Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Palouse Photo Trip Part II

Okay. I admit it. It was a mistake to try and pick up the thread of this post more than a month later. I have not had much time here in Europe to continue sharing the Palouse trip story.

So I wil at least share some of the highlights...

Phu and I headed out on the next day into the rolling wheat field country. It was a new photographic experience for both of us, as I mainly focus on wildlife and he on portraits and urban landscapes.

The stark panorama out there was full of fascinating textures, colors, shapes and patterns. It was a great learning experience for me to work on capturing the more abstract beauty of a landscape so strongly influenced by the hands and machinery of human beings.

Generally, when out in the field I look through the landscape to spot wildlife. It was different for me to look at the rolling hills strictly for their own beauty. It was a great opportunity for me to focus on the artistic side of nature photography.

In some places, the landscape was nothing but the sensuous curves of golden hills rolling in every direction. The cut wheat traced with so many lines created an amazing texture, at times like the furry body of some great animal.

We visited 2 buttes which stood out like lone sentinels above the low lying landscape of the wheat fields. The first - Kamioc Butte state park - was closed due to the extreme fire danger created by the dry conditions on its forested slopes. Steptoe Butte, to the North and West, was less forested and thankfully was open to visitors. We had an amazing 360 degree view of the surrounding landscape from up on top. We took our time driving slowly and stopping many times on the way up the butte.

I could not help but seek out some wildlife while taking landscape shots on the butte. In rocky alcove, I poked around looking for snakes and other animals. I was delighted to find a family of rock wrens feeding and exploring the same area. One of them became very curious and approached me for a closer look.
The butte was a spectacular spot, and geologically quite unique. It was formed out of a great mound of quartzite rock over 400 million years old!

The photographic prospects of the Palouse hills were immense, and we did not feel we had exhausted their potential when we headed back to camp for the day.