the blog of Seldom Seen Photography

Two Summer Seasons of the Palouse

My recent posts of the Palouse featured images captured in June when the landscape is green. However, mid to late summer in the Palouse looks totally different. June is green; August is golden. Most photographers prefer the green season – on a Tuesday night back in June, my photographer buddy Don and I shared the top of Steptoe Butte with at least 50 other photographers. Last week I returned to Steptoe Butte, and I had the only tripod in sight. Is one season better than the other? In my opinion, at least photographically, they are both great. You can visit the same locations and get two totally different images.

There are non-photographic differences. The weather is hotter in August than June. The average high temperature in June is 84 degrees F in Colfax and 72 degrees in Pullman. In August, those average highs jump to 91 and 83 degrees. Plus, the air quality is typically better in June. In recent years, late summer has brought many wildfires to the Pacific Northwest, which cause smoky conditions in the Palouse. This August was no exception, and the distant views were limited. On the other hand, a photographer wandering around in the tall grass in June is likely to find ticks looking for a meal; while in August, the ticks are mostly gone (though they can return in the fall). Plus it is much easier to find a motel room in August than in June (unless you come on the weekend of a WSU football game (which can sometimes start in late August).

Though the some of the comparison images below were shot from slightly different vantage points and/or different times of day, you can see the difference between the green and golden seasons. Green or golden, which is better? You be the judge.

Barn on Shawnee Road in August

Barn on Shawnee Road in June

Old house on Whitman Road in August

Old house on Whitman Road in June

Lone tree along Tennessee Flat Road in August

Lone tree along Tennessee Flat Road in June – BTW, Steptoe Butte is in the background in both shots

Barn along Hoffman Road in August

Barn along Hoffman Road in June

View from Skyline Drive in June

View from Skyline Drive in June

Old building in Wilcox in August

Old building in Wilcox in June,

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11 responses

  1. Heide

    What a stunning set, Joe! The colors in all of them are eye-popping — and you’ve certainly proven the value of going back to a favorite place over and over.

    August 14, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    • A lesson you know well from your wonderful photos of Paris!

      August 15, 2018 at 12:17 pm

      • Heide

        Wow! How kind of you, Joe. But yes … indeed. I never tire of the ever-changing light!

        August 15, 2018 at 2:24 pm

  2. Tom Guffey

    Excellent work Joe..guess you had a great trip !!

    August 15, 2018 at 8:34 am

    • Thanks Tom. Yes, a good trip, though the smokey skies were a bit of a problem. The views off Steptoe weren’t very good. And any image showing a significant amount of sky required a bit of extra LR work to not make it look totally gray.

      August 15, 2018 at 12:18 pm

  3. Superb Joe! Love your great information and images!

    August 19, 2018 at 1:38 pm

  4. To see the contrasts of the seasons ~ wow, simply stunning. Great post, and there is nothing quite like Palouse Country.

    August 25, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    • Thanks. It’s one of the few places I’ve seen that beautifully changes in so short a time.

      August 28, 2018 at 8:19 am

  5. Excellent gallery, Joe. Love being able to compare the seasons; seems like August is better – the scenes you captured have more intense colour and there just seems to be more going in August. 🙂

    August 26, 2018 at 4:29 am

    • Thanks Frank. August does have a lot going for it. On the downside, it is hotter and, at least in recent years, it has been very smokey due to wildfires in the region. Generally, most photography workshops go in June. I think they are missing out on some of the best scenes.

      August 28, 2018 at 8:18 am

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