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Flagstaff, Arizona is way more than just two words in a classic song. Guest blog by Jefferson Graham.
Right in the smack of old Route 66, (hence, the song) the Northern Arizona gateway to the Grand Canyon is steep in history, with great old buildings, nostalgia and scenic beauty.
I recently brought the Photowalk cameras to Flagstaff to film an episode of my YouTube travel photography series. Those “cameras” are the same ones that are probably in your pocket—a smartphone. No fancy gear needed to join me. I did the episode mostly on an iPhone, along with some stills on the new Google Pixel 6.
On the show I explore my favorite photo spots in town, and there are many! Let’s take a look at some of my favorites.
The Visitors Center is a great place to stop by for information, maps and inspiration. Directly across the street is the old depot, which gives you your best “I’m in Flagstaff” selfie. It’s also where you can get great shots of the trains whizzing by. For best results, try this shot of the depot just after the sun went down to get great colors in the sky.
The cross streets of San Francisco and Aspen has the historic Babbitt Bros. building and Hotel Monte Vista, two of the oldest buildings in town. This is a classic night shot with streaking lights from the passing cars and it was made possible by using the “Night Mode,” feature on late model iPhones. Night Mode kicks in automatically when the skies go dark, and it enables longer exposures, which is how I was able to produce the streaks. But you’ll need a tripod for this shot. I was able to manually keep the camera shutter open for 30 seconds.
Flagstaff is a “dark city,” where the planet Pluto was discovered by scientists at Lowell Observatory. Because you have less light pollution than in other cities, the dark skies of Flagstaff are a fabulous place to pick up night sky photos. The easiest spot for this is giant Buffalo Park, which is two miles from downtown. Both the above shot, and the one of the skies below, were both taken on the iPhone in Night Mode.
It’s hard to top the oldest working hotel in town, the Weatherford, which, if you get your shot at nighttime, will change colors several times, from green to red and blue. (This shot was done handheld just after the sun went down.) The Weatherford is where people congregate in Flagstaff on New Year’s Eve and watch great pinecone drop. Another bonus: the hotel's Zane Grey bar and ballroom has a great deck upstairs with a terrific overhead view of downtown.
Great artwork is all over Flagstaff, starting with the “Mother Myth Mural,” showing the migration from east to west. This mural is right off San Francisco Street and directly across the street from the old Motel Du Beau.
Signage is all over Flagstaff. The biggest, most visible example is directly in the parking lot of the Flagstaff Visitors Center. If that doesn’t get you in the mood for some kicks, nothing will.
So sing along with me everyone! “You see Amarillo,
Gallup, New Mexico, Flagstaff, Arizona.
Don't forget Winona,
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernandino.”
Come join Jefferson Graham on a Photowalk through historic downtown Flagstaff on Friday, December 10. The event is free. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2...
See Jeff's Youtube channel with more on Photowalks here: http://www.youtube.com/photowalkstv
Jefferson Graham is a Los Angeles based writer-photographer, a former USA TODAY columnist and the host of the travel photography series Photowalks with Jefferson Graham. (http://www.youtube.com/photowalkstv) He is the author of nine books, including “Video Nation: A DIY Guide to Planning, Shooting and Sharing Great video,” and a longtime jazz guitarist.