This week Nikon announced that the Nikon Ambassadors program expanded to include four new photographers, for a total of twenty – and I was thrilled to read my name included as one of them. One of the more popular posts I’ve written on this blog was about why I switched to Nikon. Since the first time I started working with the Nikon system, I truly haven’t looked back in any way. I am loving the gear (if curious, here’s what’s in my bag), the quality of the imagery I’m shooting and the support of the passionate group of individuals who work at Nikon. My mom asked me what it meant, exactly, to be included as one of the Nikon Ambassadors (here’s the full list of all twenty, a rather way-impressive group). Well, first of all, it doesn’t mean that I can get out of any parking tickets, like I’d initially hoped. No, really, I checked. Not even that one where I walked up and saw her starting to write it and said, But, wait, I’m right here while trying to make eye contact with her, even thought she continued to KEEP writing it and totally ignored me and then went and put it on my windshield, walking past me like I was a freakin’ hologram. And it wasn’t a cheap ticket either! Diplomatic immunity doesn’t apply to us in any way. It also doesn’t mean we are now working for Nikon or need to wear a yellow uniform with diagonal-ish white stripes, to answer a question from my confused 10 year-old year son. And, no, I’m not on any sort of commission, as a forum commentor recently asked. Like, seriously, none ; ) What inclusion in the Nikon Ambassadors program means, from my perspective, is simply a more formal way of deepening a relationship between two parties who happen to really love the magic of photography and also care a great deal about investing in the future of the craft. I’ve already been lucky enough to partner with Nikon on several initiatives prior to this Nikon Ambassadors announcement, like being a part of their very cool Nikon Behind The Scenes videos. One of my videos about photographing fast-moving children and pets has already been released and is live, and four more of mine will be released over the next few months. You can also see some excellent ones from Joe McNally and Corey Rich, the other two Nikon Ambassadors featured, all housed on the Nikon YouTube channel. I’ve also been able to team up with them to be a Featured Instructor on their popular, up and coming Nikon Mom’s Night Out program, and we’ve heard some amazing things back from participants. We’ll be doing a third one in New York soon, to be announced shortly. And I’ve been fortunate enough to shoot some of their lifestyle-oriented commercial stock photographs, which is very fun “work”, as well as test out – and then report back on – a couple of their newer cameras. One of my favorites is their interchangeable lens Nikon AW1 camera, which is waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof and kid-proof! I carry this little, so-portable camera around with me most everywhere I go. It has a pretty powerful engine, too – to show you what I mean, I shot this image from the water, while my family and I were in Puerto Rico: In addition, I’ve been able to speak on their behalf at a variety of shows, including several WPPI programs, in Las Vegas and a few at Photo Plus Expo, in New York. They also championed the idea of Work. Live. Succeed: A Panel Discussion for Pro Photographers from Nikon, that took place in Vegas and featured Dixie Dixon, Bambi Cantrell and myself and was moderated by Melissa Nui, of PhotoFocus. A big thanks to Mike Corrado, who is Manager of Nikon Professional Services – Pro Relations and Product Marketing, as well as a seriously talented artist himself. He not only considered that idea but went and ran with it, really making it happen in such a big way. (I’m quite grateful to Mike for working with me so closely throughout this entire experience – and being a lot of fun along the way). As of just this week, you can now watch that entire Work. Live. Succeed program here, as it’s now living on Nikon’s website. Given all the work we’ve done together to date, I’m beyond honored to have a page on the Nikon website and to stand among these inspiring artists as part of the Nikon Ambassadors USA program: And thank you, thank you, thank you for any well wishes any of you may have offered since this was announced!! It truly means a great deal to me.