#1023. Poulsbo Window Shopping

By Paul Barclay | Art & Creativity

Jul 15

I thought I would share some photos taken at the end of May one evening when the sun decided to break out after a stretch of grey skies. Rather than do my usual walk in my neighborhood I decided to go the near by town of Poulsbo, WA, which has a nice water front park and a downtown district that is full of fun shops and art galleries.

My intent was to walk along the waterfront, get some exercise, and practice some mindless photography. The walk along the waterfront was short was a bit boring, because there were very few boats at the public pier and very few people out. I continued into the downtown shopping area to see if anything could be found there.

While looking in the window at one of the galleries, I noticed that the sun broke out from the clouds and we had rather strong lighting, which made for some interesting reflections.

After crossing the street, I was looking in the window of a new shop that was filled with stuff. After scanning the window with my camera I decided that the collection of stuff would make a worthy subject in the quest of mindless photography.

While I was here, I decided that window shopping for images could be fun, but there had to be a purpose for the quest. So I came up with the following.

  1. It had to be clear that the items photographed were in a window (we are window shopping after all).
  2. Portrait orientation (preferred).
  3. f/3.5 only (for shallow depth of field).
  4. Manual focus.

This series is presented with B&W images only, because that is how I experienced making these images; my camera is set to record B&W JPEG images, which are projected in the EVF. I may revisit this shopping spree in color in the future, to see if my image choices change.

In the end, I think it was a good day of “mindless” photography.


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  • Kristian Wannebo says:

    This is great fun, checking what the shop windows offer among the reflections!
    And an interesting documentary, some of these shops being of the kind that disappear if the environment is “developed”.

    I especially enjoy the spiders hanging on their threads you managed to catch in #5 & #6!
    And I wonder what that devil who throws a shadow in the last photo was up to…

    ( The window with those lively dolls for some reason makes me remember a toy shop window with a wooden rocking horse in the middle, beautifully shaped in likeness of a motorcycle and with an intentionally misspelled HD logotype on the (wooden) petrol tank:
    “Hardley Davidson”.)

    • Paul Barclay says:


      Thank you for the kind words. Knowing that my image rekindled a memory for you is quite a compliment.

      I think you are correct about the window in the second image, the items are on display to make it look like the store is not empty. I walked by this window a week or two ago and everything was still in the same place, only the light on the items was different.

      Paul Barclay

  • John W says:

    Paul – I agree with Kristian; this is great fun. I’m just up the highway in Vancouver, BC and I’ve never heard of Poulsbo. A new “backyard gem”.

    • Paul Barclay says:

      Hi John

      Yes, Poulsbo is a gem. And well worth an afternoon for the next time you are able to arrange a visit to this neighborhood of the Puget Sound.

      Paul Barclay

  • Nancee Rostad says:

    Nice post, Paul! You’ve given us a good sampling of interesting store windows which are quite evocative of days gone by. I feel that the images work best in B&W since it seems to give each item within the windows an equal chance to catch the viewer’s eye. And it accents that old time feeling. My favorite is the last image because it’s equally mysterious and humorous. Thanks for sharing!

    • Paul Barclay says:

      Thank you Nancy

      I did struggle with including color versions of these images. I decided to only show the B&W not only because that is what I experienced making these, I felt that the color would overwhelm the real image. There are a few images that are not included here that may benefit from color. So I will probably revisit this series in the future to show what color does.

      I really enjoyed making the last image, I took several variations. As you have probably guessed this is a side window of the shop with the toys in the widow. The light being reflected into the windows created so many possibilities.

      Paul Barclay

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    I often take a camera with me as I take a stroll around my suburb, with my dog.

    Sometimes the photo opportunities are fleeting, and there’s no possibility later, if you don’t grab the chance while it lasts.

    Others offer a more leisurely opportunity to study the image and to plan the shot.

    Either way, it’s an opportunity to improve the craft. Even if my wife can’t comprehend why I want “all of those images”. Anyway, it’s fun and it’s harmless. She should be grateful it’s not something worse – like spending my free hours drinking at the local bar – or worse!

    Night shots – especially in colour – are an interesting opportunity. Street, or shop windows.

    Changing weather, changing light – dawn – a rainbow, after a shower – late afternoon and also the “golden hour”.

    Sometimes I try HDR, because the tonal values are simply too wide to capture with a single shot. Occasionally I need a w/angle or a “shift” lens, to get the right effect. Shooting locally helps – it’s always possible, somehow, to use a decent tripod – a luxury that’s out of the question when I travel overseas.

    And another “oddity” that it has brought back into my life is an external exposure meter. Tired of trying to make do with readings from the meter in the camera, which gives an “average” of something or other – much happier using a reading of the light itself – so I now have a fully professional one, and also a more convenient/go anywhere pocket model.

    Reflections are interesting Paul, as your photos show us. An additional dimension to explore. I sent Pascal one a while back, which I reversed in post, so that it appeared to be taken from inside the shop – anyone who knew my street would have seen through it at once, because the shops on the other side of the street showed, with the slope of the street going in the wrong direction! – but it worked almost perfectly, otherwise.

    I am surprised that “Market” hasn’t sold out – with COVID, there have been runs on toilet paper – on rescue dogs – and on teddy bears, because we’re all expected to have one on display at the front of the house and also in the car.

    Now looking forward to your colour photos 🙂

    • Paul Barclay says:

      Hi Pete

      It was an earlier post of yours that got me started taking a camera on my neighborhood walks. Previously I would only take a camera when there was a location that might have something worth photographing. Now when I walk in the neighborhood I take a camera and one lens, no bag of distractions. Having a camera makes you look for possibilities, and being limited to one lens helps you “see” in that feels of view. This is what I did for this series of images, just the camera and normal lens.

      I think the market may have sold out of the animals, when I took these images we were still under the shelter in place order and the market was not open for walk in visitors. I went by the window about two weeks later and the window display changed. I looked deeper in the store and I could only see 1 or 2 displayed inside the store.

      I like the idea of taking a tripod with you for the neighborhood walks, I have a few. If I’m not trying to carry my camera bag, a decent tripod might be tolerable. Though, “decent” may be a variable term, since my normal walking route includes 14 floors of elevation gain (18 if I take the long route). 😉

      Paul Barclay

      • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

        That was because whenever I didn’t have a camera with me, I missed yet another “shot of a lifetime”.

        And it was Pascal who said something that made me think of studying the area where I live, and exploring it closely for creative opportunities.

        Once upon a time . . . . I used to take a couple of Dobes for a walk, at least 10 Km (over 6 miles) a day . . . I’m afraid I’m past it, now. Fourteen floors? – sigh – I also used to run up the fire escape instead of using the lift – 20 floors, 2 or 3 steps at a time. Post processing my photos, playing the piano, watching the gardeners do what I once did, all suits me better now. Enjoy it while you still can!

        The tripod isn’t something I always take – I plan my tripod shots, scout them while I’m out walking, so I normally carry the camera, but take the tripod direct to the location & back home again. My ‘pods are Linhofs, they weigh a bit! – especially with a geared head or a gimbal. Often, I drive to the location so I don’t need to carry them at all.

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