Friday, June 17, 2016

Palouse Back Roads, Washington

As I mentioned in my two previous posts, back roads are the way to go in the Palouse.  There is no traffic, it is easy to find a place to stop, and maybe you will discover a location that isn’t photographed very often.

Most of our Palouse photos were taken on dirt or gravel roads, and sometimes I found that the roads themselves were great photo opportunities.  This one was near Steptoe.

How did we decide which roads to take?  This one is Rim Rock Road near Colton, Washington.  In this case we just had a few minutes and took a turn at random near our B&B in Uniontown.

I like S-curves, and roads often have this great composition element.  We found this road near St John on a “Photographing the Palouse” brochure that highlighted barns, lone trees, windmills, and abandoned houses.

This is another dirt road near Steptoe.  The rolling hills and fields were wonderful to explore.  The best resource for finding back roads was a map of Whitman County, Washington that shows every little dirt track.  I picked it up at the county offices in Colfax on a previous trip.

I loved the way this road followed a bank covered with wildflowers that led right to a lone tree near Steptoe.  It is important to be cautious on these roads.  You will be a long way from help, and may not have cell phone coverage, so if you don’t have four wheel drive, keep out of mud holes and loose sand.  We didn’t take chances, and turned back twice in our four days in the Palouse, but we had a wonderful time.

As always, please do not use our photos for any reason without our permission.  Thanks.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Palouse Contours, Washington

The Palouse region of Washington is a remarkably beautiful area of rolling hills and well-kept farms.  Photographers enjoy patterns of green fields cultivated along the curves of these hills.  This is my second post from my recent trip with Linda.

We explored several areas looking for patterns in the cultivated hills.  These two photos were taken near Almota on the edge of the Snake River Canyon.  They are pretty good examples of how many of the fields are farmed wherever the hills aren’t too steep for machinery.  In fact, in many parts of the Palouse, special hillside combines are used.

These two photos were taken along back roads near Steptoe.  You can see what a wonderful effect cloud shadows have on the rolling hills.  Back roads are the best way to explore the Palouse because it is easy to stop anywhere without worrying about traffic.

The last two were taken very close together near the small town of St  John.  Very often two crops are planted on the same hill, for example, rows of garbanzo beans over wheat.  This often results in beautiful stripes or contrasting patterns.  This early in the year we found many fields with unplanted layers over lower bands of green.

It is a good idea to visit the Palouse in different seasons.  In the fall, harvest time brings out the big combines, and winter may add snow drifts to the curves.  The spring curves of new crops were just gorgeous.

Please respect my copyright, and do not use these photos without permission.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Palouse Barns, Washington

Linda and I got away for a week in the beautiful Palouse region of Washington.  I plan to publish at least three posts from this trip, and possibly more.  One of the sights we enjoyed was the abundance of barns.

This was one of my favorites.  It was in a quiet location near Manning.  The grounds are beautiful, with a manicured lawn and wild roses in the foreground. 

When photographing barns, it helps to include the setting instead of taking an ordinary close-up of the building.  Each barn has a photographic story.  This one somewhere on a back road near Colton is isolated in a field.  Notice that there are no roads or paths leading to the barn, so perhaps it is unused and abandoned.

The Dahmen barn in Uniontown is special.  It is surrounded by a fence made of over 1000 wheels and gears.  The restored 1935 barn houses the work of many first rate artists, including photographers.  We could have spent hours photographing this barn and fence.

One of the things I really enjoyed about these barns was how neat everything is.  The grounds of active farms were almost always immaculately kept, with no junk around.  This was true nearly everywhere we went in the Palouse.  Often, older equipment was restored and displayed on the property, like this color coordinated truck in Uniontown.

We spent a lot of time on back roads, and discovered a few abandoned farms.  This property included a house, outhouse, two combines, and other abandoned machinery.  The surrounding fields were still being cultivated even though these buildings were abandoned.   It was much easier to stop on the back roads and take pictures when we weren’t fighting busy traffic and looking for a place to pull over.

Clouds and shadows made a big difference.  This old barn near Colton wasn’t too exciting since the surrounding fields were bare dirt, but when clouds moved in, the shadows transformed the scene.

The back roads around Colton were just loaded with beautiful barns.  We were delighted to see two together here, and a low viewpoint added the cattle guard for extra interest.

The toughest part of this post was selecting some favorites out of the dozens we stopped to photograph.  The Palouse may not be a big tourist destination, but it sure is a great place for photography.

Please be aware that all my photos are copyrighted, and cannot be used without my permission.