I have found that while photographing the contours, patterns and textures in the Palouse, it can be interesting to include some of the machinery that helps to create the landscape. Just including a tractor or combine during harvest can tell a completely different story.
The picture above shows a combine at work during the wheat harvest. It always amazes me as I watch the very steep terrain these harvesters are capable of negotiating. Notice the dust that is present in the image. Areas where farming takes place are usually dusty so be ready to protect your equipment as you are shooting. Also wear boots as many times you may sink in above your ankles in the dirt as you walk the terrain.
I generally try to talk with the farmer or driver of the combine and ask a few questions to show interest in what they are doing. Many times they will ask me if I would like to look inside or I have even been given rides at times in the cab. This gives a completely different view that most people don’t have the opportunity to see.
To give you an idea many of these combines have a system that allows the cab to remain level no matter what the terrain. In addition the newer ones have electronics on board that give critical information such as the number of bushels per acre that is being harvested. The information can be downloaded later onto a computer. Of course air conditioning and music are available as well. If you get the opportunity to visit the area, interact and you may enjoy a ride as well.
As you travel the Palouse look for opportunities to utilize the farm machinery whether it is new or old, working or just standing idle in a field. These large pieces of equipment can add a new story to your images about the work that takes place in the creation of these artistic vistas of farmland that we enjoy.