Where Have I Been? The Palouse

The Palouse – Land Of Surprises and Great Photos

Sorry for the radio silence for the last week. Life has gotten busy on many fronts—all very exciting. This last week, I have been running a workshop in the Palouse. I have been traveling to the Palouse region almost every year since 2004. The Palouse is a large region of southeast Washington. I call it the Tuscany of America.

It’s a region of beautiful and gently rolling hills and is the largest wheat-growing area in America. For photographers, it offers a wealth of photographic possibilities. There are landscapes, abandoned farms, homes, trucks, and cars. There are grain elevators, giant waterfalls, and skies, unlike those I have seen elsewhere.  

Towns are dotting the Palouse, which is just a shell of what they once were.  The buildings tell stories of what it must have been like back in the day.  The people are also very special.  They are some of the nicest people I have ever come across.  Hard-working farmers who never hesitate to give away as you pass them by on the many dirt roads of the Palouse.  

The iconic lone tree and windmill in one photo
The iconic lone tree and windmill in one photo

The Palouse is one of my happy places. I have been coming here for twenty-plus years, and I still find new locations to photograph. I also bear witness to the many changes that have taken place. Many abandoned places that looked like regular homes twenty years ago have begun to collapse as nature reclaims them.

Lovely images as the sun goes down on top of Steptoe Butte
Lovely images as the sun goes down on top of Steptoe Butte

There are no overlooks in the Palouse, like in many parks.  The views you capture with your camera come at you fast and heavy as the landscape of wheat and canola take on their own beauty by the changing light of the day.

This Past Week

This is the group from my first workshop. We stopped at the Pie Safe for lunch. Everone declared this places has the best pies they ever had. We eat well on my workshops.
This is the group from my first workshop. We stopped at the Pie Safe for lunch. Everyone declared this place had the best pies they had ever had. We eat well on my workshops.

When I first started doing workshops in the Palouse I was doing so with 12 or more people.  At one point we did a Phase One workshop with 34 people and five instructors.  Now-a-days I take a maximum of five people and we travel around in a large SUV like a Suburban or Ford Navigator.  Other workshops are vans with eight or more or car pool caravans.  

Doing it like I do, we are all together in one car; we talk photography, we shoot together, and we eat together. Also, we move fast, especially when chasing the light at the end of the day. We literally criss-cross the Palouse during our five days.  On this trip, I had attendees from as far away as Australia.

We chase the light and this is what you can expect
We chase the light and this is what you can expect

I do two workshops every June, and we just finished the first one, and the next is about to get underway.  I pick my clients up at the airport and return them there when the workshop is over.  We stay in Pullman at the lovely Hampton Inn and eat at some of the best restaurants around.  More than anything else we have fun, make friends and experience some of the finest photography you can imagine.

The photographs accompanying this article are just some of the early picks.  It’s going to take sometimes to go through all the images we captured.  I will share more in another article further down the road.  

More from a light chasing evening. So much fun!
More from a light-chasing evening. So much fun!

One of the highlights of this trip was an evening of once-in-a-lifetime sunset skies. The color was just spectacular. See the pictures in this article. Everyone was shooting the sunset, and then the sky above us lit up so beautifully. It was so cool, and it just kept changing by the second. All of us got great photos, and it served as a reminder always to be looking around you.

The forecast for the next five days looks good. I look forward to taking this next group to some of my favorite locations and sharing the joy I have learned in the Palouse.  

When the skies light up,they really light up.
When the skies light up,they really light up.

My Gear

On this trip, I am taking a lot of images with the iPhone Pro Max 15. In addition, I am using a Fuji XT-5 and XH2 with an assortment of lenses. The iPhone is allowing me to catalog image locations and test out some new interesting processing apps.

Join Me Next Year 

I’ll be offering two Palouse workshops in 2025. If you’d like to be notified first, please email me, and I’ll add you to the early notification list.

More Photos

Since this is a photography site, I will share more photos from this past week.  Please enjoy.

We visit an abandoned hospital for a few hours of fun photography
We visit an abandoned hospital for a few hours of fun photography
The hospital is kind of a spooky place
The hospital is kind of a spooky place
The famous Weber House, is always a great place to photograph
The famous Weber House, is always a great place to photograph
The long abandoned General Mills Grain Elevator
The long-abandoned General Mills Grain Elevator
A pano black and white with one lone cloud of the General Mills complex
A pano black and white with one lone cloud of the General Mills complex
There are so many great barns and farms all over the Palouse
There are so many great barns and farms all over the Palouse
On the first day we visit Sprague and photograph truck heaven
On the first day, we visit Sprague and photograph truck heaven
These trucks are a work of beauty
These trucks are a work of beauty
One of the abandoned properties we visit offers a lot of photo opportunities
One of the abandoned properties we visit offers a lot of photo opportunities.
so many stories all these abandoned trucks can tell
so many stories all these abandoned trucks can tell
One day someone got off these tractors and they haven't moved since
One day, someone got off these tractors, and they haven’t moved since

 

This truck has seen better days
This truck has seen better days
This is Dave's place. A super nice guy and each year the paint fades a bit more
This is Dave’s place. A super nice guy, and each year, the paint fades a bit more
I am putting focus this trip on the people of the Palouse
I am putting focus this trip on the people of the Palouse
One of the farmers I have gotten to know over the years
One of the farmers I have gotten to know over the years
We were photographing this sunset then the sky above us lit up, see the pictures below
We were photographing this sunset, and then the sky above us lit up, see the pictures below
This shot was taken by turning a 180-degree angle from the sunset photo above. This is the Palouse, wheat and incredible clouds
This shot was taken by turning a 180-degree angle from the sunset photo above. This is the Palouse, wheat, and incredible clouds.
This was shot by looking literally straight up above our heads
This was shot by looking literally straight up above our heads
Having lunch with the farmers
Having lunch with the farmers
Roadside attractions on the way to Palouse Falls
Roadside attractions on the way to Palouse Falls
Palouse Falls
Palouse Falls

Come back next week for part two, week two.


Kevin Raber
June 2024
Kevin Raber
Indianapolis, IN

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.

Article Type: Columns, MISC

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