#1125. What I did on my Spring (Covid) Vacation – Part 1

By Paul Barclay | Travel Photography

Jul 16

Good morning class, this is my report about what I did on my spring vacation. As you probably noticed, this is part one of several. I don’t know the total number parts it will be, because I haven’t written them yet. In fact, I haven’t really started reviewing the images yet. Covid, and the aftermath of needing a surgical procedure really sapped my motivation for things photography related.

The story starts almost a year ago, when we decided that we should take a trip to someplace warm and sunny to celebrate our retirements; the most recent being at the end of February 2021. Since Covid was picking up steam and overseas air travel was looking very risky we decided that the destination needed to be someplace where we could drive. Ultimately, the choice for our primary location became clear, Tucson, Arizona (AZ).

We hit the road on February 26 th, and five days later we arrived at our destination in Tucson, after staying two nights in Temecula, California. The images that follow were captures using my iPhone, a standard Lumix G9, and a full spectrum G9 with IR filters. The images also include locations that are truly un-destinations, and iconic travel destinations.

Temecula is a small town North of San Diego that has retained the “Old West” feeling in its central business district. It is a fun place to visit with small shops, galleries, and cafes; most of which expanded out onto the street in order to have enough capacity to survive.


Tucson, un-destination locations. The following images were taken along the side of the road or behind a building. For the first two images I was out chasing the sunset. I found a good place that faced west across the street from an office building and took the first image. After a short time, I looked to my right and decided that the play of light might look good in infrared. Which resulted in a rush to change cameras and make the second image before the light vanished. The third image occurred the morning after a storm passed through Tucson. We woke to find snow on the nearby mountains, and this image was made by climbing on the wall behind our nearby grocery store.    


Tucson, destination locations. The following images were made at, or along the road going to, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Old Tucson Studios, Saguaro National Park – Rincon (East) and Mountain (West) Districts.    


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  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Gorgeous photos, Paul – thanks for sharing them – Temecula might be small, but it seems to pack a might punch! It’s a shame so many of these places, all over the world, have not followed the same path – it looks great for tourism!
    Hope your surgery went well, and the cost was covered by your insurance.
    Because of my age, my priorities, and COVID, it’s certain now that I’ll never make it to America – north, south or central – so any photos like this are very much appreciated!

    • Paul Barclay says:

      Thank you Pete

      With how COVID is progressing in some parts of the world and US, I am hesitant to travel by air as well. So for at least the short term, I will need to live vicariously through the images of others.

      Temecula is a fun place and it normally does draw a lot of tourists. Being close to San Diego and having a developing wine region helps.

      My recovery is going well, just a lot slower than I want it too.


      • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

        No home is complete, without a wine region – LOL (My father was a winemaker! – I grew up running wild in vineyards – I’ve been fortunate enough to have been able to enjoy some of the best wines every produced in Australia, as well as amazing wines in France and Italy! No offence intended, but as far as I’m concerned beer is simply something other people swallow.)

  • Lad Sessions says:

    Paul, What lovely images! We took a Road Scholar trip to the Sonoran desert just before the pandemic, so the scenery brings back good memories. I especially like all the cacti shots, black and white mainly, but also the backlit one in color. But my favorite image is the second of your Tucson shots, in IR with some haunting color. Now you are a victim of your own success: you must continue the series!

    • Paul Barclay says:

      Thank you Lad!

      A “Road Scholar” I like that. I will have to start using that line myself.

      The desert does get under your skin, doesn’t it. It is such a great place to photograph, and it gives a different look than being in the Northwest. We enjoyed our trip so much that we have already made reservations to go back next year.


  • Nancee Rostad says:

    Nicely done, Paul! I especially enjoyed the images of Tucson – I have fond (and hysterically funny) memories of my last trip there. Your image of the lone saguaro juxtaposed with the water tower is wonderful! The image looking through the doorway and beyond to the desert is so very evocative of the area. Looking forward to your next installment(s).

    • Paul Barclay says:

      Hi Nancy

      The roadside stop where that image was made was one of my favorites. (Un)fortunately, I had to be forced to try other locations or all of the images from my trip would be from there.

      Since Washington is opening up, we should think about getting together to compare notes.


  • Steve Mallett says:

    Lovely stuff Paul. I have fond memories of visiting the area almost 50 years ago in a road trip across America in a VW camper; the first time I saw a desert and I’ve loved them ever since. The cacti, the water towers and, what Nancee said, the view through the doorway – just beautiful.

    • Paul Barclay says:


      A road trip across the US in a VW camper van must have been an adventure. Hopefully the word “harrowing” is not part of your story when you tell the many tales of that trip; VW camper vans of that vintage were not quickest vehicles for keeping up with traffic on mountain roads.


      • Steve says:

        Not harrowing at all (apart from the time I had a gun pulled on me – but thats a whole other story) but it was an adventure. We blew the engine on the Vdub going over the Sierra Nevada but manged to coast down to a little town and stopped at Ted’s Sportscar Services. We camped on Ted’s lot and he rebuilt the engine in a couple of days and we continued on our trek. As an outsider the America of today looks almost unrecognisable to the one I experienced back then.

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