This last spring a friend of mine and I went on a road trip on the hundreds of miles of rural roads through the Palouse area of Eastern Washington. I had followed for weeks the agricultural reports put out by the State and the weather reports put out by NOAA; the timing had to be just right. Too soon, and the winter wheat isn’t up and green enough….too late and the wheat is too tall and loses it’s spring green color. Not enough rain, and everything is on hold. And of course I was looking for the spring rain clouds which reminds me so much of the rain squalls on the ocean.
The Palouse is so familiar to me, it reminds me so much of being at sea, the long rolling seas and the clouds skirting by in such a hurry.
The wonderful thing about the Palouse is that all the roads are in great shape so that the wheat farmers can get their huge machines to the fields. And there is nobody on them until harvest time. I can meander without worrying about always keeping my eye on the road ahead.
The day shooting begins at dawn, meaning dawn on site. I always want the light just as it comes over the yard arm….giving new warmth to the cold wheat. That magical edge of the day light makes for an active hour of shooting, looking for clouds to put with the land. It can be a very intense search.
This particular photo shoot gave also gave me mid-day drama with the spring rains. I could tell from a long way off when a cloud was getting ready to empty it’s heavy water from my years of seeing the very same thing on the ocean. The cloud has to achieve a certain darkness before it opens up and lets it all out. With this anticipation I was able to find a suitable spot for my tripod just as the heavens would open up.
Here are some black and whites of that shoot, some places I’ve been to before….but the landscape is different with each planting.