Rainbow in the Palouse by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved
I was exploring around Colfax Washington on my way to Yellowstone National Park and noticed that the colors that the Palouse is renowned for are a bit late this year. The winter wheat is starting to show some green but many of the fields are still brown just showing dirt.
Fortunately I was able to find color in the form of a rainbow in a rain squall that was moving through the area. This is pictured in the photo at the top of this post. It seems there is always something interesting and beautiful in the Palouse even if it is not what you expected.
Red Combine at Work by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved
As I have worked over the last few years with my mentor Scott Bourne, he reminds me of three things that will help you to become more successful. They are the following:
1. Show your work
2. Show your work
3. Show your work
He says this to provide emphasis of how important it is to show your work. Getting your work in front of people is so critical to your success in selling. Remember that no one will probably show up at your front door looking to buy your work.
Find any avenue that you can to show your work. I will be showing my work at Walla Walla University in an exhibition for alumni weekend in a couple of days. I taught at the university for thirty four years so many of my former students and colleagues will come by to see my work. It will provide a good opportunity to display my work as well as let people know about the business that I am now involved in.
Below are some of the pieces of artwork that will be displayed during the exhibition. They will all be large gallery wrapped canvases.
Chocolate and Caramel Mounds by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved
Fading Light by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved
Wheels in the Wheat by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved
Evening Light in the Palouse by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved
Winn Road Barn in Snow by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved
Remember look for any opportunity you can to follow the advice of “Show your work”.
I have been using the Nik software Color Efex Pro 3.0 plug-in for Aperture for a couple of months. It has become an integral part of my workflow on many images. I will be showing a couple of adjustments to an image that I feel are valuable and very easily applied with this software.
I enjoy shooting large agricultural equipment in the working environment so that is what I will use for the demonstration of this program. My favorite equipment company for images is John Deere because the bright green and yellow colors always stand out so well against the landscape or sky. The first image below is the original image as it was captured.
Combine at Work 1 by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved
In the 2nd image I added a polarizing filter that is available in the Nik software. This filter has several adjustments available. They are set to the following defaults:
Rotate – 90%
Strength – 100% (60%) In parentheses it shows the opacity that I set for this image.
These adjustments with this filter give a little more pop to the image and also takes away some of the glare.
Combine at Work 2 by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved
In the 3rd image the tonal contrast filter was applied. The adjustments that are available are shown with their defaults and my adjustment in parentheses.
Highlight contrast – 30 (15)
Midtone contrast – 30 (15)
Shadows contrast – 30 (20)
Combine at Work 3 by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved
I feel this filter gives a little more definition to the image. Each of these adjustments was slight but each one helps to enhance the image as I had seen it. I hope these adjustments are clearly demonstrated event though the images are small.
This software program has many other filters which are easy to apply and the opacity can also be adjusted. Another important feature is that you can apply multiple filters as I demonstrated to the same image. I hope you have found this information to be useful and consider adding this useful program to your workflow.
Patterns of Harvest by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved
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.
As photographers sometimes we get stuck in the same mode of shooting images. The standard position we normally shoot is either from a tripod or hand held at eye level. This practice can produce shots that may look very ordinary and tell the usual story.
Typically in the Palouse region miles of wheat fields are viewed either from our car or as we walk along. This view is from above and we see the landscape as a vast sea of grain stretching to the horizon. I don’t mean to imply that this view can’t provide a beautiful vista but there are other views that can create interest as well.
Reaching for the Sky by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved
To add a different perspective to your work, try exploring new vantage points for creating an image. In the image above, I was putting myself in the position of a small rabbit that I had observed just moments earlier. The wheat through his eyes must appear to be a tall forest of grain “reaching for the sky”. That forest of grain gives the small creatures shelter and protection as it fills up their landscape. To me this tells a completely different story as the wheat provides a purpose that we don’t normally consider.
Remembering to change your view may add a totally new perspective to your shooting. Shoot high, shoot low, shoot from all around and give your images a new and refreshing look.
One of the things that is intriguing about photographing the Palouse is sometimes you make a photograph of something unexpected. Generally as images are captured in this region, we see rolling hills, lush wheat fields or abundant harvests. I like to look for what I call unusual remnants that may be left after the harvest is over.
River of Wheat by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved
The image above gives just that kind of perspective. The harvest is finished and the field is plowed and planted. You can see where the winter wheat is starting to show through. The focus of this image is the leftover wheat that was not harvested because it was in a shallow gully that the combine could not reach. As I came around a corner looking for a fertile landscape, this patch of wheat reminded me of a river that was running to the grain storage shed in the distance. The starkness of the plowed field helped to emphasize the wheat river.
As you travel the Palouse be attentive looking for something that is not always expected. Look beyond the ordinary and make an image that is different and interesting.