First, I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for the continued support with the kind comments, likes, plusses, tweets, and shares. It has been both an honor and a pleasure to share my photos and experiences with all of you and please know that you’ve all helped make 2015 a truly wonderful year.

And now, a toast to 2015 and may 2016 bring each of you closer to your dreams! Here’s to wonderful times ahead!

2015 | A Year of Epic Projects

Wowza! 2015 has been a wild, perpetual and non-stop ride of huge projects of epic proportions. Looking back at the year, I can’t believe we were able to tackle so many things with such quality results.

In retrospect, it’s incredible to see how much our lives have evolved and changed, businesses has developed, and how the experiences of 2015 have caused me to step so far outside of my comfort zone with challenges, that I’ve grown in countless profound and positive ways.

It’s difficult to put into words how much has changed for us this year as we’ve settled into our fourth year of being 100% location independent, spent an entire year producing Photographing The World, and officially launching a business that we’ve been developing for the better part of three years, Dream Photo Tours.

It’s been a wild ride, and along the way, 2015 has continued to confirm for me without a shadow of a doubt that passion, hard work and dedication will never go unrewarded.

This post is a collection of our favorite moments, favorite photos, and favorite memories from 2015.

Travel Stats

Needless to say, Naomi and I traverse more than a little bit of the globe. Here’s a quick breakdown of our yearly travel and flights stats.

Countries Visited: 18

Cities Visited: 83

Miles Flown: 175,953

Flights Taken: 77

Hours on a Plane: 397


Photographing The World

In November of 2014, I teamed up with Lee Morris and Patrick Hall from Fstoppers to film the most epic Landscape, Cityscape, Astrophotography, and Advanced Post-processing tutorial video ever created. What we didn’t realize when we set the ground plan, is that with our combined ambition to make this the most high quality production possible, it took us an entire year to complete! Just as a precursor, you’ll notice so much of 2015 revolved around just working on that specific project.
Photographing The World with Elia Locardi


Florida – Australia – Singapore – Hong Kong


After being on the road in Iceland, Cinque Terre, and Rome with Lee and Patrick from November – December, we all decided to take a break in production and head back to see our families for Christmas and the New Year holidays. I also took the opportunity to switch up my travel gear configuration to accommodate more of what I’d need for Photographing The World. Below, you’ll see what I hit the road with after the new year – a fully loaded Think Tank Photo Airport Commuter Backpack.


In January, my photo “Moments in Time” was selected for the 500px Best travel photos of 2014!

Moments In Time || Oia Santorini

Sydney – Singapore

After catching up with some old friends in Sydney and discussing future Photo Tours, it was time to get back in production with Photographing the World. We flew to Singapore to meet up with Lee and Patrick to begin filming the Cityscapes portion of the tutorial.

When planning to teach how to shoot cityscapes, I couldn’t think of a better place to start than Singapore. The city is beautiful to photograph and there are so many great vantage points to choose from.


There was another reason why I wanted to travel to Singapore and that was because it always feels like going home when I get there. Visiting since 2012, I’ve made lifelong friends and the photography community has always welcomed me into the fold with open arms. And, as it turns out, Lee and Patrick have quite the group of friends in Singapore as well! We decided to hold a local meetup so we could all hang out with many local photographers and some of my old friends.



After the meetup, Lee and Patrick wanted to teach us their favorite Casino Game, and while it took us a while to get the hang of playing craps, after a bit of practice we had a ton of fun and made out quite well for our first session at the table.


Hong Kong

After an awesome week in Singapore, we said goodbye to our friends and flew to Hong Kong because I knew that no cityscape tutorial would be complete without capturing some of the spectacular architecture there. Though we had a bit of haze in the city, we still managed to create some fantastic lessons and come away with awesome images.



And, of course we made time for margaritas!


Somehow, with everything going on, I also managed to process a few new photos for my portfolio during January.

Breath of Life || France

Long rows of beautiful lavender lead into three perfect trees.

Village of Dreams || Austria

Village of Dreams || Austria


Siem Reap – New Zealand

Siem Reap

The Cityscape portion of Photographing The World was intended to include both ultra-modern and ancient architecture. Obviously, I couldn’t think of a better place to photograph ancient architecture than Angkor Wat. I also knew that Naomi and I couldn’t bring Lee and Patrick all the way to SE Asia without showing them Siem Reap and the amazing temple complexes.

Obviously, in-between all the work, we made some time for some fun as well! This included a fish massage, some crazy food experiences (it was Patrick’s idea to eat the tarantula), and a visit to a Cambodian firing range.


We were thrilled with how much Lee and Patrick loved Cambodia and its incredible smiling people. I’m sure they’ll visit again some day.



Dream Photo Tours

It was also while in Cambodia that we officially launched our new Dream Photo Tours website! Naomi had to skip most of the filming during the project to finish up the design and get everything launched. I’m so proud of the work that she put into the new site and it was an amazing feeling to see it finally come alive!

Dream-Photo-tours-masthead-website-graphic-1440-60qThis visit to Cambodia also gave us time to meet with our friends at Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC), and finalize our partnership working with them on future Philanthropic Dream Photo Tours.


New Zealand

After leaving Cambodia, we flew to New Zealand to film some of the most difficult portions of the tutorial series. Advanced Landscapes and Astrophotography. And what better place to teach people how to capture the night sky than under the protection of a dark sky reserve and one of the clearest atmospheres in the world?



New Zealand – Sydney – Japan

New Zealand

As far as life experiences go, New Zealand is one of those places that I feel like everyone should try to visit in their lifetime. Naomi and I have had the wonderful opportunity to have made multiple visits to this amazing country and it never ceases to amaze.


We spent the first few weeks of March continuing our journey around the South Island and having a great time filming new lessons almost on a daily basis. I even managed to show Lee and Patrick a few of my favorite spots to photograph.




At the end of our journey through Middle Earth, Naomi, Lee, and Patrick decided to do every extreme Kiwi sport in one day. The went sky diving, bungee jumping, and even did the world’s largest and longest canyon swing. Personally, I thought they were nuts but they loved every second of it!





I headed up to the land down under to resupply on a few crucial items I’d need for Japan including a DJI Phantom 2 Drone.


It was also some time for me to catch up on some work that I had put off while aggressively on the road in New Zealand.

I wrote an article for 500px that went quite viral called “21 Places Every Photographer Should Visit Before They Die.”


I also made some time to release a few new portfolio images.

Reflections of Bled || Slovenia

Reflections of Bled || Slovenia

Beyond Kotor Bay || Montenegro

Beyond Kotor Bay || Montenegro

Test of Time || Petra

Test Of Time || Petra Jordan


The feeling of being in Japan communicates directly to my soul and on this visit, Naomi and I were able to spend 27 days there, exploring, photographing, and scouting for future Dream Photo Tours. I’m so in love with this country that I get excited with just the thought of being back there again soon. 🙂

We started our month long journey in Hiroshima so that we could explore the city and also visit Miyajima Island. I really wanted to photograph the famous Grand Torii Gate that has become such a symbol for the country.


I decided to post-process two distinctly different shots because I couldn’t choose which one I liked the most.

Floating on Light || Itsukushima

Floating on Light || Itsukushima Japan

Vermillion Tide || Japan

A powerful sky compliments the stunning Itsukushima Torii Gate on Miyajima Island in Japan

Of course no trip to Japan would be complete without adding some exciting new Fujifilm gear to the family! It was the perfect timing to try out some new lenses.



Japan – China

Japan Continued 

We continued on from Hiroshima and Miyajima making many stops along the way including a very cute little town called Kurashiki. I still haven’t processed any photos from there but here’s a behind the scenes shot of the famous old town area. You’ll also notice that I’m using a prototype compact pano gimbal by Really Right Stuff. I was helping them with field research to develop the final product, which has recently become available for purchase: HERE.


Himeji Castle had been under complete restoration and covered with scaffolding for 5 years so this was the first cherry blossom season where it was finally complete. We decided to spend a few days in the town focusing on capturing the amazing castle known as the White Heron. I still have many photos to process from the castle grounds and while I was there, I also decided to get in some drone time! However, please note that it has recently become illegal to fly near Himeji Castle so I was very lucky to have the chance to capture it from the air before they enforced the ban.



While we were enjoying the beauty of Japan, I started to have some issues with my MacBook Pro. We decided to spend a few days In Osaka since they were able to schedule a repair at the Apple Store. While we were in town, I couldn’t help but visit stunning Osaka Castle in full cherry blossom bloom.

There’s just something special about the Sakura season in Japan that keeps us visiting again and again. It’s not just because the cherry blossoms are beautiful, it’s also because everyone in Japan is in such a great mood when the trees are in bloom. You can feel the cheer in the air as so many people gaze at the flowers with huge smiles on their faces, while couples hold hands and families have picnics underneath the beautiful flowery canopies. It’s a wonderful thing to experience.


When I’m in Japan, I always feel my creativity flowing and it’s at those times when I feel very inspired to work on my portfolio photos. I decided to concentrate on a few more images from Japan.

The Forest’s Awakening || Kyoto

The Forest’s Awakening || Kyoto Arashiyama Japan

The Harmony of Japan || Mt Fuji


And then it was once again time to say goodbye to beautiful Japan.


After Japan, Naomi and I flew to Beijing where I was invited to speak at two events during the P&E Photography Exhibition; The largest annual photo exhibition in China.

It was an honor for me to be able to present to the Chinese Photography Community in Beijing and it was also the first time I worked with a live Chinese Interpreter on stage. It was a great experience overall.

China-speaking-event-one-Elia-atPodium-1440 Elia-china-stage-blue-spotlight-1440

From Beijing, we flew to Shenzhen where I had one more scheduled presentation.


After that, I had a great opportunity to meet with the DJI Global Team and also got a chance to fly a Phantom 3 Prototype!



Singapore – Italy – Incheon – Singapore – Kuala Lumpur – Penang


We had a few days to burn before our Italy Dream Photo Tour so we decided to head to Singapore to visit friends, catch up on work, and spend some time planning for upcoming events there later in the month. While I was there, I was treated to a view of the city that I had never seen before. (Sorry I haven’t processed the final image just yet)


I also had some time to work on another portfolio piece.

The Old City of Mostar || Herzegovina

The fascinating old city of Mostar and the Stari Most, one of the gems of Herzegovina.

The fascinating old city of Mostar and the Stari Most, one of the gems of Herzegovina.


Each year, our Italy Dream Photo Tour is an absolute pleasure to lead, and on this particular tour, we had a group of truly wonderful people. From day one, we were one big happy—and of course very well fed—family of photographers. Day after day, we also had epic sky after epic sky.


A big goal for my own photography during the tour was to master the art of Aerial Drone Photography. DJI had been kind enough to ship me an early prototype of the Phantom 3 Professional to use during the tour. Luckily enough, while I was in Singapore, my buddy James who owns TK Photo had a demo model of the Think Tank HeliPak, specifically made to hold the Phantom 3 and additional camera gear. I had been using the Phantom 2 since November of 2014, and you can see them side-by-side here.


To say that I had fun flying my Phantom 3 Pro in Italy would be a giant understatement. It was incredible to see so many places I’ve been before from a brand new perspective.



Throughout the tour from Rome, to Tuscany, Florence, and Cinque Terre, I was able to come away with some stellar photos and videos.

Beyond The Vatican || Rome

A spectacular view from above, as the sky lights up behind The Vatican in Rome.

Incheon – South Korea

My time using the DJI Phantom 3 wasn’t purely for recreation. I was also about gathering enough photos, videos, and assets for a detailed review on Fstoppers. Since these types of posts and reviews take time to write and build, I knew that I needed to spend a few days somewhere without distraction to put everything together.

A lot of people ask me how I get so much done when I’m on the road full time. And the answer is that sometimes, I schedule time in areas just to put down the camera and get work done. Since my next project was in Singapore later in the month, Naomi and I decided to spend some time in South Korea since it’s a very cool and affordable place to exist for a week.

While there, I created my review for Fstoppers and DJI called, “DJI Phantom 3 Review – A New Perspective on The World.” The post itself went pretty viral and got a lot of attention.

Along with the review, I produced an Aerial Video called “A Drone in Italy,” which showcased some of the footage I captured while I was in Italy.


Singapore – Kuala Lumpur – Penang

I’m very proud to be a Fujifilm Global Ambassador and I was delighted when they invited me to speak at a series of product launch events surrounding the Fujifilm X-T10.


The first event was an on stage presentation in front of a few hundred people in the Singapore Funan Digilife Mall. Afterwards, I invited everyone who was attending our Photowalk for a group shot on the stage. We all decided to do what Fujifilm X-Photographers call the X Pose.


After Singapore, we all drove up to Kuala Lumpur for another event, followed by a third event in Penang. It was such an incredible experience to meet so many awesome people in Singapore and Malaysia! Thanks to everyone for making me feel so welcome there.



Charleston – Chicago


Now that Lee, Patrick, and the entire Fstoppers team had been editing the in the field videos together for a few months, it was time to head into the studio to record the post-processing portion of the tutorials. We left Malaysia bound for Charleston, South Carolina and Fstoppers HQ.

As you can see, it had been a pretty wild ride of travel before heading back into the USA.


For a few solid weeks, I spent every day in the studio rotating between preparing post-processing content and recording it. We were determined to release Photographing The World – Landscape Photography and Post-processing by mid July so we all worked extremely hard to get it completed. In the process, I recorded countless hours of post-processing lessons in the studio as the editing team worked around the clock to put it all together.




Taking a break from recording post-processing in the studio for countless hours, I flew to Chicago to be part of the Out of Chicago Photography Conference. During the event, I gave a few presentations, taught an all-day “Moments in Time” post-processing workshop, and lead a really fun photowalk.


During my transit days between the two cities, I decided to add a new image of Dubrovnik to my portfolio as well.

The Walled City || Dubrovnik

The Walled City || Dubrovnik Croatia



Charleston Continued

After leaving Chicago, I flew right back to Charleston to keep on working on Photographing the World – Landscapes. For two more weeks, I spent nearly every day in the studio recording the post-processing, doing voice overs and supplemental content that would be included in the series.

On July 13 (my birthday), the 6 solid months of hard work had finally paid off when we released Photographing The World – Landscape Photography and Post-processing on Fstoppers.


The full landscape photography tutorial is broken down into 15 lessons, plus an Intro to Gear and Intro to the Basics, which covers all of the gear, scouting tips, composition techniques, and camera settings I use on a daily basis to create my imagery. With the tutorial download, users also receive access to the RAW files and reference Photoshop PSD files. This means they can follow along with their own edits as I teach them every step of my streamlined workflow. From simple layer masking techniques to complex blending with luminosity masks, this tutorial teaches the tools to make stunning landscape photographs yourself.

The 12 hour tutorial and 15 lessons had an overwhelmingly positive response, and for a few days, the entire team celebrated, we went out for an epic dinner together, and all felt a deep sense of both accomplishment and relief.


Then, after the weekend was over, we started working on the second Photographing the World Video – Cityscape, Astrophotography, and Advanced Post-processing! And this one was going to be even longer with 20 new lessons.

So for the rest of July and into August, we were back into the studio and I was once again recording countless hours of post-processing content, as well as interviews about astrophotography basics and business practices. It turns out that the most time I’ve spent in one place since becoming location independent has been in Charleston South Carolina. 😉


In-between all the recording sessions and to help promote the release of the tutorial, I started to release a few of the finished photos that are part of the instruction in Photographing The World.

Winter’s Grasp || Iceland

Winters Grasp || Iceland

The Road to Mt. Cook || New Zealand

The Road to Mt Cook || New Zealand

Simultaneously, Lee and Patrick also started to release their companion (and very funny) Photographing The World – Behind The Scenes Series. Here’s the first Episode below, but you can watch the entire series on this  YouTube Playlist I created.  



Charleston – Hong Kong – Shenzhen – Bangkok – Bhutan

Charleston Continued

While the first portion of August was dedicating to aggressively building the content needed for Photographing the World – Cityscape, Astrophotography and Advanced-Post-processing, early in the month I released a post and very revealing video about How I Became a Location Independent Photographer.



Once again, in-between all the recording sessions and to help promote the release of the tutorial, I released a few more of the finished photos that are part of the lessons in Photographing The World.

Frozen in Time || Iceland

Frozen in Time

Winters Radiance || Iceland

Seljalandsfoss - One of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland, covered with a blanket of beautiful snow.

Hong Kong – Shenzhen

After wrapping up all the studio and post-processing work for Photographing The World in Charleston, it was time to say goodbye to the Fstoppers team and continue on to the next adventure.

Bhutan was the next big shooting project but before we were going to meet our production team in Bangkok, I had a few business development things to take care of in Hong Kong and Shenzhen. This included having a look at current prototype equipment at DJI HQ. 🙂

Since we were going to be back on the road indefinitely, and our project in Bhutan was wrapped around filming the Tour of the Dragon Bike Race across the Himalayan Mountains, Naomi and I had to accommodate a ton of gear for both photo and video work.

As you can see by the image below, we both started rocking the Think Tank Photo Airport Helipak in order to be able to bring along two DJI Phantom 3 Professionals. Click on the image below to read more about the specific gear we’ve packed together.


Bangkok – Bhutan

Naomi and I were part of a production team for the project in Bhutan and our job was to capture all of the beauty shots—both photo and video—that would be used in editing. We flew to Bangkok to meet the team so that we could all fly together from Bangkok to Paro. Bangkok is one of the only points of flight entry to Bhutan.

One of the best parts of my job capturing beauty and B Roll, was to get to ride in the cockpit and film the landing into Paro – One of the most technically challenging and exciting landings in the world. Essentially the pilot has to navigate the dense mountains in full manual mode. Below, you can see my multi-GoPro setup. I was like a kid in a candy store!



For two weeks, we toured the country of Bhutan on official invite by the Bhutan Olympic Committee to film the incredible Tour of The Dragon Mountain Bike Race.  Essentially, this 268 kilometer bike race is more like an ultra-marathon on roads that happen to be some of the most dangerous in the world. It’s no doubt why it’s considered to be the toughest one day mountain bike race in the world.

The video project is still currently in production but while I was there, I was able to come away with some stunning video both on the ground and in the air with my Phantom 3 Pro. Bear in mind that all drones are banned in Bhutan so this was a special privilege to be able to fly.


It was an awesome project but a grueling one as well. That’s why it was awesome to have the opportunity to work with so many awesome people including my long time friend, Tim Gorski – the one holding the camera and tripod in the image below.



Tiger’s Nest

Obviously, you can’t think of Bhutan without an image of Tiger’s Nest Monastery coming to mind. And for as long as I can remember, the Tigers Nest in Bhutan has been at the top of my bucket list, and for years, I’ve been dying for the chance to see it for myself and having the chance to photograph it while it was shrouded by swirling mist and fog was just icing on the cake!


I knew that Bhutan was going to be an incredible experience but what I didn’t anticipating is capturing my favorite photo to date. It’s a shot of Tiger’s Nest Monastery, called “Dragon’s Breath,” and it has an interesting story behind it.

We had made the long hike up to this viewpoint in the pouring rain but when we reached the top, the rain cleared into fog, and the fog turned into a beautiful sky.

I was determined to use this great weather to make something unique so I asked my guide if he had ever seen if Tiger’s Nest lights up at night. He—and no one else in our party—had any idea. I decided to stay up past sunset to find out and sure enough, there were beautiful lights on in the windows. Interestingly enough, it turns out that I’m the first photographer in the world to stay up there late and capture The Tiger’s Nest Monastery at Night.

Later, I also found out that nobody in Bhutan had ever seen a photo like this and even the Prince of Bhutan himself said that it was the most beautiful image of Tiger’s Nest that he has ever seen. 🙂

Dragon’s Breath || Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan

The incredible Tiger’s Nest Monastery sits high in the Himalayan mountains of Bhutan - a true spectacle from the land of the thunder dragon.


Bhutan – Bangkok – Venice – Alto Adige (Dolomites)


Our project in Bhutan carried on until September 8th when we all flew back to Bangkok together. I must say that this project though challenging, was one of the best experiences of 2015.


With the whole year to date being a whirlwind of non-stop projects, long haul travel, pressure, and deadlines, Naomi and I scheduled to have some much needed down time in September before my schedule went completely nuts again in October.

Of course, Italy is our favorite country in the world so we decided to fly to Venice and spend the day in one of our favorite ancient cities. While we were there, my main goals were to capture some aerial Phantom 3 video of Venice, and visit the island of Burano. We’ve visited Venice over a dozen times over the years and for some reason, we always missed the opportunity to make it happen. But not this time. 🙂

We spent an entire day on the little island of Burano and we had fantastic weather. I know this is just a behind the scenes shot, but I can already tell it’s going to make an awesome portfolio piece.


I also took full advantage of flying as much as I could. Later on, you’ll see some of this video end up in a new project I’m working on. For now though, all I have to show are behind the scenes shots.



Thankfully though, I did manage to work on a few more portfolio pieces in September during our short break in Italy.

Monuments of Eternity || Petra Jordan

Monuments of Eternity || Petra Jordan

Ebb and Flow || Mostar Herzegovina

Ebb and Flow || Mostar Herzegovina

The Dolomites and Alto Adige

So you know that little Italian village where that cute little church sits perfectly in front of the mind blowing mountain range of the Dolomites? Well, if you had a week off in Italy and wanted to spend time relaxing and still come away with a portfolio piece or two, wouldn’t that town make a great choice? Yes! We thought so too. 🙂

As you can see by this Moment Between Shot and Phantom 3 screen grab, when the golden light hits this valley, the result is absolutely spectacular. I can’t wait to work on my images from this trip to Alto Adige but it may be a few more months before I can get to them.



Naomi even made a new friend while we spent time shooting this location. This adorable cat spent multiple days with us here giving us a ton of love. Man, what an amazing place to spend a week!


Probably the most surprising thing that happened during our visit was a freak blizzard in September that gave us an entire day of shooting in a powder dusted landscape. It was incredible. Again, images coming soon!




Italy – Dubai – Iceland – New York City – Fiji


Here’s when my schedule became so densely packed with presentations, projects, meetings, and travel that Naomi and I decided that it was best if both of us didn’t put the wear and tear on our bodies. She flew to New York City and eventually down to Florida to visit family while I headed straight to Dubai.

Dubai – Instagram Illuminate

The main reason I was in Dubai was because Instagram and Facebook personally reached out to me and asked me to be one of the main speakers at an exclusive banquet event at the Burj Al Arab, the only 7 star hotel in the world. Of course, I was very flattered with the invitation and honored with the opportunity to play such a key role in the event. Time was tight, but I knew I could spend a few days in Dubai before I needed to be in Iceland to lead a Dream Photo Tour.

Again, I want to personally thank the FB and IG teams, not only for organizing such an amazing event, but for also being such wonderful and generous people to work with. Really, you guys are awesome and I’m happy to have had the opportunity to get to know you all better personally.

Here’s a shot of me doing my thing on stage, shot by my friends Kyle Wilson and William Woodward, who were handling the event behind the scenes.


While I was in Dubai, I caught up with some dear friends of mine and even attempted an early AM shoot in the incredibly dense humidity. In fact, it was so hot and muggy outside that my camera was literally dripping water from all the accumulating moisture. Every few minutes, I had to soak it all up with a towel and wipe the fog off the front of my lens.


Though I can’t say it was a fun experience, the complicated conditions resulted in a very interesting atmosphere to photograph. If you look closely in the background, you can barely see a small piece of the Burj Khalifa as the rest of the monstrous structure has been totally engulfed by the fog.

Dusty Dawn || Dubai

Patchy morning fog begins to engulf the extraordinary cityscape of downtown Dubai.

Patchy morning fog begins to engulf the extraordinary cityscape of downtown Dubai.

While I was in Dubai, I also had the pleasure of meeting the Gulf Photo Plus Team in person. I’ll be teaching three workshops there next February for GPP 2016!



From Dubai, I flew straight to Reykjavik to kick off our Fall Dream Photo Tour in Iceland. Right off the bat, I decided to share another image from Photographing The World, this time more specific to what I was hoping for the group to experience the most – Northern Lights.

Winter Lights || Iceland

Winter Lights || Iceland Aurora

Apparently I must have pleased the weather gods because for the entire time we were in Iceland, we had Northern Light activity almost every since night! Every year I think tours to Iceland couldn’t get any better but this year, with a combination of weather, fall colors, and amazing aurora activity, the 2015 Iceland Dream Photo Tour was an incredible experience!


I also had many opportunities to fly my Phantom 3 and I even had a chance to test out some new gear by Edelkrone, A Slider Pro Medium and Motion Control. I was able to capture some really nice motion time lapses.


New York City – Photo Plus Expo

After a very successful Dream Photo Tour in Iceland, I grabbed a direct flight to New York to speak for Fujifilm at Photo Plus Expo for the third year in a row. As usual, it was amazing to catch up with so many of my friends, colleagues, and partners at the convention.

I had caught the flu and lost my voice in Iceland so speaking on stage was a bit more challenging than usual but I still managed to pull in a crowd. 🙂


I wish I would’ve had more time to hang out at all the social events around NYC but with my down time, I decided to nurture my flu and prepare for a long series of upcoming flights to Fiji for the F Stop Lounge Fiji Workshop.


I flew all the way to Fiji to take part in the 2015 F Stop Lounge Fiji Workshop on Mana Island and I have to say, it was awesome! Being stuck on a remote tropical island with all of these crazy and talented photographers and artists was an experience of a lifetime!




Fiji – Greece – Tokyo – Istanbul – Florida


My one regret with the Fiji workshop was not extending my stay longer. After flying halfway around the world from NYC to Fiji, spending only four nights teaching and partying, I was not exactly rested and prepared to fly halfway around the world again to Greece.

In fact, to get to Meteora from Fiji, I had to first take a 3 hour boat ride to Nadi, a bus ride to the airport, take a 7 hour flight to Melbourne AU, then take a 14 hour flight to Doha, followed by a 6 hour flight to Athens. Then, I had an 8 hour layover in Athens before my flight to Thessaloniki. I arrived in Thessaloniki very late at night, checked into a hotel, passed out, woke up early, picked up a rental car and drove the 3.5 hours to Meteora. Talk about a long travel day!!

Thankfully after all the effort of getting there in time, my friends at DJI had prepared a special gift to greet me at the Visit Meteora Tourism Office in town. A brand new DJI Inspire Pro and X5 Camera.


Now, this may seem nuts to not stay a few days in one of the most beautiful tropical island chains in the world but I had specific projects to take care of and they all revolved around catching the fall colors in Meteora. Aerial Photography and Videography become my top priority over a week of shooting. Of course that didn’t keep me from shooting on the ground too!



After shooting a ton of great images and videos, and working with the awesome team at Visit Meteora, I had collected plenty of great material to put together a fully detailed review on Fstoppers called, “DJI Inspire Pro and X5 Review – An Absolute Game Changer.”

Just like my last DJI Review, I put together a three minute aerial film shot entirely with the Inspire Pro and X5 camera called, “Meteora – Suspended in Air.” I’m happy to say that the response has been incredible. And, full disclosure here in this post, I actually posted it in December, it just made more sense to include it in this section. 😉



I said my goodbyes in Meteora and set out for Tokyo for a series of events in collaboration with DJI Global and DJI Japan. Leaving Greece with the extra Inspire Pro case, well, let’s just say I was traveling extra heavy!


One of the scheduled events with DJI was a Photowalk in Yoyogi Park, all centered around shooting with the newest DJI Product, the OSMO handheld gimbal camera.




While we were there, everyone had a blast using the DJI OSMOs and we even got a nice star wars lightsaber battle as a show!



The next event was a presentation and workshop during the InterBEE convention about getting the most out of Aerial Photography and DJI RAW files. The second, was a half day in-depth post-processing workshop. Both went really well. Apologies for the lack of behind the scenes images though.



Of course no visit to Japan would be complete without catching up with the awesome team at Fujifilm over a traditional Japanese meal. It’s so inspiring to have the opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds in the photography industry. 🙂



As soon as the events in Tokyo wrapped up, I flew to Istanbul to speak at another Instagram event called Illuminate Istanbul. Again, it was an honor to be there and to be a part of the event. Unfortunately, I’m still waiting on the behind the scenes photos so I only have a simple shot of the venue before everyone arrived. Either way, I had a great time!




Illuminate Istanbul was on the night of the 24th, so in order to make it back to Florida to visit family for Thanksgiving, I had to take a 5:00AM flight on the morning of the 25th! Basically, I hung out with everyone after the event until about 2:00AM, went back to my room for a quick 1 hour power nap, and flagged a taxi to the airport. 😉

Even though I arrived late at night, I arrived the night before Thanksgiving so it was worth the effort to spend time with my family.


Florida – Cambodia – Brisbane – Florida


We left our family in Florida and flew to Cambodia for our 2015 Philanthropic Dream Photo Tour. The tour was primarily lead by Naomi so that I had the time to catch up on two very important projects. But before that, I had a chance to teach the children of Journeys within our Community (JWOC) the basics of photography and post-processing.

What an amazing experience. I’m still tearing up thinking about it. 🙂

JWOC-GroupShot-1440JWOC-EliaTeaching-computer-1440 JWOC-EliaTeaching-kids-1440  Jwoc-naomi-kids-group-1440

In the spirit of Angkor Wat and since the image is also part of the instructional content for Photographing The World 2, I decided to release a new image from the famous sunrise spot.

Angkor Brilliance || Cambodia

Angkor Brilliance || Cambodia

Since I had been non-stop with projects since that short break in September, it was time to catch up on something that was extremely important.

Photographing The World – Cityscape Astrophotography and Advanced Post-processing

The main thing was to finalize everything for the next Photographing The World video for a release date of December 14th. That put me into full speed ahead for an entire week, prepping online content, lesson outlines, and proofing the 15 hours of finalized video content before it could go online for sale.

Thankfully, we rocked it, and on December 14th, after an entire year of production, the next installment of Photographing the World was finally live. It’s hard to describe the pure feeling of joy I felt finally getting to see this released into the world.


Of course, Fstoppers always puts together great promotional videos so if you’re interested in what these 20 lessons and 15 hours include, check out the video below.


Cambodia – Brisbane – Florida

I had to swing by Brisbane for a few days to catch up with some contacts and discuss future projects but after that, we were on the way back to Florida for the holidays.

So since I don’t have any family photos to share, I can leave you with one more photo I shared in the month of December from Riomaggiore.

In Harmony With The Sea || Riomaggiore

An unbelievable sunset in Riomaggiore as the waves crash on the rocky coastline.

The Holidays

To be honest, I’ve left my camera in the bag ever since I got back for the holidays. In fact, I was out for drinks with my sister, my brother in law, and two of my cousins the other night and they hid my phone from me so I would stop answering emails. In other words, I’ve been forced to take some time off. 😉