The Palouse is a photographer’s paradise. Each year thousands of amateur and professional photographers visit our region to capture its beauty through their lenses. On nearly everyone’s short list is a drive to the top of iconic Steptoe Butte. It’s not uncommon to see numerous vehicles pulled over at various vantage points on the way up, especially during the golden hours of late afternoon, through dusk and sunset. This is where many of the “National Geographic” sorts of images you find online and in books are captured by amateurs and professionals alike.
Some pay big bucks to one of the numerous Palouse photography tour operators for the opportunity to take part in a “Palouse photo safari.” Others, armed with maps and brochures featuring Palouse photography hotspots, or perhaps a copy of Martha Mullen’s excellent guidebook, “Reflections on the Road,” set out to conquer on their own terms the Palouse landscapes, barns, farms, fields, flora and fauna, wagon-wheel fences, abandoned buildings, rusted vehicles, low-flying crop dusters, and other curiosities, that beckon exploration. Just around the bend, over the hill, and all along nearly every winding Palouse road, new discoveries await.
Warning: whether traveling as part of a tour or going solo, please don’t trespass on private property. It’s a problem that has increased in recent years, resulting in the loss of formerly accessible spots.