We just finished up what has become our bi-annual tour of the Palouse. For those who don’t know the Palouse it is the largest wheat growing region in the country. But we love the Palouse for its large rolling hills that resemble the shape of sand dunes. The farmers in the Palouse also grow a variety of legumes and canola but wheat is the primary crop. The fields are often partially planted which presents a ribbon of color and textures. Throw in some iconic barns and we think you end up with a photographers paradise.
The ever constant part of the Palouse is its iconic small towns, dirt roads and farms. With each visit so much remains the same. The people are very friendly and welcoming, very little seems to change.
The ever changing part of the Palouse can partially be attributed to its current popularity. During the pre-tour scouting tour we happened upon a favorite old farm site to find the smoldering remains of a beautiful red barn. We asked a nearby farmer if he knew what happened, but he did not. In talking with some of our friends who also lead workshops we heard of a second barn that burned to the ground and we heard rumors of another photographer who was doing woolies in the area. We have no way to know for sure that this beautiful old barn succumbed to a such a fate, but it would not be the first time in recent memory that an iconic location was damaged from this technique. (Full disclosure, we occasionally shoot woolies, but we always do it in a safe and responsible manner.)
We rolled up on another favorite location during our pre-workshop scouting that had signs posted “No Photos”. This owner has a restored Texaco station on his property with a nice collection of old trucks. We have visited this location several times over the last few years. But it seems a large workshop group invaded the property at 6:00 AM recently, not considering this this is also this gentleman’s home. As I mentioned above, the people of the Palouse are very friendly and will welcome strangers onto their land, but the key is to seek permission. This past trip I had several people thank me for asking. I assume that is because there are others who don’t ask for permission.
I think most landscape photographers subscribe to the “Leave No Trace” Philosophy that is asked of us when we visit a national park. We need to remember to keep that same philosophy in mind whenever we shoot. If you sign up for a trip with us, please know in advance that we do not trespass on private property and we treat and expect our clients to treat the landscape like the treasure that it is!
In spite of the bad behavior of just a few, the Palouse is still a wonderful place to visit. The area is so vast and the photographic opportunities so numerous we look forward to returning in 2019.
P.S. The images above were shot with my Nikon D200 converted to standard Infrared by Lifepixel. We highly recommend Lifepixel for IR Conversions! Click here for info;
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