Appreciating a Capsule of Larry Bale's Sports Photography

By Scot Pearson

Bale has been a contributor to the Willapa Harbor Herald for several years and it only seems fitting that we give him some additional acknowledgment for all of the great photos that he has shared with us, and the community.

I believe I first chatted with Larry last spring during the high school track and field season. And have looked to him for those one in a million photographs that help depict the arena that is prep sports.

Bale takes several photos all around the county; not just sports. He also enjoys taking pictures out in nature and has captured many sights in and around Pacific County.

Getting his start when his kids were involved in high school sports, Bale first obtained an inexpensive camera and started taking pictures of his own kids during their games. He gradually got newer and better equipment and other parents saw some of his work and asked if he could takes pictures of their kids as well.

"It kinda just grew from there," said Bale.

When he is not working at the Royal Heights Transfer Station, he enjoys capturing the students of the community and watching them grow up and he shares his photos with the community via Facebook.

"Facebook really opened things up for me and my ability to share my pictures," he said. "I see it as a little bit of a payback to the community where I live."

Bale, owner/operator of Royal Heights Transfer Station, is one of the original families that helped open up the area to farming and lives in what is called Baleville.

"The story I know is that my ancestors were negotiating with the railroad who were looking to build a train depot. Part of the deal is that the depot would be called Baleville," Bale said.

The area kept the name, but the train depot was never built. Bale, along with the Camenzind families, were partially responsible for helping to transform the area and open it up to farming.

"A member of my family was one of the first students to graduate from South Bend High School," Bale said. "It was a time when they had to take a boat to school. It is hard to image kids having to worry about the tides and weather just to get to school, but he had perfect attendance."

Bale is a graduate of Raymond HS, and went on to attend Washington State University, returned and worked the family business.

Once he started taking pictures of the local sports teams and started sharing with the rest of the community, he did not stop and moved on to taking pictures of nature taking in the natural beauty that is Pacific County.

"Sunrise and sunset are great, and because of my work schedule I see many sunrises," he said.

When pressed to give up his favorite spot to take photos, he says he just walks out his back door. "There are so many locations here in the area, so many nooks and crannies that make great pictures."

Always using digital photography, Bale at times will use his smart phone to grab a picture quickly.

During his 15 years of taking pictures, Bale has also put together a book about the South Bend 2010 Football Championship, chronicling the championship year as it coincides with the 100th year of football for the school.

He has also put together a website and continues to keep his Facebook - Larry Bale, current with the events that he is covering.

As a tribute to his great work and his compassion for the art and his ability to share with the community, we bring you the photos of Larry Bale.

Thank you, Larry, for taking our pictures.