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Blue Swallow Motel

Updated: Apr 20, 2022

Why a Wonder: With its vintage neon signs and Art Deco design, the Blue Swallow Motel, built in 1939, symbolizes Route 66, known as the "Mother Road."

Where: Route 66 Boulevard, Tucumcari, NM.

When: Throughout the year.

Photography: The best times to photograph this iconic landmark are sunrise and sunset. Use an app like Photo Pills, which shows you where in the sky the sun will be on a particular day and time, to help you plan your photo session in advance.

If you wanted to take only one lens, choose a zoom in the 15-35mm range.

To see both the outside and the inside of the motel, you’ll need HDR when photographing into the sun.

When photographing into the sun, make sure your lens is as clean as possible. One tiny dust spot can look like a big blog in a photo. Also, for the starburst effect, set you lens at f/11 and have the sun just peeking out from behind the structure.

For some extra photo fun, ask the owner if you can wet down the concrete in front of the motel, which will result in your getting some cool neon light reflections.

A vintage car is usually parked at the entrance of the motel. Ask at the front desk if you can hop inside for a quick shot. Shoot with a super wide-angle zoom lens for a unique, and cool, view.

More: See The Route 66 Photo Road Trip book by Rick & Susan Sammon.

© Rick Sammon

This post sponsored by Printique.

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