Tag Archives: agriculture

Protecting Your Gear in Dusty Conditions

Combine Kicks up Dust by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Combine Kicks up Dust by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

I recently spent the last week shooting wheat harvest in the Palouse area near Colfax, WA. It was a great experience and the scenery was terrific. I quickly became very much aware that I needed to protect my camera gear from the dust that is kicked up by the combines.

The best way to protect your gear in these dusty conditions is with the rain covers you use when you shoot in the rain. They will also protect and keep dust off your gear. I have rarely been in conditions with the extreme dust and chaff that is surrounding you continually. Another word of caution, don’t get directly behind the combine as they are spewing out excessive amounts of dust and chaff whenever they are cutting. In addition to protecting your gear wear something to cover yourself as well because you will be extracting dirt and straw from your person for quite a while if you don’t.

Dust and Chaff in the Air by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Dust and Chaff in the Air by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

In the images that are displayed in this post hopefully you get the idea of the dust and debris that is present. Have a great time shooting the harvest but be prepared so you and your gear can have a more enjoyable time.

Lentil Harvest in the Palouse

Lentil Harvest in the Palouse by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Lentil Harvest in the Palouse by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Harvest has finally begun in the Palouse. Everything is several weeks later than normal but a visit now will allow you to see the harvest in full swing. Farmers work long hours each day to get the fields cut and the seeds into storage. In addition to the cereal crops of wheat and barley, lentils are also grown and harvested in the Palouse region.

Patterns of Rows by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Patterns of Rows by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Palouse farmers generally harvest lentils by mowing and swathing, or they may combine the crop. Swathing is often necessary to kill green weeds and allow them to dry so the lentils can be threshed efficiently. Plants are usually swathed when the pods turn a cream to golden color; then older pods will be dry and their seeds firm.

Lentil Patterns by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Lentil Patterns by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

The images in this blog were all taken from Steptoe Butte in eastern Washington. This high vantage point gives an almost aerial view so the many patterns and contours of the land and crops can be appreciated. Lentil harvest provides beautiful colors and patterns to enrich the landscape in this picturesque region. Visit this region and come away with some truly unique and colorful images of the harvest.

Use lines and patterns to move through an image

Patterns in the Hay by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Patterns in the Hay by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

As you are composing your images look for elements to use as leading lines. in the image above I used the patterns in the hay to draw attention to the barns and lead you through the image.

In the second image the grass leads to the ramp and up to the door.  It invites you to enter the barn as well as enter the image and explore.

Entrance to Old Barn by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Entrance to Old Barn by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

In the final image below the diagonal line of the grass leads your eye to the barn and on throughout the image. The road also adds to leading you through the image by taking you to the stop sign in the distance.

Red Barn near Dirt Road by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Red Barn near Dirt Road by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

These are just a few examples of using elements as you compose to add interest and provide an entry point and a way for your eye to move through the image.


Preparation is a key to a successful image

Ready to Work by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Ready to Work by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

When you are going on a photo shoot be prepared. I will be traveling to the Palouse for a two day trip to shoot a specific barn that I have been scouting. My preparation for this trip includes the photo gear that will be required for the images that I intend to capture.

In addition to the actual gear, I have looked at sunrise and sunset times, moon rise and set times as well as the predicted weather for the next few days.. This information allows me to plan for the images that I will be taking. I have also contacted the barn owner to let them know I am coming and to check to see the growth in the fields and the colors that will be in the area surrounding the barn.

Since I have scouted this barn previously I am able to use the information I have collected and visualize the shot that I want to take. If all elements are in place as I have envisioned, I should get the opportunity for a good photo.

We can’t always control all the elements but planning definitely increases your chances for capturing a worthwhile  and useful image.

Beauty and Change in the Palouse

Cupola Acts as Chimney for Clouds by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Cupola Acts as Chimney for Clouds by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

I just returned from spending the last four days in eastern Washington. The colors in the Palouse region are about three weeks later than normal according to several of the local farmers. Fortunately colors were vibrant adding to the beautiful patterns and textures for which this region is known.

The picture at the beginning of the post illustrates one of the many barns in the region and the clouds helped to enhance this image as they appear to be coming from the cupola at the top of the barn. As you can see I was being treated to some excellent early morning conditions.

The image below illustrates one of the changes that you find in this region. Grapes are being planted adjacent to some of the wheat fields. This pattern is more prevalent just south of the actual Palouse region around Walla Walla. It does add a new pattern and texture to the familiar agricultural landscape.

Vineyards Add to the Palouse Patterns by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Vineyards Add to the Palouse Patterns by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

During my entire trip, I had beautiful weather and vibrant colors. Hopefully you will take the time during this green season to enjoy the beauty of eastern Washington.

Transition between Seasons Provides Interest

Winter Wheat Leads to Barn by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Winter Wheat Leads to Barn by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

One of my favorite times of the year in the Palouse is early spring. As the winter wheat starts to show through the dark, rich earth we know the winter is behind us. This transition usually takes place during March and early April. The bright vibrant colors for which this region is known are not present yet.

I think it can be a great time to photograph some of the barns and homesteads. Even though the abundant crops are not seen there are patterns in the plowed fields of earth and tracks in the stubble that are left over from the previous year’s harvest. The skies are usually clear and because of the moisture in the fields there is very little dust to mute the colors of the sky.

The photograph at the top of the page pictures a barn surrounded by winter wheat in morning light. The image that appears below shows an evening glow on the winter wheat. Once again the Palouse has beauty and much to offer at almost any time of the year.

Evening Light in Early Spring by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights REserved

Evening Light in Early Spring by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights REserved

Return to a Favorite Spot and Have Fun

Winn Road Barn in Snow by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Winn Road Barn in Snow by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

One of my favorite barns to photograph is near the town of Weston in eastern Oregon. I have photographed it at all times of the day and during all seasons of the year. I have met the Winns who now live on the property where the barn stands. The following  description will provide some history about this beautiful and well preserved structure.

Wind Road Barn in Snow Close by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Wind Road Barn in Snow Close by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

From Highway 12 going south toward Weston, take the Winn Road left off the highway. The barn sits in the valley to the right and is visible from the road. Ralph Moon built the barn for about $2500. The owner, George W. Winn hand sawed every board that built the barn in the spring and summer of 1916, using his harvest crew. The lumber was clear grain Douglas fir delivered for $11 per K, the ground was scraped flat,, and a foundation was laid in April. The barn was completed for hay storage by harvest time. Half the barn had 10 stalls for horses and the other half had 25 cow stanchions. The original shake roof lasted over seventy years and the red paint originally used was a mixture of white lead paint with red ochre and linseed oil added: very durable. There are no posts in the entire structure which is now used for storage.

I enjoy photographing this barn from many angles and positions. All the photos in the post were taken on a winter day which is one of my favorite seasons to shoot this barn.

Winn Road Barn in Snow 1 by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

Winn Road Barn in Snow 1 by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved

If you are ever in this area be sure to take the time to view this unique and well preserved structure from the past.