If you have never had the opportunity to pick up PhotoMedia magazine, you are missing out on a great photo publication. It comes out four times a year, and consistently prints compelling stories and photography. In their Fall 2007 issue they featured a large spread on James Cowlin and his favorite project, the Historic U.S. Route 89 Society. James wrote and provided the images for the article highlighting the beauty of this unique stretch of highway. If you are up for a road trip, Jim offers 7 different destinations to visit from the Southern border of Arizona and Mexico up through to Southern Utah, along with shooting tips for each location. James has also just launched a new design of his website. Congrats to Jim on all his success!

Border to Border
A photographic journey north on U.S. Route 89, the West’s most ‘Western’ highway.

Here’s are some other facts I discovered about U.S. Route 89:
• The highway traverses all of the geographic provinces of the interior American West, from the Basin and Range to the Colorado Plateau, across the Rocky Mountains and into the Great Plains.
• In addition to the national parks, there are 13 national monuments, one national recreation area, 14 national forests, 22 national wilderness areas, and 20 state parks and historic sites on or near the road.
• Highway 89 passes through three major metropolitan areas: Tucson, Phoenix and Salt Lake City. It also passes through numerous small towns, where travelers can still get a taste of the Old West.

Just driving along this road, you can learn much about the people and cultures that populated the West — from the Ancestral Puebloans and other native peoples on through the Spanish conquistadors, the westward expansion of the United States, the Mormon settlement and the growth of modern cities.

Route 89 provides access to some of the most iconic Western landscapes, but alert travelers can also find some lesser-known gems where landscape and travel photographers can practice their craft. Here are a few starting points for the southern portion of your explorations.