#1277. Joshua Tree National Park in Infrared

By Paul Barclay | Travel Photography

Apr 06

It has been quite some time since my last contribution to Dear Susan, so I thought I would share some of my images from an infrared photography workshop I recently attended that took place in Joshua Tree National Park (JTNP), which is located North East of Palm Springs, California, near the towns of Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms.


For those of you that are not familiar with JTNP, this may be because it does not have a singular attraction that better known parks have, such as El Capitan in Yosemite National Park or the Grand Canyon in Arizona, which might make JTNP seem like an “un-destination” in the grand list of US National Parks.  Though, JTNP makes up for this with plenty of small jewels that can be an easy walk to find.


While JTNP is not one of the best-known Parks in the United States, its close proximity to Palm Springs, Los Angeles, and San Diego, make it a popular location for hiking, camping, and rock climbing; particularly on weekends.


For those of you that may be wondering, all of the images here were captured using a full spectrum camera and a 720nm infrared (IR) filter. The images were processed as IR native color images, and then converted to B&W. I have included some images in both native color and B&W. Also, all of these subjects were located near, picnic areas, camp grounds, and hiking trails.


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  • jean pierre guaron says:

    Thanks for sharing these images, Paul.

    I’ve always been fascinated by infra red photography. Not that I’ve ever want to do any, myself. But it produces the most extraordinary images!

    • PaulB says:

      Thank you Pete.

      Yes, the IR look is different. It has been a worthwhile experiment.


  • Ian Varkevisser says:

    Hi Paul,

    Even the ones in colour have a filmic look and dream like quality about them.

    That combination of filter and colour appeals to me and has promise for a series in the particular location and daylight.

    Fabulous detail and drop off of focus in the first image.



    • PaulB says:

      Thank you Ian.

      Yes, Joshua Tree is a place that is worthy of a photo series. I would like to go back, the early morning light is special.


  • Nancee Rostad says:

    Lovely images of the always fascinating Joshua trees, Paul! My favorites are #6 & #9, although I was spoiled for choice. IR photography is a great way to accent the oddities of ancient trees, and the barren landscape that they inhabit. The park doesn’t need any other attraction than the one it has; the Joshua trees could keep a visitor busy for a good long time. Kudos!

    • PaulB says:

      Hi Nancee

      Yes, the Joshua Trees make the place special. Though it is a place where you need to look for your special tree, or location. Some of the jewels are in plane sight, others hide in the small gaps in the rocks, and others come out in the dark (dawn actually). 😉


  • John Wilson says:

    Paul – What a wonderful morning treat!! As a big fan of infrared I’m revelling in your collection. But, as you know, my experience with infrared is BW not colour. I do like the BW images but I keep coming back to the colour ones. The delicate pastel tones are a treat to the eye, and the mountainlike rockscape has a gentle but other worldly quality that I want to look at again and again. The first image of the cactus is positively delicious.

    Brilliantly done Sir!

    • PaulB says:

      Thank you John.

      I originally started working in IR to make B&W images. Though, the more I look at these color images, the more I like this faux color effect.

      Unfortunately, I am very new to this conversion process, so being able to repeat the process consistently may be a challenge. Time and practice will tell.


      • Pascal Ravach says:

        Totally with John here, Paul; I watch a lot of IR images since long, but I find your # 4 very « haunting »… it looks « otherworldly », but still totally « real ».

      • John Wilson says:

        Paul – just out of curiosity, what IR conversion are you using to get the faux colour?

        • PaulB says:

          Hi John

          My camera was converted to full spectrum and these images were made using a 720nm IR filter; both by Kolari. The color swap and post processing were done in Capture one.

          Though, part of the secret sauce of these images is they were taken before or a little after sunrise. As you might expect, images I have made during sunset have a slightly different palette.


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