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.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Seen Better Days... 32 of 365

Virgie's was one of those unexpected finds on my Route 66 trip a few Thanksgivings ago. I did enough research to know I needed to drive through the main drag in Grants, New Mexico but didn't find photos of every sign. It was part of the fun really.  
I looked up Virgie's after I returned home and discovered it used to be a bit more impressive back in it's glory day. That arrow used to be a large semicircle, not just a straight line, and there was neon. Oh the neon...

The sign geeks keep talking about a time machine. I seriously hope someone's working on one.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thunder Only Happens When It's Raining... 31 of 365

Yes, I'm a sucker for song lyrics. I'm also a big fan of neon thunderbirds. I have no idea what a thunderbird actually is... I think cars first and my brain jumps from thunderbird to fire bird to fire chicken... but that's another story. But somehow these colorful, hawk-like birds have made their way into vintage neon culture and I adore them.  
This one sits atop his perch in Riverside, California. There are several more I need to photograph, but he was my first thunderbird and for that, he's a little special. 31 down.... way too many more to go!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Abbreviations FTW... 30 of 365

This poor 66 Motel in Holbrook must feel like it gets no love... it's on the other side of the freeway from the more popular side of town and I'm guessing it's less well known than say, the Wigwam Motel. But the sign is beyond amazing. I love the graphic details, the colors, and the faded Bank Amercard lettering is the cherry on top.
I'm not going to lie, I stayed at the Wigwam Motel, but the next time I'm in Holbrook this place is the first one on my list.

Monday, November 18, 2013

How I Miss You Goody's... 29 of 365

I've shared one of my photos of the Goody's sign before, but I'm in a nostalgic mood this evening and I still can't quite accept the fact that Goody's is gone. 

Jeff's Sporting Goods tried, I know they did. They used a similar font for the letters, kept the base and just painted it green. But no matter how much I love green... it is my favorite color after all... there's just nothing like this sign. 
Boomerang "G"s should have never gone out of style. 
Tomorrow's post makes this an even 30. Who knew it would be so challenging to do this every day for a month...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

It's that Time of Year... 28 of 365

I photographed this sign in a rougher part of Los Angeles a few years ago. I usually study my signs, walking around, searching for different angles and selecting the one I like best. Photographing this sign was different, even with a friend nearby I felt uncomfortable and rushed myself. There was no study, no observation. This was snap and run, quite literally. 

For some reason after I made it home to upload photos and edit, I didn't given this one a second look. I ignored it simply because I didn't think it was the shot I wanted. What a difference a few years makes...
As a side note, I hate corrugated cardboard, but man do I love that texture when it's part of a sign. So hypocritical of me, I know.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

It Takes a Village... 27 of 365

A Route 66 gem in Barstow, California. It's air conditioned, there's chop suey, and a three part neon arrow. I love it!

Friday, November 15, 2013

The WB... 26 of 365

It may not be the WB I grew up on... but it's definitely my favorite. This one is along Route 66 near Yucca, Arizona. Want something bigger? Head to Albuquerque.
"I shoulda turned left at Albuquerque" - Bugs Bunny
Happy Friday, Happy weekend, and good night!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The River is Everywhere... 25 of 365

Those motel letters make me giddy... Thank you Los Angeles for all that you have. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Stick a Fork in it... 24 of 365

I seem to be maintaining a breakfast theme? I mean cups of coffee on signs two days in a row... those waffles must really be sticking with me. 
And now back to preparing for this weekend's San Diego Vintage Flea Market... so much to do!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Blame the Waffle... 23 of 365

I just had a Roscoe's waffle for the first time last night and I must confess, I want more. Breakfast has been on my mind ever since. I just want a short stack of waffles... is that too much to ask?

Somehow I'm not surprised that with last night's awesome breakfast for dinner on the brain, I somehow settled on tonight's image.

The Jelly Donut is a sign I discovered on the way to another sign, someplace else. I hadn't seen it before, but definitely had to pull over and snap a few shots of the sign against that sky. The arrow really brings it together for me, and I wish it still had it's neon. The clouds don't hurt either.
Signs with arrows and desert skies...
Twenty three down, more than I can count at this hour to go. Hooray for progress and Tuesday nights.

Oh and Roscoe's, please open a restaurant in San Diego.I'll go to Hash House for my cinnamon apple pancakes, but my waffle cravings are all yours.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Nights Like These... 22 of 365

Tonight's photograph was taken earlier this evening and has already been shared on every other social media platform I have. But it's personal, and special, and worthy of this project. I love that my favorite musician, a vintage theatre with beautiful neon, and a group of like-minded fans, have come together on this night for the last four years for a worthy cause. It's nights like these that are forever burned in my memory. 
Happy Veteran's Day, Happy Birthday to the Mother Road, and Happy 11/11. Good night. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Save Me... 21 of 365

Rescued, but seemingly missing a piece or two, I found this wonderful sign in a private yard with several other signs, both small and large. I was hoping the property owners might be home to shed some light on their amazing collection, but I wasn't so fortunate. Maybe next time...
Three weeks down, 49 to go. Until tomorrow...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Glow Baby Glow...20 of 365

The downside of weekend road trips is having so little time to photograph so much material. Night shooting can be limited, especially if you're only in town for one night and you don't know what still lights up and what doesn't. I also prefer night shots during blue hour, when there is still color in the sky. But every once in a while I get lucky, and even if I don't have my tripod I manage to pull off a hand held shot.
Giftfair? Sounds like fun.
While visiting a friend in LA we stopped by China Town. I left my tripod in the car... I have no idea why... and went wandering. The neon in the main square is amazing and is so bright it actually made hand held shooting possible. I loved the different colors and fonts, and outlining rooftops is something that should have NEVER gone out of style. 

I hope to make another trip to LA soon, and perhaps hit up China Town a little earlier, tripod in tow. 

It's almost been three whole weeks and my project is still going strong. See you tomorrow for the 21st post in the series. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Dreaming of Breakfast... 19 of 365

There's this place in San Diego that has become my favorite guilty pleasure breakfast joint. It's not a place I can get to during the week, and its PACKED on weekends, but it's worth it. My dish of choice... apple pancakes... and I've been craving them for a good long while. I might actually be able to have breakfast there tomorrow, and that possibility is definitely what inspired tonight's image selection.
My time in Portland was extremely limited so I wasn't able to sample any Hot Cake House fare. I'm hoping my next trip grants me more time and better weather. Fingers crossed.

Happy Friday evening all. See you tomorrow, sometime after breakfast anyway.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I Got Five On It... 18 of 365

Tonight's post is a sign you've definitely seen if you've ever driven on Highway 99 through central California. This palm reader sign appears to have been built just to advertise to travelers passing by, and the only thing separating this sign from northbound traffic is a chain link fence and about twenty feet of land.

If you ever hope to tell my fortune, you better have a sign like this. There are so many points of awesomeness I don't even know where to begin. Tonight it's the knuckles that make me laugh, and the creases in the hand. I keep searching for a triangle in the pad of my hands but I just don't see it. Artistic license is definitely at play...
How many "five" jokes can I make before it gets old?
Perhaps tomorrow it will be the stars that amuse me, or the not quite right, slightly uneven gap between the fingers. There's just so much character, it's hard to resist.

Tonight's programming has been brought to you by the number 5 (x 3 +3 of course) and the color teal. Happy almost Friday.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Feeling Empty... 17 of 365

The Spanish Trail Motel is the prime example of a beautiful but sadly abandoned motel in Tucson. The motel sports, a spaceshipesque circular lobby,  some very googie adornments that give the appearance of undulating roof top at one point, and a font that would make any type junkie swoon. And then of course there's the sign...
If it weren't for the motel's name on the side of the building, I would have never known anything other than "Trail". That arrow blows my mind, but I wonder what else sat in the now empty boxes both top and bottom. My internet research has turned up nothing, but I'm going to continue to try to fill in the blanks. It's just too cool to not know.

I'm looking forward to the long weekend and am incredibly happy my week is more than half over. See you tomorrow evening for my 18th post of this crazy little project. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Evolution... 16 of 365

I found Arlie's by accident in Lake Isabella. Despite the early hour I think they were open as I was photographing this sign. Up all night perhaps? It seemed unlikely for such a small town but who knows.

This sign makes me ponder its evolution. I wonder if it's always been Arlie's, or if that white panel was a replacement. I wonder what it used to say in the pointed oval that now sits empty. And I wonder if it has always been brown and red. It's a bit of an odd combination, and I can't think of any other sign sporting those two primary colors.
On another note, the clouds in Lake Isabella that morning were fantastic. I'd like to take them with me every where I go. I really need to get on honing my super powers. Good night!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Flagstaff, Round Two... 15 of 365

I've had the opportunity to photograph parts of Route 66 through Flagstaff just twice. The first time I somehow missed the Western Hills Motel. How you miss a neon chuck wagon and horses beyond me, but I did. Thank heavens for return trips.

The second time I was in Flagstaff I had somehow failed to recently charge my camera battery, pack a spare or bring my charger. I'm still shaking my head at myself for that one. Not wanting to miss anything, I got REALLY creative. Compose the shot with the camera off, adjust my polarizer as needed for the light, turn on the camera, fire away, turn off the camera and move on to the next sign. There was no chimping, no moments to pause and I check. I didn't review a single shot taken that day until I'd returned home after the weekend. I will never make that mistake again, but have to admit it was a bit of a fun exercise.
There are still parts of Route 66 both west and east of Flagstaff I need to see and photograph so I have a feeling the Western Hills Motel and I will meet again. But until then, I got it.

Happy Monday everyone. I'll be back tomorrow for number sixteen.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Spin Me Right Round... 14 of 365

It's been two weeks and I seriously need to break my habit of posting so late. I know I'm a night owl but this is getting ridiculous.

Anyway, tonight's offering is from San Jose as  promised. It was taken earlier this year when the days were much longer and photography without the aid of a tripod was possible well into the evening. I was lucky enough to be palling around with my sign geek friends Josh, aka LostSanJose and his wife Mayra when they drove me to the Food Bowl. Now there are several levels of cool to this sign. First off, it says Food Bowl. Second, the top spins in a totally random fashion. Third, there are three different fonts, all in neon. Fourth, it SPINS. Obviously I was immediately smitten with the sign and spent a good amount of time snapping away looking for the best shot. In the end it was the clouds that drew me to this one, and now here it is.
It's spinning left, no wait, ...right...wait.....there it goes!
Two weeks down, fifty more to go. See you tomorrow for a pretty well known Flagstaff motel. Any guesses which one it'll be?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Girls...13 of 365

The large Dancing Girls sign is another downtown LA find, within walking distance of the Orpheum and Los Angeles theatres. Old and faded, I loved the S hanging from the last tie down. But in color this image just didn't have that pop for me, the light blue and pink colors lacked oomph. The light I needed just wasn't there. 

In editing I wanted something to highlight the tubing, the rust and peeling paint. I wanted those five letters to shine. I tried to make a color edit work... I love color... but it just wasn't there. No amount of editing can replace good light. I needed contrast. I wanted to see the age of this sign, the patching with tiny nails, the fading paint. Black and white wasn't quite right either. Too flat or too dramatic, I couldn't find a middle ground. I almost moved on to another image to edit and share for the evening, and then I tried sepia. I think it's done.
Glowing red no longer
Lucky thirteen is done... see you tomorrow for fourteen of 365. I'm thinking tomorrow's post will be from San Jose...

Friday, November 1, 2013

Somewhere in Stockton... 12 of 365

Another late night, another must post before going to bed moment. I am slightly more awake tonight than yesterday though. The lack of a required wake up time tomorrow morning doesn't hurt either. Thank heavens for the weekend.

Tonight's post was taken somewhere in Stockton. It was never on one of my maps, I'd never seen it and never knew it existed. But one day I got off the freeway in search of gas and there it was. I have to go back, but I think this first round portrait is worth sharing.
Target's inspiration? I think so!
Next time I need to take this from the top of a stair car and get rid of those wires. Lead wires for the sign I understand, but the rest have got to go.

See you tomorrow for the thirteenth installment. Good night!