This image is all about cool: cool blues, the 1950s jazzy kind of cool, the cool of a late evening. How deceptive images can be: it was 100 degrees in Phoenix that night.
When I went to Arizona in August for the monsoons, I had an extra evening in the schedule and I wanted to go downtown. Now central Phoenix isn’t exactly the safest place to wander about after dark, so I contacted Alex, who I knew only through his NSFW blog, Voenix Rising. I knew he was enjoying with a new camera and thought he might be entertained by an ad hoc Photowalk. Despite his laryngitis and the monsoon heat, Alex agreed.
We had a good time getting to know each other, but I wasn’t having much luck finding an angle on Phoenix that fit into the Highway 89 project. After a couple hours in the grueling heat radiating off the downtown concrete, we packed it in. I was driving Alex back to his car when I saw this blue glow a few blocks down the street. Alex suddenly got to see a new side of my personality; there was no way I was passing this up. Luckily, we were like-minded on the subject, and dragged our tripods out of the car.
Pretty soon, I had several series of images that really made me happy. It was darker than I like, but luckily the building was well-lit and stood out from the black sky. I shot for my usual neon post-processing routine. The owner of the hotel came out. He was very accommodating and told us a little about the restoration work he’s done. Alex has been back since, but hasn’t seen the motorcycle parked out front again.
So is it persistence, blind-squirrels finding the inevitable nut, or just good fortune when we run into subjects like this? I wonder. I do know that if I hadn’t called Alex, if I hadn’t put the gear in the truck, if I hadn’t been sweltering for hours, if I hadn’t parked where I did, I would have missed it. There’s been a magic for me out on US 89 that is beyond explanation. I’m going to run (or drive) with it.
Tomorrow, I will be showing this image in my presentation at the Bear Lake Photo Seminar in Montpelier, Idaho. I added a new section to my Moab talk with images made since May in chronological order. It’s a different take on the project, since I basically zigzagged border-to-border twice this summer. Glacier NP follows Sunset Crater NM, Nogales, Arizona is next to Yellowstone NP. I will let the audience decide whether I am committed or should be committed. I’m just going to keep driving until it’s done.