Kiran changed her mind about attending the first sophoremore semester on-campus, so we quickly made other plans for what was supposed to be the move-in day.
Despite months of planning by students and Oberlin College, at the last moment, our daughter Kiran decided not to attend on-campus classes for the fall semester. The last bit of paperwork with the college did it. She had to fill out a form with her plans in case she fell ill to "COVID-19". She realised that Oberlin, OH is an 8-hour car ride from home, and if she was infected and we had to bring her home, we could not quarantine her inside our car. She did not want to risk infecting us. The news reports about infections breaking out in colleges and universities were probably another push. After a last-minute scramble of phone calls and emails on Tuesday afternoon, since I already had the day off, Bhavna and I quickly made other plans for Wednesday, the day we were supposed to travel to Ohio.
Bhavna and I left home around 8 AM and drove down the shore to Seven Mile Island in Avalon, a borough in Cape May. We arrived at the Avalon Community Hall around 10:30 AM and bought two beach passes. We found a spot near the pier to set up our beach chairs, table and umbrellas and sat down to start our "doing nothing" day.
I brought my Fujifilm X-T2 and XF27mmF2.8 lens, and a vintage camera kit, my Minolta X-700 35mm film camera loaded with a roll of Kodak Gold 200. I captured a few test shots on the Fuji X-T2. I was not too fond of the results from the colour recipe I usually use. It just felt too warm and contrasty. The sky was mostly clear with a few clouds, and the scene was brightly lit.
Kodak Porta came to mind because I had a roll of Kodak Portra 160 in my bag. Fortunately, Ritchie Roesch has two film simulation recipes for Kodak Portra. Because of the abundant sunlight, I chose his Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation recipe. It took seconds to look up his recipe and configure my Fuji X-T2.
Between long stretches of doing nothing, just sitting and staring at the sand, surf and passers-by, I captured beach scenes on my Fuji X-T2 and Minolta X-700. It was fun. I love the sound of the shutter of the Minolta X-700. I shot in aperture priority mode.
Around 1:30 PM, Bhavna and I packed our beach gear and ate lunch at Sandbar Village, an outdoor restaurant. Of course, I ordered a Maine lobster roll and a beer. We regretted not doing anything like this before and why we hadn't visited Avalon and Seven Mile Island.
After lunch, we returned to our previous location on the beach for more sitting around and doing nothing.
I quickly completed the 24-exposure roll of Kodak Gold 200 and then loaded a 36-exposure roll of Kodak Portra 160 colour film. Bhavna wanted to walk the beach. I quickly completed the roll of Kodak Portra 160. We returned to our seats and sat down for another stint of "doing nothing". I loaded a roll of Kodak Ektachrome 100 slide film.
Then Bhavna wanted to walk the beach in the other direction. Surprisingly, I finished that roll of Kodak Ektachrome 100 as well. Bhavna was bemused that I had so much fun taking photographs on an almost 40-year-old film camera. I was surprised as well. Of course, my excitement could turn to disappointment once the film is developed, and I download the scans from the Darkroom.
Around 5 PM, after we had our fill of "doing nothing," we packed up and went home. We enjoyed our day of "doing nothing".
One thing I don’t like about New Jersey is that one must pay to access the beach. It just feels wrong. The rationale is that the beach must be cleaned and maintained, and the fees help with the cost of that. Ok, fine, but it also pays for the salaries of people like this woman pictured who collect the beach access fees. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to install a turnstile? In states like California, the beach is public access and are a part of the state parks system. New Jersey could do the same and ensure that ALL New Jersey residents, not just the ones who can afford the $9 fee. Some beaches in New Jersey are free. Belmar and Avon-on-the-Sea, and Bradley Beach are not among them.
The clouds were mostly gone, and we could feel the sunlight. Finally!
We set up our beach chairs and sat down to enjoy the smell and sound of the ocean, the warmth of sunlight on our skins, and the salty sea breeze.
The day didn’t start on a good note, but it turned out better than I expected. I had a few hours to chat with my family and forget about work. My only regret is that we didn’t do this earlier in the summer and that our daughter, Kiran, could not join us.
It was not a great day for the beach. It was all cloudy skies and cold winds in Belmar. The trip had been planned in advance and I had already taken the day off work. I was in a negative mood about the situation but Bhavna convinced me it was worth it just to take a break from work. I reluctantly acquiesced, packed my new Fujifilm X-T2 body, Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR lens and two spare batteries, and we drove to Belmar.
It rained the whole drive but the rain stopped as we approached the town. We easily found parking on 5th Avenue near Ocean Avenue on the northern end of Belmar and started walking along the Belmar Boardwalk.
Belmar is a borough in Monmouth County, New Jersey. The borough is nicely laid out in a grid of streets flowing East to West and North to South with Main Street on the western side. The beach and a long boardwalk flow along Ocean Avenue bordered by Avon by the Sea to the North and Spring Lake to the South.
The wind was cool and breezy. I choose to shoot the Fuji X-T2 with the ACROS™ Film Simulation. I’m not sure why I choose ACROS but it fit my mood and the weather. After a few minutes of walking, I started to loosen up and my disappointment about the day dwindled.
I was walking along looking through the camera viewfinder trying to compose a scene and I almost tripped over some racked bicycles. There were a lot of them. I don’t know for sure, but I imagine that local residents most likely rode these bicycles to the beach. The first one in view here has a carriage for a child and the bicycle itself has a low bar which often indicated it was designed for skirt/dress/kilt wearers who don’t want to show off their __knickers_ while riding a bicycle.
You can’t see it in the monochrome but the bicycle above is mostly rust and weathered paint. I don’t think it has been used in quite a long time. Interestingly there was a new chain around the bicycle. The owner must be afraid that there is a demand for rusty old bicycles.
We continued walking north. The beach was mostly empty but I could imagine on a warm weekend it would be packed with beachgoers.
Before we crossed into Avon-on-the-Sea was pass the gated entryway to the Belmar Fishing Club which has a private pier. The clubhouse has was built by the Ocean Pier Company.
During the summer of 1929, the Club's counsel was successful in having certain restrictions in the original deed modified so as to permit the Belmar Fishing Club to erect a new and larger clubhouse to meet the demands of its growing membership. Therefore, on June 14, 1929, the Belmar Fishing Club Holding Co., was incorporated for the purpose of holding the property for the benefit of the members of the Belmar Fishing Club and to finance and build a new clubhouse.
Shaan and Bhavna commented that it seemed silly to pay for exclusive access to a pier when the same fish could be caught by standing along the rocky sides of the inlet.
We crossed the drawbridge that connects Belmar to Avon-by-The-Sea and continued on the Avon Boardwalk toward the Avon Pavilion.
The only other Little Free Library I have ever seen was in Asbury Park, which was only a few miles from Avon-on-the-Sea.
We crossed the draw-bridge into Avon-on-the-Sea toward Avon Pavilion.
It was near lunchtime and we discussed options while walking back toward the car. We decided on FINS Tropicali Cuisines in Bradly Beach.