Closed for Columbus Day, And Cheap Gas

Closed Inspection Station
Closed Inspection Station

Most of this weekend I was reminded by the Post It notes that I left all over the place that I had to get the car inspected this week for the bi-annual smog testing. This morning I awoke nice and early, drove to my local Starbucks, purchased my favorite bold, black coffee, and headed over to the Inspection Station.

As I passed by the rear of the station I was elated to see no lines, which equals no waiting; a rarity in this state. I confidently pulled around to the front entrance and was I was surprisingly stopped dead by a chain and a sign – Station Closed. So I’m sitting there thinking, why are they closed; budget cuts, switching them to a four or five-day week? I then pulled out my trusty phone with a calendar and discovered it was Columbus Day. So much for planning ahead.

October 13, 2014 - Best price this year at Wawa in New Jersey.
October 13, 2014 – Best price this year at Wawa in New Jersey.

The upside to this story is the lowest price for gasoline I have seen this year. Wawa, a chain of convenience stores with fuel stations (gas and diesel) along the east coast, always has the lowest price for gas in my little slice of heaven. Today, I paid $287.9 per gallon for regular. Last Friday, with a different vehicle, I paid $293.9 per gallon. Today was a welcome improvement of six cents per gallon.

I use an app appropriately named GasBuddy, available for free on iTunes, and Google Play, to check and report gas prices in my area. Since it is user fed, it is usually 99% accurate.

October’s Pumpkins and Halloween

What did one pumpkin say to the other.
What did one pumpkin say to the other.

Halloween is one of the most photographic times of the year. It is rich in decorations that beg to be photographed. Pumpkins are a recurring theme and between the leaves changing color and the pumpkins, every photo becomes a potential seasonal masterpiece.

If you remember from one of my earlier posts, I never go anywhere without a camera. A few years ago when I was living in the Ocean Beach area of San Diego, I would always walk my son’s dog while he was at work. It kept the dog and me active, and I was always on the lookout for a photo opportunity.

When I made this photo, I always knew what I wanted to do with it artistically, it just took me a while to refine the idea. There was always a project or two distracting me. I finally settled on pumpkins, coffee and Starbucks. Love pumpkin pie, and hot black Starbucks coffee. I’m not a fan of the Pumpkin Spiced Latte, too sweet for me, but it does have a huge following.

Two full size pumpkin scarecrows.
Two full size pumpkin scarecrows.

The Ocean Beach area of San Diego is both eclectic and eccentric. The residents there are very easy-going and never turn a neighbor down if they need a hand. It has also been called “… where the 60’s Hippies retired  …” You never know what you will find photographically throughout the community and the various seasons.

These two photos were made while I was out walking the dog just before Halloween. Two separate locations, blocks apart, and basically the same theme. The Happy Halloween photo was made with my Nikon D90, Nikon 18-200 lens, massaged with Lightroom 5, finalized with Comic Life 3.

Strategy Meeting

Strategy Meeting
Strategy Meeting

Whenever I decide to spend a few hours just making photographs, I will shoot everything. If it’s in my field of vision, I compose to capture the subject at hand and I also think about  what I can do with the photo in post-processing.

This photo shows of one of my favorite subjects, seagulls. Most of the early photos that I made in my childhood were of seagulls, probably because I was always at the fishing piers or the beach. I burned a lot of film on seagulls. In the early years, it was Kodak film, and a lot of blurred photos. My favorite format, because I could not afford color film, is black and white. I shot so much Plus-X and Tri-X, sometimes I think in black and white.

Stats on this photo: Nikon D90, Nikon 70-300, 70mm, 1/320 at f8.0, ISO 200. Post processing with; Lightroom, Tonality (trailing), and Photoshop Elements 12.

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