For this final part I've saved the Top 9 Images. These are the locations, settings, and images that I think best represent the Palouse and my vision for the area. I think in these images I was able to maximize the opportunity. Of the 4000 or so images I took on the trip, I came away with nine that I think are really successful. I would even call these great images. And to create nine great images in one trip is a good thing.
This line between fields, as seen from Steptoe Butte, is so beautiful. For me it's a natural abstract. Of course I know these are fields of grain, but the contrasting colors, the winding s-curve, the horizontal lines at the top of the image and the curved texture at the bottom, all come together to create a puzzle-like symphony of color. I must have taken 100 different compositions of this small section, looking for the right combination of shape, color and texture. This one really succeeds for me.
I took dozens of compositions of this scene also. Most included much more grain. But this one, with only a few stalks separated from the field, succeeds where the others were a little too busy. This image matches my minimalistic tendencies.
Although I like the other images of this tree, I think this one captures it in just the right composition and proportions. The tree and grain are balanced. I love the curve of the horizon starting with the peak of Steptoe Butte, curving down the base of the tree and rising up again to meet the sky. The sky is the perfect shade of sunset blue and the golden pink clouds are just the right amount of fluffy.
For me, this may be the best image of the trip. Yes those clouds are real. I added some contrast to bring out the texture, but I didn't add anything that wasn't already there. This looks to me like it could be a scene out of the midwest as the storm rolls in over the farmhouse, ready to carry a young girl away to land with a yellow brick road.
If you haven't yet noticed, I really like details. While walking back to the car I noticed this one golden head of grain. I don't know why this one turned a different color, but I'm sure glad it did.
These ribbons of new growth and fallow field compose the perfect agricultural abstract. It all looks like velvet to me. The warm golden browns and soft cool greens work so well together. I want a blanket just like this.
These next three images epitomize the Palouse for me. I wish I had words to describe these. They're visual poems and I'm not poet enough to do them justice. Notice in this first image the extra highlight in the upper left corner. I almost darkened that down to match the rest of the top, but I think it really adds something special to the scene. It adds some extra depth and I think it breaks some photographic "rules" in the best possible way.