Palouse, a rich farming area in eastern Washington state, has the type of rolling-hill terrain that by itself already offers tremendous composition opportunities to photography in every season and under all kinds of natural light conditions. The opportunities are actually unlimited when such interesting terrain is combined with the lines created by the fields of various crops and the artifacts of farm life such as farming equipment and homestead. For this reason, I guess, it is one of the must-shoot places for anyone who is interested in landscape photography. And also partly for this reason, I have been there four times and still want to go there again.
However, the opportunities offered may not be easily grasped. There are very few landmarks or hot spots where one can easily find a perfect composition and need only wait for the right light to produce a perfect image, like one may find in many national parks. It is one thing to go up Steptoe Butte, one of the few high grounds in the area, to have a totally unblocked view of the rolling hills that extend to the horizon, but quite another to choose a piece of the view in your camera frame. There are layers and layers of lines and curves and objects. They may look similar but never the same. Shades of color change not only with the light, the weather and the season, but also with the type of crops being grown on the fields, because the same field may grow different crop in different year and therefore display different shade of color. You just never know what it looks like before you go there, unless you are the farmer of that field. On lower grounds, there is a maze of dirt roads among the fields which may lead to interesting things like weathered barns or to different angles of the rolling hills and fields. In short, there are just too many possible compositions.
And that is why I love going there to take photos.
Below are some of the photos I took in my first and second trips there in May and June of 2011.