Photo(s) of the Week: 36 cents per Gallon

Gas Pump

This week I’m doing a couple of things differently with the PotW. First, it’s a set of photos on the same subject: a derelict old gas pump that’s abandoned out in the middle of nowhere. I don’t normally go in for the “rusty junk that’s just sitting around” kind of subject, but I kind of like how these turned out.

These shots were taken as part of a recent excursion with a local camera club I joined. I had been looking for a way to get out and meet new people, as having a toddler and a baby comprise the majority of your social network leaves something to be desired. So I did a bit of Google searching and found that my city actually had a very august and active camera club. And their next gathering was coming up soon. Neat!

So I signed up and RSVP’d for the photowalk that they were going to do last weekend. In hindsight, the fact that the club was gathering at the Cracker Barrel restaurant might have served as my first clue as to what kind of people I was meeting up with, but I plunged ahead. Indeed, when I arrived at the restaurant and located the group I was momentarily stunned by hold OLD they all were. After me, the youngest person there was probably in his mid 50s, and the age of the oldest member was probably unfathomable without the aid of carbon dating.

After a hearty breakfast we set out for our trek to the countryside and I took the opportunity to call Geralyn on my cell phone. “They’re all SO OLD!” I hissed into the phone before she could even finish saying “Hello?” She laughed, then said she felt terrible for me, then laughed again.

Gas Pump

It turns out, of course, that my prejudices were completely malformed and unsubstantiated. Everyone I encountered that day was friendly, accommodating, and willing to go out of their way to make a new member like myself welcome. Right off the bat when I got lost one of them called me on my cell phone and gave me directions to where he was waiting for me on the shoulder of the highway. Others introduced themselves and chatted me up. It was nice.

In fact, once we actually got out shooting in the field (like literally, we were actually out shooting in a field) it became apparent that many of these old timers really knew their stuff, including digital photography and post production. A couple of people had simple point-and-shoot cameras and a couple more had entry-level DSLRs like mine, but the balance were well geared and nonchalantly walked around with what looked like $4,000 or more worth of electronics dangling from their necks. And I had gotten so used to the idea of old people being incompetent with technology that I could hardly believe it when this 75-year old guy started telling me about how to force your printer to recognize certain color profiles and how to change the blend mode in Photoshop layer masks to achieve certain results.

Gas Pump

Over lunch one seasoned photographer even told me about how he had recently been on a trip to arctic Norway where he tried to photograph wildlife from a pitching boat and how a brown bear had once herded him up a chest-deep river for a mile while he held his camera over his head. This is crazy, I thought. I’ve never been chased by a bear. I’m completely out of my league here!

So, good trip after all. I didn’t exactly end up with a ton of keeper shots (shooting between the hours of 10 and 2 is hardly ideal), but I have a few more besides these three that I’ll include in future PotW updates. And I’ll probably get more on future outings.

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4 thoughts on “Photo(s) of the Week: 36 cents per Gallon

  1. I read this out loud to my mom, and after we both finished cracking up and admiring your photos, my mom said, “Never underestimate the power of old people!”
    I’m glad the photo club turned out to be better than you expected!

  2. Three cheers for tetraethyl lead and old people! Both are great resources that never get enough credit.
    You’ll be hard pressed to find a better teacher than someone who has spent 30+ years with a camera in their hand. The beauty of this hobby is that, despite fancy new equipment, the fundamentals are the same.
    Shutter speed, focal distance and aperture are universal and many of the concepts used in the darkroom apply directly to our fancy new digital tools. Ever wonder where dodge and burn tools came from in Photoshop? 🙂

  3. I was just telling Emma the other day that we needed to take her to a “Craker Barrel” restaurant. Wow!

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