"I could probably share many stories, but a few stand out more than others. I guess the first and foremost is how I got into photography- specifically photographing commercial fishing boats.” Jeff Pond shared.

Throughout all the years of driving through Ballard, WA, about 20 minutes from his home, where most commercial fishing boats get serviced, Pond would always admire the shipyards full of boats from Ballard Bridge. 

“My wife and I found ourselves in the beginning years watching Deadliest Catch, and seeing Ballard on the show caught our curiosity.”

One of the most famous boats in the beginning years of DC was the F/V Sea Star. It was left permanently at Fishermen’s Terminal in Seattle, and on deck, they created a store full of merchandise for the boat itself and the show. 

“My son at the time was only a few years old, and we started to visit the boat often and talk with Kenny Hendricks from the show who worked on the vessel. My family grew a strong relationship with him and Mike Day, the other employee at the dock. Both guys would let my son have free rein over the boat.” 

You could find Pond’s son running throughout the boat, playing in the wheelhouse like a race car, and playing with all the buttons and controls. He explained it as a “4 days per week event” to see them, chat, and let his son play.

“Knowing I needed something to keep me active and my mind busy, I picked up a camera and found a shipyard where I could get pictures from a hill without sneaking in and getting in trouble, assuming shipyards were not looking for their yards to be photographed.”

“I would pick up that old used camera and take pictures. I loved the sight of these old, hardworking boats getting some TLC. Seeing them come in all rusty and beat up to getting fresh paint and looking new again fascinated me. I loved it so much because I had old hotrods that I loved doing similar restorations to.”

Since that time, Pond has continuously researched where the Deadliest Catch boats were coming to shore to get fixed. The Northwestern had always been his family’s favorite, and one day, he found out where she was hidden- behind a fence of a lot of barbed wire.  

“I found the general manager (Doug Dixon) of Pacific Fishermen Shipyard, where the boat was, and asked if I could take some pictures. Without hesitation, he said, go for it. I took a few pictures and emailed him, and that's where it all started.”

In 2012, general manager Doug Dixon invited Pond to visit the yard whenever. He’d shoot repair work and just general boat photos where he always tried to incorporate a sunset or sunshine.

“Those time of days are the most peaceful times and add so much to a picture (at least to me)." 

Since then, Pond has supplied all the photos for the yard, ranging from events to moments people will never forget, including a shoot for the King of Norway, who toured the grounds. He’s also documented all the BBQ fundraisers and a shoot for Sig Hansen's daughter's wedding. Most memorably, Pond received his 5-year sobriety on the Northwestern, presented by the. The Pacific Fishermen Shipyard and the Deadliest Catch community became much more than a fascination for Pond- it was like a family. 

“Now, I get to run Pacific Fishermen's social media pages. This has led me to many opportunities, such as being the photographer for Ballard's Norwegian parade, the Fishermen's Terminal Fall Fishermen's Festival, and a photographer for a shoot with Snoop Dogg, who loves Deadliest Catch.”

“I’ve been the photographer for a huge event called Fishermen's Night. I’ve shot in Tridents yards, and Filson Clothing HQ held a show for all my photography. I have traveled to Dutch Harbor and had many other amazing fishing industry opportunities. I’ve met some pretty amazing fishermen.”

Fast-forwarding to the present, the Pond family has moved far away from the show, and Jeff has not shot any boats unless they’re for Pacific Fishermen. 

“I had a few hard drives crash a few years back, where I lost approximately 700,000 photos, and I fully wanted to give up due to the huge loss. I drove back through Ballard in 2022, and all I can say is the fire sparked within me again. I slowly started getting back into it.” 

His gear got polished, and he bought another drone and shot religiously for Pacific Fishermen and a few magazines. Pond’s main thanks for being where he is now is to Doug Dixon, who had faith in his early days of photography. 

“I'm where I'm at with much thanks to Doug and my family. I have met a lot, and I mean a lot of great people in the fishing industry, and I’ve seen a lot of loss. I was, unfortunately, the last person to get photos of the boats lost at sea, F/V Scandies Rose and F/V Destination.”

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Carli is a Content Specialist for National Fisherman. She comes from a fourth-generation fishing family off the coast of Maine. Her background consists of growing her own business within the marine community. She resides on one of the islands off the coast of Maine while also supporting the lobster community she grew up in.

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