Nick Carver Photography Blog

Photography Tips, Tutorials, & Videos


Orange County Photo Workshops – Quick Survey

I'm looking at offering some photography field workshops here in Orange County, but I want to gauge interest in such a service before I start offering them. This is where I need your feedback with a single mouse click.

Here are the details: The workshops would be single-evening or single-afternoon workshops totaling 2 hours in the field typically on weekdays at sunset (3:30-5:30 in winter, 6:00-8:00 in summer) and on some Saturdays around 3:00-5:00. Topics and destinations would at first be sunset landscape photography in Laguna Beach, Newport and others. Later on, I might add street photography in local areas as well as nighttime photography of freeway lights and urban environments. The cost for one of these 2-hour workshops would be $49 with a small workshop size of only 6 students. 

So be honest...would you sign up?

[polldaddy poll="8613755"]


Thank you so much for your feedback! This really helps me provide the best service possible.

Mystery Solved: The Death Valley Racetrack

The Death Valley Racetrack Moving Rocks

Moving Rocks at the Death Valley Racetrack
Click Any Image to Enlarge

This is a big day for humanity, folks. It's a HUGE day. That's right - they finally figured out how those mysterious migrating stones move all on their own at the Racetrack in Death Valley National Park. This is bigger than the moon landing!

Okay, maybe not. But I'm pretty damn excited about it because ever since I visited The Racetrack to photograph these moving rocks, I've been utterly fascinated by this natural wonder.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, The Racetrack is a massive cracked-dirt playa deep in Death Valley National Park. Dotting the south end of the playa are a bunch of boulders with long trails carved into the dirt behind them as if they up and moved all on their own. It's quite a sight, which is why people from all over the world come to see them.

I have a 30x45 print from The Death Valley Racetrack hanging in my office (the one at the top of this blog post) and almost every class I teach, a student asks "how does the rock move?" My answer for a cheap laugh is simply, "Aliens, dude." But then I follow it up with what was the commonly accepted theory: rain comes, wets down the playa, it turns the mud into a slippery surface, wind comes howling through, the rocks move, the rain dries up, and boom, you got yourself some migrating rocks. It was a good theory and it sounded right to me.

Well, turns out that theory wasn't right. The Slithering Stones Research Initiative led by Scripps Oceanography paleooceanographer Richard Norris finally figured out the real reason: ice. And rather than try to explain it myself, hear it from the horse's mouth in this video they posted on YouTube (they even filmed the rocks moving!):

Watch "How Rocks Move" on YouTube

Maybe I'm just a geography geek, but this is exciting stuff! Only nature could dream up such a marvelous display of the elements working together to create art. But a part of me is a little sad to lose the mystery of it all. I liked that we couldn't explain everything even in this modern age. Plus, the mystery made my photos of The Racetrack so much more interesting! But at the same time, the knowledge of how it actually works is too remarkable to ignore.

The theory proven in this video was actually thought up long ago along with the slippery-windy playa theory. I'd heard both years ago, but I thought the slippery-windy playa theory was much smarter. " moves them. Yeah, right." But I guess that's why I'm not a scientist...

Enjoy the video and enjoy this newly discovered knowledge. And here's some more pictures from The Racetrack for your pleasure:

The Death Valley Racetrack Moving Rocks

The Death Valley Racetrack Moving Rocks

The Death Valley Racetrack Moving Rocks

The Death Valley Racetrack Moving Rocks

The Death Valley Racetrack Moving Rocks

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Well, ladies and gentleman, I jumped on the bandwagon. That's right, I did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It's all the rage right now and I was challenged by a friend of mine, so I figured "let's do it."

But I'm not the type to jump on bandwagons. When the Kony 2012 thing blew up the web a couple years back, I didn't even follow it. The reason I don't tend to get involved with these things is because I often feel like it doesn't really do anything valuable for the cause. Posting a status update on Facebook that says "I support breast cancer awareness" doesn't actually do anything to cure it.

However, this viral video thing for ALS is a little different. First, it's actually working. It's raised millions of dollars for the cause already and I wouldn't have thought to donate if this trend hadn't started, but I just donated to the ALS Association at (and you should too!) thanks to these videos raising awareness.

Secondly, this is a cause that really does need our help. It's a terrible disease, but it only affects something like 30,000 people in the US. That's a small number. And a small number means there isn't much incentive for those in the healthcare industry to cure it. And you can't blame pharmaceutical companies for working on more widespread diseases, but nobody likes when a minority doesn't get the help they need simply because they're a minority. Breast cancer is a worthy cause to get behind, but there's no shortage of awareness and support for that one. ALS doesn't get the same level of recognition and help, so this ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is much needed.

My brothers and I made a goofy video (a VERY goofy video) for our ice bucket challenge. I was hesitant to post this video and blog entry at first because I don't like when people use a trending charitable cause or tragedy to get website traffic, but I decided to post it after all in the hope that it will inspire some of my readers to donate to the cause as well. So jump on the bandwagon with me. Donate to the cause and dump a bucket of ice water on your head.

Enjoy the video and please donate to