Winter Ends…I Hope

The 10-day forecast shows highs in the low 50s; it appears Spring is near.  Though the Inland Northwest saw a brief break in January from winter weather — especially here in the Palouse with a lengthy inversion — snow and cold came back with a vengeance in February.  I’ve shared a few photos already but here are the last three to share from the snowy month of February 2014.

Fencline and Snowy Hills

Field Road Drifts

Palouse Afternoon Light – Winter

Palouse Winter Panoramas

One final surge of Winter (hopefully the last) was experienced in early February here on the Palouse.  Good snowfall, frigid temperatures, and good light all came together for a good week of photography.  Though I took numerous images, here is a sampling of panoramas from this Winter.  Some are cropped to a 2:1 aspect ratio (first and last images) while the remainder are multiple images taken with a 400mm and then stitched.

Ladow Barn, Winter

Kamiak Butte in Afternoon Light, Winter

Steptoe Butte in Afternoon Light, Winter

Palouse Winter Morning, near Kamiak Butte

Waiting out Winter

Winter Dawn from Steptoe

The past 10 days has seen winter’s reemergence in the Palouse. Snow first led to a meeting among myself, Peyton Hale, and Grant Meyer. Our destination was Steptoe; our hope was the fog seen along the highway would have breaks, kindly giving us fantastic conditions. Fortunately the weather cooperated for us stingy photographers and provided a wonderful dawn. Here are three photos from that morning.

Photos and Details:

(1) Shot with 70-200 + 1.4 extender and cropped after further consideration. Tekoa Mountain is visible in the distance just above the fog.

Snowy Hillside and Fog

(2) Two shot (landscape) panorama stitched in Photoshop. This was shot before sunrise, providing very soft, low contrast light.

Foggy Dawn from Steptoe, Winter

(3) My favorite image. Three shot (portrait) panorama stitched in Photoshop. No filtration used. The earth shadow was quite strong and complimented the receding fog and snow covered hills. I find a three shot portrait-oriented panorama crops very well to the native 2:3 aspect ratio of my camera.

Twilight Arch and Fog over Wintry Palouse

Kamiak Butte Frost

I feel like I’m going to fall behind with the recent good weather and inevitable increase of me taking photographs given the conditions locally. It has already been a busy weekend with more photos to be taken!

Last weekend my wife and I went on a short hike at Kamiak Butte. The trail’s switchbacks were very icy; once atop the butte it was less slick. The hoarfrost on the trees and shrubs was outstanding. I could have spent a while trying to find the best composition but opted for a few short stops. This scene greeted me once atop the butte:

Kamiak Tree Hoarfrost

We retraced the path back to the car, at which time I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. I had already noticed the “X” these two fallen trees made and liked how the line lead up to other trees. I used the 24 tilt/shift and took two images (shifted) to get this square crop of the scene.

Fallen Trees atop Kamiak Butte

Palouse Winter Frost

While the Northeast gets slammed with more winter weather, the West has seen an unusually mild winter. Though we did have very cold temperatures here in the Palouse in early December, January has felt more like March. In the middle of a week-long inversion in Eastern Washington, a perpetual fog has hung over the Palouse this week. This has lead to some interesting photographic opportunities with frost on virtually everything. Unfortunately the frost is very spotty; what may seem like great conditions out my front window aren’t so great 10 miles away. Nonetheless I have taken a few images this week.

This first image shows the inversion hanging over the Palouse. I drove up Steptoe Butte to see what the view looked like in this weather. No sign of the Palouse below!

Moscow Mountain as seen from Steptoe

On another less foggy day, though still overcast, I drove a loop that has become standard. At one of my favorite vistas I took these two images.

Frosted Field Curves

Frosted Fence