Sunday, July 4, 2010

Loose in the Palouse

After the excitement of the Reception in Seattle, my friend Daisy Gilardini and I decided to drive east and see what the Palouse has to offer.

Coming back home from this trip, friends would ask two questions.
The first one was: “Where have you been?” and upon my answer:
“Photographing the Palouse”, I most often looked into a puzzled face.
So here the extended explanation:

The Palouse lies roughly in the northeast corner of the state of Washington. Grasslands and savannas once covered the large area, but now it has been plowed and converted to grain fields. The Palouse is mainly a wheat growing area and the largest producer of lentils in the United States. A combination of just the right amount of rain, thanks to Washington's Cascade Range and the deep, rich volcanic soil make the Palouse to a very successful breadbasket of the West.

Now, why would two wildlife and nature photographer go there?
That, on the other hand brings us to the second question: “What did you do there?”
Well, we usually got up around 3.45 am, yep that's right, 3.45 am! to be on the top of Steptoe Butte for the sunrise:

My favorite:

After the sun got too intense on Steptoe Butte, we would hop into the car, and see where the road would take us...

...which were not always the roads we expected... scout out nice barns and calming, rolling hills.

We had all kinds of weather, from blue sky... a few clouds... more clouds... a stormy sky...

...and even a full grown storm

And in time for sunset, around 8 pm, we would be back at Steptoe for the nice evening light and of course the sunset. After the third day of that “vacation” regimen, we would quit the midday scouting and just go back to the hotel and take a nap!

Our last evening had a special treat for us, it was full moon and we got to photograph the rising full moon over the Palouse.

On our last morning, however, we had actually planned to sleep in, we had plenty of nice sunrises, and Daisy had a lot of driving ahead of her that day. But remembering that it was full moon, we didn't want to miss the setting full moon. Dragging out of bed at 3.45 am we sleep-drunken got dressed and on the way to Steptoe. Arriving there we were rather puzzled and confused, our full moon was just a mere quarter moon. Not quite awake yet, we doubted our self, assured us, that we had indeed photographed the full moon the evening before and tried to find an explanation for this weird occurrence. Since it was a brilliantly clear morning, it couldn't be clouds...suddenly it dawned on us...”check the lunar eclipses for 2010” Daisy asked, and sure enough one of the two lunar eclipses in 2010 was right there, on June 26th. We didn't know if we should cry or laugh, but in best photographers manner, we used the nice early morning light and photographed our last rolling hills.

No setting full moon then, sorry...

Please make sure to check out Daisy's blog as well at

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