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Washington Trip: Part 4

Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park, WA

I finally made it through all my Washington pictures! So, now it's time for the 4th and final entry showcasing my images from my recent trip to the Olympic Peninsula. This entry covers the second half of the second shoot day plus a couple shots from the morning I left for home.

But before we start, I want to share one picture that should have been included in the "Part 3" post. I didn't include it in that post because I included another picture that was very, very similar. But on second look, I think this is the better of the two (click it to see a larger version):

Olympic National Forest, WA

Now that that's out of the way, let's move on to some brand new pictures of Bunch Falls, a beautiful little set of cascades on the side of the road, Ruby Beach and some wildlife.

First off, on the way to Bunch Falls after shooting the hell out of Merriman Falls (see previous post), I was lucky enough to spot a Bald Eagle picking at a carcass on the banks of the Quinault River! I very quickly and very quietly stopped my car, strapped on my telephoto lens and started snapping. Unfortunately, the eagle was very far away from me, and as a result I had to use my 2x teleconverter and crop the resulting images quite a bit. This is a recipe for poor image quality and low resolution. Oh well, I was just thrilled to see a Bald Eagle in the wild - it was my first time.

Bald Eagle on the Banks of the Quinault River, WA

^ Bald Eagle eating

Bald Eagle on the Banks of the Quinault River, WA

^ Raven getting all up in Bald Eagle's business

Bald Eagle on the Banks of the Quinault River, WA

^ Bald Eagle fed up with Raven's shenannigans

After this rare-for-me encounter with such beautiful wildlife, it was on to Bunch Falls just up the road. Much like Merriman Falls, Bunch Falls was much, much more impressive than I imagined. It was tall, it was gorgeous and it was easy to access. I enjoyed photographing these falls so much that I completely ignored the hunger pangs starting to plague my stomach. After all, "I can eat anytime...but the light is perfect now."

I particularly like the vertical panorama shown below. As always, click any of the panoramas for a larger version:

Bunch Falls - Olympic National Park, WA

Bunch Falls - Olympic National Park, WA

Bunch Falls - Olympic National Park, WA
Bunch Falls - Olympic National Park, WA

Bunch Falls - Olympic National Park, WA

Bunch Falls - Olympic National Park, WA

After getting my full share of Bunch Falls, I packed up my gear, stuffed my face with some trail mix, got in the car and started back towards some civilization. But only about 25 feet down the road, a little cluster of cascades caught my eye. With bright, vivid green moss covering the rocks and perfectly placed drops in the falls, I couldn't not take pictures of it.

And that about sums up the whole trip: "Woah! That's gorgeous", photograph the hell out of it, get exhausted, pack up my gear, drive 25 feet down the road, "Woah! That's gorgeous", unpack all of it and start over. It got to be exhausting, but in the best kind of way. Anyway, here are the pictures from that set of cascades - lots of similar shots here, but I felt they were different enough to post each:

Moss-covered rocks and cascades in Olympic National Park, WA

Moss-covered rocks and cascades in Olympic National Park, WA

Moss-covered rocks and cascades in Olympic National Park, WA

Moss-covered rocks and cascades in Olympic National Park, WA

Moss-covered rocks and cascades in Olympic National Park, WA

Moss-covered rocks and cascades in Olympic National Park, WA

Moss-covered rocks and cascades in Olympic National Park, WA

Then it was a quick bite (of some delicious battered fish) before hustling out to Ruby Beach. I didn't exactly luck out with the sunset because it was pretty much overcast, but I was able to make it work by utilizing a heavy magenta white balance on some of them to mimic the magenta color correcting filters of old. By the way, this technique is covered in the Filters for Nature Photography Online Course. Similar compositions here again, but I was playing a lot with the wave patterns.

Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park, WA

Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park, WA

Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park, WA

Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park, WA

Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park, WA

And finally, on my way out of the Olympic Peninsula as I started my journey home, I came across a herd of Elk grazing in a meadow. It was a nice little cherry on top to this fantastic trip.

Grazing Elk - Olympic National Forest, WA

Grazing Elk - Olympic National Forest, WA

Well, that's all of 'em, folks! If you see any you'd like hanging on your wall, drop me a line! Thank you for letting me share this experience and these pictures with you.

Hummingbird Chicks

A little while back, a hummingbird started building a nest just outside the window of my brother's home office. Soon enough, she laid 2 eggs. Soon enough after that, those eggs hatched. Now, those 2 chicks barely fit into the nest.

Hummingbird Chicks
The two nicely-camouflaged chicks wait patiently for mom to return with food.

I went over today with the intention of capturing some shots of the mother bird feeding her young. I'm happy to say it was a success, but there were some barriers to overcome that resulted in images a little lower quality than I'm used to.

First of all, I had to shoot through the window - a dirty window at that. This meant a loss of sharpness and contrast. Next, the light was dim. That meant I'd have to boost the ISO to an uncomfortably high level - 1600 - just to get a shutter of 1/200. And finally, the window prevented me from getting close enough to fill my frame, so I'd have to crop pretty heavily to get the shot I wanted.

All of this ultimately amounted to images that are far grainier than I care for, but I can't complain. This was a rare opportunity to photograph a hummingbird feeding her young...and from the comfort of the indoors where I could shoot the breeze with my brother in between shots.

Hummingbird Feeding Her Young

With a little bit of online research, I'm almost certain this species is the Broad-Tailed Hummingbird (selasphorus platycercus). The coloring matches and it certainly did have a broad tail.

Hummingbirds

Well, I got some new pictures of hummingbirds for you guys.

...that's right, hummingbirds.

I had a private student this morning in Laguna Beach and during the lesson, he snapped some amazing pictures of hummingbirds while I stood by to lend my expertise. There were tons of them! It was the first sunny day we've had in awhile here in So Cal and I think they were out in droves gorging themselves after fasting through the days of rain.

I had some time to kill after the lesson before my next student's appointment, so I thought I'd try my hand at photographing some hummingbirds myself. I haven't done wildlife in awhile and I definitely don't consider myself a wildlife photographer, but his shots got me all jazzed up to break out the telephoto. One of the perks of being a photography teacher: inspiration from my students.

Best I can tell from some online research, the hummingbirds I had in my sights were Allen's Hummingbirds (selasphorus sasin). The coloring on the males is absolutely stunning. The iridescent copper coloring on their throats glowed like a beacon in the daylight. It would even shift to a rich, red color depending on how the light hit is. Beautiful contrast with the green on their backs and white on their chests.

I thought this above shot was kind of funny with him looking right at me, but it also shows his color the best.

Compare the coloring of the male above to the female below.

Hummingbirds are tough to photograph because they move so quickly. The good thing about them, though, is that they are pretty fearless. I guess knowing you're the fastest gun in the west can make you pretty confident. This fearlessness means I could get pretty damn close to them with my 200mm lens without scaring them off. The auto focus on my 5D (mark I) is pathetic, so I ended up manually focusing for most of the shots. Worked much better than I thought it would...

So there you have it! Thanks for stopping by!