Outside of the photography and agricultural community, and outside of those who know eastern Washington, not a lot of people surprisingly know about the Palouse in eastern Washington. It is a region that extends from Spokane, Washington south through southeastern Washington and north central Idaho, the center of which is Steptoe Butte, a 3612-foot tall mountain of quartzite that rises high above some of the most beautiful landscape anywhere in America.
Lush fields brimming with wheat, barley, peas, and lentils fill the rolling hills of the Palouse region in the spring and they offer a most magnificent site for anyone who is lucky to visit there. The fertile silt mounds of the Palouse Prairie help yield more bushels of wheat per acre than any place on Earth and it is the most important lentil-growing region in America.
I first learned about the Palouse when I became serious about photography in 2005. At the time, photos of the Palouse began to circulating around the Internet and any photographer who appreciate the Zen-like art of abstract minimalism was drawn to the beautiful landscapes. Instantly it became a place I needed to visit, which I would not do for the first time until five years later.
Since then the Palouse has become increasingly popular for those who enjoy photography and especially in the past five years photo tours and workshops fill local hotels from late May through mid-June as photography students from all over the world flock to this remote corner of Washington and Idaho to consume its beauty.
I too am enamored with the majesty of the Palouse, but I am also drawn to the Palouse for another reason. As someone who photographs rural American and agriculture the Palouse is the perfect backdrop. In fact I spent several days in the Palouse this spring photographing there for a large American seed company that serves the wheat industry. Photos of agriculture are easy to make in the Palouse as there are farms and different examples of agriculture all around you.
If you are ever fortunate enough to be in the vicinity of southeastern Washington I highly encourage you to take a detour through the Palouse. As fun as it is to photograph the Palouse, photographs still do not do it justice. Like many things in life it is something that is best experienced in person.
My latest installment of 20+ photos includes 20+ photos of the Palouse. I hope you find the Palouse as peaceful and mesmerizing as I do.