara Lackey


First Honorable Mention: Monita McCool with Be still and know that I am God:Psalm 46:10

fall photography contest winners, Nations Photo Lab, Tamara Lackey

Second Honorable Mention: Jimmy D. Baker with 8 Point Buck on a Cloudy  Fall Morning

fall photography contest winners, Nations Photo Lab, Tamara Lackey

Third Honorable Mention: Erin Lamirande with Miko’s Lion King Moment!

fall photography contest winners, Nations Photo Lab, Tamara Lackey

I didn’t enter the contest, hah, but I did photograph this fall image at the base of Reflection Lake, at Mt. Rainier National Park, in Washington. Woke up before dawn to watch the sun rise and capture a near-perfect perfect reflection while the water was still … well, still. Shot this with the Nikon D5 and 24-70 f/2.8 lens. (If interested, you can see a lot more images, with information about gear and camera settings, on my instagram page.)

fall photography contest winners, Nations Photo Lab, Tamara Lackey, Nikon Ambassador


Photographing Alpacas with Personality: ReDefine Show – Animal Edition!

October 31, 2018

Photographing Alpacas with Personality: ReDefine Show – Animal Edition! with Tamara Lackey

I believe some animals are just better at loving each other than we are. Join me on this episode of reDefine Show – Animal Edition! and learn about photographing alpacas on location at Perry Farm Alpacas in Hillsborough, North Carolina.

When you walk into the large pen, curiosity brings the herd together. Soon, I am surrounded by furry bobble-heads with the most expressive eyes. 

For this photo shoot, I used some of my favorite gear like the Nikon D850 & 105mm f/1.4, with fill light from the SB-5000 flash.

You can see this adorable shoot on the latest reDefine Show – Animal Edition, on Adorama TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scVXm_9Ge6c

Alpacas kissing in the field

Alpacas kissing in the field

An alpaca inspects my camera

An alpaca looks closely at the camera while photographing alpacas with personality

A herd of freshly shorn alpacas gather together

A herd of freshly shorn alpacas gather together