Category Archives: Picture of the Month

Pirate’s Day Off

March 2015

So what does a pirate do on their day off? Well, lore has it that they spend all their downtime at pubs, singing songs and getting drunk. But today’s modern pirate is a kinder, gentler, and yes, more socially responsible pirate. You can now spot pirates spending their day off at the local beach, where they raise the Jolly Roger by flying a kite. Pirate's Day Off

Firemen’s Games 2015

February 2015

The middle of President’s Day weekend marks the day that Ferndale Volunteer Fire Department takes over Main Street for an afternoon of competition between the four fire companies.

Although over time the games have changed, traditionally the last 13 years since I’ve been in the department the games have included the Hose Lay, Buckets, and ended with Water Polo, sort of a tug of war where a keg suspended on a wire strung between two forklifts was pushed with water streams by opposing teams. The last two years, due to drought conditions, the water polo was replaced by other competitions. This year we had an obstacle course quick attack.

Several other things made this year’s competition different. First, it was held on a warm sunny day. While the east coast was fighting blizzard conditions, we were enjoying t-shirt weather. That explains the picture I decided on for this post. It was warm enough kids were jumping in the water to play! That’s not normal in February.

The other main change was the results of the Hose Lay. There are two awards handed out for the Hose Lay. The team that wins it gets the main trophy and of course bragging rights. The team that loses, gets the Hamburger Award, which entitles them to the honor of cooking hamburgers for everyone after the games are over.

Traditionally it has been Company 2 winning the hose lay, if not sweeping the entire games. Also as often, it would be Company 4 finishing up the afternoon cooking hamburgers. Well this year, every company won an award, but not the expected ones. Company 4 won the hose lay, and Company 2 ended up in the kitchen. Everyone agreed that the burgers tasted just a bit better this year.

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Chamberlain Creek Falls

January 2015

We got invited by our good friends John and Carol to go RVing with them around at the end of December / beginning of January. This is often a time of the year that we’re underwater in Ferndale, so I’m always hesitant to make plans of being away from home. But with clear skies forecasted for the entire week, it was a go.

We used the KOA in Manchester as our base, and had a lovely 5 days of flying kites on the beach, visiting Mendocino, hiking through the forests, and eating way to much food while relaxing in their RV.

One hike that we went on was to Chamberlain Creek Falls, in the Jackson Demonstration State Forest, near Ft. Bragg. I had been here once before during the summer, but since we had just had a lot of rain, I thought there’d be more water flowing over it this time. Surprisingly, it seemed about the same.

The hike to the waterfall is relatively easy, even though there are some fairly steep sections that reminded me of how out of shape I am. It’s a very pretty hike the whole way though, and one I would recommend if you’re in the Fort Bragg area.

Chamberlain Creek Falls

2014 Ferndale Lighted Tractor Parade

December 2014

My most favorite night in Ferndale is the annual Lighted Tractor Parade. I love the creativity the local ranchers and other citizens show each year in decorating their tractors and coming up with new themes.

This year was no different, and with a record number of entries and a super slow parade pace led by the chief of police, the parade provided quite a bit of time to admire all the floats. Even better, the conditions were almost perfect. Just enough rain before the parade to wet the streets which makes the reflection of all those lights even prettier, and not too much rain during the parade that I had to put the camera away.

There were lots of great floats this year, and the usual contenders were there, impressive as ever. But the one that made me chuckle the most was this little girl driving her toy tractor, with her little brother riding in the little red wagon she was pulling. Can’t get them started too young!

You can find the rest of the Ferndale Lighted Tractor Parade photos from this year and previous years in the gallery section of my web site.

Ferndale Lighted Tractor Parade

Darcy

November 2014

This month we had to put down the last of our older cats, Trevor. He showed up 12 years ago and we don’t know how old he was when he showed up. His health had been failing the last few months as his body wasn’t absorbing most of the food he ate or the water he drank. So for the fourth time in the last year, we had to make that awful decision to down one of our cats.

We’re now left with just the two kittens, Darcy and Bingley, although they are barely kittens any more. This photo is of Darcy, in one of his sweet tender moments. Surprisingly, Darcy is the real rascal of the two, he’s most often the one instigating fights, and even more surprising, he gets the best of Bingley, even though Bingley probably has a couple of pounds on Darcy at this point.

But when he settles down, he’s a great comfort, and he’s quite the softy, a real treat to pet.

Darcy taking a nap on my lap

Ghostly Things Going On In The Parlor

October 2014

It’s that spooky time of the year when all types of aberrations might appear, especially when you live in a 126 year old house. So it wasn’t surprising when I noticed this ghostly form passing through earlier this month. Fortunately, I had my camera ready and was able to capture what was barely visible with the naked eye.

Ghost in the parlor

Dancing on Water

July 2014

I first came across Clear Lake as a name while perusing Route 1 on Google Earth. Not to be confused with the Clear Lake in Oregon, this Clear Lake is really more of a pond. It took me awhile to find it, and it was actually by chance when I found it while riding my KLR650 in the area.

Seeing what a beautiful spot it was, I thought it would make a perfect spot for a photo shoot some day. The surface of the pond is usually quite still, providing a perfect refection of the trees and sky.

While photographing the Ferndale Dance Academy production this year, I heard that Sofia, one of their dancers, was moving to Washington soon. Sofia is one of the students who makes it so interesting photographing the FDA production year after year. She is one dancer who I’ve watched grow from a little girl, into a very talented dancer. Before she left, I really wanted to photograph her, and so the concept for Dancing on Water was born.

I didn’t want to use a Photoshop reflection for the photo, because that’s one of my pet peeves. Real reflections aren’t just an upside down image, they’re a different view. In a true reflection you’ll see the underside of areas that aren’t visible in the subject. So the biggest task was finding a way to do this that provided a real reflection, yet would keep Sofia safe and dry. It ended up being a very cost effective solution, after I dreamed of more expensive ways to do it.

Sofia ended up being a great model, and at the end of the evening, I was sorry I had to return her to her parents. They promised they’ll be back in October, so stay tuned, there might just be some more Sofia photos later this year.

Sofia, dancing on water

Once Upon A Time – Ferndale Dance Academy

June 2014

Last month’s Picture of the Month was a publicity shot for Ferndale Dance Academy’s spring recital, Once Upon A Time. This month I photographed the dress rehearsal, and then two days later, I sat in the audience and watched the show.

After watching the actual show, I’m always amazed how much I miss when my face is behind the camera. Even when I’m using a wide angle lens and focusing on the whole stage, I still miss a lot. I’m always sad to see people so caught up in filming their life that they miss their life. Fortunately this year all photography was banned during the show so parents could just relax and actually watch the results of all their child’s hard work.

And the results were spectacular! Every year Laura East has produced a better show than the previous years, a string unbroken since 2003 when the first one was held.

The number of dancers that were doing pointe this show was the highest ever, and it really added to the show. Sharon Harrison had a leading role as the blue bird, and her performance was outstanding, mimicking the awkward movements of a bird, all the while being so graceful as only a ballerina can. She made it all look so easy during the rehearsals, but at the end of one of them she looked like she was in absolute pain, I thought for sure she was going to need to quit. Yet at the next run through she was back out there on her toes, making it look so easy.

The complete set of photos from Once Upon A Time can be viewed, and prints purchased from the Ferndale Dance Academy gallery.

Sharon Harrison