Nick Carver Photography Blog

Photography Tips, Tutorials, & Videos


Some New Seascapes

Ah, you gotta love winter in Southern California. The weather isn't bad enough to be a hassle, but there's just enough of it to bring some color to our sunsets.

Over the past couples weeks, I've been able to get down to the beach several times to get shots at sunset. This post covers just 2 of those outings (with 2 more days coming in another post soon!). The first set here is from Laguna Beach down below the Montage Resort and are actually my results from the field shoot for the recent winter 2011 session of my Landscape Photography Class. The clouds were fantastic and lit up a blood red as the sun dropped below the horizon. It was gorgeous.

In this first picture, I wanted to capture all the sea life in this tide pool along with the perfect reflection of clouds off the water in the background. I couldn't believe how many sea urchins were in this pool. I had to get my camera uncomfortably low for this shot, but it was worth it.

Laguna Beach Sunset

I then moved over to the sand to get the movement of the water with, again, the reflections of the clouds off the ocean surface in the background. I couldn't decide which of the two verticals I liked better, so I thought I'd post them both. They have a different enough feel to warrant two pictures, I think.

Laguna Beach Sunset

Laguna Beach Sunset

Laguna Beach Sunset

Once the clouds flared up red, I moved back to the rocks and tide pools.

Laguna Beach Sunset

The second day was at Crystal Cove State Park. The sunset wasn't as vivid as I normally like, so I didn't come home with a ton of pictures I loved. Again, I couldn't decide which of the following two pictures I liked better, so here's both.

Crystal Cove State Park Sunset

Crystal Cove State Park Sunset

There you have it. More from Corona Del Mar coming soon!

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.

From the Archives

I was browsing through my archives in search of some pictures for an upcoming Tips & How-To post when I stumbled upon the following image. I posted several others from the same day back in September 2010, but this one slipped through. I opted to post some variations on it back then, but on looking through them tonight, I think this is one of the best from that sunset. Funny how something can look better to you with time...

Crystal Cove State Park