The Palouse Mystique

In mid-June, I flew from the sunny beaches and cool breezes of the Coronado region of  San Diego, CA to the rolling hills and rich fertile farmlands of eastern Washington … specifically the Palouse region.  I had been there a year ago – loved it – and vowed to return at that time.  The time was now.  🙂

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Probably the most popular and photographed area of the Palouse is from the summit of Steptoe Butte.  From there, you can see miles and miles (and then more miles) of the rolling hills and farmlands that make the Palouse region such a favorite with photographers … and not just landscape photographers either.  🙂

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I mean, who could resist playing with the light, which dances all over the landscape, depending on the weather, clouds, and time of day.  It’s so hard to concentrate on one thing … your eyes catch the beauty from every angle.

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This particular visit to the butte, we hit very different weather than last year.  Rain, heavy clouds, and varying winds were present, which was causing a challenge for me.  I fluctuated between getting broad landscape shots one minute, then more focused to a particular feature observed in the landscape.

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At some points, an even tighter, almost cropped view, was used.  In the Palouse, it really doesn’t matter … it’s all beautiful in my opinion.

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While hanging out on Steptoe, there were even wildlife opportunities, as the marmots seemed to be just about everywhere!  Of course, then I became even more confused as to what to shoot!  LOL

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On one of the days that we were visiting, we drove over to Uniontown and visited the Dahmen Barn and the artists’ workshops as well.  It was there that we got a lesson in the importance of all of this rain we were experiencing.  See, though for me (at least at the moment) the rain was an unwelcome guest, we learned about the importance of the rain to the farmers in the area … see these farms have no man-made irrigation systems and desperately depend on nature’s rain.  “Liquid gold” is what they call it.  I guess I can live with it, in fact embrace it, now.  It’s all about perspective and mine was “adjusted”.

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The perimeter of the Dahmen Barn is a work of art in itself … a fence encompasses it entirely – made up of wheels only … a virtual trip down memory lane and a way of life for the years gone by.  I can’t help but think the stories that could be told by each wheel or cog.  Mind boggling, I say.

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To my delight, the farm land immediately next to the barn was covered in newly bloomed canola fields, ironically courtesy of the recent rainfall.  It was amazing to see and in my opinion, impossible to capture the beauty through the lens … but of course, I had to try.

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As if it wasn’t already exciting enough, we happened to notice a nest nearby.  After careful inspection, we noticed it was occupied by 2 red-tailed hawk young ones.  Older than babies, but not yet ready to do much else but test their wings.  At least one of the parents flew over the nest periodically.

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Also a must to visit are the area small towns that dot the outskirts of the farmlands.  Such history in the area … it was hard to get Tom to leave and head back to the rolling hills again.

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If you ever find yourself in the area, please do yourself a favor and stop for a day or two.  You’ll be glad that you did!

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Stay tuned for more blogs shortly … Canadian Rockies and Montana!!

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© 2014  Debbie Tubridy @ http://www.tnwaphotography.com

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