Nick Carver Photography Blog

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Large Wall Art: 7-Foot Wide Panorama

Large Wall Art - Panoramic Photography by Nick CarverLarge Wall Art: Nick Carver and the 7-Foot Wide Beast
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I recently made a large wall art piece for a client to hang in his TrueCar executive office in Goleta, CA. I've made some large wall art before. My record is 10-foot wide, a panoramic view of Sedona, AZ that hangs proudly in my Tustin classroom. But on the 10-foot wide piece, I broke up it into 3 smaller pieces, forming a triptych, simply because it's nearly impossible (or prohibitively expensive) to create a single piece that large.

Large Wall Art - Panoramic Photography by Nick Carver

For this wall art at TrueCar, we were looking at doing a 6-foot wide print with a 4" double mat and a 2" frame. All in all, the piece would measure 7-foot edge-to-edge when it was complete. Since we were going with traditional matting, doing a triptych wouldn't look right. The gaps between prints would be distracting. So the goal was to do a single continuous piece framed under glass.

Before this, I'd never done a piece this large with glass. The triptych hanging in my Tustin classroom is float-mounted with plexiglass and no frame. Doing it under a single pane of glass presents a different set of challenges. Thankfully my framer, Salamon Art in Fountain Valley, provided much needed guidance on this process. I learned from the head honcho over there that matting prints this big is so uncommon that there are only 2 colors available for matting: white and warm-white. Good thing that's what we wanted anyway. The next challenge was glazing (meaning the glass). They don't make glass this big for picture framing. We could get a pane specially made, but that would cost a fortune. Thank God for acrylic. Acrylic glazing made the whole piece surprisingly lightweight compared to glass and it made the materials far more affordable.

I typically like high-gloss metallic prints, especially for landscapes like this, but I decided to go with a regular matte finish paper. It was a tough decision because I don't really like matte photo paper, but it was the right decision. High-gloss prints this big become distractingly riddled with ripples and reflections. Also, it's a good idea to do really dark photos in a dull finish. High-gloss picks up reflections even worse when the picture is dark. If you got yourself a really bright composition, though, gloss can look great. The printing was done, as always, by the experts at Pro Photo Connection in Irvine. It's the only place I trust with my prints. This photo, by the way, is a 6x17 panoramic made on Fuji Velvia 50 film in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.

Sunset at Rancho Palos Verdes

The finished piece came out great, it was huge, it didn't break on transport (my biggest worry), and it looked gorgeous hanging on this exec's wall. As I've said before, getting the photo framed and hanging on someone else's wall is the ultimate reward of photography. Feels good.

On to the next one.

Fun With Triptych Photography: Trees and Clouds

Triptych Photography

Triptych Photography
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I got a thing for triptych photography. There's something about threes - it just looks good. Maybe it's because I'm one of 3 brothers. But whatever the reason, lately I've been addicted to taking pictures in such a way that they'll look good as a triptych in the final presentation. This most often manifests as three nearly identical compositions of slightly different subjects so that when they are finally arranged together into a triptych, the artwork, as a whole, simultaneously highlights the broad similarities and minor differences between subjects all in one piece.

The other way to make a triptych is to simply divide up a single picture into thirds, then place the segments next to each other to reconstitute the bigger picture, as I did with the 10-foot wide panoramic hanging in my Tustin office.

Triptych Wall Art

Recently, when my girlfriend and I took our dog out for a drive/walk on a partly cloudy day, we eventually found ourselves at my old high school. The clouds were gorgeous - which is the real reason we decided to get out of the house - and I brought my camera gear along to capture the dramatic sky. Whenever we get those picturesque partly cloudy skies dotted with billowing fair-weather cumulous clouds, I feel a nagging itch to go photograph it. I simply love this type of weather. It is unquestionably my favorite type of sky. But my dilemma, usually, is that there just aren't many good foregrounds here in Orange County to create a traditional land-and-sky landscape photo. Unless I want that gorgeous sky paired with an endless wasteland of tract housing and strip malls, I find myself more than a bit frustrated.

I could head down to the beach and photograph this beautiful sky over the ocean, which I have done before with excellent results, but you Orange County natives know that the skies at the beach are rarely similar to the skies just 10 miles in from the coast. It would be a gamble heading down there. Or I could venture out into one of the local wilderness preserves to catch this sky over some rolling hills, but with the recent drought and the ever-shrinking wilderness areas, it can be difficult to find a good foreground devoid of tract-housing clutter.

So when we get skies like this and I get the urge to take pictures, I go into "let's play some Jazz" mode. I bring my camera along as I drive or bike around OC, and I simply look for ways to improvise. Head over here, see if something works, move on to something else if it doesn't. Often times this method results in nothing noteworthy, but sometimes it results in photos I'm really proud to call my own.

On this little outing with my girlfriend and our dog, the improvisation led us to my high school. Not sure why, I was just following my instincts and looking for an open view of the sky. But I'm glad we ended up at this location because I found some trees that I could silhouette against the sky without any suburban clutter in the background thanks to a wide open spread of baseball fields behind it. I immediately envisioned a black and white triptych of three of these trees side-by-side. I wanted a rich, dark sky with bright contrasting clouds and a simple outline of the tree centered perfectly in each composition. Our angle to these trees gave us the exact backlighting I needed to illuminate the clouds and silhouette the trees.

Although I always try my damnedest to predict conditions and plan out my shots well in advance, shoots like this always remind me that improvisation is an important skill to creating great photos.

Here are the individual shots from this triptych:

Triptych Photography

Triptych Photography

Triptych Photography

Medical Office Art

Office Art by Nick CarverOffice Art by Nick Carver
Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Offices, Del Mar, CA

Office art can either be the most boring stuff on the planet - some cliché photos or paintings picked up from the local Bed, Bath, and Beyond for a few bucks - or it can be art worthy of a gallery. The artwork can be an active contributor to the office branding and overall "vibe" rather than an afterthought to fill wall space. I think the industry is moving more towards this type of high-quality artwork in office buildings, medical centers, and eateries because people are realizing that the extra effort and expense for something high-quality and unique is well worth it to give their clients a pleasant and memorable environment in which to do business, see the doctor, or enjoy a meal. Art consultants and interior designers have done a great job educating their clients that their restaurant, office, or doctor's office needs memorable artwork to tie the whole thing together. Gone are the days of mass-produced, unimpressive, and forgettable office art. It's a golden age of opportunity for creators of fine art.

Truly there's nothing I enjoy more than making wall art. The satisfaction of seeing one of my photographs framed up and on display in someone's home or office is the ultimate reward. I love the process of designing the artwork, picking out a frame, getting the prints made, delivering the finished's just good fun. So when I was approached with the opportunity to create 11 framed prints for a brand new medical center in Del Mar, CA, I jumped on the chance. The Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group offices in Del Mar with their gorgeous Craftsman style design needed photographs that promote well-being and a deep connection to nature. Luckily for me, they found my images through an online search and felt my photography was a perfect match.

I worked with Sharp Rees-Stealy for several months, narrowing down the selection of photos and planning out the matting/framing style. We ultimately opted for a sleek modern wood frame with an off-white double mat under anti-reflective museum glass. The results came out beautifully.

My underlying purpose with photography has always been to create images that connect people to nature and give them a vehicle to detach from their stressful lives, enjoy the scenery for a minute or two, and remember how much beauty is still out there in the world. I can think of no better place my images will fulfill this purpose than at a medical office, where people are often in desperate need of an escape as they wait for stressful news.

Office Art by Nick Carver

Office Art by Nick Carver

Office Art by Nick Carver

Office Art by Nick Carver

Office Art by Nick Carver

Office Art by Nick Carver