Category Archives: Grizzly Island Suisun California

NEWS / Workshops / Article: Which one Works # 4, “The Palouse”

               Jack Graham Photography                www.jackgrahamphoto.com

Learn to See                        Learn to think                      Learn to create

 

VISIT MORE IMAGES on the 500PX Web site–CLICK HERE  http://500px.com/JackGraham

This is a GREAT website for viewing some simply amazing  images!

 

__________________________________________________________

Out in the Eastern Sierra

2012 Workshop Schedule    http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/2012-workshop-schedule

 2012 Registration Form   REGISTRATION FORM 2012v9

 Workshop Referrals:  http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/referrals

 One on One, Individual Workshop information http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/one-one-field-studio-photography-workshops

Workshop FAQ’s  GENERAL WORKSHOP QUESTIONS_FAQ’S INFORMATION_v2012f

PODCASTwww.18percentgraymatter.com  NEW PODCAST COMING LATER THIS WEEK!!!!

______________________________________________________________________________

 Jack Graham E-Book Series 1 & 2 now available for purchase and instant download:  

http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/shop/e-books

 

 

Noteworthy

WEBINAR———NIK SOFTWARE: I would like to thank the folks at NIK SOFTWARE for inviting me to host a webinar   at their studio in San Diego from 2-3PM on Feb 28th. You have to register to attend. You need to register for this, and I know there are only a few spots left! ( they can register up to 1000 people). Click here to register: http://www.niksoftware.com/learnmore/usa/index.php/webinars/signup/12851?j=16013119&e=jack@jackgrahamphoto.com&l=175395_HTML&u=205139063&mid=115479&jb=0

I have a featured article in Landscape Photography Magazine this month. You can read it here:

http://landscapephotographymagazine.com/

_____________________________________________________________________

Workshop news and information:

 

WHIDBEY ISLAND & NORTHERN CALIFORNIA—Pacific Northwest Art School Workshops am conducting 2 workshops this year for the Pacific NW Art School. One is on Whidbey Island, Washington in May and the other is in Northern California in September. These are at a very special price and a tremendous value. Please contact them by clicking here, http://www.pacificnorthwestartschool.org/all/photography-workshops/graham-jack-photography-on-whidbey-may-9-12-2012

or call (360) 678-3396 for information      Pacific Northwest Art School Flier

Blue Ice, Iceland

ULTIMATE ICELAND in July 2012—–ONLY ONE SPOT LEFT!… It’s going to a special trip! http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/ultimate-iceland-july-2012

         HIDDEN CHINA and optional TIBET:–Summer 2012 One of the 1st workshops ever to venture into Details here: http://www.phototc.com/tours/tour.php?tour=152

 

EASTERN SIERRA with GUY  TAL — www.guytal.com  OCTOBER 2012—There are only a few spots left for my Eastern Sierra workshop in October with me and my good friend Guy Tal. If you are thinking about joining us, please let me know ASAP. Rooms are also at a premium.

http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/17th-annual-eastern-sierra-photography-workshop-mono-lake-alabama-hills-bristlecone-pine-bodie-more

Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone NP

TETON NP / YELLOWSTONE NP WORKSHOP in September. Details are found here:

http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/fall-grand-teton-and-yellowstone-np-photography-workshop

COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE in JUNE !!   Wildflowers & Waterfalls!http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/columbia-river-gorge-and-mt-hood-photography-workshop


                                             FEATURED ARTICLE:            WHICH ONE WORKS   # 4

© Jack Graham

This is a new feature I am publishing here on my blog every week or two. I’ll discuss and compare images and talk about why I like one over the others.

This process is a common one that we all deal in our editing process.  The editing process is as important as any stage in the making of a photograph. You should edit carefully, and be your toughest critic. In most cases the slightest difference in composition, light etc makes all the difference between a really good image and a great image.

Often we may take many frames of a subject in different light and different angles. Each frame can evoke a different feeling to the subject.

Always remember that you need a good subject and acceptable light, or your final image will probably be less than desirable.

Though art is subjective, certain aspects of correct composition are less. This writing is my feelings. You may disagree; if you do I’d love to know why. You comments, as always are more than welcome.

“The Palouse”

LOCATION. – The Palouse Region of Eastern Washington, USA. The Palouse is made up of rolling hills, old weathered barns and patterns in the wheat fields, accentuated by the light and clouds, which makes for some simply amazing photography. One must have their creative juices flowing to be successful photographing the Palouse. The Palouse is the richest wheat growing area in the United States due to the geographic location rainfall and rich soil.

These images were made in June, when the area is its greenest.

THE STORY:  One of the most striking things I always look for are the barns, sitting on or within the green hillsides. As I am sure you know red and green, as opposite colors work well together. This time of year, the green is at its peak. When photographing here, it’s important to take the textures, patterns and color all into account in every landscape image. I did that in all 4 of these images. Keeping the image as simple as possible is also primary. These are working farms. There will be tractors, silos, and other added articles around the barns, property and on the roads and along the roads. Sometimes you wasn’t them there, sometimes you don’t. Can you clone them out, sometimes, but sometimes they may cause distractions and be unable to be removed successfully. Can they affect the feel of an image? You bet, as we will see here.

TECH DATA:  These images were all shot back in 2006 on June 12th.  Image and all were taken 8, minutes apart at ISO 200, using A Nikon D200 and a Nikon 300mm F4 lens (which equaled 450mm taking the crop factor into consideration). Apertures were all F16, and shutter speeds were either 1 /40th or 1/30 second.

I did minimal processing on these 4 images. The one which I select will be refined and look better than these, but for this exercise, we’re talking about compositional elements, not processing.

The finial-processed image will be included at the bottom of this writing.

Images were processed using Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop CS4 and as always Nik Software. Define was used first to remove any noise. I did not use Viveza 2 on these images at all, but did add Detail Extractor, Brilliance & Warmth, a slight amount of foliage enhancement and bit of vignette to each image, using the Nik Software’s Color Efex4 Pro.. Sharpening was done in Nik Sharpener Pro. There was minimal cropping done to these images.

The same amount of each filter/ sharpening etc was applied to each image. There are no variations in processing here, just natural light

 THE EDIT:    Let’s talk about each image, the pros and cons.

IMAGE # 1
IMAGE # 1

Image # 1

Pros:  I don’t really see too many here at all.

Cons: Let’s start with a basic question you need to always ask yourself. What’s the subject? IS it the barn? Is it the green hillsides? If you cannot answer this, the image is a failure. I cannot answer that question looking at this image. Can you?

There are many compositional defects in this image. There is a huge excess of foreground that adds nothing to the image at all. Yes the rolling hills are nice, the shadows are to me just ok, but the only reason you know it’s a barn is because it’s red. Could I crop out or clone out that tree in the upper left corner. Why is even there? Perhaps because the D200 was a 95% view finder! Also, to me the barn is not 100% sharp.

TIP—Know what percent your viewfinder is and remember things may creep into your image.  Live view will always show you a 100% view!

This image will be trashed and would never get to the processing area.

IMAGE #2

   IMAGE # 2


Pros:  To me this is an improvement that image #1, because of one factor. To me the barn is now the subject. At least we have one here. The simple placement of the barn in the foreground vs. at the top allows for a defined subject. This image was made 4 minutes after image #1. There is a nice leading line, the road coming from the lower right into the barn & house. The patterns are nice and the hillsides in the background are OK.  Notice how the light changed in just 4 minutes.

Cons:  The barn is not sharp enough, nor is the trees. This is still not anything to keep. Perhaps it might be a nice postcard, but nothing to hold my interest for more than about 10 seconds. It’s better than image #1, but to me, still a boring image.

I see many of these kinds of images, sometimes published—but this image will be trashed and would never get to the processing area either.

IMAGE # 3

Image 3

No matter how I tried the images, even though there were some pros, was unusable for all the reason I stated. In the same general area, Image # 3 was taken 2 minutes later than image # 1&2. Here we have something to look at and to hold interest.

Pros:  Just my looking in a slightly different direction allowed me to see something different. Because of the way it’s constructed, the content and layout is why this image is, so far, the superior. The red buildings and silos in the foreground make a pleasing anchor to the vertical view. This image says” Palouse”!  The added suspense created by the dust blowing off the road at the top, as a vehicle, not seen, creates interest. The spacing on the barns etc is good. The light is quite nice as well. It’s a bit hard to tell in these compressed images but the barn and trees are much sharper.

Cons:  Even though there is better subject matter here, there is also much more “going on” in this image than I really would like as a final shot. My eyes wander from the red barns up to the top and that dust, and then back down. Lets’ look for the subject again? What is it in your mind? I need the subject to be a bit more defined. The trees in the upper right corner also bother me a little but not terribly.

As a documentary image or a stock image this might be kept, but not certainly for a fine art print.

Image # 3, though a big improvement over 1 &2 is still a work in progress.

IMAGE # 4

Image # 4

I remember when I made these sequences of images and remembered how I asked myself how I could define the subject better. Why not try a horizontal image?

Pros: The placement of the red barn is now in the right area. As a horizontal image, there is not extraneous apace on the top or bottom. To me it’s just right. I really like how the leading line (road) comes in from the lower left and through the image. The lone few trees on the left add interest. The amount of spaced used by the hillsides on the upper half of the image add interest as well. There is enough, but not too much.

Cons: I don’t have too many. As a nit pick, when I finish processing the image I’ll remove the shadow in the upper left corner. Did you notice this? I did. These kinds of things can distract from an image. In the final image I’ll add some structure to this image using Nik Software’s Viveza2.

In a span of 8 minutes these 4 images were made and the simple though to make a horizontal image saved the day. This scene just lends itself to a horizontal over a vertical image.

TIP: If in doubt, shoot both horizontal and vertical images. When you get in front of your monitor, and then make the decision. Both can work for different uses.

What do you think?   … and if you would like to join us in the Palouse this June… click here for information:

http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/spring-palouse-now-5-days

The right to download and store or output any content on this website www.jackgrahamphoto.com and  www.jackgrahamsblog website is granted for preview purposes only and may not be reproduced in any form .All Photographs appearing on this site are the property of Jack Graham unless otherwise noted.
These photos are protected by U.S.Copyright laws and are not to be downloaded or reproduced in any way without the written permission of Jack Graham
By entering this site you accept these terms. If you need permission to use a photo on this site please call 503-625-21430 or email Jack @ Jack@jackgrahamphoto.com

Advertisements

FALL COLOR PHOTO TIPS…East and West.. (updated from 2007 edition)…NEW FROM NIK SOFTWARE-Color Efex Pro4……PODCAST NEWS

PLEASE READ THE ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING Nik Software’s new Color Efex Pro4 AND OUR  PODCAST WITH NIK”S PRODUCT MANAGER Josh Haftel below!!!!!!!!

www.18percentgraymatter.com

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

2011 Workshop Schedule  http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/2011-workshop-schedule

Reg Forms & FAQ’S REGISTRATION FORM 2011v9      FAQ’S

2012 Workshop Schedulehttp://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/2012-workshop-schedule

Reg Forms & FAQ’S   REGISTRATION FORM 2012        FAQ”S

WORKSHOP DISCOUNTS   WORKSHOP DISCOUNTS

Jack’s Website   www.jackgrahamphoto.com

PODCAST:  www.18percentgraymatter.com                      WATCH FOR MY NEW E_BOOK       -COMING SOON!!!!!!!

COMING in 2012-–I will be doing a workshop on Whidbey Island , Washington May 10-13 2012  with the folks at  the PACIFIC NORTHWEST ART SCHOOL (www.pacificnorthwestartschool.org). In addition I’ll also be offering a 3 1/2 day Oregon Coast workshop with the Pacific Northwest Artschool in September—-STAY TUNED for details soonhttp://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/whidbey-island-washington-pacific-northwest-art-school

_________________________________________________________________________________

WHAT’S NEW:

It’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog. Ongoing, I’ll be more active. It’s been a busy workshop season and will continue that way through mid November.

 WORKSHOPS: I have a few spots left for my Fall Color in Ohio Workshop  http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/fall-color-ne-ohio-well-very-special-day-amish-oct-2011  in late October… as well as the Fall color workshop in Napa Valley, San Francisco and the Northern California Coast in early November.http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/fall-northern-california-napa-pt-reyesmarin-headlands-sf-coastline-s-sf Registration forms are available above. These are going to be very special events. Please consider joining us.  The Eastern Sierra Workshop with Guy Tal and me, in mid October has one opening left.http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/eastern-sierra-photography-workshop-1-spot-left

DON’T FORGET ICELAND 2012 (filling fast) http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/ultimate-iceland    and CHINA 2012  http://www.phototc.com/tours/tour.php?tour=152    in 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

____________________________________________________________________________

www.18percentgraymatter.com PODCAST—BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG NEWS—THE BEST JUST GOT BETTER…—  Recently Bob Kulon and I recorded an interview with Josh Haftel, product manager at NIK SOFTWARE www.niksoftware.com  regarding today’s announcement from NIK about their newly upgraded COLOR EFEX PRO4 program( available today for download). Please take a few minutes and listen to the PODCAST. You can access the site here.   By using the code 18percent, you’ll receive an additional 15 % discount! This is a great program. The new addition has more filters as well as filter stacking (Thanks NIK). Please check it out, you will not be disappointed.  

                                      Remember  code=  18percent    &   save 15% on download  www.niksoftware.com

________________________________________________

Mary & Peter Andrade

GOOD READING: My good friends and past workshop attendees Mary & Peter Andrade have an interesting blog on line. http://pamphotography.wordpress.com/

These folks are good photographers with some different perspectives on some really cool subject matter. They have become good friends and though Mary & Peter are somewhat different in their approach, they have some really great images up in the blog, as well as some really good information. Do yourself a favor and check it out!

________________________________________________

Also, I am really proud of my son, and fellow photographer Matthew Graham. Check out his work, he’s doing some great stuff—Way to go Matt!!!

http://matthewgrahamphoto.com/wp/

________________________________________________________________________________

ANOTHER FRAUD  http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/world/celebrated-wildlife-photographer-exposed-as-fraud-in-sweden-61616.html

When will these folks learn——keep this in mind when it’s tempting to cheat. Sometimes editors should ask to see the RAW FILE!

—————————————————————–

   And finally–Don’t forget to check out the latest specials from my good friends at Hunt’s

http://wbhunt.com/specials/

                                    AND OF COURSE:  <img src=”http://www.outdoorphotogear.com/affiliate/banners/BlueGreen_OPG_banner_180x150.jpg” alt=”

   just click the banner and start shopping—-you’ll find accessories not found in your local camera store, all under one roof here. These are good people!

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

FEATURED ARTICLE…………….AUTUMN, EAST AND WEST, Tips for Fall Photography

(Updated from my 2007 blog post)  ©J Graham

Bridalveil Falls, Ohio

If you love shooting the landscape like me, fall is our time of year. Fall is when the mountains, hills and valleys light up, on fire….. and then go out in a natural blaze of glory.

I have been lucky to have lived and photographed autumns here in the west, as well as the eastern regions of the country. There some major differences in photographic technique in both regions as well as certain skills.  There are also some similarities.

For me,Michigan,Wisconsin, and the Adirondack Mountains of NY North-Eastern Ohio and of courseVermontis the most productive areas for me in the Northeast. Colorado, Utah, The Cascades and the Sierra Nevada Mountains are my favorites in the west. Northern Arizona, from Flagstaff north is also one of my favorites as is Yellowstone and Teton National Parks

In the east the Maples (Sugar, black and red) can be simply amazing. Other species add to the palate such as beech and hemlocks bring out lots of yellows and orange color. It takes a good summer of rain; along with the right climatic conditions bring out the best in fall color. The Maple trees are aided in color when temperatures reach high enough to bring back up the sugar into the tree. After the temperatures drop in the evenings, the sugar drops within the trees system. This is how the color becomes apparent in the leaves.

While the maples in the east blaze in red, the autumn color in the west is mostly shades of orange and gold. The principle tree in higher altitude regions is theAspen.

Aspens in the Eastern Sierra, California

The aspen propagates by sending root suckers through the ground. This makes for groups of trees that are all clones of each other, sometimes referred to as a vein of aspens. You can easily pick these out against the mountainsides in the west. Unlike the east where finding the grand scenic may be a bit tougher at times, I have always  found it easy to capture these veins of aspens in the west. I can remember driving south on US 395 from Bridgeport to Lee Vining (the home of Mono Lake) and shooting the aspens right off the highway.

Be sure to monitor the weather. Weather in the UP of Michigan’sCountry Fall well as most of the west can change within hours. I have been in the Sierra where the morning was 60 degrees, at the height of the fall color, and in the 30’s by sunset, with the leaves dropping. Aspens can loose their leaves overnight. Timing is very critical.

Most states offer fall color information using the State Department of Natural Resources web sites.  Go to a search engine and type in “department of natural resources, then your state.”

Let’s face it, we as photographers….pro’s, amateurs’ or just casual shooters all look forward to the fall color display to get out and capture all that nature has to offer. Unless you are lucky enough to live in an area that offer really interesting photography most of the year, once that cool air, increasing rain and fall color starts, we get that rejuvenated feeling and grab our camera bags and tripods and get out in the crisp, fall air to capture the vibrant colors of the season.

Fall in Oregon's Wine Country

Fall is all about color, and how to make the most of it. Here are some pointers that can help you come home with the best images possible during this magical season of color.

~Overcast and even rainy weather provides the best lighting for both landscapes as well as for close-ups of fall leaves, ferns, mushrooms, berries, and other subjects. Bright sunny weather creates harsh highlights, blocked shadow details, and even a blue cast due to reflected light from the blue sky.  A cloudy sky minimizes the blue cast, reduces contrast, and increases color saturation.  Rain and wet conditions serve to even increase the color saturation. Heavy rain also makes the tree trunks dark, further enhancing the color of the leaves

  •  A credo of nature photography, stated by Ansel Adams, is that “Bad weather makes for great photography”. Streams, rivers, waterfalls and forests are great subjects to photograph when it rains. Take care to keep your equipment dry as well as yourself and get out and shoot in these conditions. You might come home soaked, but making images in rainy weather will be a lot more rewarding than those on sunny days.

When making close up images, always use a circular diffuser, to soften direct sunlight, simulate an overcast sky, and thus improve the lighting for your fall close-ups. You may not think you need it, but even on cloudy days diffusers make a big difference.

  • Early morning and late afternoon lighting on sunny or partly cloudy days can provide dramatic lighting for scenic fall vistas taken in the open.  Weather fronts, which often occur in fall, can also provide sensational light, especially when areas of fall color are sunlit against a dark storm sky.
    • Let’s talk about sky. If the sky adds nothing to your image… LEAVE IT OUT.  White or overcast, less than dramatic sky is poison to an image.
    • Sunny weather is also the best lighting for photographing reflections of fall foliage in lakes, rivers, and streams.  The reflections are most dramatic when the fall color is sunlit and the water is in shade.  Try using slow shutter speeds to create abstracts from fall foliage reflected in the moving water of rivers and streams. Be careful if you are using a polarizer. This can detract from the reflections that you really want, of the color in the water. Refer to this article to get more tips on photographing water. https://jackgrahamphoto.wordpress.com/2011/07/12/2377/

    Misty, damp days can provide wonderful, moody lighting for fall color and waterfall photography.  The air is usually still, eliminating the problem of wind movement, and the moisture on leaves and rocks intensifies their color. 

As with snow scenes, relying on your camera meter may result in misty scenes that are too dark, so you may need to open up by ½ to 1 f-stop to retain the pearly light and luminosity that permeate these quiet foggy fall days.

  • A polarizing filter can be used to intensify colors and minimize reflections from wet rocks and leaves.  An exposure increase of 1 to 2 f-stops will be needed, depending on the amount of polarization.  Your camera meter will adjust the exposure automatically when you attach a polarizing filter.  With most modern digital cameras, a “circular” polarizing filter is needed to ensure an accurate exposure reading. Don’t forget your graduated ND’s as well. www.singh-ray.com
  • Use color to your advantage. Complimentary colors add to impact images. Green foliage combined with the reds and oranges work well. So does yellow aspens against blue skies in autumn.
  • Look for different subjects such as reflections of the fall color in water pumpkins, covered bridges, buildings that can compliment the fall color. Make use of the color. Don’t just go after that grand landscape.
  • Keep your compositions as simple as possible. Remember; don’t try to write a novel in your photographic composition, write the sentence that tells the story. Use the rule of thirds, graphic lines and make your image using a key element as the anchor. Simple is always the best.
  •  Always use a tripod. Walk around with your camera before committing to a spot while it’s on your tripod. Choose your lens properly to get the shot you want.

              

  •  
  • Get out and stay out. You can use this saying in two instances. Especially in the East where we might require getting onto private property to get that “winner” shot, always ask first as to avoid hearing that phrase. Make sure you have all the right clothing and equipment to be able to get out in bad weather. Stay out as long as you have some light. Your best light is always during the golden hours in the morning and evenings.

Most of all enjoy the color display that happens only once per year. In just a few short weeks (at least where I live) it will only be a dream and the realities of winter will set in.

Finally here are a few websites to help you monitor the fall color:

www.foliagenetwork.net

http://usparks.about.com/od/fallfoliage/a/Fall-Colors.htm

http://www.chiff.com/a/fall-foliage.htm

http://www.weather.com/activities/driving/fallfoliage/

http://phototravel.com/fall.htm   (more than you’ll ever need!)

http://www.wxnation.com/fallfoliage/ (lots of cams)

For the west —- www.calphoto.com

                   

10 OF MY SECRET LOCATIONS

Listen to descriptions of these locations on an interview I did for NIK Radio ( see NIK SOFTWARE DISCOUNT on the blog-right hand column) CLICK HERE for the interview:

http://c4.libsyn.com/media/19968/nik100812.mp3?nvb=20100813165536&nva=20100814170536&sid=e8ab0a98100b1a36af78e2fb86a1fb39&t=019d465cbda3ece987148

Every professional photographer I know has a few “secret” locations that they like to go back to as often as possible. Many times these spots are very close to ones that are well known and visited by hoards of photographers, often photographing the icons of that well know location. I too shoot the icons, always I always look for a different vision ( o we need more postcards?) but more often then not, take that turn, away from the popular spots and head off to the roads less traveled.

Here I’ll discuss just a few of my spots, not as well known, but one I’s like to get back to more often. Some of these are becoming a bit more visited than years ago but are still in many instances close to areas that are much more photographed. I am not going to get into how to get to these locations, the internet can do that for you, but here are some tips when you get there.

If you have any specific questions please email me at jack@jackgrahamphoto.com

1. MYSTERY VALLEY, ARIZONA

Every year, thousands of photographers from all over the world come to Monument Valley on the Utah/Arizona border in the remote northwestern part of the Navajo Nation for the ultimate American western experience. Navajo guides accompany photographers by 4 wheel drive trucks or horseback through Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park past the famous Mittens and other monoliths. The Navajo people have lived in this area for at least 500 years.

Mystery Valley is a relatively unknown destination that features ancient ruins, rock art and many box canyons along with breathtaking views of the wide open spaces within Monument Valley. Mystery Valley is actually located right next to Monument Valley but unlike the valley itself Mystery Valley has little or no tourist traffic and provides a myriad of photographic opportunities. Areas I like to photograph include: Mitchell Butte, Gray Whiskers and Sentinel Mesa.

There are many dwellings that are still in good condition. There are many theories on why the natives left so quickly, which is another story that I’ll discuss sometime, but much of the stone and mud construction still remains intact and the cliff dwellings remain as they were. While there, be sure to visit Square house Ruins (GPS coordinates 36o 53.491’N, 110o 11.416’W),… Baby House Ruins (GPS coordinates 36o 53.277’N, 110o 11.133’W),…. Honeymoon House Ruins GPS coordinates 36o 53.318’N, 110o 10.487’W….. and the House of Many Hands GPS coordinates 36o 54.144’N, 110o 10.160’W.

A Navajo guide is required.

2. THE PALOSE, SOUTHEASTERN WASHINTON

Located in southeastern Washington, the Palouse region is well know to photographers for its patterns of green wheat fields and never ending images of old barns, rolling wheat covered hills in unending shades of green. In August during the harvest season the same hills turn brown and then black after the harvest and burning. Because of its location, perfect rainfall and soil content, the Palouse is the richest wheat producing area in the world. Virtually no irrigation exists. This are, like Monument Valley is a Mecca for photographers from late May through August. Towns like Colfax, Palouse, Dusty, Steptoe, St John, and Rosalia are caught in a time warp. These areas offer great photographic opportunities and are throwbacks of 20-50 years ago.

There are endless opportunities in this are. Here are just a few of my favorite spots to travel through and look for great views and patterns in the fields. Barns, grain elevators and old buildings are everywhere.

While most folks are up at Steptoe Butte, why not check out some of these locations:

Washington State Route 27 out of Pullman—good afternoon spot

SR 272 out of Colfax heading east towards the town of Palouse

Baird Road off Hwy 195 (unpaved) at milepost 60.

Marvin Wells Road and Abbot Road—near Kamiak Butte County Park

File Road west of the town of McCoy between Rosalia and Oakesdale

Kelso Road—same area

Waverley Road—same area

Prairie View Road—same area

The bottom line is to try and stay on the unpaved roads. Some are marked “primitive” and some “summer road”. Get stuck in the deep mud o the “summer road” and you’ll quickly figure out why they are called summer roads. Be careful if there is any rain at all.

3. STRAWBERRY HILL STATE PARK, CENTRAL OREGON COAST

Just south of Yachats (pronounced yahots) on the central Oregon Coast many small State Parks such as Neptune SP and Stonefield Beach are quite popular with visitors and photographers alike. A small state park between Neptune SP and Carl S. Washburne SP is Strawberry Hill State Park… Don’t drive fast, you’ll miss it. Wonderful rock formations, tide pools and crashing waves at high tide make this a hidden gem. Low tide in the evening usually provides for great sunset opportunities.

4. CUYAHOGA NATIONAL PARK, OHIO

Blue Hen Falls

Why is a National Park on a list of secret locations? Frankly it’s because while living in the area for a few years, I rarely found photographers from outside the area and western Pennsylvania photographing there. Within this park are waterfalls, rolling hills, lakes and marshes with both landscape and wildlife photographic opportunities.

Here are a few of my favorites:

1)The Beaver Marsh and Boardwalk area ( great sunrises off the road looking the marsh when its fogs I the spring & summer)

2)Blue Hen, Bridleveil and Brandywine Falls —great in the spring and for fall color

3)The ledges.

4)Hale Farm area

5_Bath Blue Heron Rookery (on Bath Road in the park)—hundreds of herons nesting

… And more—-if you run into a local … say hi for me.

5. SNOW CANYON STATE PARK, SOUTHERN UTAH

Not long ago some good friends and fellow photographers moved to St George Utah. When I visited them they raved about a close area that offered. Snow Canyon SP is everything and more than they promised. I’ve been back a few times.

I was amazed at the lack of other photographers in an area close to Zion NP and other wonders of southern Utah. Striations and patterns in the rocks, along with some interesting plant life make for wonderful images. Is it “The Wave”? Well not really, but in my opinion, pretty close!

Snow Canyon SP is 11 miles west of St. George. Next time you get to Zion put this on your must see list. Get there in good light.

6. PANGUITCH LAKE , UTAH

I always love sunsets here. This good size lake is off HWY 143 ½ way between Cedar Breaks and the small town of Panguitch, Utah. Looking east across the lake at sunset can be great. The area also offers a lot photographically.

7. HOOD CANAL, WASHINGTON

Hood Canal flows for 65 miles at the base of the Olympic Mountains. The canl is kind between Puget Sound and the mountains. This area offers some of the most magnificent scenery anywhere. There are nine state parks along the canal. US 101 parallels the canal on the west side with easy access to the shoreline. At low tide oysters are plentiful on the mud flats. My favorite areas are the Toandos Peninsula, Quilecene Bay, Black Point, and Triton Head. Take your time and enjoy!

8. GRIZZLY ISLAND WILDLIFE REFUGE AND SUISUN MARSH, NO. CALIFORNIA

If you enjoy photographing birds, you’ll love this spot. Grizzly Island Wildlife Area is located in the heart if the great Suisun Marsh, approximately ten miles southeast of the City of Fairfield in Solano County, California The Suisun Marsh is the largest remaining contiguous area of coastal wetland in California. (It contains 54,000 acres of marsh and upland areas plus an additional 30,000 acres of waterways). In winter, it is an important feeding and resting area for waterfowl traveling the Pacific Flyway, at times with as many as 1,500,000 ducks and geese.

Within the Grizzly Island and Suisun Marsh it is common to be able to photograph hawks, great herons, egrets, Blue Herons and more right from your car (your car makes a great blind… bring a long lens and a beanbag. I use a window mount by Kirk Enterprises) Driving deeper into marsh the wildlife becomes more concentrated and varied. In the winter it’s common to see herds of Tule Elk feeding in the mornings.

The road into the marsh is paved until you reach Grizzly Island ( crossing a bridge). There the road quickly becomes unpaved. Be careful of fisherman driving fast as well as the dust. The canals and marshes offer some of the best waterfowl and wading bird photography anywhere.

Getting there:
From Interstate 80 in Solano County, exit CA 12 east (exit 43). Drive about 4 miles east on 12, then turn right onto Grizzly Island Road. Drive about 9 miles on Grizzly Island Road, to the park office on the left side of the road. Stop and register, then continue on Grizzly Island

9. LITTLE FINLAND (or HOBGLOBINS), NEVADA DESERT

Little Finland, ( has nothing to do with the country) also known as “Hobgoblin’s”, is located in a very, (and I mean very) remote area of Nevada, off a backcountry road named then Gold Butte Byway.
A high clearance 4WD vehicle, a GPS and topographic map are mandatory to get there. However, I guarantee that it’s worth the effort as you will get to photograph some of the most extraordinarily sandstone formations, with amazing and unusual and shapes reminding one of animals or other creatures Late afternoon or early morning( that means camping! Provide the warm light necessary to bring out the deep sandstone colors.

Over time, the sand cements into rock and is totally shaped, looking like fins ( thus the name Finland) by the wind, leaving some incredible formations. Some of the shapes look like dragons or beasts, other like faces.

Tread lightly as the formations are very fragile.=

Getting there is a tough trip, this isn’t a state park and there are NO facilities or water. Be prepared. This can be a dangerous trip. I suggest not going alone, and if possible take 2 vehicles. There is neither cell phone availability nor a way of communicating with the outside world…

DIRECTIONS: About five miles from Mesquite, take I-15 exit 112 towards Riverside/Bunkerville (about 1 hr from LAS VEGAS). Follow directions for Gold Butte Backcountry Byway and take a right onto the road. After a few miles the pavement ends and the road urns to dirt.

Follow signs for “Devil’s Throat” – a sinkhole. Where the road forks, bear right and follow it until it turns into Mud Wash, the river bed you will drive on. Follow it for a few miles and take the right branch again where it forks. This should lead you to Little Finland.

I would strongly suggest purchasing issue 113 of the PHOTOGRAPHIC AMERICA NEWSLETTER (Secrets of the Nevada Desert) and read it carefully before attempting this trip.( for that matter I’d buy all of these newsletters—if you do, tell Bob Hitchman I sent you) www.photographamerica.com

10. HIGHWAY 19 from the PAINTED HILLS north TO INTERSTATE 84, OREGON

Lots of photographers go to the beautiful John Day Fossil Beds and the Painted Hills of north central Oregon to make images of these beautiful formations. If you go (and you should) take a little extra time and follow the meandering state highway19 from the Painted Hills in Mitchell, OR north to Interstate 84 and the Columbia River. You’ll drive through towns like Fossil (yes you can dig them there) Condon, Mayville and others. These towns are similar to those in the Palouse as far as being about 30 years behind the times. The canyons, old barns offer lots of photographic opportunities. It’s about a 2 hour drive (so add time to photograph) up to the interstate.