The Palouse – A Visual Journey with the Fuji X-Series – Part 1

Each world religion has a place of very special importance where millions of the faithful make their pilgrimage. Similarly, there is a place that every photographer should visit. It is a land like no other.

The unconscious beauty of the land captivated us. The abundance of shapes, patterns and colours produces dream-like visuals, which might overwhelm your senses at first. However, if you cut yourself off from the noise of your everyday life, turn off your cellphone, disconnect from the Internet and let your senses wander, you will find yourself in awe. Rolling yellow fields against the blue sky, whirling patterns of cut hay and huge expanses of sand dune-like hills are all a feast for the eyes.

The Palouse is an agricultural region in southeastern Washington, which produces mostly wheat and legumes. We couldn’t find the origin of the name “Palouse.” Some sources claim that the name comes from the Palus tribe, only later converted to Pelouse by the French-Canadian fur traders, which means “land with short thick grass.” Later the name was changed to the current Palouse.

While well-known parks like Yosemite or Yellowstone have their own mega-popular spots, the Palouse offers you the unknown. Every dirt road hides a visual gem for you to discover and this is what makes this place so special. It is perfect raw material for the photographer.    

For a few days Kasia and I woke up at 4:00 AM and drove around this visual paradise with the Fuji X-T1, Fuji X100S, XF 14mm F2.8, XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 OIS lenses.

Here are a few images, mostly JPEGs (Velvia film simulation) straight from the camera (only minor contrast adjustments). We have also included some photos using the new Fuji film profiles in Lightroom 5. They are identical to what the X-series cameras produce, but offer some extra room for adjustment.

Let the visual journey begin…














Watch this space for Part 2.



2014 © Olaf & Kasia Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.

44 thoughts on “The Palouse – A Visual Journey with the Fuji X-Series – Part 1

  1. Amazing photos! I just spent the weekend reading every post of your blog. It’s truly an inspiration, and not just for the incredible photos, but also for the interesting locations that make me want to visit as well. I recently moved to the Fuji camp and the X-T1, despite all its quirks and some flaws, has wowed me with its image quality.

    Two quick questions: how long did you stay in the Palouse? I have a trip coming up and am not sure if I should stay 2 full days (plus partial days on the day of arrival and the day of departure), or 3 full days (plus those partial days). Will the former time frame be rushing it too much? Also, were you driving a sedan or an SUV/truck? Are the back roads or dirt roads okay for a standard sedan? Thank you so much!

    1. We planned our trip for three full days. However, we stayed in the Palouse for two days only – last day it started raining. However, we photographed the area every day from 4AM to 9PM. Given limitless opportunities, I would say three days is absolute minimum.

      We were driving a sedan, not problem at all. The majority of dirt roads are quite flat, no need for 4×4. However, it is extremely dusty (be careful with your equipment).

      Have a good time,


      1. ..then don’t worry about that. At these sizes you won’t see any difference. Pick your favourite software and enjoy.



  2. Nareszcie kolor! Trzeba być naprawdę dobrym fotografem, żeby z kilku wizyt w terenie otrzymać tyle wspaniałych zdjęć. Pozdrawiam ciepło z Wybrzeża 🙂

  3. Hello Olaf,
    I have seen several of your blog posts and this is frankly the nicest one so far. The images are just great, both colour and form wise and it is a pleasure to watch. Keep these ones coming.

  4. Exquisite images of an amazing landscape! I read about Steve Huff’s workshop to this area last year and hope to visit one day (from the U.K.). I’m looking forward to part 2. Thank you.

  5. Amazing pictures Olaf, one of the few that really know how to harness the 14mm to its full potential (that I’m still trying). Windows wallpaper worthy and looking forward to part 2.

  6. Looks like you made it to Kamiac Butte. Bravo! Not many first time visitors get there. I’m really enjoying your telephoto shots, which I don’t usually care for. Great eye.
    It has always been interesting to me how many WA residents have never visited The Palouse, or never heard of it. The area is fun to explore in every season.
    WA has a lot of unique photo spots, the corners of the state seem to have a little extra.

  7. You often mention how much emphasis you place on building a composition you love – this really shows in all of these photographs. A little time spent with each one is invaluable for me – I can see the craft behind the composition. I feel this becomes increasingly important with a region that is so photographed; you have to build your own vision.

    1. Stephen,

      Great to hear from you. You are right – the Palouse requires 100% concentration and a very precise composition.

      All the best,


  8. Olaf gorgeous pictures. The early bird gets the best shots! It pays to get up early for that stunning light. I live in Portland. Your pictures make me eager to grab my x100s and drive up there. Thanks for sharing your work!

  9. Olaf and Kasia, your stunning photography blew me away yet again! You made me discover another area of the world that I did not know existed and so close to our home city of Vancouver. I must add The Palouse to my bucket list. You are amazing photographers both of you. You each have your own, unique style. I can’t wait to see part 2!

  10. I grew up in western WA & had never heard of the Palouse. Now that I live out of state, I had been hearing a lot about it. So, just a couple of years ago went to the Palouse to see what all the fuss was about. I was stopped in my tracks as I came around a curve in the road, by the sudden appearance of bright green & bright yellow colors marching over the hills as far as the eye could see! And, don’t forget the Palouse Falls; in June, the rainbow appears about 3 – 3:30. The area is a feast for the eyes & camera! I look forward to your Part 2. I enjoy your Fujifilm shots so much; made me buy a couple of fixed lenses!

    1. Yes, we visited the Palouse Falls but we got there in the morning (late afternoon would be much better). Next time we will try to do it again.

      All the best,


  11. They are beautiful images Olaf, do you use neutral density filters? To date i have not used any filters with the Fuji Lens as the shots are so clear, but there are times when the skies are over exposed. Kind regards, Michael

  12. The Images are beautiful Olaf. Do you use neutral or graduated filters at all? I have not used filters with the Fuji Lenses as the glass is so crystal clear. All the best, Michael

    1. On our 55-200 we had the circular-pol B&W filter and on our Fuji X100S UV protective filter. They both produced amazing colours and imagery. We put a lot of effort into composition and lighting (early morning or late evening). The majority of images are JPEGs straight from the cameras (Velvia film simulation).

      All the best,


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