Using Creative Photography Techniques in The Palouse


Peter and I just returned from a terrific Jack Graham and Bill Fortney workshop in the Palouse region of Washington.  Many photographers have captured the beauty of this place, and while I tried my hand at the grand and intimate landscapes, I also explored some creative techniques.  Peter will blog more on this wonderful location.  In the meantime, I wanted to share with you some of my images using creative techniques both during  capture and in post-processing.  These techniques can be used on a variety of subjects.

Creative techniques for photo capture

Motion blurs:  In this image I moved the camera side-to-side while the shutter was open.  Only a small amount of movement is necessary.  A great tip is to use the self-timer and begin moving the camera before the shutter opens.


Infrared photography:  The key here is to make sure you have variation in the tonality of your subject.  Trying to capture the rolling green hills of wheat, will yield a muddy mess because the tonality is too similar from hill to hill.  I found infrared to work well with the old structures and barns, as well as the fields that had exposed dirt in various patches and shapes.

1406_MFA_Palouse Infrared_0047-Edit

Defocusing:  We had a couple of hours at the Dahmen Barn to photograph the famous “wheel fence”.  At first I had trouble finding the zone, so I began working with blurs (which didn’t work well) and then moved to capturing the sculptural shapes of the wheels against the flowering canola.  The key here is to determine if any of the flowers should be in focus or whether to defocuse the entire image.  I went with the former for this frame.



Post Processing Techniques

Google HDR Effects 2.0:  I almost threw this image out until Jack helped me contrast the gritty nature of the truck against the soft yellow flowers.  He used a single-frame HDR processing technique.


Double Exposures:  My new Fuji does in camera double exposures, but you have to execute it at the moment of capture.  I found for this to be effective if there are distinctly different scenes available.  Double exposing a moving canola flower field over a still field did not yield a strong enough effect.  In this image, I created a double exposure in Photoshop using images that were taken 2 days apart.  I wanted to tell the story about key components in this region – the canola fields and the barns.



Texturing:  Lastly, some of the intimate landscapes seemed to beg for texturing to give them more dimension and effect.  Using Flypaper’s summer textures, I created this image to have an “old-world” feel.



  1. pamphotography

    Thank you! Peter and I spent a few days in the region before the workshop we thought it was a challenging area to photograph. I would highly recommend attending a workshop the first time you go, it really helped us to “see” the surroundings.

  2. Joanne Collins

    Great shots and really creative processing! Enjoyed meeting you both in the Palouse. Very sorry to read about your family losses. I’m going to enjoy looking around your blog!

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