Tag Archives: route 66

Etsy

Hey guys!!!

What have we been doing all this time we haven’t been blogging?
We’ve been lying on beaches, sipping margaritas and working on our tans.

Yeah, right. In our dreams…

No we’ve been doing the whole “working for a paycheck to pay the rent” thing. And putting together our very own ETSY SHOP!!!!

Yes thats right, we’ve got an etsy shop. We caved in to public demand and put up our very own shop. So if you need a gift for that someone special during the holidays or just need to quench that burning desire to spend a few bucks, please consider purchasing one of our amazing prints!

You’ll sleep better at night knowing you’ve supported a local artist (local in the general sense of the word. I mean, we’re both from the planet Earth I assume) and that one of our prints (soon to be YOUR PRINTS) came direct from our adventures on the road. It’ll probably still have the faint smell of stale cigarettes and dirty martinis.

Now, when you view our shop, we only have about a fraction of the photos we took up at the moment. Don’t worry; we’re uploading more and more every minute. AND when you view our WEBSITE any and all of those photos are also up for grabs. Just email up with the title and info, and we’ll sell you one of those. We’ll sell you any and all of our prints.

Shit, we’ll even sell you our grandmothers. As long as you don’t mind long nights of Scrabble and shots of Ensure.
Really. They’re mean Scrabble players.

So to conclude: ETSY

Go buy.

Now.

That is all

This is one of those A-Mazing prints you can purchase from our Etsy shop!

ALIENS

Oh wow, look at this. ANOTHER A-Mazing photo!!!

-M & V

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But…I want to save the elephants too!

So, I had a freak out the other day. One of those quarter-life-crisis where I’m just beginning to realize that I’m already an adult.

Things are going slowly here, which is to be expected. You ever read about those one in a million people who went from being a dishwasher to a superstar overnight due to a chance encounter?

Well we’re not those people. We work hard and play harder. We sweat and toil and worry and bicker and scan and develop and hope to God that we’ll find a publisher who is crazy enough to believe in us.
But it’s the waiting in between that gives me too much time to think about me and my life, where its going (or not going) what I’m doing, what I should be doing, what everyone else my age is doing, health insurance, 401ks…..
And that can be kind of depressing.

Thus the elephants.

The other night I watched the news and they had a bit on a woman who has spent the last 30 years of her life living in Africa, saving the elephants from poachers. She invented baby elephant formula, elephant sanctuaries, and the idea that rescued elephants could be saved and nursed back to health. After being incredibly inspired by her, all I could think was
“What the fuck am I doing with my life?!! This woman is saving baby elephants in Africa and all I’m doing is sitting on my butt. I need to help. I NEED TO SAVE BABY ELEPHANTS!”

I ran around thinking that the last 25 years of my life were a waste and I was being too lazy coloring in the third grade, when I should have been out raising awareness for AIDS. Instead of playing barbie dolls with my friends, I should have been going door-to-door getting signatures for green peace petitions. While I was going out on Friday nights, there were other kids who were going to bed early so they could wake up Saturday and march for equal rights.

Sigh.

Watch this amazing video that won’t donate money to poor kids in Zimbabwe, but might make you laugh a little bit. Excuse me, I’ll be downtown protesting for women’s suffrage or equal rights for the koala bears or something like that.

-M


Lets Talk About Film Baby

Film

Alright, as I promised Thursday, I’m beginning a series of photography tutorials about film and cameras. Photography 101 if you will. No tuition, early morning classes, or tests required. Man, if only college had been more like this!

So I was thinking that we’d start with film. I mean, I can’t explain how to load film in a camera if you don’t know what film is! I’m going to take a guess that 95% of the people reading this know what film is, and probably even had or still have a film camera. But again, its good to start with basics.

There are a variety of shapes and sizes for film.The most common type of film, and the one I’m going to write about today, is 35mm. It looks like this:

Many cameras use 35mm, including disposables and SLRs (which are the Canon, Nikon, Minolta, etc). The film comes in either a 24 or 36 exposure roll, meaning you can either take 24 or 36 photos. Its called 35mm because those are the dimensions of the film when you measure it, including the sprocket holes.

**Anytime anyone says “sprockets” this always goes through my head

Always

Slide Film 

Okay, so thats what 35mm looks like. And it either comes in black and white or color. There is also slide film, which only comes in color. (It used to come in black and white as well, but that has since been discontinued)
Because slide film is a positive and not a negative, after it is processed you can see the image and all the colors correctly. With regular negatives the colors are reversed after being processed. You have to print it in darkroom, or scan the negative into the computer.
Confused? Don’t worry, I have pictures. The image on the left is a slide, the one on the right is a regular color negative

Positive and Negative. And the world is balanced again

See? Pictures make everything better.
Pretty cool huh? I bet you are just itching to pull out your old camera. But hold on, I still have some more good stuff.

Color or B&W

It’s pretty straightforward. You can have black and white or color film. (Or colour for our friends across the pond) But other than that, there isn’t anything in between. This is the type of 35mm film I used on the trip.
Pretty sweet huh? And no, there are not normally Chinese symbols on film boxes, but I bought that shit on Ebay. Kodak Gold is color film, and the T-Max is black and white. The color is a 24 exposure, and the T-Max is 36. They are both pretty standard for film, and you’ll get great results.

This is a photo taken using the Kodak Gold

This is a photo of an abandoned motel on the original Route 66 in Tucumcari, NM. If you’ve never been to Tucumcari, go. Now. Just pack up and go.

And this is one taken using the T-Max

This photo was taken just outside of Conway, Texas. On a hot, hot, hot day.

I realize I’m only talking about Kodak, but there are a lot of other great options for film. Well, there  used to be a lot of great options. Now the numbers are dwindling down 😦

But other than T-Max, I LOVE film made by the company Ilford. They only make black and white film, but it’s awesome film with great tones and versatility. You can’t go wrong.
I’ve never used Foma but many of my friends have and rave about it. Foma provides sharpness and works well if you’ve over/under exposed your subject.
Fuji is good for color film as well, and you can purchase it almost anywhere.
I prefer Kodak for color, but honestly as long as you’re shooting with film you’ll get my stamp of approval.

Speed

If you looked closely on the image of film I put up above, you’ll see that there are numbers under the name. It says Kodak Gold 100 and Kodak T-Max 400. Those aren’t the prices (yet). Those are the speeds of film.

What? Film has speeds? What the hell is that? Do I need to take faster film with faster subjects? Does it develop faster? The higher the number the better the photo??
Calm down. I’m about to explain it.

Film speed is the measure of a photographic film’s sensitivity to light. The higher the number, the more sensitive. That’s called fast film. The slower the number, the less sensitive. That’s called slow film. Creative huh?

The film speed is measured using ISO (International Organization for Standardization – I know, the S and O are backward. Thats they way it is, I promise)
A film that has 100 ISO is slow and because of that its not as sensitive to light. So its great for sunny days outside. If you’re with the kids at the soccer game, or at the zoo watching monkeys give you the finger, then use that film. But it will not work well indoors, or on cloudy days.

On the flip side, the 400 speed is good for sunny days, but also works better on cloudy days and in low lighting. 400 speed is kind of the standard speed. If you’re not sure what to use  or where you’ll be, 400 is what I recommend.  Film speed can go up to 10,000 ISO. But the highest I’ve used is 1600 ISO, which I’ll use at night or if I’m indoors and there is really low light.

 

Whew!
Thus concludes the end of Photography 101. Thanks for sticking with me through this long, rambling post. If you abandoned me after the second paragraph, shame on you. You missed all the pretty pictures and a chance to broaden your horizons.
There are a million things I didn’t cover, and even more I didn’t elaborate on. This was just to get you started, so that when I’m discussing using 1600 speed film vs 3200, you have a vague idea of what I’m talking about.   

Tune in next time where we’ll discuss medium format film and cameras. 

Class dismissed!

 

-M


Take it Easy

What a day. What a fantastic day.

So much has happened over the past couple of days, actually. We went to Roswell, New Mexico on Thursday, hoping to catch an alien. No such luck, but we did go to the official UFO Museum and learned more than I ever knew about aliens and UFOs. Did you know that there is a close encounters of the first, second, and third kind? There is quite a classification system that I was unaware of.
We shopped around the gift stores (because you can’t leave Roswell without a t-shirt and a coffee mug with a huge green alien on it) and found a great one with an eccentric/wacky/intense owner. We conversed with him for over an hour on conspiracy theories, alien encounters, and artificial intelligence. Apparently the world is going to hell in a hand basket and superbugs will be the end of civilization.

We left New Mexico and headed for a corner in Winslow, Arizona.
(For those of you who don’t get that reference, there is a Jackson Browne/Eagles song Take it Easy)

I’m the biggest Jackson Browne fan. HUGE. If I could only pick one artist to listen to for the rest of my life, it would be Jackson. He speaks to my soul. So I was pretty excited to stand on his corner.

After we left the corner, we set up camp in Homolovi Park, which was pretty cool. And pretty damn windy. Setting up the tent took twice as long because the wind was incredible. It ended up with me inside, laying down while Val frantically hammered all the steaks down, and even after she did we left all of our luggage in the tent so it wouldn’t fly off.

But yesterday. Oh yesterday was worth bugs and moths and flying tents and sleeping in the same clothes for 3 days. We went to the Grand Canyon. Which honestly, I was looking forward to, but I wasn’t super excited. Its such a hyped up national monument, I sort of thought it would disappoint. When I saw Mount Rushmore, I remember thinking how small it looked.

The Grand Canyon is worth the hype. It is an automatic silencer. Val and I tend to talk. A lot. But we both shut up immediately when we viewed the canyon. I wish I could describe how I felt or how it looked, but I feel that words would fail me miserably. At one point, I stopped photographing because you just have to stop and take it all in. It is beautiful and magnificent and will leave you in awe.
The canyon made me feel tiny and gave me a whole new perspective. I highly recommend checking it out.

-M

Oh and meeting Angel Delgadillo, the “Mayor of Route 66” was also was part of the fantastic day. But more of that on the next post.


Eye of the Tiger

Two posts in a row? What craziness is this? I haven’t been able to manage that since leaving for this trip.

I”ve been traveling down Route 66 all day, which gave me a swing of emotions. Passing through small town after small town, I have to agree with Valerie when she described the route.

It is wonderful that people are reviving it. I’m so glad that it is getting the preservation and attention it deserves, but I can’t help but feel a sense of sorrow as we pass through the towns along the way. Elk City was great, Amarillo was amazing, and now that I’m in Tucumcari I could spend a week here. They all seem to be thriving pretty well.

But as well as a few select towns are doing, there are so many more that are struggling or have given up. Like Texola, Conway, Groom, and all the other small towns no one has ever heard of. As we passed through them, most were stripped down to their last motel and gas station.  Many, like Texola, were completely gone. Broken windows and dilapidated houses are all that remain of what I imagine used to be prospering towns.
And I have to think about all the other small towns along the small routes that haven’t gotten the attention that Rt 66 has. Like US 12, the Lincoln Highway. Just as important, but far less remembered.
Or State Route 5 in Alabama. It wasn’t extremely important, it didn’t go across the country or have songs written about it. But  it was a major connection from Birmingham to Mobile, before the construction of Interstate 65. Now, all the towns and people along it are either gone or skeletal remains of what they used to be.

I know that I can’t save all the small routes. And I’m not trying to harp on the interstate. God knows I take it to commute to work, or when I travel out of state. But being on these smaller roads, Route 66 among others, reminds me to take time and slow down. Buy locally, go to a small diner, meet strangers, smell the roses, and stop the car to look at a rainbow. It reminds me to get out of my car and look around. If I hadn’t, then I would have eaten a shitty meal at McDonalds today in 10 minutes, instead of visiting the Midpoint Cafe in Adrian, Texas and talking for an hour to the owner Dennis. We traded stories, told him about our trip, and he took our photo together outside in front of the cafe sign.

While it’s bittersweet to look at this mother road because some towns have fallen through the cracks, it gives me hope when I see the towns that are slowly but surely fighting hard to stay alive. They are proof that no matter what life throws at you, you never have to take it lying down; or at all for that matter. Fight for what you believe in. Its always worth it.

-M

Taken in New Orleans with my SLR using 35mm Kodak T-Max 400 speed film


Angry Cows Do Not Make for Happy Milk

So…this is the post I started out writing yesterday.

Ahhhh a little R&R.

We’ve been go go go for a week and a half, which isn’t that long compared to some well-seasoned travelers. But for two girls who are relatively new at this, it was nice this morning to wake up according to my biological clock, rather than the small but very loud and authoritative alarm clock I have.

We’re in Oklahoma, staying with Valerie’s aunt and uncle. They have been so gracious in putting up two smelly, tired, and worn out girls. We arrived ready to rest, and they had many plans and activities that they thought we might want to see and do.

As the smile faded from my face, all I could think was “I just want to use your shower and pass out.”
Which I did.
I’ve spent the day fighting with my negative scanner, praying it will work. (I think its upset with me for taking it on this road trip against its will) Apparently scanners do not like to ride in cars. But I also organized my suitcase and started uploading the photographs I have scanned onto our flickr account. 

I have not been in my car since last night, and I love it. Although I’m excited and ready to get back on the road (we leave tomorrow morning), it is nice to have a day where I don’t have to worry about finding a gas station, figuring out the best playlist to listen to, or debating on where we should eat.

I am super excited for our next stretch because….we will venture onto Route 66! The land of broken down gas stations, abandoned motels, kitschy souvenir shops, and hundreds of townspeople waiting to tell you their story of how they came to be involved with the mother road. I can’t wait.

Oh and I made a new best friend. She’s a horse.

Sorry Val.

Totally good right? We were ready to post…and then the giggles happen. Oh the giggles. They were no ordinary giggles. They were toxic and contagious. Valerie started it. Then it spread to me. Then it spread to facebook. Be thankful that 98% of you are not our friends on facebook. Your feed would have been bombarded by us. It had to do with looking at photos of cats with dumb captions. Nothing good can ever come from that.

Okay, now I’m officially losing you due to the length of this post. Long story short, we are now traveling on Route 66 (yay!) and are headed to New Mexico tomorrow. We’ve already stopped a million times to photograph abandoned buildings, towns folk, and managed to piss off a heard of cows.

-M

 

Today we began our adventure on 66. We made it to a few fun stops: El Reno Fort; Kobel’s place; and Lucille’s. We shot the filling station and ate at the restaurant. We’re slowly making progress through wind and rain, but we’re forced to come to grips with the fact that we can’t see/do/shoot everything. Six weeks is not a very long time when you are trying to cover an entire country.

Driving on 66 brings you face to face with your dreams of freedom and the open road. But it’s sad, far more sad than I anticipated. All the while we’re driving I try to picture what it once looked like, how the stops must have appeared to those who saw them in their heyday, how the neon lights must have glowed from either side of the street, and the chrome must have gleamed. Now it is all rusty, broken, forgotten, and lost behind trees. Much of it is demolished. A sign by the road reads “Pool and Restaurant” but can only direct you to what is currently a field of maize. I see lost jobs. I see towns half empty and drowning in an economy no longer supported by tourism. The big roads take you to big stores and everything else is gone, or only functioning as a shell of what it once was. Don’t get me wrong, it is beautiful and exciting. There are so many people who are dedicated to reviving the road, and some stops are surging with the hope of a much brighter future. But, as we navigate broken stretches of roads, I can’t help nostalgia for it’s younger days (even if I never saw them).

We came to 66 from my aunt’s home in a small town. I didn’t know her before, so I spent the day and a half we were there trying to get to know her and, naturally, regroup for the next four weeks. She loves to travel. She has photo albums filled with photographs of this and that national park they visited on horseback. She is the first relative I’ve known who really likes to travel and see the things I like to see. My parents are homebodies, though my mother likes to travel to see her family. She doesn’t travel to places because she thinks it might be interesting to see such a place. I enjoyed seeing that in my aunt, and hearing my uncle call her (and all my aunts together) inflexible. They get their way. I like that. I LOVE to get my way. They told stories of my dad when he was younger. It was truly amazing to finally have that contact, I know almost no one in my dad’s family. There’s no dark tale behind it, just your average case of distance and life getting in the way. If it is not enough that we’ve collected amazing pictures and adventures in this trip, I think expanding my family is worth the trip for me.

-V


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