Hope – 1840s Bodice & Skirt

August 2019

Hope answered a Craigslist ad I had looking for dancers. She was off at ballet school but was going to be back home for a bit during the summer. Since she is so petite, I thought she might be able to fit into our 1840 Ensemble which is not only the oldest piece in Lori’s vintage clothing collection, it is also the tiniest. Not only is it one of the rare ensembles we have, it is extra special because it has both the day and evening bodices.

Even with Hope corseted down, she still wasn’t able to close the back on the bodice. Also, at 5′-0″ tall, she’s probably a few inches taller than the original owner of this garment. The bodice fits a 20″ waist so that gives you some idea of how small of a person this dress was made to fit. We’ll probably never find someone able to wear this dress, but it was nice getting good photos of it in our parlor.

Hopefully (no pun intended), I’ll get a chance to shoot with Hope again in December when she’s on break from school again. I still want to shoot her dancing, as the photos she sent me showed that she’s very accomplished and quite bendy.

Hope wearing 1840s Bodice & Skirt

Lupines Worth Stealing

July 2019

If you’re a fan of Monty Python, then you know who Dennis Moore is. In case you’re not familiar with the skit, Dennis would ride around the English countryside and steal lupines from the rich and give them to a poor family. One of my favorite Monty Python skits, and maybe one reason I love growing lupines.

I started a bunch of lupines in our new greenhouse to eventually fill out the new planter in the back yard. While I was watering them, Lori notice that this one had a nice diamond right in the middle of it. Now that would be a lupine worth stealing!

A lupine with a diamond in the middle.

Flora and Fauna of Ferndale

June 2019

While working on my greenhouse, I came across this caterpillar, and having never seen this type before, I was determined to identify it. I started with searching images on Duck, Duck, Go for “green caterpillar with yellow head” and didn’t find anything similar.

I tried a few other searches and finally found one image of something similar, only technically, it’s not a caterpillar. Caterpillars are the larvae of moths or butterflies, and this guy is the larva for a sawfly. I had never heard of sawflies before.

This photo got me off on a project that has proven to be very addictive, identifying the natural flora and fauna of my garden. I have been having fun using my macro lens to explore the creatures that fly, run, hop, crawl, and even swim in my yard.

While I was documenting the animals, my wife suggested I should also document the plants. I have a Filemaker database for keeping track of what I plant, but I decided to go ahead and start documenting what mother nature plants too. You can find my ongoing lists of flora and fauna on my personal web site.

One resource I found that has been super useful in identifying what I photograph is the Seek app. I have found the best way to use it for fauna is to take a photo using my macro lens and DSLR, and then display the image on my monitor and do a Seek scan of that image.

Sawfly Larva

2019 Kinetic Sculpture Race

May 2019

Well it’s been a very long time since I’ve posted my Picture of the Month feature. I’ve been busy working on my house and garden, and unfortunately not taking much time to relax and go take pictures. I’m going to restart the POTM and hopefully keep something interesting appearing here on a regular basis.

Memorial Day Weekend in Humboldt County starts off with the start of the Kinetic Sculpture Race in Arcata. This year there were lots of entries, probably due to the fact this was the 50th anniversary of the event. It was hard to pick a favorite entry this year, but the Cheshire Cat was not only cute, (if something that big can be cute) it was also a great piece of engineering, as it employed 4 wheel steering.

Cheshire Cat

Nikon SB-900 Battery Door Problem Solved

I have two Nikon SB-900 flash units that were both purchased in 2009. For years they both performed reliably, but about a year ago one of them started experiencing a power problem where the flash would turn on if the battery door was held just a bit ajar, but it wouldn’t turn on if it was fully closed. As I haven’t been doing as much photography as I used to, and I could always rely on a bunch of other Nikon flashes I own, or my Photogenic lights, it wasn’t a problem I spent a lot of time trying to fix. I did an initial search on the internet to see if it was a common problem, but came up empty.

Then last week while on location for a job, the second one started acting up in exactly the same way. So today I had some time to take a look at both of them again.

Doing an internet search this time I did come up with some hits that described the exact same problem. Only they didn’t have any solutions. But there were other people that had reported their SB-900s stopped working after batteries corroded the leads.

I checked the leads on both units and they appeared clean, and I had never experienced leaking batteries for these units, as I use rechargeable batteries (Duracell) in them and the batteries are usually taken out when I’m not using the flashes.

I decided to try cleaning the leads with a pencil eraser, and that’s all it took to get both units working again. Even though both units had bright shiny leads, there must have been just enough oxidation to prevent a good contact.

So if your SB-900s experience this problem, try a simple and quick cleaning with a pencil eraser before sending them back to Nikon for an expensive repair.

Ferndale Dance Academy – Cinderella

June 2017

This was the 15th year I’ve photographed the Ferndale Dance Academy spring production. Laura East and her company of young dancers put on another fine show. Photographing the dress rehearsal I watch the show through the lens of my camera, and it’s always nice to return later to watch the show from the audience.

Ferndale Dance Academy ballet dancers performing Cinderella

The Mill Creek Falls Ballet

May 2017

After a long break from picture of the month due to a really wet winter and the unexpected death of my mother, I finally got back to taking pictures in May. I returned to Mill Creek Falls with a new model, Shannon, who had lots of experience dancing when she was younger. It still showed in the wonderful poses she came up with. After visiting Mill Creek, we went to Clam Beach for more photos and it was really hard picking one to feature here. Hopefully, she’ll be in front of my lens again soon.

Ballerina posing in front of Mills Creek Falls

Michelle, Robert & Bricen – Family Portrait in Ferndale

October 2016

I received a message on my phone asking about family and toddler portraits and I was kind of surprised, since I stopped advertising portrait services several years ago. I had to listen to the message several times to catch the name of the person inquiring, and then I realized it was Michelle who I had taken her senior photos and then later she modeled for my Pirating Under a Full Moon shot.

In fact, by an odd coincidence, it was 7 years to the day that we shot Pirating Under a Full Moon when she called.

We scheduled a family shoot at the South Spit beach where I shot her senior portrait photos. They met us in Ferndale, and as we drove over to Loleta, it kept getting foggier and foggier. We shot some photos at the beach, hoping the fog would lift, but instead it kept getting even foggier, until we finally gave up.

Plan B became traveling back to sunny Ferndale, where we shot down in the creek in our backyard. Trying to get a toddler to pose can be challenging, especially when mom is on the other side of the creek. Bricen lost his pants after attempting to cross the creek, and after mom calmed him down we tried again.

It was nice catching up with Michelle and meeting her family, and we got lots of great photos both at the beach and in the creek, but this one was my favorite by far.

Michelle, Robert & Bricen

Ferndale Concourse

September 2016

Labor Day in Ferndale saw a new event this year, a Concourse d’Elegance, held on Main Street. FVFD displayed (but not entered) our 1923 American LaFrance and next to is a 1928 Pierce Arrow Series 36.

There weren’t as many entries as I had hoped for, but it still made for a nice day walking up and down Main Street.

Ferndale Concourse d'Elegance