Archive for the ‘Picture of the Month’ Category

Once Upon A Time – Ferndale Dance Academy

Monday, June 30th, 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 watch 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

Blue Bird

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

While shooting the group shots for the Ferndale Dance Academy, I couldn’t help notice one dancer in particular. Not only is Sharon Harrison becoming a very talented ballet artist, but her peacock colored costume was very eye catching.

I asked Laura East if I could take a few pictures of Sharon after we did the group shots since I was set up with lights, and shooting in the dance studio provides the room for giant leaps that were always hard to do in my studio.

Laura had a lot going on trying to manage 60 young girls and their parents, and even though it looked like she didn’t need any further distractions she agreed.

So after the group shots I quickly shot Sharon in a variety of poses, some still, and some action shots, like this one of her doing a fantastic dance move, that I would provide the name of if I knew anything about ballet. Which I don’t, except that I find it amazing that these girls can do what they do.

You can see this year’s Ferndale Dance Academy production, Once Upon A Time, June 20 & 21, at Eureka High School.

Sharon Harrison showing off her ballet moves

Mill Creek Falls – Take Two

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

After my disastrous first trip to Mill Creek Falls, I knew I wanted to go back and complete my mission.

Fortunately, I found out that my equipment was well covered by my State Farm policy and there was no deductible. I had sent the D600 and the 24-70mm back to Nikon for repair. It turned out opposite of what I expected. They were able to repair the lens but the camera was damaged beyond repair. So I ended up buying a lightly used demo D600 off of Ebay that came with a couple of lenses including a 70-300mm, for less than it would have cost to buy a D610.

On my return trip, I made sure the D600 was firmly locked to my tripod. It’s still a precarious spot to photograph, because there’s little room to set anything down without the fear that it’s going to slide down the rocks and into a pool of water. But I managed to explore a few different angles and got some nice shots.

I’d like to come back sometime when the water is really running. It’s been a drought year, so not the best conditions for waterfall viewing.

But still, it’s nice to know that Humboldt County has at least one pretty waterfall.

Mill Creek Falls

Prehistoric Bowling Balls

Monday, March 31st, 2014

It’s been awhile since I’ve hiked out to the beach at Octopus Rock. I’m not even sure if that’s the right name for it, but I remember someone calling it that once. Anyways, it’s the beach along Mattole Road, just before it turns back inland on it’s way to Petrolia.

One of the thing I like about this beach is the tide pools, and particularly, the rocks you find that collect in the larger ones. Many of them develop a pattern of holes that makes them look like Barney Rubble’s bowling balls, only they’ve eroded over the millennia.

Prehistoric Bowling Balls

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.


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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