I’ve wanted to head back to Palouse Falls since my first visit a couple months ago. The reason is more for the high desert experience than for the falls and photos (though photos are always on the agenda). I had decided to spend Saturday driving around taking pictures as long as the weather cooperated. Unfortunately the weather forecast was too correct: mostly sunny morning giving way to clouds and rain.
I awoke early, as usual for photo days, and headed to Elberton, WA. I had seen a picture or two with a nice view of Steptoe Butte overlooking the Palouse River. I found the spot with plenty of time to set up and shoot. It was a good, cold morning for photographs. The bit of fall color surrounding the river was a nice addition.
After the dawn conditions gave way to sunrise, I headed down to Elberton and drove along the river looking for photo ops. The frost was thick on the banks and I began anticipating fog along the river as the sun rose. I found a decent spot but not wholly to my liking. The road eventually went of the small canyon and into the rolling hills. I turned around and drove back through being even more deliberate. Finally on the other side of Elberton (east side) I found some nice views with thick fog engulfing the forest above the river.
It was nearing 8:00am and the sun was close to being covered up by incoming clouds. Since the conditions were quickly deteriorating I decided to take a break from driving around looking for shots. My intention was to be at Palouse Falls in the afternoon, keeping my fingers crossed that there would be nice sunset. I stayed true to the former, but the nice sunset never came–just clouds and intermittent rain.
To pass the time between the morning and afternoon shoot I decided to go up to Spokane and see my friends Barnes and Noble. I picked up a couple new books and began a big, circuitous loop back down to Palouse Falls. I took I-90 down the Sprague, WA and then took a network of gravel and paved roads weaving through the Scablands and Palouse. It was a great drive and satisfied my longing for high desert scenery. I will definitely head back to this area (and take photos too…not the best conditions this time around).
At Palouse Falls I hiked to the backside of the falls and then downstream a short way. The backside hike afforded me views of the Upper Falls. There is a nice trail that goes down the upper falls, but the cloudy conditions weren’t the best for lower angle shots of the falls and canyon. I fooled around there for a while and then headed back up to where the vantage points were better given the weather. I proceeded to hike around the top and see the main falls. I took the typical wide angle shot of the (distorted) falls and canyon. I did a slight perspective crop but the falls still had a gross unnatural lean to it. I then hiked downstream but not too far. The rain was picking up and the scenery was a simple continuation of a terraced canyon and river. Better weather would have been nice (puffy clouds) but I’m sure I’ll go back when such conditions are present.
I’ll end with a couple of shots from the falls area. The interesting thing to note is that all the pictures are from the same river. If I were to drive from my dawn location to the falls, it would take about and hour and half. But during that time the river goes from a nice meandering stream through the hills of the Palouse to a mini Colorado River imitator. The transition from Palouse to Scablands is very abrupt yet very beautiful (to me, at least).