Archive for the ‘Picture of the Month’ Category

Waterfall in McKinleyville?

Friday, February 28th, 2014

It has always surprised me that an area like Humboldt with its ample mountains and rainfall, doesn’t have any good waterfalls. Sure there are minor cascades here and there, but until recently I had not heard any accounts of true waterfalls in Humboldt county.

So imagine my surprise when I heard about one in McKinleyville of all places. I haven’t explored McKinleyville much, my trips there have pretty much ended at Millers Nursery. But just off Turner Rd. you’ll find this waterfall.

Unfortunately, this is the only photo I got of it. The path down to where you can see it better was wet and slippery and I was using my tripod as an aid to steady myself. Somehow I managed to hit the quick release on the tripod, and to my horror, my D600 and 24-70mm did just that, released quickly.

In 35 years of photography, I’ve never had a camera fall off of a tripod. Of course when it did happen, I happened to be on a steep slope. The camera and lens tumbled down the rocks and soon parted ways, the lens continuing a bit further until it dropped into a pool of water.

I was able to retrieve both pieces. The camera is in pretty good shape, not even a dent in the body, but of course the lens mount is broken. The lens is in pretty good physical shape, no dents on it, but I don’t have high hopes for it after it got submerged. Both are sent off to Nikon, I guess I’ll find out in week or so what the damages are.

McKinleyville Waterfall

Saying Goodbye to Meg

Friday, January 31st, 2014

We knew this one was coming as her health was failing, but it was still hard, especially coming so quickly after losing Ricky in October and Artie in December. Meg had been with us for 16 years and had gone from a total feral cat to the best lap cat you could desire.

I wrote a full tribute to Meg on my personal blog.


Ferndale’s Main Street, Christmas Night 2013

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Ferndale’s town Christmas tree is the tallest living Christmas tree in the United States. When last measured, it was 162 feet tall, and every year, the Ferndale Volunteer Fire Department decorates it with 19,000 watts of Christmas cheer.

For the last 12 years, as a member of the fire department, I have helped with the task of putting the lights up the first Sunday in December. I also like to get one photograph of them each year while they are lit.

Some years weather and scheduling make it impossible, but this year looked like it was just going to be cold, not wet. Cold I can deal with.

I missed out on a couple of really nice sunsets that I just caught the tail end of from home. I would have loved to get the tree photographed with one of them.

Then one night that looked like a good possibility, I got called out for a river bar fire that ended up being aa 30 minute drive on the river bar just to get there. By the time we had dumped our tankful of water, got back to the hall, and cleaned up, it was already dark.

I finally decided to try Christmas night. I figured stores and restaurants would be closed, people would be at home, and Main Street would be clear of cars, so you could actually see the little Christmas trees on Main Street too.

My assumption proved correct. Other than occasional traffic in and out of J&W Liquors, Main Street was clear. Traffic was so light I was able to get this picture standing in the middle of the road.

This photo, and other Ferndale Christmas photos can be viewed and purchased in the gallery.


The Curse Has Been Broken

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

Lace DressBack in 2006, while working on some personal projects in my studio, I decided to take an antique tablecloth to the studio to see what I could do with it. The first shoot I just suspended the table cloth, and had the model stand behind it. But I really liked the way the lace revealed yet covered the model.

20061030-Melaine-Huyck-Aufdermaur-123Thinking it would drape into an interesting dress, I brought it to another shoot a few months later. For this shoot I pinned the tablecloth around the model, forming a bat-winged dress. The biggest problem was the length of the tablecloth. What to do with all that extra fabric? If it had been in the back it could be a train, but it caused a problem in the front, until I thought of the idea of mermaid tails.

With the mermaid theme in hand we took the tablecloth and a third model to the Lost Coast for a shoot on the rocks.

The biggest problem with my “dress” was that it locked the arms and legs into one position. I would have liked to cut it to make it into more of a real dress, but seeing as it was an antique family heirloom, that wasn’t possible.

So I went onto Ebay and started searching for a similar tablecloth. I eventually found one and fitted it into a dress for a model I had just started working with. And that is when the curse started. Before we could schedule the shoot, the model went incommunicado. The next model I suggested it to moved out of the area before we could shoot it. The next model flaked, and so on. It got to where I was hesitant to even mention the dress project because it seemed a sure way to make the model disappear.

Finally though, last month I had the opportunity to finally shoot it. I took the model out to one of my favorite spots, a large rock outcropping off of Wild-Mad Road. We were rewarded with a beautiful sunset for the backdrop, and even though the tempature was in the low 50s, the model, Tyler, did a great job of posing while fighting off the shivers. Crystal announced she was moving to Oregon for college two weeks after this shoot, but at least we got this one done.


Saying Goodbye to Ricky

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Picture of the Month – October 2013

Ricky came into our lives in 1998, when a feral cat we had been trying to make friends with presented us with a litter of four male kittens. Ricky’s mother, Meg, later joined our household as well, and we kept Ricky and his brother Galen, while Wedgewood and Einstein moved to my brother’s house.

Ricky outlasted all his brothers by several years, and it was a good thing too, because he was our favorite from the beginning. An interesting gene pool gave him a funky tail, but he was the funniest and friendliest cat of the bunch, and always kept us entertained in his younger years.

As all cats do when they get older, playtime wasn’t as common the last years, but he could always be counted on for keeping us company on the couch, and warming our laps.

Early this month, we took him to the vet because he was having trouble eating. He had a pretty bad infection going on with his molars and the vet felt that at his age it wasn’t wise to put him under so they could pull them. He had already lost some teeth so I wasn’t feeling that was a good option either. We tried a round of anti-biotics, but after a few more days he stopped eating completely. On the day he was supposed to go back for a further checkup, we instead decided to have him put down.

It’s always a terrible decision to do that, but it always seems the right thing to do when a pet is suffering. I took this photo of Ricky having one last nap in one of his favorite spots while we waited for the veterinarian to come to our house.

Ricky, you’re going to be missed.


Shooting in the Garage

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Picture of the Month – September 2013

It’s been a few months since I closed the studio, and that meant a lot of equipment, clothing, and props had to be moved home. Most of it found it’s way into my garage, and it slowly got unpacked and organized.

This month I tried using my workshop space for a few photo shoots. I have enough room to set up the seamless background, and a few lights, including my boom. It’s a bit tight, but it’s workable. For the summer anyways, since there isn’t any heat in the workshop, and with 16ft ceilings, it would take forever to heat it with portable heaters.

Caroline, the model in this shot came over mostly to model some vintage clothing reproductions for Lori’s website. When we were done with Lori’s clothing, I had Caroline try on this corset, which I’ve had for awhile, but it took someone with a specific figure to properly fill it out.


Trinidad State Beach

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Picture of the Month – August 2013

Most often when I go out for motorcycle rides or for taking pictures, I tend to travel east or south from Ferndale as I can literally be on great roads or have great scenery 1/4 mile from my driveway.

I don’t tend to explore in the northernly direction much because it means I have to drive through Eureka before I get anywhere fun. But recently I’ve been making a point of traveling up that way more often.

On a recent weekend I wanted to go to a beach to fly a new kite I bought. My first thought was to go to Clam Beach because I had never been there. So I looked it up on the web and it didn’t look very interesting so instead I planned to go to Trinidad State Beach which is much prettier.

Good thing to, because as we left Ferndale it was a gorgeous day. Just as we got to Clam Beach it was terribly foggy. But surprise, on the other side of Clam Beach, the sun was out and it was just as gorgeous as it had been in Ferndale.

We had a great afternoon flying the stunt kite, then went for a hike up on Trinidad Head. We had a bit of time to kill before sunset, so a great steak and prawn dinner at Seascape fit the bill. With out tummies happy, we returned to the beach and waited for the sunset.

This shot used a 15 second exposure which turned the waves silky.

Trinidad State Beach Sunset

Route 1 Rocks

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Picture of the Month – July 2013

I mean that literally and figuratively. Yes, these are some rocks I found while exploring Route 1 on my KLR. But I could also mean it as “Route 1 Rocks!”

Route 1, which runs for 50 miles from Titlow Hill on Hwy 299 to Mad River on Hwy 36, is one of my favorite motorcycle roads. Not only does it connect two of my other favorite roads around here, but it is a scenic beauty, usually traffic free, and has lots of interesting minor roads to explore off of it.

I spent some time on Google Earth exploring the route last month and in the middle of the forest I saw this large rock field. So I set out on the KLR to find what it looked like for real. It was quite impressive, and I particularly liked this natural stone chimney, that looked like it might be the next section to peal away and crumble into the pile below.

Stone formation off of Route 1.

Ferndale Dance Academy – Starlight Serenade

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Picture of the Month – June 2013

This year marked the 10 Anniversary of the Ferndale Dance Academy’s spring dance production. Since the very beginning, Aesthetic Design & Photography has been a sponsor and photographer for Laura East’s dance school.

This year’s production showcased a number of talented dancers as usual, and it’s always a joy seeing the dancers improve from year to year. This year, one of the standouts was Sharon Harrison, featured in the center of this month’s photo. Her pointe skills are really improving, and her solos were beautiful to watch.

Photos from this year’s FDA production as well as prior year’s are available for online viewing and purchase.

FDA Starlight Serenade

Anna’s Hummingbird and Red Hot Poker

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Picture of the Month – May 2013

A few years ago I planted some Red Hot Pokers in the backyard, and this species was pretty, but then I saw some that were bi-colored, and I liked those much better. So with permission, I dug up and transplanted a few to put in the border in our rose garden. This spring they bloomed for the first time, and in addition to looking lovely, they seemed to be a favorite of the local hummingbirds.

After the major flooding our yard received this year, the red hot pokers provided a bright spot in an otherwise dismal looking yard. Since they were reliably attracting hummingbirds, I figured it would be a good time to try capturing one in flight. Although I’m not a birder by any means, I do love watching the various birds that come into our yard, and try to identify them the best I can.

From looking at online photos, I believe this to be a female Anna’s hummingbird. I’m sure someone more knowledgeable will correct me if I’m wrong.

female Anna's Hummingbird

Aesthetic Design & Photography • P.O. Box 1355 • Ferndale, CA 95536
Telephone: (707) 786-4643 or Toll Free: (866) 786-4643 • Email

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