On our trips to Colorado throughout the years, our family has taken quite a few stops at quite a few gas stations. But I don't think I've ever had a photo op quite like this one on any of those stops.
I walked out of the gas station with some of the younger siblings, and was fascinated by the beautiful mountains, clouds hanging over them. I hooked up my telephoto lens, and shot a few frames behind the van. But what really fascinated me was what I saw when I looked away from the mountains across the street. An artist was busy painting up a mural on a Mexican restaurant (you can see the pink on the blue river painted on his right side), and was hunched over, inspecting every detail.
I cropped this photo to a letterbox shape to create a sort of panorama of the building. I didn't notice that he was dipping his brush into the paint bucket until I viewed the photo on the computer.
I zoomed out for most of the shots, wanting to have empty space for cropping later. The artist reminded me of something I had read in a photography edition of a magazine: "If you start feeling like an artist, your photos will turn out much better."
I tested out some dodging and burning techniques I read about, and this one was taken when we pulled out of the parking lot, and (although it will never be good enough for Flickr) I think the blur that was caused by a slight bump in the road adds a little atmosphere.
On our way home, I didn't get to see what the end product looked like, but I'm glad I siezed the moment when I could. Sometimes, photographers (including me) forget to look up from the limiting viewfinder, and don't notice what else is around them.