the blog of Seldom Seen Photography

Getting Stinky in the Palouse

Steptoe ViewLast week Tanya, Carson and I traveled to the Palouse region of eastern Washington and northern Idaho on a photo trip. I had originally planned on spending three nights in the area, but was only able to spend one due to receiving an assignment from American Bungalow magazine to photograph sites in Spokane (look for my photos in the August edition of the magazine). Luckily, the day I spent in the Palouse area was very productive.

The highlight of the trip, for me at least, was a pair of visits to Steptoe Butte, once at sunset and again during the following sunrise (which, I might mention, comes damn early in mid-June; in fact, the sun rose at 4:53 a.m., the earliest time all year for that location). Upon when driving up Steptoe Butte before sunset, we were lucky enough to run into my good friend and fellow photographer Jack Graham, who was leading a photo workshop in the Palouse. We hung out with Jack’s group and witnessed an excellent sunset. The sunrise (a mere 8 hours later), in contrast, was very plain (no clouds), but the early light did wonders with the rolling hills of the Palouse. It would have been perfect if it wasn’t for the wind, which shook my camera and softened up many of my images. I’ll have to go back next year with a bigger tripod.

Following sunrise, I drove some of the many back roads in the area looking for photo opportunities with the eventual goal of photographing the Freeze Community Church outside of Potlatch, Idaho. I shot a lot of pixels at the church and will show some of them in a follow-up blog post soon.

Eventually, I drove back to Colfax, Washington, where we were staying, and picked up Tanya and Carson (both of whom didn’t want to get up at 4:00 a.m. to go photograph the sunrise, imagine that!). Our afternoon goals were to visit Pullman (home of Washington State University, where Tanya went to school) and see Colton, a small town co-founded by my great-grandfather and great great uncle. The afternoon light didn’t offer many good photos, but we had a good time exploring the country side. Perhaps the most surrealistic moment was when we stopped at St. Gall’s Cemetery in Colton and seeing a headstone with my name on it, which belong to some long-lost relative of mine, as well as a headstone with my parents names – actually belonging to by great-grandparents (considering my Dad is still alive and my Mom is buried in Spokane).

While my highlight was Steptoe, Carson’s highlight of the trip was when we stopped to photograph the street sign for Becker Road (which is north of Colton and surrounded by wheat fields). Carson, being a dog of course, didn’t care about the sign, but did find something dead at the edge of a field which he promptly rolled upon.  We remembered a pet grooming shop in Colfax, but when we drove by, it was closed with a sign stated “please call for an appointment.” Not very convenient when you have 140 pounds of stinky dog in your car. We called, but there was no answer, so we kept going on our drive to Spokane, where we were to spend the night at my Dad’s house, Carson (I’m sure) enjoying the smell much more than we did. In Spokane, we stopped at PetCo and found a waterless dog shampoo, which worked wonders and left us with a clean smelling end to our quick trip to the Palouse.

Trees and Hills

Trees lit by the setting sun as seen from Steptoe Butte

Morning Light

Morning light on a farm below Steptoe Butte

Barn and Trucks

Barn with trucks outside of Colfax

Barn Boards

Detail of an old barn near Potlatch, Idaho

Palouse Street Scene

Scene on Main Street in the small town of Palouse, Washington

12 responses

  1. Very nice article and images Joe. I would like to get up that way some time to shoot the rolling hills. I really enjoy the area from Lewiston up and over Lolo Pass to Missoula. Spokane is a great jumping off spot for alot of Northern Idaho adventures.

    June 21, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    • Thanks Bob. I agree with you, when I lived over there, I didn’t take advantage of all the photo possibilities, but then I was just a teenager and didn’t realize what I had. If you ever make a trip up there, maybe I could come over and meet you.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:35 am

  2. Your first three shots my favourite!!! It is super gorgeous!!! Love the colours!! 🙂 **

    June 21, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    • Thanks Xandre! Those three are from Steptoe Butte, you can see why it was my highlight.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:37 am

      • I need to remember this name…. really beautiful!! 🙂 **

        June 22, 2012 at 10:07 am

  3. Wow this is just amazing!

    June 23, 2012 at 2:54 am

  4. Pingback: Palouse Falls – a Photo Guide | joebeckerphoto

  5. Reblogged this on and commented:
    My Hometown!

    August 16, 2015 at 8:53 am

  6. Pingback: Palouse – Late Summer Edition | joebeckerphoto

  7. Pingback: Quick Shots – Steptoe Butte | joebeckerphoto

  8. Incredible landscapes.

    May 21, 2017 at 7:09 am

  9. Pingback: Quick Shot – Palouse | joebeckerphoto

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