Palouse Photography Adventure 2023
The Two 2023 Photography Workshops In The Palouse
Lots Of Photos To Enjoy
Wow! Where did the summer go? Back in June, I ran two week-long workshops in the Palouse. I’ve been conducting these Palouse workshops for many years. I made my first visit to the Palouse back in 2005 and have watched it change with each visit. Back in the day, not a lot of people knew of the Palouse, but like many things, social media and photographers sharing their images have turned the Palouse into a major destination for photographers and photo workshops.
The good thing is, the Palouse is a vast region and at least with my workshops; we don’t encounter many other photographers unless we are at Steptoe Butte, which is the highest point in the Palouse and gifts us with some stunning 360-degree views. Most workshops in the region are carpool workshops where a caravan of cars follows a lead vehicle and stops wherever to take photos. These workshops sometimes have up to 10 or more people in them. That’s not the way I do it.
I rent a Suburban 4WD vehicle and take four to five attendees on a daily non-stop trip through some of the most picturesque landscapes in the country. By doing a workshop this way, I have the whole group with me. We exchange great discussions on photography and a lot of other things (no politics allowed though).
There are numerous dirt roads, and many cars wouldn’t be able to navigate them. With the vehicle I use, we can pretty much go anywhere, and we do just that. It’s also easier to pull one car over to the side of the road safely than three to six cars. We cover hundreds of miles a day and photograph dozens of locations. The images below will give you a taste of the Palouse. You should consider joining me on next year’s trips, so you too can have fun shooting the always amazing Palouse.
If you are a Silver or Gold member, you can click on any images and see it larger
The workshops this year were held from June 12 to 17, and June 19 to 24. Every year, I pick everyone up at the airport around noon on the first day. We have lunch, introduce ourselves, and discuss what we hope to gain from the workshop. I also emphasize safety, the importance of respecting farmers’ properties, anticipated weather conditions, and what we can expect over the coming days. After lunch, we head off to our first location, Sprague, Washington. This picturesque town, home to a collection of old trucks, has seen better days.
This location is a great way to start off the workshop as it features one of the Palouse’s iconic themes — old, abandoned trucks. There is a plethora of color, rust, and trucks to shoot. It’s enjoyable to approach these not only from a literal point of view but also from an abstract perspective. We usually finish this stop off with an ice cream bar from the small grocery store before heading deeper into the true Palouse region.
Each year, I choose a section of the Palouse to focus on. A lot of where we go depends on the weather, sky, and clouds. This area is one where you can shoot from dawn to sunset. I use an app on my phone called Gaia GPS. This app tracks my routes for each day and allows me to add photos at any stop we make. These maps are enjoyable to use as they show how much ground we’ve covered. The app also lets you mark a spot and set it for directions for future reference. Any photos I take on the iPhone are saved in the Photos app, and I can locate these places on the map or in the ‘Places’ selection on the iPhone. This feature makes it easy to return to specific spots in the future.
It’s All About Photography
This workshop is all about taking photographs. When I first started hosting workshops, I conducted daily picture editing programs. However, I received numerous comments that, as much as attendees enjoyed the classroom sessions, it was challenging to stay indoors working on images when the weather and scenery were so pleasant outside. Therefore, nowadays, we focus on shooting from the time we leave the hotel until we return at dusk.
I should mention that we eat well. I know the places to get good food in the region, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You won’t go hungry during my workshops. Some places we dine are very nice, while others are just regular places. We do visit a fantastic breakfast location, as well as a lunch place known for its homemade pies
My workshops tend to attract more advanced photo enthusiasts. Many of the attendees invest heavily in high-quality, and sometimes expensive, gear to use in the Palouse. This year we had a variety of Phase One cameras, Hasselblads, Leicas, and other mirrorless cameras. We discuss how to shoot certain locations, and I enjoy challenging the group to see things differently. I’m always amazed by the photography that the groups produce. There are so many print-worthy images.
What Was New This Year
This year, I managed to arrange for the two groups to spend a few hours in an abandoned hospital in Colfax. I published an article about it, which can be FOUND HERE. I shot the hospital on my iPhone using ARW and Hipstamatic, as well as my Sony a7riv. The images were exciting, and I thoroughly enjoy photographing abandoned places.
I took a substantial number of photos using the iPhone. I utilized the ProRAW format and the Hipstamatic app. The Hipstamatic app enabled me to shoot with a unique look that I created using different lens and film combinations. The RAW format allowed me to shoot a RAW file that could be processed in Lightroom. I also shot with the Sony a7riv, as I plan to do some serious pixel peeping between the iPhone and Sony. Frankly, the iPhone RAW files are extremely impressive. I previously published an article titled ‘How Big You Can Go,’ about printing from an iPhone RAW file to large sizes.
The results are quite impressive, and I don’t think will be long before the iPhone becomes a primary camera for many. From what I hear through the rumor mill, the next generation of the iPhone will boast some truly impressive camera and photo specs. I consider these exciting times, and by using certain apps, I can accomplish the same kind of frame averaging in iPhone RAW that a $60,000 Phase One XT camera can do. Check out the Palouse Falls waterfall image below. The app I use for this is Reeflex.
The Palouse Inhabitants
Some of the nicest folks I have ever met are the residents and farmers of the Palouse. Over many years, I have made great friends with many of the farmers, and they are always welcoming.
Many farmers have shared horror stories of very rude workshop groups and the violation of trespassing on their property. You would think common sense would prevail and folks would stay out of crops and off property, without seeking permission. I have always asked for permission, and in subsequent years, I have brought photos for the farmers from whose properties we were allowed to shoot. However, I have seen groups trample though crops and act as though it is their right to do so. I even watched one workshop leader get arrested in front of this workshop group and taken away for conducting a portrait session in a field with models, light stands, reflectors, and the whole works. The owner wanted him arrested for trespassing. I know this farmer, and he might have suggested a location that the workshop could have used, which would have been beneficial for everyone if he had only asked.
There’s even one resident who has now closed his property to visitors because of an encounter with a well-known photographer early one Sunday morning. One rude photographer has now ruined it for everyone else. It didn’t have to be this way, as the farmer in question has been most gracious over the years. All he would have had to do is ask and come at a reasonable time.
I’ll be running my annual Palouse workshops in 2024 from June 10-15 and June 17-22. Please visit the Rockhopper Workshop page for more details and to register. Each workshop can accommodate a maximum of five attendees. As previously mentioned, these will be full days of non-stop photography. You’ll have tons of images to work on and, hopefully, to create prints from. Speaking of prints, check out the print workshops we are offering. They’re the perfect place to learn how to master fine art printing and create prints from your workshop images.
What Comes Next
Over the coming weeks, I’ll be narrowing these down and the images I made with my Sony a7riv, working towards a total of 60 images. I’ll then create two sets of 30 images each for this year’s two trips. I’ve already made one of the hospital images. You can check out the story about the hospital, ‘A Unique Experience Exploring An Abandoned Hospital‘.
I am sharing a lot of images with this article. We are photographers — I don’t know about you, but I always enjoy looking at images. Don’t forget, if you are a member of this site, you can click on any image to see it larger than the width of your screen. I will add captions to the images so you have an idea of what you are viewing.
Please enjoy. I hope you consider joining me on one of my future Palouse workshops.
This location as you will see yields endless possibilities for interesting images.
After Dinner One Night
After a nice dinner we still had an hour or so of light left and a storm was moving out meaning we should have some great light and clouds.
The Palouse region is filled with fields of grain, lentil, and rape seed. Color and patterns abound.
I hope you have enjoyed these images. Please consider joining me on one of my Palouse Workshops.
Photography is my passion and has been for 50 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 picture 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 as Artist In Residence at the Indianapolis Art Center.