1164 Alvira Street, Los Angeles, California, 90035
The Image Quest Home Page | Backroads of Northern and Southern California Pictorial Guidebooks Phone: 323 377-7565


Cultural Mirages - #2

Route 66 and the Mojave Desert - A Photography Workshop

Sunday through Wednesday, February 14-17, 2010

Click here to view images from a prior workshop

The Trip: Yes, yes - stay home. Sit on your couch, watch your television television. Limp along, during the first days of 2010, in the slow lane of your life. Or grab your photo gear and your sense of adventure, and travel with us on our annual visit to a remote stretch of a deserted highway. Yes, come explore Route 66, and prepare to lose yourself in a land of weathered cultural icons left behind by those who, once upon a time, had a love affair with desert highways, a love affair that went unrequited.

Dates: Sunday evening through Wednesday morning, February 14-17, 2010


The desert is littered with the haunting presence of failed dreams and lives unfulfilled. Our photography field sessions, centered along old Route 66 east of Barstow, will include the detritus of human incursions in the harsh, desert environment - sleepy or even abandoned communities (and their attendant architectural details), junked cars and tin cans, maybe even a two-legged desert rat, a space alien or two, and of course sun-blasted highways.

By comfortable passenger van.

Accommodations: We'll stay, on either end of our journey, at a comfortable motel in Barstow, California. Our other night will be spent in Kingman, Arizona, a town still exuding the charm of Route 66.

Trip difficulty: None, conducted at a photographer's pace. While we will have to do a bit of walking, most of our photography can be accomplished just yards from the car, along Route 66 and adjacent roads we'll travel over.

Weather: Should be mild, but be prepared for warm and cool temperatures, and although we'll be in the desert, rain (and even snow, though that would be a rare treat) is possible at this time of year. Dramatic weather, if it comes, can enhance photography, and if rain comes, we won't cancel the trip.

What Image Quest Photography Will Provide:
- Instructors
- Guided field sessions to a variety of public and private locations
- Dinner Sunday evening
- Another as yet to be determined meal
- Accommodations for three nights.
- Evening slide shows (bring some of your own slides, digital images and/or prints)
- Transportation by van (we'll arrange to leave our cars in our motel in Barstow for the duration of the trip)

What You Need To Bring:
- Clothing for warm and cool conditions - a sun hat and a knit or ski cap might both be appropriate
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Money for meals
- A sense of adventure
- Camera equipment (see below)

The natural scene is home to mountain vistas, a desert river, and bizarre salt flats. Over the course of our trip, we will explore a landscape that exists as much in the mind as it does in any physical sense, a landscape that we will transfer onto digital sensors and film. The instructors will probably haul along their beloved medium format film cameras, as well as digicams and DSLRs. Participants are invited to bring digital, 35mm and medium format cameras, and color or black and white film. Photographers of all levels will benefit from this hands-on learning experience in travel, nature and documentary photography.

Trip Instructors:

Ken Rockwell is a talented photographer as well as the creator of his well-known web site, Ken's website is an amazing and constantly evolving compendium of thoughtful and thought provoking essays (some would say controversial), photography galleries, Photoshop lessons and detailed test reports about camera equipment. Ken is engineer by training, he has an artistic eye, and he enjoys sharing his knowledge and definite opinions about photography. He has fully embraced digital photography, and is equally adept with 35mm, medium and large format cameras. Listen to a May, 2006 radio interview with Ken here.


Dave Wyman has conducted photography tours and workshops since 1982. His photographs and articles have appeared in various publications, including Backpacker, Cross-Country, Oudoor Photographer, Outside, and Sierra magazines. Dave, who lives in Los Angeles, is the author and photographer of two pictorial guidebooks, Backroads of Southern California and Backroads of Northern California. He's conducted workshops along Route 66 for more than a decade.

What We Will Learn ABout:
Exposure techniques
- Creative composition, including when and how to break the rules
- What to carry in a nature and travel photographer's camera bag
- Lens selection, including zooms and close-up gear
- Techniques for travel and landscape and macro photography
- The truth about tripods
- "Must Have" filters and useful accessories

The Itinerary: A good itinerary is like a good light meter - a starting point. We will meet by in Barstow in time for a group dinner, look for some neon to photograph, and stay in a comfortable motel. On Monday, we'll depart for points east along and near Route 66, en route by the end of the day to Kingman, AZ. We'll have a chance to visit places like the famed Bagdad Cafe and Roy's Motel and Cafe. On Tuesday, we will travel from Kingman to the incomprably kitschy Hackberry Store and to the Haulapai Indian reservation in Peach Springs, before reaching the quintesenntial Route 66 town of Seligman. On Wednesday, we'll make a leisurely return west, stopping en route at places like the over-the-top tourist-driven town of Oatman, and ending the day at an amazing machine shop in Barstow.

Camera Equipment: This is the trip to bring it all along - super wide angle lenses, telephoto optics, filters galore, CF or SD cards, three kinds of film and at least two camera formats. Digital or film cameras (35mm and medium format) are all welcome. However, if the truth be told, a basic digital or 35mm camera with one lens will work just fine during most of this photography workshop. Two filters for aficionados: the polarizer, and the 81A or 81B warming filter (the latter more for film photographers) will allow saturation of colors and keep a blue tone out of photographs made in the shade or under cloudy skies. The graduated neutral density filter can be very useful in desert landscapes, too.

Bring enough CF or SD cards for digital cameras, as well as a battery charger; some cameras require more than one battery to last through a day, some survive on a single battery. Make sure you have enough battery power.

Film Considerations: Bring any sort of film. The less sensitive to light the film (lower ISO numbers, such as 25 to 100 with slide film, 200 to 400 with print film), the better the color saturation and image sharpness.

Higher speed films, such as ISO 200 to 400, allow you to more easily hand hold your camera. But faster films, to a slight degree, do not as accurately record color or hold image sharpness. 

Tripods: Good for low-light photography, including our night sessions (weather permitting), and early morning and early evening, as well as any indoor locations where we might find ourselves. Tripods are also a way to ensure the sharpest possible images from our cameras.



Bring Your Own Photographs: If you like, bring your own photographs for critique, or simply to be enjoyed by the group. If you have digital images, you can bring them on a CD and we'll show them on a digital projector or a computer monitor.  Or show them on your own laptop. If you have prints you would like to share, bring them.

About our accommodations: Shared accommodations (single supplement is available, approximately $100, check with Dave) in a comfortable, modern motel in Barstow, California. 

Meals: We'll enjoy a couple of meals in some enjoyable and memorable locations.

Cost: $975. Deposit: $100 will hold a space. Full payment is due by January 3. 

Cancellations: $100 cancellation charge. No refund if you cancel three weeks or less, prior to the departure date, unless another person signs up. 

How to register: Send payment to Image Quest, 1164 Alvira Street, Los Angeles, CA 90035. Or you can use the services of, should you prefer to register via the Internet (if you need help using paypal, contact Dave Wyman) - make sure space on the trip is still available before using paypal.

Contact Dave Wyman with any questions.

this will be a hands-on experience. There aren't any classroom sessions. Participants, Ken, Dave and Richard will be able to spend some significant time together over the course of our travels along Route 66, and we will  all learn from each other. When we are indoors, usually at the end of a day, we'll probably pull out the laptops, or an external monitor or digital projector, and look and talk about photographs. Above all, though, the emphasis is on making artistic, meaningful and contemplative photographs. And on this trip there is the ability to make photographs from dawn until well past dark, from the time when the first rays of the sun touch the landscape until we've explored ways to photograph the neon that lights up the darkness.

How to register:

- Send payment to:

Image Quest
1164 Alvira Street
Los Angeles, CA. 90035

Or use a credit card:, after contacting Dave Wyman by email or phone (323 377-7565) to make sure the trip still has space. 


The photographs appearing on this webpage were made on the 2009 Image Quest photography workshop along Route 66.

The Image Quest Home Page | Backroads of Northern and Southern California Pictorial Guidebooks

Barstow "Mother Road" Route 66 Museum

 No special camera gear is necessary for this trip. If you know you want more gear, here are two good places to find equipment: 

Freestyle Photo
(Caters to students and teachers)


Shot Count Totals by Participants - 2007 Route 66 Workshop