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Palouse Master Class with John Pedersen

August 3, 2023 - August 6, 2023


Join me in the wheat fields of Eastern Washington to photograph the world famous Palouse area during harvest season. This is a unique time of year to be in the area, with rolling hills of yellow wheat waiting to be harvested. I have many years leading workshops in this area and we know the best spots to get both the iconic and hidden gems in this area. The rolling hills of wheat, barley, lentils with country roads punctuated by over 100-year-old barns lends itself to a photographer’s paradise. The subject matter is endless. The “Palouse” area is located in Southeastern Washington where the major towns are Pullman, Washington and Moscow, Idaho.

This workshop class, open to all abilities, is really designed to help you push yourself creatively, both in the field and in the digital darkroom to grow your creative vision and skills. I encourage creative exploration and breaking down any walls you may have and to get out of your comfort zone in how you see and create your images. This is more than just executing a nice photograph, this is about the “why” of the photograph and what you want to communicate. It’s a deeper dive in to the art of photography!

Before we head in to the field, I will briefly talk about what we’ll see and some creative exploration ideas that might fit the locations we’re visiting. In addition, I welcome any creative ideas that you may want to explore during the days and will work with you on achieving your personal vision. At least twice during the workshop we will spend some time in the classroom reviewing images, creative expression techniques and the foundations of storytelling through visual imagery. These classroom sessions are extremely valuable to cement home some of the concepts I talk about in the field

You may wonder if this is for you or not, but let me tell you, if you are passionate about photography and about learning and growing your artistry, then this is for you. My own passion centers around creating an emotional and visceral connection through my photographs, telling stories or eliciting a reaction in viewers. Along with that, I absolutely love teaching these topics and helping others grow their own visual “voice” through their photography.

In other workshops, we work on technical and creative aspects equally with participants, and in this workshop, the creative aspects take center stage! Of course I will help with any technical skills that are needed, but this MasterClass is more focused on the creative side of photography. I am keeping the attendee list small for this workshop so that I can devote a lot of time to each participant in helping them see and explore the possibilities. This is not a tour, it is a collaborative event meant to expand your knowledge, skills and vision.

If you’ve never photographed the Palouse, you owe yourself the opportunity to do it. The vast and far reaching wheat fields, barns and old buildings and lots of Americana dominate the experience here. During the Spring, the wheat is a beautiful shade of green, providing a nice contrast to the weathered wood and blue skies. Photographing this time of year can be challenging and creatively rewarding.

However, when we visit the Palouse area during the harvest time in August, things are much different…equally beautiful and more demanding creatively. This is why I chose to offer my MasterClass during the harvest time. We typically experience mature wheat fields waiting to be harvested, on to cut fields and then the dark earth of recently plowed fields. The color palette has shifted from one or two shades of green in the spring to a wide palette of yellows and browns so we have much more color variation, along with the amazing lights and shadows, to utilize in our compositions.

We also have more design elements to play with in our photographs during the harvest than we do in the spring. When the fields are first cut, there are lines in the fields that turn out to be an important compositional element. They also add an additional challenge to the photographer in figuring out how to integrate those lines in the composition so they add to the shot, not detract from it.

I’ve always said that the Palouse is on my top 3 list of most challenging places to shoot, on par with Death Valley and the Hoh Rainforest. As an artist, I enjoy visiting challenging locations because it pushes me to be better and think differently to come away with pleasing images. During the Palouse harvest, this challenge is invigorating and exciting because of the incredible palette of possibilities that are in front of us during this time of year.

This makes it the perfect location to explore your creative vision and push the boundaries of how you see and capture the world around you.


August 3, 2023
August 6, 2023
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John Pedersen
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