Editors Note: Keep an eye out for Jeffersons upcoming KelbyOne course, Travel Photography: A Photographers Guide To Route 66, due out later on this week!
Path 66 Motel– Williams, AZIts not every day that Scott asks you to go out and get your kicks. With a cam. And tell the world about it.
Speak about a dream task!
I got my Kix on Route 66! Drive up and down old Route 66, record the photo highlights, write it all down and teach you how to do it well, so you can strike the ground running when you yourself go out on the open, Mother roadway.
My brand-new class, “Travel photography: Route 66” debuts today, and I should start by informing you what its not.
No, I didnt drive from the California Santa Monica Pier (the well-known end of the road) all the way to Chicago. I d love to do that some day, however what are the chances youll make the whole 1500 mile journey? In one sitting?
So please get hip to this prompt pointer:
What made more sense was to select a smaller sized, more workable area photographers might deal with. Like Arizona 66. More on that in a minute
Remember that the original Route 66, the very first “all-weather highway” that popularized automobile travel beginning in the 1920s got passed over by bigger, broader interstate highways and Route 66 started losing its luster in the 1980s and 1970s.
It still type of exists today, in portions off the side of the main roadway. Whats left today is either a flourishing downtown node to earlier times, (Flagstaff, Arizona) ghost towns, abandoned motels, restaurants and gasoline station (fodder for us professional photographers and all over the state!) As classic motels, curio shops and natural charm, awaiting your camera lens.
Deserted home off 66 Road
Deserted MotelWhich brings us back to Arizona. The Grand Canyon State has more than 250 miles of the old Mother Road still undamaged and driveable, including the longest unbroken stretch out there.
You all understand that Nat King Cole was hip on 66, however did you know that a person state gets more discusses in the tune than any other? That would be 3 for Arizona– Flagstaff, Winona and Kingman, compared to 2 each for Missouri and California and 1 for Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
So if the Grand Canyon State is excellent enough for Nat, it was excellent enough for me. And hopefully you too!
Path 66 Road
From one side of the state, particularly Oatman, an old wild west town where wild mules roam the streets, simply a few hours away from Los Angeles, to the Native American reservation and Tee-Pee curio store in Lupton near New Mexico, there are loads of incredible image stops.
And unlike most Route 66 travelouges, we do not rush in and out of every stop within seconds. We in fact take the time to check out, so once again, you can discover the great stuff when you come. And I extremely recommend you do the whole 240 mile stretch. Its simply too much enjoyable!
Burro in OatmanBeyond the painted desert and wild mules of Oatman, youve got terrific diners, curio shops, dark sky late night star photography in the “dark city” of Flagstaff, Winslow, the town that is the ode to the Eagles (” Standin on a corner in Winslow, Arizona”) with an old historical train hotel and a fantastic deserted bridge outside of town, a petrified forest national forest and lastly, the WigWam Hotel, where you oversleep a teepee. And obviously, have fun photographing them at magic hour.
Wigam MotelWinslow BridgeJeff in WinslowIf youre aiming to a spring picture journey to the Mother Road (called by writer John Steinbeck in the traditional unique “The Grapes of Wrath,”) do understand that typical temperatures in Flagstaff Arizona in April will be a great 60 degrees, and similar weather condition should follow you in the villages nearby. If you do make it to New Mexico also, youll likewise have the mountain town of Santa Fe and desert charm of Albuquerque (house to “Breaking Bad”) to look forward to.
Know this: Arizona rocks are redder than New Mexico. And you also have the Grand Canyon at your disposal.
Red Rocks in LuptonAs I say in the class, I was more than delighted to show you about photographing Arizona 66, however if you want the finding out to continue, through New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Illinois, just say the word. Im more than happy to oblige, and keep even more kicks coming!
. Former USA TODAY writer Jefferson Graham is a Los Angeles based writer-photographer, a KelbyOne educator, the host of the streaming travel photography series PhotowalksTV, seen on YouTube and Tubi, and the co-host of the iPhone Photo Show podcast with Scott Bourne.
You can see more from Jefferson at JeffersonGraham.net, and keep up with him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
Path 66 Motel– Williams, AZIts not every day that Scott asks you to go out and get your kicks. No, I didnt drive from the California Santa Monica Pier (the well-known end of the road) all the method to Chicago. Like Arizona 66. And unlike a lot of Route 66 travelouges, we do not dash in and out of every stop within seconds. Understand this: Arizona rocks are redder than New Mexico.