Here in Southeast Kansas / Southwestern Missouri, one of our biggest points of pride is being situated along Route 66 – “The Mother Road”. This historic highway runs between Chicago and Los Angeles, and is measured to be 2,451. Very briefly, this historic highway passes through Kansas on a short 13 mile stretch between Joplin, Missouri and Miami, Oklahoma, and I am lucky enough to live just 2 miles off of this well-traveled attraction.

Throughout the summer months and into the fall, our small towns of Galena, Kansas and Baxter Springs, Kansas are absolutely bustling with tourists from all over the world. Many of the local businesses along the route post photos of their visitors from faraway lands on the social media accounts – visitors from Europe, Asia, South America, all across North America and everywhere in between are driving and biking the route to take in the beautiful and unique attractions.

The town of Galena loves to boast that their buildings helped to inspire the fictional community of Route 66 called Radiator Springs in the movie Cars. An old KanOtex service station has even been restored and showcases classic cars with the signature look of the movie, and is called “Cars on the Route”.

Downtown Galena is the epitome of classic Route 66- some buildings are old and abandoned, but many are in the process of being restored and bringing new life to the main street. Large advertising murals paint the sides of the brick buildings, quirky attractions line the strip, and there is plenty of personality that is lovely to photograph.

When Destiny said she was willing to drive from Girard, Kansas down to Galena to get her senior photos taken, I excitedly asked her if she would be interested in getting some photos taken downtown. Although she was not very familiar with the area, she trusted that I would provide some awesome locations downtown for her senior photo session, and would offer some unique backdrops for her portraits.

We started her session in one of my most loved “secret spots” in the area. Just a couple days before, the foliage in the area lifted into brilliant shades of gold that sparkled with the lowering sun in the evening hours. I took Destiny on a stroll through the area, going up a country road that is lined with a handmade stone wall that was framed perfectly by the changing colors. We explored the area and found a small walking bridge, and plenty of ancient sycamore and hickory trees that really made her portraits pop.

With a quick outfit change, she hopped in her car and followed me through town to Main Street in Galena. I excitedly had her model by antiques that are scattered through town. We found plenty of variety in the few blocks that we walked throughout Galena, and I think we really were able to capture how special of a place this old mining town really is. Vintage autos, advertising murals, store fronts and brick paths were so much fun to play with, and Destiny’s natural beauty really made the rustic feel of the backdrops pop.

I had an absolute blast working with this beautiful senior! She nailed every pose I through at her, and is beyond photogenic! Destiny took the whole photoshoot in stride, and became more and more comfortable in front of the camera as we worked out way through her shoot. Congratulations on your upcoming graduation, Destiny!