During our winter wanderings through Arizona we discovered Cool Springs, Arizona along Route 66. From a photographic standpoint, this was a must-shoot location. It is now a vintage museum of memorabilia from the bygone era of Route 66 and interstate travel in general.

It is out in the desert and on the slopes of the Black Mountains and while we enjoyed a 85 degree day, this location is no doubt a harsh environment during hotter times of the years. Built in the mid-1920’s, the road was designated Route 66 in 1926 and as you head west from Cool Springs the road gets steep and windy.

You cant help but wonder what it must have been like to travel from Los Angeles to Chicago in August. Cars slogging up the hill in intense  heat and travelers thirsty and dehydrated. Cool Springs would have been a wonderful site.

I thought this was a perfect location for a light grunge HDR image. I did not like the distortion I got with my super wide, so I shot this with a 35mm, vertically, and in sections. I then did the HDR processing in Photomatix and finished by stitching the 6 image panels using Photomerge in Photoshop.

One thing you might find interesting is that this place was busy with people, yet you don’t see any. The way to deal with that is to setup your shot and frame it and as people walk through the picture, just keep shooting your bracketed exposures. The set that you might use when you are compositing is the set where the person was was in a different position. By shooting a whole bunch of each panel for the composite, the moving people are in different positions as they walk around and when you composite them in those different position they can vanish when you do your HDR. It takes some experimenting but it works.