This Week in the Palouse #2

Weather and time conspired together restricting my photo outings to three this week.  Unfortunately the outing this morning produced no results due to lack of preparation and clouds.  The sunset seemed promising lighting up some clouds about 15 minutes prior to sunrise but a veil along the East prevented the sun’s potential from being witnessed.  Nonetheless, I did explore a new area which has two more ridges running north-south that need to be explored for potential photo locations.

I went snowshoeing around Moscow Mountain on Saturday, enjoying the weather all the while.  Fresh snow hasn’t fallen in the Palouse in a week but there was still plenty of snow on the mountain.  The views were nice but I wanted to be off the mountain for sunset.  After leaving the mountain, I drove around some new roads south of Troy.  Clouds had moved in which had dissuaded me from spending the next hour and a half waiting for a photographic opportunity.  On returning to Moscow I had remembered a spot I have yet captured during sunset (or late afternoon).  I drove just a few minutes south of Moscow to the spot.  Direct light on the Palouse was hidden by the sun, but a bank of clouds along the horizon was catching nice rays.

Red Barn at Sunset, Idaho's Palouse

Thursday was the next day I’d spend with my camera in the Palouse.  I had most of the day to drive around yet continually came upon the contretempts of unmaintained dirt roads when I was expecting gravel.  With all the moisture in the soil, I wasn’t committed to blazing through the mud, especially since pictures weren’t immediately to be taken.  I took the networks of gravel roads north from the town of Palouse to Tekoa.  I found some nice spots that I’ll revisit during better light or once the fields turn green.  I had already decided that Steptoe Butte was my final destination.  I arrived at the top about an hour before sunset.

Despite the cool, calm conditions throughout the Palouse, it was very windy atop the butte.  I would guess the wind was blowing a steady 25 mph.  I put on the thickest coat I had and stubbornly waited for sunlight to break through the clouds.  Spotlights broke through from time to time, but nothing too significant.  It seemed that as the sun dropped, breaks in the clouds could finally allow the nice light to shine through.  Although the light never lit up the landscape, accentuating the folds of the fields, it provided a very nice show in the sky.  The best portion, I have to admit, I did not capture.  I had already put away my gear, satisfied with my pictures, when the real show began along the Western horizon.  It lasted for about 15 minutes.  It was nice to enjoy a sunset without the constant photographic process running through your head: making small compositional or exposure adjustments, all the while trying to capture the best light.  Besides, I was tired of fighting the wind for the handful of pictures I did take.

It feels as though winter has left and spring is beginning.  I’m hopeful that some more snow storms will come through during the next two months, but I’m satisfied either way with the photographic opportunities that continue to grow.

Palouse from the Butte

Sunset over Moscow Mountain from Steptoe Butte


3 thoughts on “This Week in the Palouse #2

  1. Wow!! These are stunning . . . the patterns and shadows on the hills are beautiful . . .the sunset, the light and clouds . . .And that is quite an interesting barn.

  2. In the “Palouse from the Butte” picture there’s a very interesting color contrast in the landscape. Are the fields plowed showing various shades of browns or are those fields of grain still growing this time of year? is the very dark strip, dirt or what?

  3. Joretta: Some fields were planted soon after the harvest, others have been tilled and others are still waiting to be tilled so “stumps” of wheat remain (at least what it seems to me). That explains the green fields amidst the dark and light brown fields.

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