New Mexico on Film: The Monterey Motel

During my November 2022 trip to New Mexico, my plan was to visit old motels and other Route 66 attractions.  I was hoping photograph them as well as their neon signs.  I would stay close to Route 66, moving from Albuquerque east to Tucumcari.  I decided to take a bunch of different cameras with me, including some vintage point and shoots and a film camera.  The film camera is the Nikon FG, which I’ve written about here in the past.  It went with me to Paris, and I really enjoyed using it to take street photos.  Photographing motels and neon would be a bit different, but I thought they might look good on film.

In Albuquerque, I stayed at the Monterey Motel.  The motel opened in 1946 and has been welcoming travelers along Route 66 ever since.  The motel has recently been renovated, and the sign restored.  The motel is near other Route 66 classics like the El Vado Motel and the El Don Motel.

One night after the sun went down, I mounted the Nikon FG on a tripod, and hooked up a cable release so I could take a night photo.  I haven’t shot film at night before, so I used the program mode on the camera, which picks the best aperture and shutter speed based on the ISO of the film.  I can’t recall what the settings were for this photo, other than I was using Kodak Gold 200 film, but I’m very happy with the way it turned out:

The Monterey Motel Sign

The Monterey Motel Sign


It’s probably a little overexposed on the neon, but I really like the effect.  I’ll be sharing more film photos from New Mexico in future posts.



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