Welcome to the fine art blog of San Diego photographer Stefanie Poteet. Here you will find photographs of everything from vintage hot rods to rubber ducks and everything in between.

If you are interested in Stefanie's wedding and event photography or portraiture, please visit her client blog.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Welcome to Foodie Friday!

Motel Monday is officially more than two months old, so I've decided to add a second weekly post to my blog. Since you can't have a road trip without a room to sleep in and a diner to eat in, I've decided to dedicate the end of work week to vintage restaurant signs. Besides, who doesn't want to go into the weekend thinking about food.

In celebration of Christmas, today's feature is the Grand Canyon Chop Suey Cafe with festive green and red neon lettering. I had just eaten at the Galaxy Diner, another restaurant along Route 66 in Flagstaff before taking this shot so I didn't stop in for a bite of their famous chicken friend steak... but I hear the food is amazing. Next time I'm in Flagstaff, this place is definitely on the list. I want to see their cute diner decor.
I hope you had breakfast!

Happy Friday!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Motel Monday - Made for Each Other

This morning's selection brings you two motel signs from Las Vegas that were literally made for each other. The first is the Holiday Motel which still an operates along South Las Vegas Boulevard. It's sign is a little bit googie, a little bit circus, and a little bit space age with amazing colors. It even sports a vintage American Express shield plastic sign.
The second is the Far East Ambassador, a motel that was demolished in 2007. The sign stands on the sidewalk along Fremont Street and used to advertise $16 rooms and packaged liquor. Now the marquee just reads closed. According to the online buzz, the sign will go to the Neon Museum, a place I happen to love. I hope the rumors are true.

These photographs were taken on two different days, and at different times, but their colors and shapes make them look like long lost siblings. Placed side by side, they literally appear to be made for each other.
Both of these Motel Monday features are in my Retro Roadside Photography shop and they are ready to ship for you last minute Christmas shoppers.

Happy almost Christmas Monday!

- Stefanie

Monday, December 12, 2011

Motel Monday - The Best View in Town

The beauty of road trips is that sometimes you end up in places you'd never expect. On a recent Route 66 trip I had planned on stopping in Needles, but on Friday night spontaneously decided to drive on to Kingman, Arizona. Saturday morning was warmer than expected, but the magnificent signs in Kingman were well worth being outside in the heat.

The Hill Top Motel along Route 66 was definitely one of the standouts from this trip. The bright red color doesn't hurt, but it feels like it's straight out of a Western... perfect for the cowboy in your life. And their claim that they have the best view in Kingman? Absolutely true. The view of the mountains from the parking court in front of the rooms is beautiful, and it's clear that the motel has been faithfully maintained as much as possible. If you want to know more about the Hill Top Motel, including their famous guest list, history and triva can be found on their website which includes vintage motel post cards that you won't find on eBay.
 Happy Monday!

- Stefanie

Monday, December 5, 2011

Motel Monday - As Seen On TV

I've know about this morning's Motel Monday feature for a few years now, but the Zia Motor Lodge might be a little more recognizable after being used as a filming location for Breaking Bad. That's right, this Motel Monday sign was literally seen on TV.

The Zia Motor Lodge was demolished in 2005, but the sign still stands along Route 66 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Albuquerque is home to several beautiful signs, but I was surprised by the size of this one. I've also searched the internet to find out what this sign may have said... those ghost letters leave me to believe it read Hotel at one point, but I've come up empty handed. No matter, it just adds to the character.
 Happy Monday!

- Stefanie

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fab Friday!

My Fab.com sale launched yesterday, featuring 39 of my Retro Roadside Photography prints, including some from Route 66. All prints are 28% off and are guaranteed to arrive by December 23rd for Christmas. This is my biggest sale of the year... but once they're sold out, they're gone. You can shop my Fab.com sale here.

Need an invite to join Fab.com first? Click here.

Happy Friday!

- Stefanie

Monday, November 28, 2011

Motel Monday - Holiday Recovery Edition

My Blue Swallow
You know those vacations that are so full of adventure you feel like you need a vacation afterwards to recover? That's about how I feel after my Thanksgiving holiday road trip down Route 66.

The weekend started in Tucumcari, New Mexico with one of my favorite motels, the Blue Swallow. I have wanted to see this motel since I learned it existed, and it thrills me to know that the motel is alive and kicking. The Blue Swallow Motel has become a landmark on the route, and what a beauty she is. Next time, I'm definitely spending the night.
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend with your loved ones. I can't believe it's nearly December.

Happy Monday!

- Stefanie

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Retro Roadside Photography Black Friday Sale

Somehow it's that time of year again when we watch giant balloons weave their way through Manhattan, cheer on our favorite football team, and eat too much turkey... only to drag ourselves out of bed at 4AM the next morning, still full, on too little sleep, in hopes of catching an awesome sale.

As fun as that all sounds, I don't believe in making you get up that early...

My Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale is on now. All of my Motel Monday features or any other Retro Roadside images seen on this blog can be found at my Etsy shop, Retro Roadside Photography.

To enjoy sale prices, enter coupon code BLACKFRIDAY2011 at checkout to save 20% on your entire order. Code does not apply to already discounted print sets. Plus, all domestic orders ship for free with coupon code FREESHIP.

Aren't my code names creative? I thought so.

Happy Hunting!

- Stefanie

Monday, November 21, 2011

Motel Monday - Where Did the Weekend Go?

Follow the Arrow
As I'm sitting here drafting the latest edition of Motel Monday, I'm trying to recall the blur that was my weekend. It honestly feels like I just left the office... is it really over already? Sadly it appears that way.

This week's feature is the Tucson Inn . I think it's sign sports the largest arrow I've seen any where other than Las Vegas. Tucson is home to several neon signs which will no doubt turn up on here later, but this one is definitely one of my favorites. And the light that morning... perfect!
Happy Monday everyone! Here's to a short week and a wonderful holiday weekend.

- Stefanie

P.S. Check back tomorrow for an important announcement...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Motel Monday - Going Strong

The Torches of Barstow
Welcome to the fourth edition of Motel Monday! Today I bring you the Torches Motel, a classic icon of Route 66 in Barstow, California. No longer visible from the freeway, this motel appears to be in the midst of a remodel. The walls have been painted, new doors and windows installed, and it seems the sign has been recently painted as well. I love the aqua blue arrow! Now if only it lit up at night...

Happy Monday!

- Stefanie

Monday, November 7, 2011

Motel Monday - Double Feature

The Desert of Anaheim
Today's Motel Monday showcases two different motels in the Los Angeles area with very similar names, the Sahara Motel and the Saharan Motor Hotel. Both signs appear to have been painted recently, and have undergone a few changes. In the case of the Sahara Motel, the changes were slight... in the case of Hollywood's Saharan Motor Hotel, the changes were rather substantial.
The Saharan
When I first saw this sign in 2008,the letters were still neon tubes and the blue letters were only visible at night. Within the past few years the neon and bulbs were sadly replaced with back-lit plastic letters. I wonder if the neon stars still glow at night...

I know of three other hotels with similar names: one in Jordan Valley, Oregon; a second in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and the third in Las Vegas. I can't wait to shoot the one in New Mexico in a few weeks.

And that concludes today's feature. Until next time...

- Stefanie

Monday, October 31, 2011

Motel Monday - Late Night Edition

On this late night edition of Motel Monday I bring you a brand new shot taken yesterday of the Town and Country Motel in Livingston. Like most of these independent motels, the Town and Country can no longer be seen from the freeway. I've driven past it on Highway 99 at least a hundred times, and I've never seen it.
I love the grid pattern and the ladder climbing up the side of the MOTEL letters. I can only imaging how amazing the view must be from the top. One last random factoid... the Town and Country is located on Stefani Avenue. Throw an e on the end and it's perfect.

Sweet dreams...

- Stefanie

Friday, October 28, 2011

Road Trip Warrior - Highway 99

These past few months I feel like I've taken road tripping from a hobby to an art form. Like anything you do repeatedly, you begin to figure out just what you need, and what can be left behind. Photography road trips are no different.

This weekend is a short trip with only one day for shooting. Bright and early Sunday I'll be traveling old Highway 99 from Stockton back home to San Diego, shooting as much as possible in one day.
I love Google Maps...
This stretch of road is filled with amazing signs and my map has the little blue markers to prove it. If I manage to photograph everything between Stockton and Visalia I'll be happy. Of course I should know by now that I am overly ambitious.

I'll leave you with a teaser from a previous trip down this same route. It'd be wrong to send you into the weekend with just a map. J's Coffee will be making an appearance in my Retro Roadside Photo shop very soon. 
Java J's
Here's to the weekend...

- Stefanie 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Welcome to Motel Monday!

If you've taken a peek at my Retro Roadside Photo shop lately I'm sure you'll have noticed that I have a habit of shooting vintage motel signs. It's taken a while, but I've gathered a rather large collection of photographs. It hit me this weekend that I should share them all, one by one, on Motel Mondays. Thus the idea was born...

It seems only fitting that I should start this series with the sign that started it all. A little more than three years ago I shot the Supai Motel sign on Route 66 in Seligman Arizona and fell in love. Better yet, as a photographer I found a subject matter that called my name. My weekend road trip destinations have become places with great neon and my maps are dotted with liquor stores, motels, abandoned lots, bowling alleys and diners. I seek out the places most people miss and relish in the hidden gems that I never expected to find. It's my own version of a treasure hunt, and the Supai Motel sign is the first jewel I laid eyes on.

Happy Monday! Here's to an excellent week.

- Stefanie

Monday, September 19, 2011

I Love This Clown...

Every photographer has something they desperately want to shoot, like the Green Flash at sunset or the view from the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. While I hope to photograph both of these one day, I dream of vintage neon signs. Believe me, I didn't call my Etsy shop Retro Roadside Photo for nothin...

One of the signs I have dreamt of for nearly two years is the Circus Liquors clown in North Hollywood. The colors, the shape, his hand pointing to the drum at his waste and the pom poms on his shoes... I love that clown. He's distinct and dare I say one of a kind. A few weekends ago I finally got to see him for myself. Here's a teaser:
Read My Drum
He'll be in my Retro Roadside Photo shop soon!

What better way to start the week than with a clown?

- Stefanie

Friday, September 16, 2011

Eat at Jim's

These past few weekends have been a photographer's dream... gorgeous weather and two road trips. I spent three days in Los Angeles over Labor Day weekend and spent this past weekend driving Route 66 from Kingman, Arizona out to the beautiful California coast. I have enough photographs to keep me busy for weeks. 

Today's photographic googie goodness can be found in Hawaiian Gardens just off the 605 freeway. My advice, come hungry... the food smelled so good. 
Is it lunch time yet?
This weekend is reserved for adventures in moving, but I'll have more to share with you on Monday.

Happy weekend!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

HGTV Design Happens Feature

I just recently discovered that one of my Route 66 photographs was featured on the HGTV Design Happens blog on Friday. I was in Los Angeles chasing neon signs all weekend so I'm a bit slow in posting this... but I am so excited I wanted to share.
My high tech screen shot... I'm the top left!
I'm delighted to be featured alongside these other talented Etsy artists, including fellow photographer Elgarbo.

You can find the original post on the HGTV blog here. The featured print is available through my Retro Roadside Photography Etsy shop along with several other motel signs for my fellow road trip warriors.

- Stefanie

Friday, February 25, 2011


Hello there,

For those of you who might be finding me for the first time, welcome!

At this moment, I'm in a bit of a transition. I'm in the process of updating my website and will have the new site up in a few months. It's been in progress for months... I guess I'm a bit of a perfectionist.

I'm also working on a new blog which you'll most likely find if you just google me.  Like the wesbite, it's been in the works for a while. The goal is to have two separate blogs. This blog will continue as my fine art blog, filled with my prints available on Etsy, links to other fine artists, and all that DIY stuff I love that isn't really pertinent to potential brides and grooms or seniors searching for a portrait photographer. My new blog will showcase my most recent work for clients.

In the mean time, you can find more of my photography on my Facebook page.

If you have any questions about my availability or if you would like to see my portfolio, please contact me.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


The secret is in her eyes...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011


"I know a cold as cold as it gets..."

Saturday, January 1, 2011


It's been so long since I blogged I'm almost afraid I've forgotten how. Sure typing is easy enough, but it's always the photo placement and size that trips me up. When you're a photographer, the visual aspect is usually the most important... guess I better get it right.

To start the new year off like a proper photographer I've decided, among a few other things, to undertake the now oft overdone 365 project. Yes, it's old hat and rehashed and far too popular, but I still think it has merit and I'm going to take a photograph a day for the entire year. You've been warned.

I have a few more things in mind that I'll share with you over the next couple of days, but for now I'm going to leave you with the start of my project. Here's to new beginnings and hopes for a a full, wondrous year.