Harvesting The Palouse…Perseid’s In The Palouse

Sharon & I have wrapped up our Harvesting the Palouse Adventure and it has taken me a couple of weeks to fully digest the experience, the images, the great people who shared in our adventure, both photographers and locals.  It’s funny how approaching life with an open mind and heart yields wonderful and unexpected experiences.  Just before departing for the Palouse I was looking at the moon phases, moon rise and set, sun rise and set and any other astronomical events that might affect our adventure when I put two and two together that we would be in the Palouse during the Perseid Meteor Shower with an expected one hundred plus meteors per hour at peak!  Yowza!  I wondered how we could incorporate that into a night shoot when Sharon emailed me that Jack Lien had contacted her about bringing our group to his Wheatland Farm for an evening of night photography during peak nights.  Now, this was no light invitation.  Jack is the resident photographer extraordinaire of the Palouse region.  He has spent years exploring the area both during daytime hours as well as after dark.  In fact, Jack is so committed to both the Palouse as a photographic mecca as he is to the local people and preserving some of the remaining historical structures.  On his property are a windmill, a couple of tractors and a 1942 International wheat truck all strategically placed for optimum composition during certain astronomical events.

So, Sharon and I arranged to meet with Jack and see his property as well as discuss how we could incorporate a night shoot into our adventure.  What a treat!  Both Jack and his wife, Barbara, opened their home and their hearts to us.  We spent a few hours enjoying their company and a delicious meal before getting down to night photography details.  Since we had our cameras and after all, we are photographers, we decided at Jack’s invitation to do some shooting to get a feel for how it would go with our group.  As we headed out into the darkness, meteors were beginning to streak across the sky enticing us on.  There were only a couple of issues to deal with…one was the moon sitting high in the sky, nearly full and the other was that the meteors were racing every which way across the sky.  So, we set up with a nice foreground and began shooting.  Jack is a fabulous night photographer and teacher.  He is the ultimate in patience and can speak to the most basic or technical levels without missing a beat.  He shared his best tripod spots based on where the Milky Way was positioned and did some light painting to add a point of interest to the scene.  I was so impressed with his devotion to his craft and to sharing it with others of like mind.  We had a fabulous show and I even managed to make an image that I love with a couple of meteors passing through while my shutter was open…




Around 12:30 we wrapped it up and said, “Yes, please, we need to bring our group back here.  How about tomorrow night (tonight) for the peak of the show???”  We made arrangement to return with our group the next night and headed back to the hotel for a few hours of shuteye.  Our group arrived with the enthusiasm and energy that was needed to pull off our crazy scheme of adding a night shoot…after a quick sunset run and dinner.  We arrived at Jack’s around 10:30 and after showing the group around and pointing out strategic spots we set up our first shoot with an old windmill that Jack had acquired for a foreground.  While no meteors streaked through the image while my shutter was open, I still got an image that I really like and feels conveys a sense of place with the windmill and the hint of wheat fields lit by the bright moon.  It doesn’t hurt that the Milky Way is in the frame…




We didn’t get any meteors on our sensors but, we were treated to a sensory experience that was worth the lack of sleep that would result in our staying out to photograph the night sky.  And when the universe gives you lemons, a sweet, cold, delicious glass of lemonade is in order and that is just what we did with a little help from Mother Nature and Jack Lien.  You see, the clouds began to move in and rather than put away our gear and call it a night we simply moved to a better location to include the clouds with their warm glow from the city of Pullman’s lights.  We moved to include the 1942 International in the foreground, the Milky Way moving across the frame and the wispy clouds on the horizon.  And, as a bonus, Jack expertly light painted the International adding that much more drama and interest to our images…




We kept photographing until around 2:00 AM when we called it a night and headed back to the hotel.  Once there it was agreed that the short time before sunrise would be better spent with sustenance than sleep we all pooled our snacks and goodies and had a picnic in the hotel break room before heading out to start our day with a beautiful sunrise.  More on that in the next post.  Stay tuned…

It is with deep gratitude to Jack Lien for helping us to add an unusual element to our adventure and for sharing his expertise with our group.  I highly recommend Jack for anyone interested in a night photography workshops.

Sharon & I are excited to be returning to the Palouse next year for both the spring green rolling hills  May 25-June 1, 2017  and the harvest August 17-24, 2017.  The dates are set, the final details in the planning.  For more information or to sign up contact Sharon Lavier O’Keefe at Sharon @ 503-701-5347.

Until we finalize all the details, here is a peek at this year’s (2016) flyer…Harvesting the Palouse Flyer 6-8-16


Harvesting The Palouse August 12-17, 2016 Openings

Harvesting The Palouse with Sharon O’Keefe and Laurie Excell is nearing and there are still a few openings.  If you want to see the Palouse cloaked it the warm yellows and browns of the harvest season, now is the time to contact Sharon @ 503-701-5347

Harvesting the Palouse Flyer 6-8-16

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You Can’t Take The Adventure Out Of The Girl!

As you all know to one degree or another, I have been a bit silent on the workshop circuit over the last couple of years.  After enjoying a different path for a few years I find myself yearning to take people to the places I love to photograph and to share my passion and knowledge.  The world does need more beautiful images!  And so, I am thrilled to announce the first of many Photo Adventures with Sharon & Laurie…

Harvesting the Palouse

A Photo Adventure with Sharon & Laurie

Aug 12-17, 2016


For More Information Contact:

Photo Adventures with Sharon & Laurie

PO Box 6628

Portland, OR  97228


Harvesting the Palouse Flyer 6-8-16


Deadline Extended…Enter Now

Chasig the Light


The deadline for entering the Chasing the Light Photo Competition has been extended until July 31st!  Don’t miss out on the chance to win some Great prizes!!!