Steptoe Magic

So I made it to my destination yesterday afternoon in Colfax, Washington. I love this town. It is so vibrant.
I arrived in time to checkin to my hotel, have an early dinner, and head to Steptoe Butte for some fun in the early evening sun. If you’re familiar with this area, you undoubtedly know that Steptoe Butte is a focal point for photographers. Pun intended. If you’re not familiar with the area, imagine miles and miles of rolling hills. Imagine how awesome the hills look when the sun is low, and the light and shadows create a velvety carpet of texture and green and brown. Now, imagine how awesome it would be if you could just gain a little elevation and look down onto the carpet. That would be Steptoe Butte. Located smack in the middle the rolling hills, Steptoe Butte offers a perfect elevated view for the rolling hills. One visit to Steptoe Butte and you’ll immediately see why it is such an attraction for photographers. When the light is good photographically, Steptoe is like a magic carpet ride!
I arrived at Steptoe well in advance of sunset, a little too early for the magic carpet. I parked near a small group of photographers who had arrived just ahead of me. I immediately recognized the group as a workshop. After being a part of as many workshops as I have, you develop a sense for it. If you want to have fun sometime, just sit back and listen to a group of photographers on a workshop. There was the debate about which camera was the best, closely followed by the debate about tripods and ball heads. That was quickly followed by the statement that the camera doesn’t make the pictures, the photographer does (which, of course, is true). Somewhere along the way is usually a statement by a photographer about how much better the light was the last time they were at this location. Yep, someone eventually said that. Also, there was a complaint about the haze and the fact that the crops are late this year just like last year. We photographers can be a picky bunch!
All I could see was the carpet of rolling hills. It was beautiful. True, when the sun was behind the clouds, the light was a little flat and the carpet lacked dimensionality. That was a good time to just enjoy the scenery and to feel lucky to be there. Occasionally, the sun would peak from behind the clouds and the carpet glowed to life with Steptoe magic. I’ve been fortunate. Most times I’ve been to Steptoe Butte, the magic light appears at least once or twice. Last evening was no exception. The sun dropped below the clouds and the magic carpet ride ensued. By this time, another workshop group showed up. Turns out that the leader of the second group was a photographer I know from Knoxville. Small world. It just goes to show the power of light and the Steptoe magic carpet ride! In the end, the light didn’t disappoint, and I’m pretty sure everyone was happy!
I clicked about 45 images last night. This one is my favorite. Enjoy!
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  1. Hey Steve, Namaste 🙂

    A beautifully serene photograph from an elevated view – perhaps from the crow’s-nest of an imaginary sailing-ship, The Steptoe Butte, moored off-shore upon rippled-waters of a tropical-green sea: gazing at a emerald isle with a solitary pine tree.

    I too would be easily enticed by her transient charm, teased by her ever-changing mood, entrapped by her enchantment: over and over, again, again.

    Thank you for posting.

    Namaste 🙂



  2. My pleasure Steve, thank you for posting 🙂

    I imagine the experience of being there lulls the bull, stirs the heart, pleasures the eye, encourages the photograph, and motivates the pen. Some places are special in that way. You appear to have found such a place and know her like a lover.

    Namaste 🙂



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