Nick Carver Photography Blog

Photography Tips, Tutorials, & Videos


Winter in Orange County

We've had a lot of weather lately in Orange County. Some winter storms have brought rain, wind and very cold temperatures (for OC at least). I personally love it. I think I was built to live someplace more like Seattle than Orange County, so it's nice to have a little taste of winter weather for a change. I remember one year my friend and I went and got popsicles on Christmas Day because it was so hot. I'm happy to say this year will be different.

Orange County in Winter

These storms have, of course, made for some interesting light. I'm ashamed to say I haven't taken advantage of it to the degree that I should. Life has gotten the best of me and I've consequently been in a bit of a rut these past few weeks. I haven't felt like taking new pictures, editing old pictures or doing anything at all, really. Just an overall lack of vigor for life, you know what I mean?

Oh, well. These periods happen in life. At least they are few and far between for me and I am coming out of it. So I decided to get off my ass yesterday and go get some shots. I didn't go to the beach like usual. Instead, I drove to the empty road behind my old high school. It's in the hills and only the roads are set up for the acres of tract housing that are soon to come (don't get me started on that - I hate all this development).

There's a nice view of Irvine and Tustin below from up there, especially on a clear day after a rainstorm. I was pleased to find prominent shafts of light piercing through the clouds to the ground below. Patches of light illuminated portions of Irvine and Tustin creating some interesting layers and patterns. The light was fantastic, the scenery - not so much. But I did get a couple nice shots. Check it out above or on Flickr.

On a side note - I will be keeping up with this blog better in the future and I will be taking more pictures!

Happy Holidays!

‘Nuff Said

Leave your mark with your pictures, not your garbage.†

Take Nothing But Pictures

'Nuff said. Thanks Chris.


Well I finally got through editing my pictures from Sedona, AZ! I took a little trip there a couple weeks back and it was really awesome! The trip was just 4 days including travel time, so I only had 3 sunsets to work with, but it turned out great anyway. I'm pretty pleased with the results (especially considering the strong winds I had to contend with). Below are the results along with some notes and experiences in getting the shots.

The sunset of the first day was the only day we had clouds - thanks to the strong winds I would guess. I had just arrived in Sedona a few hours before sunset so I wasn't able to get to any prime spots, but I did manage to snap a few shots from outside my hotel and at the Coconino National Forest Visitor Center. I used my 70-200mm to crop out the surrounding buildings and trees so I could focus on the red rock at sunset.

The next day my brother and I drove north a little bit into Oak Creek Canyon to see what kind of fall color was available. There was definitely a lot more color than south of Sedona, or near my home in Southern California for that matter, but it was no East Coast display. I really enjoyed the backlighting of the sun on the yellow and green leaves and tried to take advantage of that. Oak Creek proved to be a great subject. I hadn't photographed any creeks in awhile - been mostly beaches for awhile - so it was real nice to do that again. My Singh-Ray warming circular polarizer was on my lens most of the time.

I went to a scenic spot near my hotel for sunset later that day. Yeah, it was touristy, but it served up some great shots of Courthouse Butte at sunset. This little sunset sesh destroyed my neck for some reason. I was in excruciating pain for the rest of the night. Still worth it, though.

My brother, my dad and I went to the Palatki ruins the next day to check out the old dwellings and petroglyphs. I was pleasantly surprised by this place. I was a little put off at first because the ruins and petroglyphs were heavily protected by ropes and rangers, so I didn't have all the freedom I would have liked. I guess that's the price we all have to pay for jackasses that decide to add their own "petroglyphs" and think it's fun to destroy historical landmarks. But after hearing all the enlightening data the rangers had on these ruins and petroglyphs, I was really glad they were there. Some of the information they offered regarding the petroglyphs was intensely interesting. It really made me appreciate what I was looking at.

The petroglyphs pictured above are estimated to be over 10,000 years old!

After Palatki, we headed over to Red Rock Crossing to photograph Cathedral Rock over Oak Creek. Yeah, this is easily the most photographed scene in all of Sedona, but I still had to check it out. This place was a lot of fun. I took off my boots, rolled up my jeans and spent most of the time photographing knee-deep in Oak Creek. The water was freezing and I really had to fight to keep my balance on the slippery bottom, but it made for a little more unique shots. My Gitzo tripod held up like a champ in these conditions, too. I would have really liked to have had my photo vest and I wished I had worn convertible pants, but live and learn.

On a side note: We rented a Nissan Xterra for the trip and I am officially back in love with that car. I wanted one for awhile and changed my mind to a Subaru for the better mileage, but I don't care anymore. That Xterra was way too sweet. I can't wait until I can afford one...