Nick Carver Photography Blog

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Monochrome at Little Corona Del Mar, Newport Beach

Little Corona Del Mar in Newport Beach, CALittle Corona Del Mar in Newport Beach, CA
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Man, oh, man...I have not been keeping up on my blog posting and image sharing like I should! Summer is a crazy busy time for me, so sharing new work has been on the back burner for awhile. But the whole point of this photography stuff is to share my photos with you lovely people! So that's why I made sure to carve out some time today to post these new pictures from Little Corona Del Mar Beach in Newport Beach, CA.

I've been to Little Corona a thousand times before, sometimes just to take pictures, but more often than not I head there with a student for a good old-fashioned Orange County private photography lesson. There is a great cluster of massive rock formations to the north end of the beach that has had my lens pointed at it more times than I can count. And it's a really good place to practice manual metering and filter use for landscape photography with my students.

Since I obtained a Lee Big Stopper 10-stop neutral density filter, I've been playing around a lot with ultra-long shutter speeds. It's a lot of fun getting that shutter speed down in the 30-second to 2-minute range when photographing the ocean because it turns the water into an ethereal fog that departs wildly from reality. And there's something about these ultra-long exposures at the beach with a nice cluster of rocks that just looks awesome in black and white. It takes a pretty basic landscape scene and turns it into a work of art. Sure, it ain't postcard material, but who wants that anyway? The resulting look is more suited for large wall art or a nice calendar image.

I did all of these photos on analog black and white film, but the techniques are the same with digital. You need a low ISO (my film was ISO 200), a small aperture (f/22 or f/32 on all of these) and a nice dark neutral density filter to hold back the light even more. The name of the game is "cut down light coming through the lens as much as possible" so that the shutter speed can slow way down. Oh, and best be using a rock-solid tripod because there is no way you're holding the camera still for this long!

The shutter speed for the first 2 pictures came out to 1 minute. Over the course of one minute, the water advances and retreats so many times that all you get is a nice layer of fog crawling through the gaps between the rocks. I love the way it complements these rock formations at Corona Del Mar with their almost Gothic shape rising up out of the mist. The final shot featured here utilized a shutter speed of only 1 second on account of the brighter light source and lack of ND filter. The movement of the seaweed winding between the boulders was a nice little surprise when I developed the film.

If you're in Orange County, head down to Little Corona Del Mar Beach in Newport Beach sometime. It's worth an exposure or two.

Little Corona Del Mar in Newport Beach, CA

Little Corona Del Mar in Newport Beach, CA

 

Landscape Photography: Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park at SunsetJoshua Tree National Park at Sunset
Fuji Velvia 50 Film
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I recently posted a blog entry about my day trip to Joshua Tree National Park during a storm (view the photos and on-location video here). I took lots of black and white photos on that day because the foggy and cloudy weather just looked phenomenal in monochrome.

My plan was to shoot black and white right up until the sunset, then switch over to color film to capture the rich colors of what I figured would be a very colorful sunset. And, as I hoped, the sunset ended up being a brilliant display of orange, red, and yellow.

Unfortunately, though, I spent too long working on a black and white composition just minutes before the sun dropped. I thought I had more time than I did and, before I knew it, the sun was in prime position but I was still working on my black and white composition. So I scrambled over to my pre-determined "sunset position," loaded up a roll of color film in record time, metered the scene, then started shooting. I was working like mad. I hate being rushed, but I really couldn't let these sunset colors go.

When I'm hurrying, I tend to make mistakes out of frustration for the ticking clock. And by the end of this roll, I was convinced that I botched the whole thing. I was scrambling and my technique was sloppy. Surely none of the shots would come out right.

So when I got home from the trip, I focused my efforts on the rolls of B&W film, anticipating that those would hold the quality shots. And much to my pleasure, the black and whites came out great. In fact, that one B&W composition I was working on just minutes before sunset - the one that made me rush so terribly as the sun dropped - that turned out to be my favorite composition from the whole trip. So, pleased with my work, I silently thanked the universe for the botched roll of color film in exchange for 3 rolls of great B&W film.

There the roll of color film sat on my desk, waiting to be developed. But sure that the photos were terrible, I didn't take it to the lab for developing until a few days later.

Upon finally receiving the film, I was pleased once again. The shots didn't come out perfect and they didn't capture the peak color, but they weren't half bad. So I thought I'd share with you the best shot from the single roll of color film I exposed that day in Joshua Tree National Park (at top).

There's room for improvement on this photo. I could have done things a little better, but that's what happens when you rush. That'll teach me to try and get 2 different compositions during the same sunset on my slowest camera.

Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park

It was my birthday this past Monday (the big two-five) and to celebrate, I took a day off from work and went out to Joshua Tree National Park to off-road, enjoy the change of scenery and get some photos.

The weather was rough with lots of cloud cover, some rain, some hail and strong winds. So, the light wasn't exactly phenomenal, which made getting decent photos pretty much impossible. Gray skies over the desert just don't make for great shots. But I still managed to check out Keys View, which is a high point in the Little San Bernardino Mountains that overlooks the desert cities below.

The view was gorgeous, the temperature was just above freezing and the wind was biting. Here's what I got:

Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Due to the heavy cloud cover, the sunset was basically non-existent, so I didn't get any sunset photos. But the real fun came on the drive home along the 10 Freeway.

As I drove along the 10, the heavy rains turned in to snow right around Banning, CA. For those unfamiliar with the area, Banning is a desert city at only about 2400 feet above sea level. Snow is not a common occurrence here, to say the least.

I love me some snow...and I really love me some snow when it's coming down in areas with palm trees and cactus. So, I pulled off the freeway to get some video and photos of the unusual weather. Unfortunately, it was completely dark by this point and Banning isn't exactly...how do you say this...uh, scenic. I did the best I could with what I had, but the photos from Banning won't be anything I hang on my walls. Still, though, it was fun getting some pictures of palm tress covered in snow.

Snow on Palm Trees in Banning, CA

Snow on Palm Trees in Banning, CA

And here's a quick video of the snowfall taken from my iPhone.

[vimeo width="550" height="309"]http://vimeo.com/37772834[/vimeo]

All in all, the trip and the freak weather made for a fun, memorable b-day.