Shutter Challenge – IvoryHut, NJ Cell Phone Laws and the DMV

Effective March 1st, using your cell phone without a hands free device while driving became a primary offense in New Jersey. Which means that now, they have yet another reason to pull you over and write you a pretty ticket complete with their autograph and a date to meet again someplace at a specific time. Which is usually either first thing in the morning, or right in the middle of the afternoon, so you can have the pleasure of asking your boss to let you go early to “take care of something important.” Your date will typically be at the local courthouse, and don’t worry, you’ll have hours to spend there together. (Of course, if you’d rather just pay for the date up front, then you’re allowed to stand him up for the date.)

What this should tell me is that, if they don’t want me on my phone while driving, then it’s probably safe to assume that they won’t want me using my camera while driving either. Now, they never actually told me this, not in so many words. But I just have a feeling I’m right about this.

And so when I was sitting in my car the first workday after March 1st, and started snapping shots of the traffic around me, the man in the truck in front of me didn’t look too pleased.

In fact, I started to get worried when he looked away. I imagined he was looking for the phone number of one of his police friends so he could report this crazy lady in the Honda behind him pointing her camera at everything.

Good grief. Where’s a hands free unit for a camera when you need one? Time to practice my “I’m so sorry, officer” speech. I wonder if he’ll believe my Canon is bluetooth enabled.

Wait … could I be mistaken? Maybe he wasn’t looking for Sgt. Pepper’s phone number. Maybe the traffic was just lulling him to sleep. Which, come to think of it, is probably more dangerous than me holding my camera.

Yep. That definitely looks like napping to me. Can’t say I blame him, though. After all, we barely moved 3 feet in the past 45 minutes.

And it really didn’t look like things were going to pick up anytime soon.

But wait! Can it be? Did they open up another lane? Would this be enough to rouse our sleepy, falsely-accused-as-a-tattletale truck man?

Success! He’s up! And if he’s anything like me and disoriented after waking up, he’s probably wondering, “Where am I? How long have I been here? Will these cars ever get out of my way so I can go already? What’s this thing on my thumb, and why is it salty?”

Sorry, truck man. I think some things are just meant to remain mysteries to be pondered upon while sitting in congestion. Go ahead. Ponder away. We’re not going anywhere anytime soon.

Or, you could go back to that nap of yours.

Another tale of woe and wasted time in Totowa, New Jersey. I guess should have packed a snack. Should have charged my iPod. Should have brought better CDs so I wouldn’t have to listen to Dishwallah do a Carpenters cover and tell me, ironically, that “it’s gonna take some time this time” over and over again. (It’s a decent cover, but I can only take so much looping.)

Please don’t be me. Please plan ahead and pack a suitcase or a box of Oreos or that book you’ve always wanted to finish if you, like me and seven thousand three hundred sixty-two other cars, make an ill-advised visit to this area on the morning of first workday of the month. Because there’s no way you’re escaping it. No sir.

That’s inspection congestion for you.

My word IvoryHut, these are wonderful.  How do you have the nerve to take a stranger’s picture like this trucker?  I find I am too scared to do that.


7 thoughts on “Shutter Challenge – IvoryHut, NJ Cell Phone Laws and the DMV

  1. I got confused when I first started reading this and I thought it was by shrew, and that she was saying that she was being like ivory taking pictures in the car, and that our next challenge was going to be to take pictures from the car! Hee hee.

    Now that I know this is just ivory being ivory, I totally understand!

    I love the use of black & white here. Pefect for the image of gritty NJ traffic! And the composition – great luck there with framing cranky truck guy in his mirror. Fabulous, Ivory! I love it.

  2. Hut, you have such a good eye for composition. Whether it’s how you shoot or how you crop, it doesn’t matter, because it appears you do both very well!

    That first shot is so strong that I actually feel a little uncomfortable, like I am invading his privacy just by LOOKING at it! Does that make any sense?? I do mean it as a compliment.

    I too, like the b&w treatments you have done here.

  3. So I have a question. Was all this traffic caused by people waiting to get in for their state vehicle inspection? If so, what a mess! I thought waiting on an inspection in MA was bad!

    Ivory, I love how you have the presence of mind to grab a story like this when you see it. You seem to have this great ability to find a wonderful photo in places that I would never even think to look.

  4. Thanks everyone for your comments!

    Shrew, I think the same thing when I see the awesome street photos you take. I keep wondering how you manage to get those shots. This one was fairly easy because I was in semi-stealth mode. After every shot, I would point my camera at something else and pretend I was just looking around and not actually taking the truck man’s photograph. Or I would flip and angle my LCD screen and to make it look like I’m viewing pictures instead of taking them. 🙂

    Jen, there’s a story there behind the black and white treatment. I was initially going to use the color photos, but because all the photos had varied lighting, the colors didn’t quite look identical. So I went black and white to make the series look more uniform.

    Renae, thanks for the wonderful compliment. Those are actually uncropped shots. I was so intent on getting them to look uniform that it didn’t even occur to me to try some cropping. That first shot is my favorite. I looked up and saw him on his mirror, and that view was what prompted me to start up my camera.

    Karma, yep, that was the wait for vehicle inspection. Took me by surprise, because I was just there about six weeks prior, around the same time of the day, and I was in and out in about 15 minutes.

  5. Wow!!
    Ditto on the black and white! I LOVE what you did here! I could see these in a gallery as a series. The first is also my favorite, and kudos to you for the stealth! lol
    That man and his truck made a GREAT subject! I wonder what he would say if he happened upon this site? *laugh* “Well, I’ll be…”
    I am so impressed, as always!

  6. I’m a little late to the party, but I agree with what everyone else has said.
    As usual, your composition is so unique and compelling. And I love the story that the pictures tell together.

    Like Shrew I often am too afraid to take photos of people I don’t know, for fear they will not like it.
    Glad you were able to do it this time!

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