Gary Moon, along with his wife, Lynn Moon, co-owns Gary’s Service Center and Gary’s Cannon Beach Photos, which operate in the same location, 280 N. Hemlock St.
How long have you owned Gary’s Service Center?
Since June of ‘64, just over 50 years.
The building was built in ‘58, and when I was in high school I actually helped mix the (mortar) for the guy laying the tiles in the bathrooms. And I pumped gas here during the summers while I was in school and worked my way through college by working here in the summer.
What was the business called back then?
McCoy’s Service Station ... When I got out of college in ‘64, I started working here full time, and I owned my own business then and used space here. And then I bought the business — bought the building and land — in ‘68.
What’s the biggest mistake that vehicle owners make in terms of how they treat their vehicle?
Not doing regular maintenance.
I have a truck sitting out back; it’s an ‘07 Chevy. The guy went 10,000 miles without changing his oil, blew the engine out. I’m not even sure he checked the oil because there wasn’t any in it. We towed him in, and now we’re probably going to tow it to a dealership for a new engine. If you service your car regularly, you’re going to get a lot of miles out of it.
How long have you been doing landscape photography?
Since I was in high school, so close to 60 years.
Are people often surprised to learn that you’re both an auto mechanic and a landscape photographer?
Yeah, they’re very surprised to find, first of all, a gallery in a gas station. It’s kind of unique.
I once had a lady come in one time to use the restroom; she took a walk back down the hallway carrying a picture off the wall, and she says, “I really never thought I’d find a wedding gift in a gas station” (laughs).
When did you decide to blend the two?
Eight years ago, I decided to retire — but I’m not retired (laughs). I had open heart surgery about nine years ago, and after the open heart surgery, I concentrated more on the photography and let my sons (Jon Moon and Steve Moon) do most of the mechanic work.
How do you find a new way to shoot something that’s been shot a thousand times before?
Boy, it’s getting more difficult. It’s my age, I guess; I’m 72 now ... You look for unusual weather conditions, to get good sunsets or storm pictures. I have certain spots that I like to go to, that I’ve hacked out with a machete on a deer trail, and get off the regular spots where people normally see Cannon Beach, so I look at it from a different perspective. And I have telephoto lenses to get a different perspective, too, on what people normally see.
The (Tillamook Rock Lighthouse) picture (with) the wave crashing over it is iconic, I guess. It’s my biggest seller.
I see you’re wearing a hat of Cannon Beach Fire and Rescue...
Yeah, my sons (Jon Moon and Steve Moon) are volunteers with the department. I was a volunteer for 35 years and chief for 18 years in Cannon Beach. I joined the fire department in ‘62, became chief in ‘79 and retired in ‘97.
What has changed the most in Cannon Beach while you’ve been living here?
Going from a logging community to a tourist community — that’s an easy question to answer. If you go back far enough, into the ‘50s and ‘60s, it was a logging community; very few tourists.
Superman or Batman?
Superman, because I read Superman comics more than I did Batman comics when I was a kid.