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.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Motel Monday - Just After Dusk

I'm posting today's Motel Monday a bit later than usual so I thought an evening motel shot would be more appropriate. Lucky for me I've got just the thing...

The same day that I photographed the Supai Motel in Seligman, I spent the night in Flagstaff. Also part of Route 66, Flagstaff has kept it's historic downtown area and several vintage motels, motel signs, and cafes. The Hotel Monte Vista sits on the corner of Aspen Avenue and San Francisco Street, one block north of Route 66 itself. The hotel actually predates Route 66 as it was built in 1926. I guess it was just in the right place at the right time.

The Monte Vista has had quite a few famous guests including Bob Hope, Michael Stipe, Bing Crosby, Michael J. Fox, Jon Bon Jovi, Clark Gable, and my personal favorites John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart and Freddie Mercury. The hotel is reportedly haunted by several friendly ghosts as well, but I'm going to leave the supernatural out of this.

During my brief stay in Flagstaff I ate dinner at the Galaxy Diner, which I highly recommend, before driving to the downtown area to take a walk around. I was serendipity that I took this photo of the Hotel's vintage rooftop signage just after dusk had fallen and I love the colors. Maybe next time I'll check out the interior.
Happy Monday!

- Stefanie

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Retro Roadside Photography's New Look

In case you haven't noticed, my Retro Roadside Photography shop is rocking a new look these days. The amazing logo is the creation of my good friend Nicole, who happens to be one heck of a graphic designer.

No shop overhaul is complete without a new banner and avatar which you can find here. Purchase a print and you'll get to see my new business cards too! Subtle, right? 


- Stefanie

Monday, April 23, 2012

Motel Monday - Googie Spectacular

One of the most brilliant signs you'll see driving down Route 66 through Grants New Mexico is for the Sands Motel, directing travelers a half block to the actual Motel itself. The sign, with it's red flags, giant arrow and beyond amazing lettering will grab even the most distracted driver's attention.  The 1/2 block in neon just makes me smile. 

The Sands Motel was established in 1950 and has had a few famous guests in it's 62 years of business. Room 123 is known as "The Elvis Room" and the motel has Elvis memorabilia including a copy of his marriage certificate. After reading this I'm sure my grandma will want to know why I didn't take more pictures. Oopsy daisy...
Happy Monday!

- Stefanie

Monday, April 16, 2012

Motel Monday - A Restoration Project

Last September I drove a stretch of Route 66 from Kingman, Arizona to West Hollywood chasing vintage sign beauties. A few photographs from the trip have already been featured here, including the Hill Top Motel, Lo's Chinese Food, the New Corral Motel, and the abandoned Motel sign standing alone in the middle of the Arizona desert. Today's feature is the well known 66 Motel in Needles, California.

Over the weekend I learned that Ed Klein is fundraising to restore this sign to it's former glory. The broken neon and bulbs have been removed and the sign has received a much needed coat of paint. While I appreciate peeling paint as much as the next sign lover, it is an important barrier needed to protect the metal from the elements. You can see Ed's progress and support his restoration project of the sign on his indiegogo page. At this moment the project needs an additional $1700 over the next three days to be funded. I've got my fingers crossed.
When Ed is done with the restoration I'll have an excuse to make another trip to Needles. In the mean time, all the progress Ed has made officially makes this Retro Roadside Photography image a classic.

Happy Monday!

- Stefanie

Monday, April 9, 2012

Motel Monday - Buck Season

I love Arizona. Between Tuscon and Mesa and Route 66, Arizona is a mecca of vintage neon signs. And thankfully those signs are within driving distance. Today's Motel Monday feature is the amazing Bukhorn Baths Mineral Wells and Motel located on East Main Street in Mesa.

The Buckhorn Baths were originally opened in 1926 as a gas station but things changed when the Sligers purchased the property and discovered a mineral hot spring in 1939. In 1947 the New York Giants decided to make the Buckhorn Baths and Motel their spring training home, and they kept coming back as the San Francisco Giants until 1972. In short, the Sligers and these baths helped give birth to the Cactus League. A rather detailed article about the Buckhorn Baths' contribution to Arizona's Cactus League is on PlayBall's website. That's right, my love for baseball and vintage roadside americana has officially collided. The baths also included a wildlife museum, a huge taxidermy collection, a sand golf course, and more vintage memorabilia than could possibly fit in one location. The property was closed in 1999 but the lobby just looks like someone stepped out to lunch.

In 2005 Buckhorn Baths was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and it was recently listed as the most endangered roadside location by the Society of Commercial Archaeology. Thankfully the Mesa Preservation Foundation is working to restore the Buckhorn Baths property so that it is available to travelers and little league players for years to come. I can't wait to do more than just stare through the windows.
Happy Monday!

- Stefanie

Monday, April 2, 2012

Motel Monday - Sometimes It Storms

Desert Sun
Like any good traveler, I check the weather before heading out on a road trip. If it's definitely going to rain all weekend or snow, there's just no point in going. A few trips to Los Angeles have already been cancelled this year due to weather... yes, it does rain in Southern California.

Last fall there was a chance that tropical storm Hillary would cause some problems in Tucson, Arizona. If it rained at all, it wasn't going to be until much later on Saturday, and Mesa was supposed to be clear on Sunday. I decided the wealth of vintage neon signs was worth the risk and we took off on Friday night for Tucson. Saturday morning was beautiful, but there was too much neon in Tuscon for me to shoot it all before Hillary blew in. By the time we made it to West Miracle Mile the clouds had rolled in and I was getting pelted by dirt and pebbles that had been picked up by the wind.

Miracle Mile has several beautiful vintage neon signs but I was only able to shoot three of them before the wind became too much. Of the three, this photograph of the Sun Land Motel is the only one that makes the Retro Roadside Photography cut. I usually prefer blue skies, but there's just something about the moodiness of this shot that I enjoy. 
Happy Monday!

- Stefanie