I Am Free – Back To The Palouse – With the Sony a7riv and A1

The lone tree. One of many. This one is suffering a bit this year.
The lone tree. One of many. This one is suffering a bit this year.

It’s been a long hard 18 months since the pandemic. I have had a severe case of cabin fever. I usually, in non-pandemic times, will be out in the field for at least a week a month photographing at some location or running a workshop. Since March 2020, like everyone else, I have been in self-imposed lockdown.  

Like many others, I have been vaccinated and have begun to venture out to explore and photograph again. It feels so liberating. 

Another lone tree. The lone tree is symbolic of the Palouse.
Another lone tree. The lone tree is symbolic of the Palouse.

As you may know, I have had to rebook all our international workshops for 2022. While 2022 promises to be a hectic year, I am still trying to make the most of this year. As such, I have just completed the first of two back-to-back workshops in the Palouse. The Palouse is one of my favorite places to photograph. To be back here is a breath of fresh air. It’s pure photographic therapy.  

The weather is great but maybe a bit too warm. The Palouse is having a dry year like many parts of the country. The crops are not as high as they should be. But, there is still plenty to photograph, and it’s been a busy week.

The Gear

For this trip to the Palouse, I am using my Think Tank Airport Security camera bag roller. Inside the bag is a Sony a7riv and Sony a1. These cameras are so much fun to shoot with. My kit is a 12-24mm, 16-35mm, 24-70mm, and a  100-400mm lenses. The 100-400mm is mounted on the a1, and the 24-70mm is mounted on the a7riv. The Palouse is very dusty, and I try to minimize exchanging lenses in the field. If I do have to change a lens, I do it inside the car, and I give the lens and camera a blow with my squeeze blower.  My tripods are a Really Right Stuff and Peak Design.  

In addition, I have brought my DJI Mavic Air 2 for some aerial coverage. The Palouse is ideal for a drone. I will share drone results in a separate article.

The Workshop

The four attendees of the workshop working on a windmill image
The four attendees of the workshop working on a windmill image

Unlike many workshops, I run a small 4 person workshop. We are driving around in a brand new Ford Expedition, so there is plenty of room for 4 people plus myself. We have the 4WD capability, so we go many places other workshops can’t. I also, throughout the years, have made a lot of contacts with farmers and residents. We are invited onto properties and go deep in the Palouse.  

We shoot from dawn to dark. And cover over a thousand miles of back roads. It makes for long days, but the number of images we create is incredible.  

The classic Weber house
The classic Weber house

We don’t forget to eat on these trips. I know many good breakfast, lunch, and dinner spots with excellent food.  

In the coming weeks, each attendee gets a one-hour one-on-one Zoom meeting to go over their images and discuss ways to process and crop, among other things. After the four one-on-one calls are finished, we will do a reunion zoom call where we will share our images with the group. I’ll also publish an article on photoPXL with their pictures so you can see how everyone has seen the Palouse.

Shooting The Palouse

My friend the Garlic Farmer's farm
My friend the Garlic Farmer’s farm

As photographers, we have been brought up to believe we should always use a tripod when making our images.   These days with the cameras we use, we have the luxury of In-Body-Image-Stabilization and excellent high ISO sensor performance.  Thus I use a technique that has worked for me in many remotes places where a tripod can’t be used efficiently.

With the Sony cameras I set my camera to manual.  I put the shutter speed to 1000th of a second or a bit lower or higher depending on lighting conditions.  I adjust my f-stop for the subject, usually starting at around f/8.  Then I set my ISO to auto.  

The iconic red barn
The iconic red barn

I use Continuous Auto-Focus medium spot-tracking.  This allows me to adjust the focus point to the subject and then recompose the image.  The focus point stays locked on the subject as I recompose.  I also use continuous shoot mode set on low.  

I know this sounds a lot different than you may be used to, but doing this will allow you to both move quickly and easily, to adjust shooting height and to compose quicker.  Try it yourself, and you’ll find some beautifully sharp images.  With the light we shoot in, we are usually at high shutter speeds and low ISO.  When conditions get darker, then we bring the tripods out.

My Images

The images below are just a drop in the big bucket of pictures made in the last week. Please enjoy. If you are a subscribing member of PXL, you can click n the images below and see them larger. We recently started a membership subscription which is explained HERE. Regardless everyone can enjoy the article images as shown.  

I’ll be announcing next year’s Palouse Workshop in about two weeks. The dates will be roughly the same. So, keep your eye out for the announcement. This is always a sell-out workshop, and I assure you that it will be a workshop you won’t forget.

Abandoned houses are all over the Palouse. This is one.
Abandoned houses are all over the Palouse. This is one.
Abandoned trucks and cars are also part of the Palouse. every one of them has a story.
Abandoned trucks and cars are also part of the Palouse. every one of them has a story.
A view from inside of one of the abandoned tricks This was one shot using the highlight and shadow recovery in Capture One
A view from inside of one of the abandoned tricks This was one shot using the highlight and shadow recovery in Capture One
One day the owner turned the key off, left the truck parked on the lawn and it hasn't moved since.
One day the owner turned the key off, left the truck parked on the lawn and it hasn’t moved since.
It's the picture in the picture. Look for the details and different compostion
It’s the picture in the picture. Look for the details and different composition
Another detail, the old headlight
Another detail, the old headlight
Freeze church
Freeze church
One of my favorite windmills
One of my favorite windmills
A two for one windmill and lone tree
A two for one windmill and lone tree
One of the more popular lone trees
One of the more popular lone trees
I liked the way the tracks lead into the tree
I liked the way the tracks lead into the tree
The lone tree with the infamous Steptoe Butte in the background
The lone tree with the infamous Steptoe Butte in the background
From Steptoe Butte
From Steptoe Butte
From Steptoe Butte
From Steptoe Butte
The Lone Tree from above from Steptoe Butte
The Lone Tree from above from Steptoe Butte
Barn on the hillside
Barn on the hillside
The rolling hill compsotion
The rolling hill compsotion
Twin White Barns
Twin White Barns
The Twin White barns farm
The Twin White barns farm
A huff and a puff may blow this barn down
A huff and a puff may blow this barn down
The evening light was perfect for the grain silo photo
The evening light was perfect for the grain silo photo
A close upor as I call it a picture in. the picture of the above grain silo
A close up or as I call it a picture in. the picture of the above grain silo
Grain Silos
Grain Silos
This is my friend the Garlic Farmer's farm
This is my friend the Garlic Farmer’s farm
Grain Silo that has been decaying for years
Grain Silo that has been decaying for years
The iconic wagon wheel fence
The iconic wagon wheel fence
A wall in the town of Palouse
A wall in the town of Palouse
The same wall as above but from a different angle
The same wall as above but from a different angle
The big ole bus in the town of Palouse. Great for abstracts as you can see below.
The big ole bus in the town of Palouse. Great for abstracts as you can see below.
Abstract of the Palouse bus
Abstract of the Palouse bus
Abstract of the Palouse bus
Abstract of the Palouse bus
Abstract of the Palouse bus
Abstract of the Palouse bus
Abstract of the Palouse bus
Abstract of the Palouse bus
Abstract of the Palouse bus
Abstract of the Palouse bus
The business mans car, google it!
The business mans car, google it!
I visit this place every year. It's iconic too
I visit this place every year. It’s iconic too
This baby still runs. A great classic
This baby still runs. A great classic
The business mans car interior
The business man’s car interior
A different angle
A different angle

I hope you have enjoyed these.  There is more to come.  I’ll also share an article on the Palouse through the eyes of an iPhone.  I hope I’ll see you one day at one of my workshops in the Palouse.


Kevin Raber
June 2021
Kevin Raber
Indianapolis, IN

Photography is my passion and has been for 47 plus years. My career in photography has allowed me to travel the world, meet some of the most interesting people on the planet and see things I could never have dreamed of. My goal is to share the passion of pictures taking through photographs and teaching with as many people as I can hoping it brings them as much joy and happiness as it has me. I do this through photoPXL.com, this site as well as Rockhopper Workshops and other projects as well as teaching at my Gallery in Indianapolis.

Article Type: MISC

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