Blog entry: May 9, 2012
by Zach Schierl
I started taking photographs of Whitman Mission nearly two years ago and helped start this blog shortly thereafter. One of the things that struck me during that time is how dramatically the Mission changes throughout the year. For the last year or so, each day I've volunteered at the Mission, I've been sure to take at least one photograph overlooking the Mission grounds from the overlook next to the Whitman Memorial.
I decided to compile a selection of these photographs, along with some images from previous summers, into a collage showing how the park changes from the hot and sunny summers to the cold, frosty, and cloudy winters. The set of 6 pictures below comprises images taken from the summer of 2009 all the way up until last weekend. Watch how the color of the trees in the foreground changes from green, to golden yellow, to brown, before the leaves finally disappear entirely and the trees are coated in a layer of icy frost from a midwinter storm. Notice how the grass on the hill in the foreground is already mostly brown by June, the casualty of the hot Walla Walla summers. In the spring however, the green grass reemerges months before the trees begin to leaf out. If you look closely, you may be able to spot a small white speck along the old Oregon Trail (which cuts across the center of the photos) in the fall and spring images. That's the park's Oregon Trail style wagon. The wagon is out on display during the warmer months, but tucked under cover on the back patio of the Visitor Center during the winter to protect it from the elements - hence why it disappears later in the year (it is hidden by the trees in the first picture).
The Walla Walla Valley truly experiences four distinct seasons, and as a photographer it is fascinating to see what each new one brings in terms of photo opportunities. For a fun challenge, see if you can guess in which month each of the images was taken before looking at the photo caption!