Nick Carver Photography Blog

Photography Tips, Tutorials, & Videos


Wood’s Cove Waves

Sunset at Wood's Cove in Laguna Beach, CA

We've been getting some decent skies here in Southern California lately. As I've said before, the transitions between summer to fall and winter to spring typically serve up the best skies around these parts. I was lucky enough to have some spare time last Friday to head down to the beach and get some photos.

I decided to switch things up a bit and try a beach I'd never photographed before. That's always a gamble because, being unfamiliar with the area, it can be hard to judge how crowded the beach will be, where exactly the sun will set in relation to the foreground subjects and whether or not the angle I want will be possible.

But the good news is that I'm a student of my own teachings...and I like to teach the importance of scouting a location beforehand in order to get comfortable with it before committing to a sunset. This reduces unknowns and misjudgments when it comes time to get down to business. Having scouted this beach several days earlier, I was pretty confident where to point my camera once the sun worked its magic.

I played a lot with a slow shutter speed on the waves to catch different patterns. All in all, I took about 2 dozen shots of this same exact composition. Each had a slightly or drastically different shape and texture to the waves. I thought I'd share 3 of them with you here. The pictures aren't hugely different since they are the same composition, but I think the different look of the waves create very different moods in each shot. I still can't make up my mind as to which one I like best.

 Sunset at Wood's Cove in Laguna Beach, CA

Sunset at Wood's Cove in Laguna Beach, CA

Featured Testimonial: Private Lessons

After taking my 4-Week Landscape Photography class at the Irvine Fine Arts Center, Sheila Dement enrolled in some private photography lessons with me. Having already covered landscape photography in the group class, we focused the private lessons on photographing portraits and family events. Among other things, we covered how to shoot in full manual mode, how to find good light, how to frame a portrait, how to edit photos in post-production, how to use Aperture 3 (the image editing software by Apple) and how to prep files for printing. Sheila was kind enough to write a great testimonial for me that I wanted to share here with you.

Here is one of Sheila's photos from AFTER doing private lessons:

Here is one of Sheila's photos from BEFORE doing private lessons:

Here's what Sheila had to say about my private photography lessons:

I have always enjoyed photography and loved taking pictures of my kids and documenting their lives. For years I never knew how to do anything but auto on my camera. I was happy with my results at times, but there were many occasions when my pictures didn’t always turn out. About 3 years ago my daughter joined a dance team. This led to many performances on stage with low light situations. I was continually frustrated with the poor results that I was getting. I would achieve enough light in my photo, but would get a lot of motion blur. With this frustration I decided I wanted to find someone to help me learn how to use my camera and help me achieve the results I wanted.  

I started to search on line for a class or teacher to help me with my quest. In my search, I came upon Nick Carver's website. I was amazed at what I saw and signed myself up for his 4 week course on landscape photography. I took his class and learned a lot. As I practiced what I learned I started to gain a better understanding on how my camera worked. It surprised me at how easy it was to shoot in full manual. It really wasn't that scary!! After the 4 week course, I took several private lessons from him. This took me to a whole new level. I was even more confident in what I was doing and loved what I was achieving. Nick makes it so easy to understand. He is an amazing, gifted teacher. He helps you understand in such a simple way. He is very knowledgeable and is so willing to share. He is very friendly and fun. I would recommend him to everyone. I love it now when someone says….WOW you took that picture! And I can say yes, I had an awesome teacher show me how. I am so grateful that I found Nick.

- Sheila Dement

If you're in Orange County and are interested in doing private photography lessons, click here for more information. If you're in another part of the state or country and can't make it out here for private lessons, check out my online courses here.

Miscellaneous Beach Photos

Sunset at Thousand Steps Beach. Laguna Beach, CA

Despite my perfectly organized workflow, my generally good work ethic and my ability to make my own schedule, even I get backed up sometimes when it comes to sorting through photos.

As you may already know, I don't do any time-consuming post-production work to my photos - no Photoshop or HDR, of course. In fact, it takes me all of 10-15 seconds to adjust every photo to a finalized product. But when you throw in the tedious tasks of sorting through my photos, rating them, keywording and cleaning the dust off them, it can take awhile to get through a hundred shots.

But I finally cracked the whip on myself to get through my backlog of photos. As a result, I found some shots that I never previously shared on my blog. So, here are 6 photos taken from 3 different trips to 2 different beaches. It's a photographic pot-luck borne from laziness! Enjoy!

Sunset at Crystal Cove State Park, CA

Cloudy Sunset at Crystal Cove State Park, CA

Crystal Cove State Park, CA

Sunset at Thousand Steps Beach. Laguna Beach, CA

Sunset at Thousand Steps Beach. Laguna Beach, CA