Sharing moments in time…

Archive for May, 2012

The “Greening” of our household Fleet (Chevrolet Volt)


Thought I’d take a break from my normal posts and talk a little about a new addition to our household.

I’ve been watching the various developments of electric cars over the past 2 years or so waiting for a vehicle that I thought would meet our needs.  I’ve read pretty much every article about every production or soon-to-be production electric or plug in hybrid vehicle with the intent of moving off of gasoline as much as possible.  My reasoning behind the strategy is that I believe we need to lessen our dependence on oil – especially foreign oil.  That is key to our energy independence in the future so we might as well start now.

Our needs for the car are pretty simple as we have a nice car for the long road trips that we take a couple of times a year – what we needed was an around town car for our day to day routine.  Our second car was a 2005 Chevrolet Corvette – not exactly a green machine with mileage in the low teens – but it handled the chores of satisfying my mid-life crisis and my wife’s enjoyment at being the center of attention for males of all ages as she drove “her” Vette around town.  Anyway, back to our requirements – each one of us probably puts between 20 and 50 miles on our cars in a typical day.  Many of our trips are just short commutes with a mixture of town and highway driving.  On the surface, any of the all electric vehicles might have met these needs – except for the uneasy feeling that something might come up where we need more range on occasion and also that we didn’t want to obsess over whether the car could “make it” without stopping for a charge on a longer trip.  That led us back to the plug in hybrid concept where the car drives and performs like an electric but has a “back-up” gasoline power source in case you need extended ranges or just happen to exceed your all-electric range.  That cut the field of available competitors significantly – there are really only 3 current options.  The Fisker Karma is a BEAUTIFUL automobile and would have been a sportscar class upgrade from the Corvette – unfortunately, they run around $100,000 which was out of our range.  At the other end of the scale is the new Prius plug in hybrid.  We have always liked the Prius as an affordable and efficient around town car but the plug-in version only gets about 11 miles on a charge before reverting to gasoline.  The last, and best, option for us was the Chevrolet Volt.  More expensive than the Plug-in Prius but with a 40 mile all electric range.  It is also better equipped for what we wanted.

To make a long story short, I test drove a Volt a few weeks back, took Dee in drive it a few days later, and then finally bought it home with us (having traded-in the Corvette).  The deciding factor for both of us was not only that it met our driving requirements, it was also FUN to drive (remember this is coming from Corvette drivers).  It has surprising acceleration due to the high instant torque of the electric drivetrain and it is smooth (and quiet) as silk.  Given the incentives for buying an electric car at the current time, this was a no brainer.  The photo below shows the car plugged into our brand new (today) 220V charging station which turned out to be entirely free after incentives.

“Bolt” (named after the San Diego Chargers) the Volt

To date we have driven the Volt about 400 miles.  99% of those have been electric – we have used less than a tenth of a gallon of gas but love the fact that it is there if we want to take longer trips.  We just changed our electric bill to a “time of use” billing and have the car set to charge when the electricity rates are the lowest (and when it places minimal impact “on the grid”).  So far we are really enjoying this fun little car and feel good about lessening our contribution to oil dependence.

Just as a postscript to this post – the Volt has been kind of a lightning rod for the political discourse surrounding the US auto industry.  While there has been a lot of bad information circulated about it, this interview on Fox News (not a source I use very often for authoritative data) attempts to set the record straight…..


Colorful Commuter….


So this is what a commute to work looks like in San Diego.  Not much to say except “somebody has to live here”.

How to beat San Diego traffic


Carrying a Camera


Today’s photo is an example of just having a camera at the right place and time.  We went to the University of Missouri graduation ceremonies to see Dee’s niece graduate.  I took many pictures of her and the family but I also took some random quick snapshots of other people passing by.  This shot is of a young girl sitting on her father’s shoulders (you can see the peak of his cap and gown) after the graduation.  It was in a crowded hallway with lots of dark shadows and bright light coming through the windows.   I was lucky to get a quick shot of this cutie as she was being carried across the sunlight with a very nice black background to contrast her face and hair.  One of those moments I would have never seen if I didn’t have a camera in my hand.  Hope you enjoy.

Graduation Doll


Weekly Photo Challenge: Blue


How about Blue Footed Boobies flying over the ocean Blue……

Taken last year in the Galapagos.  This was one of those opportunities that really got me hooked on Photography again – thanks for the reminder Daily Post!

An oldie but a blue footed goody


What am I…chopped liver???


Maybe its just me but I thought this was a funny scene this cloudy morning.  This lady walked over to take a picture of the (rather dull) beach  and totally ignored the gull that was about a foot away looking right at her as if to ask “aren’t I more interesting than that???”.  I pointed him out to her after she finished with her picture and she admitted she never even saw him…..

I’m over Here!!

 


Angry Bird?


I don’t know what kind it is, but it sort of looks like the “angry birds” of the favorite smartphone and iPad game title.  Took this today while taking a quick walk around Mission Gorge Regional Park near San Diego.

Having a bad beak day??


Family Resemblance?


It was an overcast morning out here today so I went out  and shot some more ducks (with my camera of course).  I found this very cute little duckling swimming around with the family group.  Think she looks like her mom??

Family swim


Diagonal Ducks…


Diagonal Experiment

I took this picture the same day I took the Osprey landing picture.  It started as a pretty normal  photo of the two ducks – not bad but nothing really interesting.  I began to look at it a little differently and decided to tilt it on the diagonal to see if that worked as a better composition.  To me, it started to look a little more like an abstract.  I then used one of the black and white filters from some plug-in software that I bought recently to come up with this interpretation.  Any comments?  I’d appreciate any feedback you might have!


Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused


I couldn’t really think of any really good photos for this challenge….so I’ll just share this one that I took recently.  I’m not sure there is anything really IN focus as I was just shooting the group of birds against the background.  The reason that I kept it was that there is a good contrast between the somewhat focused “flock” and the blurred background.  The other thing that interests me (that was purely unintentional when I took the photo) is – what is going on in over there by the cars?  Friends exchanging gifts?  Drug deal?  What’s your guess……..????

Sandpipers in the sky….what in the parking lot?


Yikes, I’m Published!


Yikes!!

I apologize for the repeat on this photo but it was just published on the editorial page (page 8) of the Pacific San Diego Magazine (http://www.pacificsandiego.com/)!  They also ran another of my photos in an article on wildlife in San Diego (page 53).  These are the first photos that I have had published anywhere other than right here.  A little over a year ago, when I got my first decent camera, this wasn’t even on my radar screen – and it is directly attributable to this blog.  The editor and creative director of the magazine somehow saw some of my photos on this blog and contacted me about using them.  I want to thank all the followers of this blog for the continuing motivation and encouragement that your comments have provided!  I would share my new found photography wealth with all of you but that would come out to less than a dollar per follower…..but hey, its a start!  As a totally unexpected thing, I was thrilled that someone was interested in enough in my photos to want to run them in a publication.    Thanks again to Pacific San Diego Magazine and to all of you!