When visiting either a new or even a familiar region to photograph, I have found it very useful to connect with local residents. The locals will have a knowledge and understanding of the area that has been developed through their experiences of living and working there. This is especially true in the Palouse as many of the residents living in the small towns have roots to the area for three or four generations.
This past week, I spent time in the Palouse region mainly around the towns of Colfax and Pullman. I made several connections with local people that will prove to be of value to me as I increase my portfolio of images in that region.
One day I went to a small cafe around lunch time and just interacted with several of the locals that were enjoying their dinner. By the time I left I had made several new acquaintances and also had the directions to a couple of barns that I had not seen before. In addition they suggested another individual who proved to be very useful in my search for old barns to photograph around that area. We ended up spending almost 2 hours together as he drove me around in his pickup to back country areas to look at barns. I ended up with his phone number and he said contact him anytime and he would be happy to help me explore once again.
Remember, getting to know the people as well as the area can be a very rewarding experience. Spending time interacting and asking a few questions about their town, work environment and the people living in the region will give you a new perspective of the area.