#1067. fIRst Photo Adventure

By Paul Barclay | Art & Creativity

Dec 03

This article is in response to Pascal’s call for photographic adventures in the time of Covid.

Like many of us I have felt constrained and in need of something new photographically. As you can imagine this resulted in a serious case of GAS. The only problem with is was, due to Covid, every other photographer in the Seattle area also had GAS and they were buying every interesting bit of used camera gear from my favorite camera stores before I could.      

Fortunately, when Covid cooled off and restrictions eased, the shortage of used gear started to ease and a little self control was needed to keep from going off the deep end. Also, during this time I felt that I “NEEDED” to get out of the house and and be somewhere different, so I started reviewing the websites of photographers that offered workshops.

Last August, during one of visits to my favorite store, I had a momentary lapse of reason and decided to succumb to GAS and bought a used Fuji XT-3. Thinking that it would be fun and a good platform for using my M lenses. Also during this time, many of the photographers offering workshops I was interested in started canceling them.

All but one that is. Which was a Black & White Infrared (IR) workshop planned for the end of October in Bandon, Oregon; which is an eight hour drive from where I live. I sent a message to the workshop leader, Penelope Taylor, to see if the workshop would still occur and if space was available. The next day I had a reply. Yes, the workshop was still planned to happen, but would be limited to six people, and there was still space available. So I replied that I was in.

Though all was not as I hoped it would be. Up to this point I was thinking that I would have the Fuji camera converted and use several of my M lenses on an adapter. But you know the saying about plans and what happens to them, and that happened to me. Shortly after I decided to attend the workshop, I decided that the XT-3 and my M lenses were not as compatible as my early results showed they might be ;”(  

So now I needed to decide on a new camera for conversion and have it completed in a couple of months. Fortunately, I listened to the logical me, and I sent my Lumix G9 for a full spectrum conversion and made use of the Fuji as trading stock to get a new G9.      

The images below are from my first attempts at IR photography.        

St. Paul’s Church, Port Gamble, Washington
Walker Ames House, Port Gamble, Washington
Sea Witch, Center for Wooden boats, Seattle, Washington
Canoe Sidecar, Poulsbo, Washington
Maja, Poulsbo, Washington

After muddling through the above images it was October and time to head to Bandon for the workshop, which was a whirlwind of photography.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to really review and process the 1,500+ images I made during the four (4) day workshop. Though, I have included some of the few that stood out during the workshop. As you will see, two images are color, from the original, and the ultimate processed B&W.      

Sunrise Bandon Beach, Oregon
Sunrise Bandon Beach, Oregon
Grass Tracks in the Sand – 1
Grass Tracks in the Sand – 2
Orion’s Belt and the Witch’s Hat at Moonset, Bandon, Oregon
Orion’s Belt and the Witch’s Hat at Moonset, Bandon, Oregon
Beach Grass, Meyer’s Creek Beach, Oregon
Couquille River Lighthouse, Bandon, Oregon – 1
Couquille River Lighthouse, Bandon, Oregon – 2

If you need a new twist for a photo adventure give IR a try, I have really enjoyed it. Plus, with all the specials the camera manufacturers are having right now an experiment in IR can be very reasonable. Though, I will recommend getting the 750nm conversion so the need for extra filters is eliminated.  


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  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:


    OK – stop a second – Paul, you must speak to your editor – he’s claiming that he was the author/

    Next – your opening paragraphs. This is morbidly fascinating to me. Let me start by repeating that I am and always have been an introvert, by nature. Perfectly happy with no company at all. Quite capable of amusing myself. Never known what it means to “experience” boredom – and in fact, I had to look up that word (“boredom”) in a dictionary, to get any idea what it meant.

    Yet all over the world, this year, other people have been just about reduced to gibbering wrecks, because they were being prevented from doing whatever they wanted to.


    Well it’s not all bad. Your selection of photos for this article, for instance, isn’t “bad” at any point. Quite the opposite in fact. And they present as a new style that you’ve developed.

    The first three almost look like infra red photos.

    You must have had a frantic time during the workshop – even while I’m travelling, it would take me weeks to bag that many photos – then months, to complete all the post processing.

    Never mind – I’m sure we can all look forward to seeing more of them, as you work you way through them all.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Ooops, good catch! Thanks Jean Pierre. I’ll let Paul reply to the rest of the comment 😉

    • PaulB says:


      Thank you for the complements, though there is a fair amount of beginners luck in the images presented.

      It’s not really that hard to capture a large number of images when you are taking 20 variations of the same thing. Experimenting with aperture, shutter speed, and focus point for a single composition and repeating the process for each lens and subject gets the image count to climb quickly.

      In fact there were several times when the workshop leader told me I needed to move. As, I was spending too much time in one place. In addition, don’t ask me how I know, but a rising tide can convince you to move as well.

      The real challenge will be to distill the images down to a few worthy of processing.

      Practice will teach me the settings that work so I can avoid the bad combinations and try to be more spontaneous. Working handheld should also help increase spontaneity and reduce repetition. Tripods tend to slow me down and induce me to experiment with the variations.


      • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

        LOL – you are funny man – “don’t ask me how I know, but a rising tide can convince you to move as well” – maybe the tripod is more vocal about this than your sneakers!

        While I do “use” tripods, I tend to err on the side of NOT using them. Even when, perhaps, I should. They are a distraction – and their weight & bulk tend to slow down attempts to “find a better position”. So I generally only bring them into play when I already HAVE scouted what I want to photograph. Hand held works pretty well in most circumstances – particularly with the sheer weight of my D850 (I found the same for years, when I was shooting film with my beloved Zeiss Contarex!) – but also with features like IS.

        I know some people bleat about taking multiple shots and tick you off for it. I also know that meant a great deal more in the age of film. And I also know that some/a lot of/most pros burn any number of shots in an attempt to get “the perfect shot” – and don’t care if it’s 100 or more!

        So I wouldn’t get grey hairs over having 15,000 photos to cull. Although you might get a sore ass, sitting there all that time, doing it.

        Another way of wasting film/card/whatever, is to use bursts. I often do that (and waste a number of frames in the process), teetering back & tottering forth, while I try to photograph something like bees – tripods are useless, the bees are always on the move – and for some daft reason most of my macro lenses are MF – so I have to get the focus approximately OK & hope that any body movements on my part, coupled with a few bursts, will snag a perfectly focused image. Crazy, I know, but “needs must, when the devil drives”!

        • PaulB says:


          I know what you mean, tripods can be real anchors. Particularly when you are using your camera bag for added weight/stability. I too tend to work handheld a lot, and I really like mirrorless cameras with IBIS for this. This adds a lot of flexibility and spontaneity when you are out for a photo walk; or Shutter Therapy as Robin Wong would say.

          I do the same thing you are describing with the back and forth trying to get a MF lens in focus on something small. I have more success with shorter focal length lenses, but have tried it with a 100-400 zoom. This technique seems to work better with focus peaking and burst shooting. The peaking tells you when you are getting close, and the 2nd or 3rd image may be sharper than the first image from stabbing the shutter release.

          I’m tempted to add a ring flash, or other macro flash attachment, to freeze my jitters even more. This is something that Robin Wong has written about for his macro work.

          Paul B

  • Nancee Rostad says:

    You had me at Bandon, Paul! I spent a week there in early November happily ignoring the election returns while photographing along the coast. Lovely images in your post, Paul – it was worth the long drive.

  • Yo Paul.

    Your photos are exceedingly, joyfully dimensional. They give the notion of “reaching out and touching it” a new look.


    • PaulB says:


      Thank you! This has been a lot of fun, and a great way to experiment.

      Things do seem to render differently in IR.


  • Claude Hurlbert says:

    I really like these, Paul. The nose of that canoe sidecar has such presence and effective lighting. “Grass Tracks in the Sand 2” has beautiful texture–nice! I could go on. I’m a fan! Claude

  • Sean says:

    Hi Paul,
    Lovely images fella. I do like a) St. Paul’s Church, Port Gamble, Washington; b) the cemetery scene in Walker Ames House, Port Gamble, Washington; c) Canoe Sidecar, Poulsbo, Washington; d) and, the second image in Beach Grass, Meyer’s Creek Beach, Oregon. My reason being is your competent use of the shadow – reminds me of how Minor White made masterful use of the shadow in crafting his IR images. Well done.

    • PaulB says:

      Thank you very much Sean.

      Being referenced in the same sentence as Minor White is quite a compliment. Though, I do think luck with the time of day and location played a bigger role than I did.


  • David A. Mack says:

    Good work!!! Been there many times and these are a different perspective both in IR and composition. Just to point out a small detail, the sunSets in the west, not rise. Thank you for sharing. Just to ask, what did you think of the Fujifilm XT3 in B/W?

    • PaulB says:


      Congratulations! You have passed the proof reading part of this examination.

      You are correct, that caption should read sunset vs. sunrise.

      I did not have the XT-3 for a long time, but I did have it long enough to say there is a lot to like about it. Provided you are using native lenses, I did try a 16mm, or you are fairly close to your subject when using M-lenses; across a city street (60 ft or 20m) was too far for my taste.

      I was pleased with how XT-3 images rendered in B&W, both raw conversions and JPGs when set as B&W. The one surprise for me was, setting the film simulations (such as ACROS) also changed the raw image as well as the JPG. I do think the ACROS simulation would be worth learning to get the most out of.


  • John W says:

    Paul – a delightful post on a subject and places I love. A couple of years ago, the mad 4 some took a trip down the Oregon coast, starting in Astoria and ending in Bandon. We brought along Nick a “new” addition making it the mad 5 pack. Nick’s into IR big time … to the extent that 3 of the the four non IR types now own IR cameras and love them to pieces. IR lends a whole different vibe/quality to B&W. A few of the images from that trip have made it onto Dear Susan.

    Nicely done Sir.

    • PaulB says:

      Another Northwestern’er! Cool!

      Yes, IR B&W has a very different vibe to it, not to mention that it seems to render a clearer image. Depending on how you set white balance the color original can have an unusual but interesting vibe as well. Though, the few times I have used my camera to make a “full spectrum” image the results were a little weird.

  • philberphoto says:

    Paul, I was going to begin my comment with something like: “while I don’t “get” IR photography, your images yadda yadda yadda”. But now I have to write: “you made me “get it”. My faves are the ones with grass. So well done! Congrats!

  • Lani Edwards says:

    I was with Philippe on the ‘I don’t get the IR’ thing….thanks to your cemetery and church image, I will now hang my head in shame and sheepishly applaud you!

    Great job, Paul!

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