Sea Grapes

Photo by Chelsea Harms

Photo Info:

  • Location: Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
  • Camera: Canon T2i
  • Lens: Canon 18-55mm

One thing I love about the ocean is the variety of flora inhabiting the coastlines. I particularly love the sea grapes of the southeast US and the Caribbean islands. These bushes-turned-trees occupy dunes and sandy patches on the beach, covered in salt from the ocean breeze they face day and night. Besides providing some of the best shade on the beach, I also like to use these leaves for decor and writing purposes.

Once dried, these large, thick leaves retain a bit of flexibility but lack their gorgeous green color. Instead, their soft browns allow for your creative mind to run wild after summer ends. For painting, they become a blank natural canvas. For decor, string them together for that “Autumn in the Islands” look for your tropical home. Need a clever piece of stationary? Use some acrylic paints or ink pens to scribble out that message. How else would you use them?

About Chelsea Harms

Chelsea is a marine scientist, currently living and studying on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. She enjoys spending time outdoors, exploring the tropical island and scuba diving in the ocean. She loves to document her travels through photography and partakes in the hobby as often as possible. Although marine science is her calling, creative endeavors have always been a passion for Chelsea. She curates a blog dedicated to all things nature inspires, as well as a small and colorful eclectic online shop.

An Apple Tree

Photo by Chris Stetson

Around here you wouldn’t know summer is on it’s way out because it’s still so warm. My friends and I decided to take advantage of a warm evening and do a little photo walk around our friend’s property. I thought this would be a great opportunity to get a shot for Dearest Nature and I wasn’t disappointed.

As the sun went down the light softened and everything around begged to be photographed. And while it is tempting, especially in this digital age, to just shoot everything in sight, I tried chose my shots carefully. Walking slowing through the rural property I came across a few things that caught my eye, a small tomato garden, the chickens eating in their coop, horses in the coral, and then I saw this one apple hanging from it’s branch. I had probably walked past it a couple of times that night already and plenty of other times when I had been at the property. But it was just then that I realized this was an apple tree, and it has actual apples on it. This made it that much more intriguing to me.

There’s something so interesting about the things that we just walk past day by day without giving a second glance. It’s one of the things I love about photography, seeing some beauty in a place or thing that most people would just walk right past. It gives me a reason to slow down and pay a little closer attention to what’s happening right in front of me instead of worrying so much about what I’m doing, where I’m going and what I need to do when I get there.

So even though summer is coming to an end and the kids are back in school or you’re back at work from a summer vacation, take some time out of your busy life. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and when you open your eyes back up, take a look around. Look out the window, see something that’s always been there but you never noticed before because you were in such a rush. It could only take five minutes out of your day and then you can get right back to the daily grind, but trust me, it won’t feel like such a grind any more.

Happy September.

About Chris Stetson

Chris is a photographer and graphic artist living in Temecula, CA. He grew up in a small beach town called Carpinteria which is just south of Santa Barbara, CA. He doesn't remember a time in his life when he wasn't doing something creative, whether it was drawing, painting, playing music, or playing around with cameras.

Where Colors Collide in the Pacific

Photo by Chelsea Harms

Photo Info

  • Location: Crescent City, California
  • Camera: Canon T2i
  • Lens: Canon 18-55mm
  • Filter: Zeikos UV 58mm

As a marine scientist, I spend the majority of my time in or around the ocean. However, that vast majority has been spent on the east coast of the USA and in the Caribbean. This past summer, I had the opportunity to road trip to the US west coast and spend a few nights in northern California. My first trip to the Pacific Ocean left me in awe of the beauty that in no way was anything similar to what I have experienced elsewhere.

I was fascinated particularly with the abundance of wildflowers and succulents that seemed to encompass every inch of cliff face and shoreline, adding an incredible depth of color to contrast the grey stones and chilly water. Since I wasn’t about to brave that cold ocean, I was content with spending my time on land for once, simply enjoying all the terrestrial beauty. It certainly became obvious to me why California is a much-loved natural beauty.

To see more photos, visit my blog and read the article here.

About Chelsea Harms

Chelsea is a marine scientist, currently living and studying on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. She enjoys spending time outdoors, exploring the tropical island and scuba diving in the ocean. She loves to document her travels through photography and partakes in the hobby as often as possible. Although marine science is her calling, creative endeavors have always been a passion for Chelsea. She curates a blog dedicated to all things nature inspires, as well as a small and colorful eclectic online shop.

The Big Dipper

Photo by Chris Stetson

Photo Info

  • Camera: Canon T2i
  • Lens: Nikon Nikkor-N 24mm f/2.8 with adaptor
  • ISO: 800
  • Exp: 8 sec

These summer nights have been exceptionally clear, especially out at our home out past wine country in Temecula. The lack of street and other city lights seems to make the stars of the night sky multiply. One night while out with the dogs I looked up and noticed one of the maybe three constellations I can name, The Big Dipper. I’ve always enjoyed looking at the stars but learning all of the constellations just went right over my head. I never really cared what they were called, or how they got their names, I just enjoyed looking up and seeing a sky full of sparkles.

I’ve also never been one to take pictures of the night sky so it took me a few tries to get what I was looking for, but I am really happy with the way this image came out. It was about 9:30PM and with the longer exposure, you get a little glimpse of the suns glow still on the horizon, not normally noticeable by the naked eye at that hour. It was so peaceful and quiet out there I think I might do it again while the night air is still warm.

Happy Summer!

About Chris Stetson

Chris is a photographer and graphic artist living in Temecula, CA. He grew up in a small beach town called Carpinteria which is just south of Santa Barbara, CA. He doesn't remember a time in his life when he wasn't doing something creative, whether it was drawing, painting, playing music, or playing around with cameras.

1000 Steps Beach

Photo by Donaville Herrick

Photo info

  • Location: 1000 Steps Beach (South Laguna Beach, California)
  • Camera used: Nikon D90
  • Lens used: Sigma 30mm f1.4

Last weekend I had the opportunity to go on a mini vacation (sans the little dearests!) with the Mr. for a couple days. We hadn’t really planned out where we were going, so we decided to keep it relatively close — a hop, skip, and jump away over along the coast of southern Orange County. We started the vacation with a night’s stay in San Clemente and the next day we drove up Pacific Coast Highway and made our first stop in southern Laguna Beach, to a little secluded area called the 1000 Steps Beach.

We walked down a flight of about twelve stairs, which I imagine is where the beach derives its name (though there aren’t actually 1000 steps), to reach the beach. It’s much easier going down the steps than back up if you’re out of shape like me — two days after climbing up, my calves were still in pain. Here’s a shot of the Mr. descending the stairs and I know, they don’t look daunting from that angle.

The beach itself is surrounded by tidepools, caves and countless moss/algae-covered rocks like in the picture shown above. I love the way the green really pops out against the dark, watery rocks.

If you ever find yourself in south Laguna Beach, be sure to check out 1000 Steps Beach. It’s the perfect place to relax and hang out for a few hours or half a day enjoying the sound of crashing waves on the rocks.

About Donaville Herrick

Donaville is the Founder of Dearest Nature and also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hello Hello Hi. When visions of nature and web design aren't dancing in her head, she enjoys spending time with her three munchkins, baking cupcakes, and trying her hand at various crafts. Follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her day-to-day musings.