The following blog post is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any ailment/illness, such as uncontrollable farting, barfing, or dumbass disease. You take full responsibility for any actions on your part. I will not be held liable for anything you do, that comes back to bite you in the ass. On that note, have fun!

Okay, so you’re going on a Route 66 road trip…and want to capture all of the adventure on your phone. Here’s a little secret to help you get started: DON’T use your phone to take photos. For starters, phones weren’t designed for that….they are designed for one thing: making phone calls! The cameras built into phones are also garbage. One other thing to keep in mind, is if, or when you decide you want to have some of them printed, they will look flat and boring.

One thing to seriously consider is getting a point-and-shoot digital camera. Although they aren’t as inexpensive as they used to be, it’s still a good investment. The images will look a lot better, when they get printed, but definitely not professional quality….it takes a lot more than that to get great images. If you have ever shot with a good quality film camera, and are used to all of the different settings, then go for a mid-priced DSLR ($600 – $800). The lenses that come with them, are usually pretty decent (I don’t like them). For example, I recently bought a Sony a6000 DSLR. So far, it seems to perform a bit better than the Nikons I used to have. The lens that comes with the camera is okay, to start with. Eventually, I got my hands on a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 lens for it (excellent quality, without breaking the bank). I’ve used Sigma lenses in the past, and was never disappointed with them.

Okay, back to the subject at hand: Sure, I’ve heard people say “It’s not the camera, it’s the photographer”….that’s somewhat true…to an extent. If you have a crappy camera (smartphone, etc), you’re going to get stuck with crappy photos….not matter what you do to them. Photo editing/processing software, such as Adobe Lightroom can only do so much with jpg files…and when you make adjustments to them, they are permanent. You can’t undo everything, and get the original image back (and may wind up pulling your hair out). Sure, there are all kinds of video tutorials online, especially on YouTube, but I wouldn’t trust them. Most of the videos I’ve seen on there are put together by complete idiots, that have no idea what they are doing, or talking about. Take the time to research, and learn as much as you can, from reputable online resources.

When you’re ready to hit the road, the real challenge begins: what to photograph, and what to avoid. As for myself, I’m always on the lookout for old abandoned gas stations, diners, motels, neon signs, and things that look totally out of place, in the middle of nowhere. Route 66 is always good for that….especially in the Texas Panhandle, then across New Mexico, northern Arizona, and on into the Mojave desert. You will see plenty of photo-ops, if you keep your eyes open. There are also some small abandoned towns, out in the middle of nowhere…definitely worth exploring (just be aware of your surroundings).

If you’re taking the journey with someone, it’s always a good idea to have an extra set of eyes and ears with you (just don’t get paranoid, and freak out)….besides, the co-pilot can also snap a few photos of you when you do stop, and explore (remember: photos, or it didn’t happen/you weren’t there!). Which reminds me, if you happen to find a place with “NO TRESPASSING” signs posted, and fenced-off…it’s usually not a good idea to get any closer (although I’ve been known to do just that)….especially if the words “UNITED STATES MILITARY INSTALLATION”, “VIOLATORS SUBJECT TO SEARCH”, and “USE OF DEADLY FORCE AUTHORIZED” are on that sign. Pretty good chance they already know you are there, and are watching you.

I know there are all kinds of places in the desert southwest that are way too cool to pass up, and not get photos of. There is always some kind of risk involved…the level of risk is all dependent on where you are. Sometimes the risk outweighs the reward.

With all of that in mind, I hope you have a safe, but fun journey…and get lots of good photos!

Until next time,

Yippee Ki Yay!