Footloose In The Palouse

Rural scenery in The Palouse area of eastern Washington north of Pullman

There are some places you can go where the secret to making decent photographs is simply being willing to stop the car.  The Palouse region of eastern Washington state was such a place for me.

I tend to steer clear of photographic icons for the simple reason that it is hard to do anything original there.  That plus the fact that standing at an overlook with a bunch of other photographers isn’t my idea of a good time.  But on this road trip we are concentrating on doing our own thing.

Rural scenery in The Palouse area of eastern Washington north of Pullman

We only had two nights devoted to the Palouse, staying in the town of Pullman, WA.  When we arrived at our hotel we were informed that a group of National Guard personnel were due to arrive the following day to assist with testing of University of Washington students because the campus – surprise, surprise – had become a hotbed of Covid cases.  Swell – so much for distancing.

Rural countryside along SR 26 in southeastern Washington

We limited our public stops in Pullman to two mostly empty restaurants and a grocery store.  We drove the first evening on mostly deserted back roads, got the car filthy dirty but saw some nice scenery.  The second day we awoke to the forecasted high winds and dust storms, so that limited our activities that day.  But in 200+ miles of driving around the area we went from places we weren’t willing to get out of the car to places that were clear as a bell, just windy as heck.

“Wheel Fence” at the Dahmen Barn along US-195 in Uniontown, Washington
“Wheel Fence” at the Dahmen Barn along US-195 in Uniontown, Washington

One of the meccas for photographers is Steptoe Butte, a high spot overlooking the undulating valleys.  We had planned to go there but nixed the idea due to the high winds and dust.  So instead we did the sensible thing and sought out a small local restaurant with excellent food and wine.  The photos can wait for a return visit!

Rural scenery along US-195 near Uniontown, Washington
Rural scenery along US-195 near Uniontown, Washington

I think I did a pretty decent job of finding “my own” version of the Palouse region.  I have hundreds more shots but this is a sample of my initial favorites.

Rural scenery along US-195 near Uniontown, Washington

6 thoughts on “Footloose In The Palouse”

  1. I didn’t get to WA in my travels across the US but this area looks amazing. Quite breathtaking really. The undulations of the landscape is mesmerising.

    1. Truthfully, photographs can’t really express the experience of driving through that landscape. You could literally make photographs from every place to pull off, and many where there is no safe place. Truly amazing!

  2. I did the same thing. All of my shots are from the roads and bar ditches. Love the lay of land and the way they farm the land. depending on the time of year the landscape can be waves of gold or waves of green. And, of course the shadows!

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