Thanks to my recently married brother, I finally had a chance to visit and photograph the Palouse in June. In reading one photographer’s blog on this area, he called it the Tuscany of the US. Having visited Tuscany, I think it is a bit much, yet the Palouse does have its own rather amazing beauty, but I am sorry, there is not the Italian culinary experience or quaint atmosphere of Montepulciano or Pienza . What makes the Palouse so special are the undulating loess hills covered with their green spring growth of wheat and other legumes. The Palouse Losses is essentially windblown sediment that formed the rolling hills, much like sand dunes along a beach and it explains why the dirt roads are sooo dusty. Anyway, early mornings and evenings provide wonderful highlights and shadows enriched by the various shads of green of fresh growth and some of the brown sediment showing through.
A favorite spot for photographers and gazers is a visit to the 3,612 ft high Steptoe Butte. Personally, I find the road up a little nerve racking, but nothing like the back roads of the Colorado Rockies. From this elevation, one is granted a panorama of farms, hills, and valleys. This image was taken in the late afternoon from the Butte. But be sure to explore beyond this butte as there is an abundance of barns, old cars, horses, lone trees and much more worth photographing.
In getting ready for my visit to The Palouse, I invest a fair amount of research before-hand on spots worth visiting and try to get as much location data as I can. From this data I build a POI (point-of-interest) file in Google Maps. Unfortunately, a fair amount of the Palouse is out of cell phone coverage so plan on using some form of off-line map or other GPS device or rely on a printed maps.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor