Our recent trip to the Palouse in Washington State was a visually exciting and memorable trip. My wife (Dorothy) and I went with a group of six other photographers led by Jennifer King along with her associates Jeff Silkstone and David Culp. The group was a diverse and fascinating bunch of folks ranging in age from the thirties to the eighties. We had an artist, a cardiologist, a former publisher and a nun! My background and Dorothy’s (accounting) is rather dull compared to all that. More importantly, from the review of our photos that were shared on the final day, all were excellent photographers.
It was a trip filled with intense heat (upper 90’s), plenty of driving (800 miles in five days), extremely dusty dirt roads where you sometimes could not see the car in front of you, and only a few hours’ sleep each night. We were not deterred! After getting up at 3 AM, and a quick snack, we left the motel around 4 AM each morning, resulting in some wonderful sunrise photos and great light until we generally took a break around 9AM for breakfast, a nap or other personal stuff before heading out again around 4PM until the sun came down.
We photographed the majestic rolling hills of the Palouse, sometimes called the Tuscany of America, old barns, many that may not make it through another winter, wind turbines, garbanzo bean, wheat and sunflower fields. You will see many of my photos in future posts.
The most unexpected, illuminating, and even heartwarming part of the trip was an unexpected stop near a wheat field. Just off the road sat an older man, a woman and a young teenage boy. They were sitting nearby a truck and some other equipment drinking beverages to help ward off the heat. For some reason, our lead car with Jennifer pulled off the road nearby. We sat there for a moment or two wondering what was going on. We later found out the farmers were thinking the same thing. Our own personal nun, Sister Rose Marie, walked over to the people and began talking to them. We all soon joined and began a wonderful interaction. First let me say, they were a warm, engagingly friendly and welcoming family. They talked about their harvesting of the wheat, the long hours and dirty work. The woman’s name was Heather Marie, the daughter of the older man who originally owned the farm, now run by his son. As a child Heather Marie worked on the farm. She now lives in Key West, Florida with her husband cinematographer Jaime Reynoso (Bloodline) and has three young boys. Soft White Wheat
Every year Heather Marie brings her boys up to the Washington farm for the harvest season, not only to help out, but to show them her and their granddad’s roots. The work is hard, the days are long, the sun is hot, and the combines kick up dust as they harvest the wheat. As we continued to talk, they invited us to ride up to where they were currently doing the harvest. This even though, it was quitting time for them. We rode up in their trucks and met the rest of the family and a co-worker. They answered all our questions and happily posed for photos. Before leaving Sister Rose Marie gathered the farming family in a circle and said a prayer blessing them. Sister Rose Marie, in the hat, leading a pray
Needless to say, this was not part of Jennifer’s schedule. It was just one of those unplanned happy and memorable accidents.
Now, back home, begins the task of post processing. I will be sharing some photos here and on my photography page on this website, as well as on my Photography website. Hope you will join me.