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, October 31, 2013

Chicken Pot Pie... 11 of 365

It's late, I'm tired, but it's here...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Going to the Big House ... 10 of 365

If you've ever taken a trip down Highway 99 through the heart California, chances are you've passed this sign a time or two. I must have passed it a quite a few times before signs were my thing, but I'm certain I missed it completely. The Casa Grande Motel is still operational, and it stands alone along the west side of the highway in Madera.

It's a rather simple sign, three colors, clear lettering, yet still charming. Heading southbound the neon has been stripped from the top motel lettering, but as best I can remember the other side of the sign still glows bright red at night. And the Casa Grande lettering is hanging in there as well. I love the cursive lettering effect the neon creates as the yellow tubes pass over black paint.
I'm wondering if the name ever deterred visitors... 
And hey, who doesn't love sunset colors and palm trees? I know I'm a sucker for both. 

Ten down, 355 to go. As a disclaimer, tomorrow's post might be a little late, but I promise it'll be up before I go to bed. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Trifecta... 9 of 365

There are so many elements that can contribute to a sign's quality. Some keep it simple... neon all the way. Some are more complex and mix materials, or have been refurbished so many times they've become nothing more than a hodgepodge of stuff. Personally I'm a fan of neon tubing and large light bulbs, but every once in a while I'll come across a plastic fantastic sign that is definitely photo worthy.

Today's post has all three of those things, neon up top, old plastic in the middle, and a bulb lined arrow to round out the bottom. It reminds me of a certain Circus Liquors for some reason... just something about the feel. It must be the type.
Big Top lettering for the win!
You'll find Canyon City Liquors on Route 66 in Azusa, California. The business is still operating and like their sign, has a little bit of everything.

I'll be back tomorrow for my first double digit post of this fun little endeavor.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Everyday I'm Hustlin.... 8 of 365

Before hustlin' made its way into lyrical history, it was captured in animated neon across the United States. Speedee, a little man with a hamburger face and quick walking legs was the original McDonalds mascot. He graced the sky before the famous golden arches, and was eventually replaced by Ronald McDonald in 1962. Like most vintage neon, not many Speedees still exist. I found this one in front of the oldest operating McDonalds in Downey. I love the six different neon legs, more arms than I can count and that wink. Oh yeah, and there's a bow tie.
Ladies love the bow tie...
 They just don't make 'em like they used to. Until tomorrow... Eight down, 357 more to go.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Kickin' It Old School.... 7 of 365

Someone once asked me if I had a photo of an old Dairy Queen sign. At the time, I didn't. I'd never seen a vintage DQ sign like the one she was looking for, let alone photographed it. And then there was an impromptu Route 66 trip through parts of Arizona. We found Williams, and there it was...
Blizzard, anyone? 
I can't believe the weekend is over. Happy Sunday night everyone. I'll see you tomorrow, for eight of 365.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Accidents Happen... 6 of 365

When traveling for sign photography purposes I'm a planner. I research, I map, I select my shooting order based upon level of importance aka awesomeness if I have a limited amount of time. I don't want to miss anything, let alone anything good... it's an "all the things" sorta need. Yes, you can mock my perfectionism, I'm okay with it.

It's a rare occasion when I find myself in a car with my camera in a place I've never researched, or, for that matter, heard of. In fact it's only happened once, and somehow there were signs...  I guess accidents do happen.
Once a Motel sign, now someone's driveway marker. I'm only immensely jealous.
It may not be epic, but I was pretty darn excited to find it. If you're ever in Lake Isabella you should go looking for it. Six down, 359 more to come.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Perfect Place for a Friday Night... 5 of 365

Who here remembers tropical storm Hillary? Show of hands? That's right... nobody. I wouldn't either, if not for the fact she ruined a few solid hours of shooting in Tucson with her high winds, cloud cover and rain. I hung in there with the best of them, but after I started getting pelted with pebbles I decided to pack it in before any equipment was damaged. You can bruise me, scrape me or make me bleed, but I'll be damned if you're going to scratch my lens. But back to Tucson...

If you've never been to Tucson you absolutely MUST go. It is a veritable smorgasbord of vintage neon signage, with some of the most unique signs I've had the pleasure to see. I've already posted a fair amount of my Tucson images to either my Etsy shop or my Flickr page but there are a few gems I haven't gotten around to editing. Tonight I'm digging one out of the archives, simply because it sounds like the perfect place to spend a Friday evening. Of course I'm at home blogging and making cream cheese icing, but that doesn't matter. The Crossroads restaurant is apparently pretty darn good and worth the drive to the edge of town. I'll be going back to Tucson to capture the rest of the signs I couldn't shoot thanks to Hillary, and the Crossroads is on my list for lunch.
Yes, that's a neon beer mug.
Happy Friday night folks! See you tomorrow for the six installation in this crazy project of mine...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Moody Marquee.... 4 of 365

I know I'm a little late, but the clock hasn't struck midnight on the west coast yet which means I have not turned into a pumpkin and missed my deadline for the evening. Besides, I have a good reason.... a consult with a couple about their future wedding photography is a perfectly good excuse to be behind schedule.

As it turns out, that same couple is the inspiration behind tonight's post. The groom works on sets for a non-profit company involved in theatre productions. After our evening meeting I came home and began searching for tonight's photo of the day and found this...
Downtown LA's very own theatre, down the street from the well known Orpheum
It's a bit moody and definitely different than my usual style, but it's a perfect end to my Thursday and it's my fourth of 365. Good night everyone.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bowl at the Wheel... 3 of 365

Today was a rather overcast Wednesday, from the moment I woke up until the sun set. It's been pretty hot down here though lately so for the time being, I can appreciate it. I also don't usually attempt to shoot signs on weekdays...

Unfortunately not every weekend is bright and sunny either, even in southern California. So, until I develop my Storm powers more completely I, like all other photographers, have to deal with the light, sky and backgrounds nature gives me. And when photographing something far from home, well, I just have to work with it.

Today's offering is one of those such days. A friend and I drove out to Oxnard from his place in LA one Saturday, hoping the clouds would break as we approached the coast. I'd been trying to get to Oxnard FOREVER and with the Wagon Wheel Motel being razed I wanted to capture a few shots of the motel and bowling alley signs before they fell into complete disrepair. But the clouds didn't relent and the closer we came to our destination the more and more definition was lost in the sky. By the time we made it to Oxnard the only thing above us was gray soup. Not knowing when I'd be back, I photographed the signs as best I could, working with the diffused light and nondescript background. I hope I make it back soon, but until then, at least I have this.

Here's to Wednesday and a week that's more than half over. Three down, 362 more to come!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Reno's El Ray... 2 of 365

Reno has a wealth of small motels with colorful vintage signs. And there's no clear motel row like some other cities I've visited. Instead the mom and pop places seem to be in clusters around the downtown area. Find one and you'll find four more. It makes for some fun exploration on foot, wandering from place to place with camera in hand. The El Ray is on Arlington in the midst of several other motel signs, across the street from the Sands Casino. I know what you're thinking... it's not that Sands sadly.

Boomerang signs... amazing.
It's unclear if the El Ray is still operating as a monthly rental place, if at all. The plastic panel that once read motel is completely gone, but there is still a building on the property and I was definitely unwillingly eavesdropping on a woman's telephone conversation while snapping away pictures of the sign.

Two down.... Happy Tuesday!

Monday, October 21, 2013

It's Love... 1 of 365

The past week has been a flurry of photo related list making, remaking, amending and doing. For every "to do" item checked off that list, I've easily added three more. Like all things worth doing well, my photo work never ends. But things are happening, and I'm excited.

Somehow in my brainstorming I had this zany idea to post a photo a day for the next year. Most 365 projects involve creating a photo a day... this isn't that... no no. While I would love to create an image a day I am proud enough to share, there are a few reasons it isn't the project for me right now. This silly project of mine is editing and thoughtfully posting one image per day.

I know for a fact I have photographs of at least 365 signs, cars and roadside wonders hiding untouched on my computer. If I didn't take another photograph for a year I'd still have enough material to share with you every day until October 20, 2014. This is absurd and wonderful but it needs to change. Add to this backlog the fact I haven't blogged since February of this year...whoops!... and my project is the perfect. Welcome to day 1 of 365.

Today's beautiful sign is none other than Baskin's Auto Supply in Fresno, California. Fresno has it's rougher neighborhoods... beware motel row... but it also has a pretty fantastic collection of neon. Baskin's is most likely the best maintained in town and it's in pristine condition. A neighboring shop owner said the business has been owned by the Baskin family since 1917, and it seems the sign was built in 1956. The sign is currently listed on the Local Register of Historic Places for Fresno, but I haven't found a National Register listing. At least not yet.
I love proud neon sign owners. Love them!
If you ever think I'm slacking on this project, feel free to hassle me at any time. One down, here's to 364 more.