Palouse Revisited

The Palouse is located in southeastern Washington. It is the designation given to an area with rolling hills that have been formed over thousand of years from wind blown dust and silt. The best view of these rolling hills can be seen from Steptoe Butte. We love The Palouse. So do so many other photographers! The place to set up your tripod to get the ‘classic’ Palouse landscape is up on Steptoe Butte. This butte is a big thumb right in the middle of it all. It is a Washington State Park (annual fee for a statewide permit is $30). The road winds up and around and around and around. There are several prime spots and you can count on having the company of many other photographers on any evening to photograph the deep shadows on hills of wheat and canola. From Steptoe Butte the rolling hills look like giant sand dunes, no surprise since they were formed in much the same way.

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You might have noticed that some of these hills are pretty steep. You might also have thought that the usual straight line farming would no work well (think errosion of soil). So, how do farmers plow and harvest these hills? Well, I checked into it and found out that at one time that was a serious problem. The hills are, in fact, steep enough to cause tractors and combines to tip over. An innovative solution was found by Raymond Hanson (age 19) in 1941. He invented the control mechanism that then lead to the development of a self-leveling combine!! This system allows the chassis and cutting part of the machine to follow the slope of the hill while the body and cab remain vertical. This is the number one wheat producing area of the country.

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When we first arrived in Palouse the canola plants had not started to produce their flower which gives the landscape that gorgeous yellow that we love. By the time we left it was just beginning to show up in some fields. There was just a hint of it in some of the first photographs above.

When we first arrived in Palouse the canola plants had not started to produce their flower which gives the landscape that gorgeous yellow that we love. By the time we left it was just beginning to show up in some fields. There was just a hint of it in some of the first photographs above.

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Someone has quite a collection going!!

Someone has quite a collection going!!

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Animals and Road Shots (not roadkill)

This is the final installment of photographs taken during our stay near Yellowstone. Photographing animals is not our usual interest but they are hard to miss in Yellowstone! While it was the beginning of June, the road shots show how much snow was still on the ground and Yellowstone Lake was still sporting ice. Some of the more interesting photo opportunities were along the road between Yellowstone and Cody. We were fortunate to have Diane with us again. She has made an excellent contribution to our series on Yellowstone. Enjoy.

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View from our camp.

View from our camp.

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Really?  Really!!!

Really? Really!!!

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Prismatic Spring

This is absolutely my most favorite site in Yellowstone National Park. The Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in the United State and the third largest in the world! The Prismatic is filled with extremely hot water that travels 121 feet from a crack in the earth to reach the surface. But there is more than just Prismatic. At the entrance a visitor passes by Excelsior Geysor, which at one time erupted to heights of 300 feet. It has had long periods of dormancy but erupted over two days in 1985. There are two smaller hot springs, Opal and Turquoise. Visitors walk on a boardwalk loop that lets them get up close to the thermal activity. From the boardwalk one can see the spring in parts, brilliant colors and pattern along with colorful steam. The colors change with light changes, wind and clouds. To see Prismatic Springs from above one must use the path that goes to Fairy Falls. This new half mile path was opened in 2017, climbs 105 feet and provides a safe fantastic view of the full Prismatic Spring.

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The outer edge of Excelsior Geyser.

The outer edge of Excelsior Geyser.

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I believe this is Opal Spring.

I believe this is Opal Spring.

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I believe this is Turquoise Spring.

I believe this is Turquoise Spring.

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This is Turquoise Spring.

This is Turquoise Spring.

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A hot spring on the path to the overlook.

A hot spring on the path to the overlook.

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Turquoise Spring.

Turquoise Spring.

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