Digital To Go: Blog en-us Michael Elenko [email protected] (Digital To Go) Tue, 22 Feb 2022 06:09:00 GMT Tue, 22 Feb 2022 06:09:00 GMT Digital To Go: Blog 120 80 Two artworks selected for 2022 Juried Exhibition by Midwest Center for Photography I'm honored to announce that two artworks have been selected for the 2022 Juried Exhibition by Midwest Center for Photography in Wichita. This is one of my favorite large exhibitions because the quality level has been consistently high over the years.

"Broken Home, Broken Dreams" was photographed in Costilla, New Mexico in a very desolate area. The outstanding beauty of the place has a strong pull, but its isolation can also be a strong barrier to self-sufficiency.

Broken Home, Broken Dreams, Costilla, New Mexico
"Spring Equinox, Fisher Pond" was photographed last year during a typically rainy day. The contrast and geometry among the tree barks as reflected was mesmerizing.

Spring Equinox, Fisher Pond

[email protected] (Digital To Go) digital to go Tue, 22 Feb 2022 06:08:55 GMT
Online purchases of my artwork from Handmade on Vashon December 2021 saw the opening of a new online website for purchasing artwork from Vashon Island artists, including me. Handmade on Vashon offers an easy way to purchase our artwork without having to visit a gallery or commission work directly. You have the choice of picking up the work from Handmade's office, or having it shipped directly to your preferred address. The quality of the protective packing and shipping is very high.

I put a lot of effort into printing and handcrafting the "frames" that best present my artwork. And Handmade On Vashon is the best way I can assure you are receiving my work as I intended. Check it out!

[email protected] (Digital To Go) Digital To Go Sat, 04 Dec 2021 04:25:00 GMT
Three Artworks Selected for Farms Across America National Exhibition in NY I am honored to share that I’ve had 3 prints accepted into the nationally juried exhibition “Farms Across America” hosted by the Alex Ferrone Gallery on Long Island, NY. This is a “small works” show in a high-end gallery. I’m especially honored because the artwork represented includes painting, mixed media, and sculpture in addition to photography.

Farms Across America opens on December 4th, 2021 and hangs until February 13th, 2022. UPDATE: Extended until mid-March 2022.

My limited-edition pieces were all photographed among the light-blessed agricultural farmlands and ghost towns of eastern Washington. They will be available exclusively from the Alex Ferrone Gallery.

The first “Harvested Wheat Fields of the Palouse, Washington” features a distant farm that’s almost swallowed up by the surrounding rolling hills of the famed Palouse region.
Harvested Wheat Felds of the Palouse, Washington Framed

The second, “Modern Wheat Silos, Waterville, Washington” is of a modern silo system for wheat which is a key crop for Washington. This too is among the fiery morning rolling hills of the Palouse

, , Framed


The third. “Grain Silos in the Ghost Town of Govan, Washington” is an abandoned depot that holds together rather nicely. There is a railroad line that runs parallel to the property behind the silos. I was photographing there last October feeling like the last man on earth. Suddenly a rail maintenance car and small crew abruptly appeared out of the hazy horizon and passed me with a friendly wave. I still wonder if they actually existed.

, Framed

[email protected] (Digital To Go) Digital To Go Thu, 02 Dec 2021 04:25:00 GMT
Vashon Center for the Arts 15th Annual Miniature Show The Vashon Center for the Arts has their 15th annual Miniature Show that runs from Dec. 3-24th. With over 80 artists of diverse media showing small pieces, the viewing is lots of fun and the prices affordable.

I’ll have three pieces exhibited. Each is 6x6-in created using archival materials. These works have a visual consistency and would make a nice gift set. UPDATE: all three works have been sold!

The first: “Layers of Dawn” was photographed somewhere on the Olympic Peninsula.
Layers of Dawn, Olympic Peninsula Framed The second, "Above Dewey Lakes, Mt. Rainier National Park," was photographed on the Naches Peak Loop trail.

Above Dewey Lakes, Mt. Rainier National Park Framed

And finally, "Dusk, Western Montana," was photographed somewhere on the way to Missoula.

Dusk, Western Montana Framed

[email protected] (Digital To Go) Digital To Go Mon, 29 Nov 2021 04:25:00 GMT
Vashon Center for the Arts Gala 2021 Gala Art Auction The Vashon Center for the Arts 2021 Gala Art Auction will be happening from September 3—24. All art can be viewed in the gallery in person. Bidding (and viewing) is online at:

My contribution this year is π˜Ύπ™€π™‘π™ͺπ™’π™—π™žπ™– π™π™žπ™«π™šπ™§, π˜Ύπ™šπ™£π™©π™§π™–π™‘ π™’π™–π™¨π™π™žπ™£π™œπ™©π™€π™£. This work is 18x24-in; the image is printed by me and the whole artwork I have handcrafted. There are over 150 pieces of art plus neat experiences being auctioned this year, so please check it all out!

Columbia River, Central Washington

[email protected] (Digital To Go) Digital To Go Fri, 03 Sep 2021 03:25:00 GMT
Two Selections for "Coastal" Exhibition in New York Gallery I’m happy to share that I have two art prints selected for the “Coastal” exhibition this month at the Long Island Photo Gallery in New York. It’s fun to see images of places by the sea from so many parts of the US and the world.

This is the first time I’ve had artwork on display in New York. The exhibition will hang until August 14th at the gallery in Islip.

Great Blue Heron Landing Amidst A Smoke-Tinged Sky

Olympic Mountains, Southworth Ferry

[email protected] (Digital To Go) Digital To Go Mon, 19 Jul 2021 04:05:00 GMT
Selection for 2021 Abstract International Exhibition I am happy to share that my artwork, Judd Creek in Winter, has been selected by the Midwest Center for Photography for its international exhibition Abstract. The sense of controlled chaos in the image conveys the feeling when hiking in this wet part of the island. It is one of my favorite places to lose myself among the trees and fields.

Judd Creek in Winter

Judd Creek In Winter

[email protected] (Digital To Go) Digital To Go Sat, 08 May 2021 03:25:00 GMT
2021 Portfolio Artist Selection I am honored to announce that my “Evans Canyon Fire” series of images has been selected for the Midwest Center for Photography’s 2021 Portfolio Platform. While I surely enjoy creating single artful images, pulling together a whole portfolio is exponentially more of a storytelling challenge. Not only does each image have to hit a certain standard, but the sequencing of the multiple images allows the deeper and broader story to emerge.

The “Evans Canyon Fire” portfolio is as much photojournalism as it is fine art. The Evans Canyon Fire started on Aug 31st, 2020, and lasted about two weeks, consuming over 75,000 acres between Yakima and Ellensburg in central Washington state. During the past 12 years I have hiked and photographed this area frequently, and it was with mixed emotions that I photographed the fire’s aftermath.

These images will be online through September, and of course shown at the Midwest Center for Photography in Wichita where they can be purchased.

Evans Canyon Fire-7

Evans Canyon Fire -7Evans Canyon Fire -7Evans Canyon Fire-7

[email protected] (Digital To Go) Digital To Go Fri, 16 Apr 2021 03:25:00 GMT
Local Newspaper Article Features Vashon Island Photographers Our weekly newspaper, The Vashon Beachcomber, had a nice story about how fellow Vashon Island artist Michelle Friars discovered there was a second Island artist with work selected for the nationally juried Midwest Center for Photography exhibition. So I thank Michelle for bringing this Island accomplishment to the paper’s attention. It is indeed an honor to have two pieces chosen this year.

[email protected] (Digital To Go) Digital To Go Fri, 19 Feb 2021 04:25:00 GMT
Two Artworks Selected for 2021 Midwest Juried Art Exhibition I had the honor of having two artworks selected for the 2021 Midwest Juried Art Exhibition sponsored by the Midwest Center for Photography in Wichita.

The first image is new work from the Palouse region in eastern Washington. I visited there again in October of 2020 and photographed high on Steptoe Butte in the cold dawn, happily. The second image was photographed shortly after a wildfire in central Washington in an area that is very important to me. I have been hiking and photographing in the Evans Canyon area for the past 15 years, and to see it charred was very intense. My goal is to create a portfolio from the images I created there after the fire and have that exhibited.

West, Steptoe Butte

West, Steptoe Butte

Evans Canyon Fire-1

Evans Canyon Fire P-5Evans Canyon Fire P-5Evans Canyon Fire-1

[email protected] (Digital To Go) Digital To Go Sat, 13 Feb 2021 04:25:00 GMT
Three Artworks Sell at VCA 2020 Miniatures Show The Vashon Center for the Arts 2020 Miniature Show had a successful December run. This is always a fun event and this year there were 200 pieces by 89 artists. 

My three contributions sold. They focused upon the Palouse region of eastern Washington where I have spent several days throughout 2020 photographing the phenomenal environment. Each of these hand-crafted works are 6x6-inches, printed by me on 100% cotton rag paper with archival pigment ink. My goal with these images was to help fuel a few visual escapes to a colorful and fascinating place that you can return to again and again. It’s easy to get stir crazy these COVID days!

A Palouse Farm

Dawn in the Palouse

The Sculptured Glow of the Palouse

[email protected] (Digital To Go) Digital To Go Miniature Photographic Artwork Thu, 31 Dec 2020 04:05:00 GMT
Peace By Piece Concert Art for Northwest Sinfonietta I am honored to have been asked by the Northwest Sinfonietta chamber orchestra to provide artwork for their 2020 broadcast concert Peace By Piece. Selected images appear in the background for each of the nine compositions of the program. This was a fun challenge that brings to mind the Lexicon of Light from 2019 as well as Visual Music. A big difference is that I had to provide complementary art for each piece (very diverse classical and jazz-oriented works) and had five days to make it happen!

Northwest Sinfonietta is celebrating their 30th anniversary. They are headquarted in Tacoma. This performance, due to COVID-19, was recorded live at a theatre on November 4th.

Peace By Piece Screenshot

Northwest SinfoniettaNW_Sinfonietta_art_background

[email protected] (Digital To Go) Concert background art Digital To Go Sat, 07 Nov 2020 03:38:00 GMT
Three Images Selected for Exhibition in Oregon I’m happy to share that I have three images included in the Lightbox Gallery’s “Let the Sun Shine In” national exhibition which runs from July 15 to September 12, 2020.

This exhibition will hang in the Lightbox Gallery in beautiful Astoria, Oregon, and it will also be posted online.

211 Ritzville

211 Ritzville

Dusk, Agren Park


The Palouse at Dusk

The Lightbox is one of my favorite galleries, and Chelsea and Michael keep trying new things, which is very important during these challenging times for art venues.
The peer-based jurying process for this exhibition was different, and it’s explained on the website front page.
So I’m happy to have three images selected out of 251 submitted. And all images in the exhibition are visually compelling and high quality. So congrats to my fellow artists!
If you are an art photographer, please consider submitting for future exhibitions at the Lightbox or become a supporting member. It’s a serious struggle to sustain an art gallery these days. The Lightbox has given much to our community over the years and we all benefit from their platform.

[email protected] (Digital To Go) art openings juried exhibition selection(s) Fri, 17 Jul 2020 15:01:18 GMT
"Marina" Selected for 6th Annual National Photography Competition & Exhibition I am honored to announce that my image, “Marina” has been selected for the 6th Annual National Photography Competition & Exhibition sponsored by the Allegany Arts Council in Cumberland, Maryland.

This has become a very popular and competitive event, and I had been planning to use the opening in gorgeous western Maryland as a stepping stone to visit good friends in the state. The pandemic has transitioned the exhibition to an online event, which will open Saturday, June 27 and runs until July 18th.

The event website is nicely done with sections for invited artists, the digital gallery, and award winners (which will be announced on the 27th).
This is the second national exhibition for which “Marina” has been selected—earlier this year it appeared in the Midwest Center for Photography’s Annual Juried Art Exhibition.

Marina conveys the geometry and humanity of the boathouse community common to marinas in many places.


[email protected] (Digital To Go) art openings juried exhibition selection(s) Fri, 17 Jul 2020 14:13:20 GMT
Three New Prints Selected for 2020 Midwest Center for Photography Juried Exhibition I am honored to have three photographic prints selected for the 2020 Midwest Center for Photography Juried Exhibition. This marks the third consecutive year that I’ve participated in this fine art event. I’m especially happy that these are new works I’ve created within the past year. Gotta keep moving!

The exhibition is at the Center’s Wichita gallery and runs from March 6-27th.

This first image, The Other Side of the Tracks, was photographed in the light rail transit tunnel in downtown Seattle. The site is undergoing construction which has visually changed things.

The Other Side of the Tracks

This second image, Welcome To The Working Week, was produced for a group exhibition entitled Visual Music, in which the artist had to create artwork that reflected a song that one liked a lot. Mine was the initial cut from Elvis Costello's first album, My Aim Is True. The image captures the essence of commuters entering downtown Seattle from a busy ferry terminal.

Welcome To The Working Week

Marina conveys the geometry and humanity of the boathouse community common to marinas in many places.


[email protected] (Digital To Go) art openings juried exhibition selection(s) Tue, 03 Mar 2020 22:43:47 GMT
"Tramp Harbor, Vashon Island" to be in Live Auction at Vashon Center for the Arts ME VCA Auction 919

The Vashon Center for the Arts had a first Friday preview of the dozen artworks that will be part of the Masquerade Gala Art Live Auction on September 21st. The wall featured very engaging and diverse work of multiple media.
And here is "Tramp Harbor, Vashon Island" in its 30x40 glory. I greatly appreciate the many many comments and good conversation offered during the previes, it was a lot of fun.

More information about the upcoming Gala Auction can be found here:

[email protected] (Digital To Go) Tue, 10 Sep 2019 23:07:03 GMT
Three artworks chosen for national exhibition in Vancouver, WA Three of my prints were accepted into the nationally juried exhibition “Once Upon A Time (the art of fantasy)” curated by the Vancouver Art Space in Vancouver, Washington. This should be a fun show with sci-fi perspectives. The exhibition runs from Sept. 5th-29th.
It Used To Be A Melting Pot
This is the first time I've shown "It Used To Be A Melting Pot" and "Rising."

Rising, FramedRising, Framed "And There Was That One Red Truck" previously was named the top conceptual artwork in the 2018 Midwestern Annual Photography Exhibition.


And there was that one red truck, framedAnd there was that one red truck, framed





[email protected] (Digital To Go) art openings juried exhibition selection(s) Tue, 10 Sep 2019 22:00:05 GMT
Enter With Joy selected for national juried exhibition at Parklane Gallery
I am happy to announce that my print, Enter With Joy, has been selected for the Parklane Gallery national juried exhibition, "Anything Goes." This print was previously selected for the Midwest Center for Photography 2019 Annual Exhibition.

"Anything Goes" runs from September 3rd - October 6th at the Parklane Gallery, 218 Main Street, in Kirkland, Washington, east of Seattle.
Framed, Enter With Joy, Shelton, Washington
[email protected] (Digital To Go) Mon, 12 Aug 2019 18:16:38 GMT
Visual Music Exhibition Opened August 2nd The Visual Music exhibition opened on Friday night, August 2 at the Vashon Center for the Arts.

The goal of Visual Music is to create an image that is inspired by a song.

I have two artworks in the exhibition:

Welcome to the Working Week
Inspired by the Elvis Costello song, some elements of this piece should be recognizable by commuters who travel to downtown Seattle via the water taxi. And other elements are, let’s say, transformational.

Visual Music ME 1Visual Music ME 1

trail of broken hearts
The k.d. lang song has such a wistful mood that it brings to mind this photograph of eastern Washington. This place is hot and very dry; the sound of the constant wind underscores a sad feeling about what aspirations were fulfilled here and those that were not.

Visual Music ME 2Visual Music ME 2

The Visual Music exhibition runs until August 18th. More info:


[email protected] (Digital To Go) art openings Sun, 04 Aug 2019 22:00:31 GMT
"Dusk, Agren Park” selected for international juried exhibition I am honored to announce that my image, "Dusk, Agren Park” was selected for an international juried exhibition by The Cultural Center of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. The theme of the exhibition is “The Golden Hours”.

"Dusk, Agren Park” was photographed on my home island of Vashon.


Dusk, Agren ParkDusk, Agren ParkDusk, Agren Park

You are invited to check out the online gallery:

[email protected] (Digital To Go) juried exhibition selection(s) Sun, 11 Feb 2018 19:47:00 GMT
"And There Was That One Red Truck" wins top award at 2018 Midwest Art Exhibit

I am honored to announce that three prints of mine has been selected for the international "2018 Midwest Art Exhibit," by the Midwest Center for Photography. The juried exhibition opens in Wichita tonight on January 26th and runs until February 9th.

"And There Was That One Red Truck" was awarded a cash prize for the best conceptual artwork in the exhibition.

The additional two images selected are respectively, "Turning Gold", and "Abandoned Storefront, Ritzville, Washington".

Abandoned Storefront, Ritzville, Washington

[email protected] (Digital To Go) juried exhibition selection(s) Fri, 26 Jan 2018 08:11:00 GMT
"Triangulation" selected for Minneapolis international art exhibit I am honored to announce that my print, "Triangulation", has been selected for the international juried art exhibit, “The Shadow Aspect.” The exhibition is sponsored by the Praxis Gallery & Photographic Arts Center and opens in Minneapolis on January 19th for one month. I saw an artist’s preview online—the quality of work is superb, so it’s a thrill to be included.

[email protected] (Digital To Go) juried exhibition selection(s) Fri, 12 Jan 2018 08:19:00 GMT
"Across From Reedo, Seattle" selected for international art exhibition I’m honored to announce that my print "Across From Reedo, Seattle" has been chosen for inclusion into the R.G. Endres Gallery International Juried Photo Competition 2018 exhibition. The exhibition will hang during January, 2018. The R.G. Endres Gallery is just outside Kansas City in Prairie Village, Kansas.

This image was taken in 2009 and has been one of my favorites. It has also become as much of a historical document: most of the structures pictured have been demolished as Seattle is completing a tunnel for highway 99.


[email protected] (Digital To Go) juried exhibition selection(s) Sun, 10 Dec 2017 08:24:00 GMT
β€œPier 61/62, Seattle” selcted for international art exhibition outside Boston I am honored to announce that my image, “Pier 61/62, Seattle” has been selected for the 4th Annual International I-Phonography Now exhibition. This juried exhibition is sponsored by the Plymouth Center for the Arts, south of Boston. The photograph will be published in the third issue of the “Literate Image” magazine.


[email protected] (Digital To Go) juried exhibition selection(s) Thu, 09 Nov 2017 08:29:00 GMT
"Standing Meditation" Opens at Spoke Gallery on November 3rd, 2017 Please join me on Nov. 3rd for the opening of my exhibition, Standing Meditation, Zen Photography at Spoke Yoga Studio & Gallery, Vashon Island, Washington. This is part of the First Friday activities on the island from 6-9PM. There will be live music at the Spoke gallery, which is just east of the post office. Standing Meditation will be up through the end of the year.

Standing Meditation PosterStanding Meditation PosterStanding Meditation Poster

[email protected] (Digital To Go) art openings Mon, 30 Oct 2017 07:33:00 GMT
β€œQuartermaster Harbor from Burton Beach, Vashon Island, Washington” chosen for art show I am honored that my print “Quartermaster Harbor from Burton Beach, Vashon Island, Washington” was chosen for the international juried art exhibition, Nature’s Way (a search for beauty), to be held from November 11 – December 5, 2017 at the Lightbox Photographic Gallery in Astoria, Oregon.…/natures_way_a_search_for…

Quartermaster Harbor from Burton Beach, Oct 13, 2014Quartermaster Harbor from Burton Beach, Oct 13, 2014Quartermaster Harbor from Burton Beach, Oct 13, 2014

[email protected] (Digital To Go) juried exhibition selection(s) Wed, 18 Oct 2017 07:33:00 GMT
A Commute To Gloat About About three times per week I ride a water taxi from my Vashon Island home to my workplace on the waterfront in downtown Seattle. The water taxi is a passenger-only ferry, a hydrofoil, that is new, large (about 225 bodies), comfortable, reasonably priced, and damn fast.

Here's the gloat part: for me, the logistics are great.  I can roll down the hill from my home to the ferry dock in about 13 minutes. The water taxi trip itself takes about 25 minutes. Once downtown, I walk along the waterfront for about 1.3 miles. For lunch I can walk another two blocks and hang at the Seattle Art Museum Olympic Sculpture park which is basically stunning. And then at day's end, I walk the 1.3 miles back to the water taxi dock. Going uphill the third of a mile home is usually not all that much fun, especially on our rainy, dark autumn and winter nights, but I figure the exercise helps keep me if not young-ish, then at least mobile.

So today was one of our quintessential freaky transition days that begins one way and concludes very differently. This morning was thick fog that limited visibility and contributed to fun photography. As I waited for the tardy water taxi, a large vehicle ferry pulled into one of the two adjoining vessel slips. This route goes to West Seattle.

Waiting for Water Taxi From the Island to Downtown Seattle

I was glad I brought my 24-70mm f2.8 zoom lens so I could tightly frame the scene using the vertical "dolphins" as visual borders.

When we arrived in Seattle the sun was just starting to appear, but the scene was not photogenic enough for me. That changed, however as the day unfolded. Around lunch time there were still enough clouds and residual fog that added layers to the sky. I hit the outdoor patio that sits above Elliott Bay with a northwest view to the Olympic mountains.

I noticed one of the maintenance staff in a cherry picker, and he was repairing something on the exterior wall. Fortunately the lighting, his position, and the vista came together for me to be able to capture what I hope will be a shot that honors his and his team's fine work. Most likely he would have had to do the same task if it was miserable outside instead of glorious.

Maintenance Work with a View West









The most rewarding part of my commute home are the views we get of downtown Seattle and the waterfront as we leave for the island. When we get on the water taxi the outdoor seats face west. After September, I'm usually not hardy enough to sit outside for the whole ride--I'll hit and run for a few shots, or to chat with a friend for a bit, and then return to the comfort of the interior, maybe even snooze for 15 minutes. But today was too visually compelling

State Ferry Dock Downtown Seattle


This is another of Washington's mega auto ferries that take commuters between downtown Seattle and exurban cities like Bremerton and Bainbridge Island. But the light and the sky are the stars here.

The water taxi then reverses direction heading directly west, allowing us east facing rear riders with a diminishing view of downtown Seattle as we head off.

Downtown Seattle As We Head WestDowntown Seattle As We Head West

Happily there was just enough daylight left to see the dissapating clouds over the island.

Arriving on the Island

This is the part of the rock where we live (nope, not waterfront, nor water view). And as the darkness fell, it was good to be home.

Notes on the photography technologies used for these images: These photographs were taken with a Pentax K-1 DSLR and a Pentax 24-70mm f2.8 zoom lens. Aurora 2017 HDR software was used to merge three bracketed exposures into a single HDR-type of image. Additional post-processing was performed using Lightroom CC or NIK Silver EFEX Pro2 software.




[email protected] (Digital To Go) Pentax K-1 Stories Fri, 11 Nov 2016 07:16:30 GMT
Ritzville, Washington Ritzville is easy to overlook. A small city in Eastern Washington, Ritzville serves as the go-to depot for getting humongous amounts of wheat onto the railroads heading west to the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma. To most, Ritzville is a refueling stop to or from Spokane. But there is more.

We ended up in Ritzville because we couldn’t get a room in Spokane in June during the Hoopfest that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. Our son had to be at Gonzaga that Sunday morning to Keeley CottageKeeley Cottage attend an academic summer camp. The only place available to stay within a 50-mile radius was a charming Victorian era B&B in Ritzville called Keeley Cottage and operated by the very kind Ruth. What a pleasant surprise!

Ritzville has texture; hundred-plus year old texture. The place peaked during the Great Depression, and has kind of been desiccating ever since. Abandoned buildings that sit for photographers. A functioning movie theater, neon sign crackling. And a classic Main Street that doesn’t wake up until, well, I don’t know, as I couldn’t find anyone to ask when I was there. Ritzville also has fantastic light. Dawn offers crisp, clear skies that reflects arid Eastern Washington. Dusk brings the golden hour to great swaths of the downtown streets. And I’ve tried to capture all that texture in the shots.

[email protected] (Digital To Go) Ritzville Washington Tue, 06 Sep 2016 00:48:55 GMT
Escure Ranch and Rock Creek Escure Ranch lies within the scenic Rock Creek drainage in southeast Washington (south of Spokane) in the Palouse, formed approximately 12,000 years ago by the massive Glacial Lake Missoula floods. Here you will find 30 miles of non-motorized trails and solitude.

Rock Creek is increasingly popular for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, trout fishing, and hunting. The historic Escure Ranch was built in the early 1900s and focused on sheep ranching. The Rock CreekRock Creek Great Depression saw the ranch become d Loggerhead ShrikeLoggerhead Shrike ilapidated. It was purchased in the 1940s by two Basque immigrant bothers, John and Marcus Escure. They ran a successful operation. The distinctive corrugated metal sheathing on several of the buildings was installed during the 1950s. The sheep market declined during the mid 1950s and the brothers then initiated cattle ranching. The BLM purchased the ranch in 1999. The ranch house, barns, buildings and corrals still stand.

The surrounding area is splendid for photography, with many birds and a landscape with strong geological features. My wife and I were only able to spend limited time here, so I concentrated on documenting the ranch infrastructure. We were also able to hike some, enough time for me to grab some snapshots of a few local birds and land features.

Meadowlark at Rock CreekMeadowlark at Rock Creek If you like to wake up to a brisk, clear sunrise campsite without another party within miles, then I encourage you to visit Escure Ranch.

[email protected] (Digital To Go) Mon, 05 Sep 2016 07:55:43 GMT
Digital To Go 2016 Guide to Shooting Sports Earlier this year I revised my original article about photographing sports. It was originally publishein ShutterMonks magazine in 2012. For this edition, I've updated some equipment specifications and tweaked a few recommendations. The core guidance has not changed at all. The basic message is that shooting sports well is not easy, but it is certainly  achievable. It takes a lot of practice, and Girls LacrosseGirls Lacrosse , unlike most other kinds of photography, the right equipment including long lenses and a camera that has good predictive auto focus. 

  The article is a PDF that you are welcome to download and especially reference.     U-16 Vashon Club Soccer vs. University PlaceU-16 Vashon Club Soccer vs. University Place

[email protected] (Digital To Go) Sports photography Sun, 04 Sep 2016 17:52:37 GMT
How I Learned to Accept All-In-One Superzooms Have you ever had a boss who just seemed to have your number? Someone who knows you better than yourself? Well, I have three of them. These people even claim to love me so much that they wanted more of my attention during our vacation to Costa Rica. The mandate as received was, two lenses max, no long time outs for art photos, we’re not waiting for you and you are not falling behind.

Wow, I almost cried. And they really mean it.

I had to hustle and to define my shooting requirements quickly, as we were leaving in a few weeks. Costa Rica has lots of amazing birds, so I needed something with length. The country also has a lot of tropical plants and exotic insects, so a closeup lens would be nice. And I like wide angle shots when hiking in mountains and jungles. Something on the lighter side would be great too. One of the smaller planes had luggage weight restrictions that we took seriously.

Tamron 28-300mm at Widest Tamron 28-300mm Extended

I pulled and reset numerous configurations of the lenses I owned, and nothing met the two lens rule. Anything that came close, like the Canon 100-400mm L was too heavy.

Approaching Sunset, Manuel Antonio Beach, Costa RicaApproaching Sunset, Manuel Antonio Beach, Costa Rica

Acceptance is a healthy practice: with people, the universe, and even lens designs. So I began the acceptance process by checking out all-in-one superzoom lenses. I've always considered myself as a kind of mid-brow lens purchaser. Certainly not a high-end Zeiss buyer, but not a kit lens bottom feeder either. I try to balance fast high quality single focal length lenses with f2.8 zoom lenses. Unfortunately, fast zooms lenses imply something heavy and that was out of scope. I’m also generally brand agnostic, so third-party lens makers were game.

Costa Rican insectFlat Footed Bug, Costa Rica

Being human, I admit to having some biases. One kind of lens I often dissed are those all-in-one mega zooms. They cover everything from 16mm to 300mm, and have variable apertures usually from f 4.5-f 6.3.  On paper it's a good idea, solving all your problems with one lens. Unfortunately, physics and optics get in the way. While these lenses capture things accurately at f8 on a sunny day, as shooting conditions deviate, the optical prowess falters. At the widest focal lengths, there is significant barrel distortion and often pincushion distortion towards 50mm. Plus vignetting at the widest settings, especially on a FF camera. When extended out to maximum focal length, all-in-ones aren't very sharp, especially in the corners. There's just too much intermediate glass getting in the way.

But I had marching orders. I was stuck.

So I broke all my lens buying rules and ordered a Tamron 28-300mm, f 3.6-f 6.3 from a Canadian grey market seller Amazon.  New retail pricing in the US was not inexpensive, but the grey market price was about 40% discounted. Heck with the warranty I say, I’m not gonna like this thing anyway and will be dealing it away three weeks later. I also picked up a used Canon 500D Closeup lens which I will write about in the future. So I was good with the boss, all of them.

About 4000 miles and 1500 shots later, I have some opinions about this lens. I still think it is optically mediocre, but I accept that. Miraculously, Lightroom corrections fix the distortion issues well enough, and the new Lightroom Transform functionality makes things even more accurate. Not only does the pig have lipstick, but it’s wearing shoes as well!

Green Heron, Costa Rica

What I really like about the 28-300mm is that I can be much more spontaneous taking shots. No stopping the action to swap lenses. No stepping back or lurching forward. Just zoom in some more. And some more after that. On a crop-sensor 7D, that 300mm delivers a 450mm field-of-view.

The physical traits of this lens are perfect for travel. The Tamron weighs about 21 ounces or 1.3 pounds. It also compacts down rather reasonably on the camera at its widest angle. [photo of lens on 5D, extended too], so it can fit in a shoulder bag nicely.

And the Tamron did allow me to get decent shots. After all, this was a family vacation, no art pretenses allowed.

I’ve surprised myself by hanging onto the Tamron. Its role as my primary hiking lens was reprised during a camping weekend in the Olympic mountains. Again, the capability for spontaneity was such a strong point. I could take semi-candid shots of my family and even a few closeups of plants.

Get moving folks

Shopping advice: before going out and buying just anything, I recommend you choose the latest superzoom models. Tamron has improved the Vibration Control (their name for image stabilization) and having an ultrasonic motor makes things much quieter and more precise. Generally, I avoid grey-market purchases, but as noted, the cost differences for this one was worthwhile for me. I’ve had no repair-related issues during the nine months of ownership. Also check out offerings from Sigma.

[email protected] (Digital To Go) Stories Sun, 07 Aug 2016 06:38:03 GMT
Photography Gear for a Family Vacation A common query seen among online forums asks about the best lenses for use on vacation. Because requirements should always drive your equipment choices, I always ask about the nature of the vacation: is this a family vacation or a photography vacation?

They are usually very different affairs.

Howler monkey, Costa Rica

For photography, a family vacation can be full of compromise. You the photographer are there primarily as the parent, spouse, or even adult companion to older parents, spending your precious leisure time with your loved ones—many of whom don’t spend enough quality time with you throughout the working week. You also may have to carry around supplies for the day’s journey including food, water bottles, a diaper bag, a rain coat, or even a Frisbee, which leaves very little space or strength for heavy, high-quality camera gear. If things go well enough, you can run off fun family snaps, and maybe a few shots of famous places to prove you were there.

You may also not be in charge of the pace of the day’s excursions. Often things can go either painfully slow when traveling with elderly or the very young, or too hastily when cramming an itinerary into a box of time. None of these are photography friendly.

Today's catch on the river, Costa Rica

A photo vacation, however, is a much more focused and self-oriented endeavor. You can shlep as much gear as you can carry, or move at a snail’s pace so you can setup that tripod, macro lens and ring flash. It’s easy to go off trail to capture that bird. If you are fortunate, your loved one has a complementary pursuit. My wife Fran is an avid amateur botanist which allows me to photograph unusual or at least cool looking plants that many would never pay attention to.

But there is hope. You gotta have your photographic wits about you, and be able to instantly identify that decisive moment. Sometimes on a family vacation you can negotiate some photographic self time where you are left alone. And sometimes you are lucky.

Skies over San Jose, Costa Rica

Having gone through this cycle a few times, below are my recommendations that may serve your family vacation photographic needs quite well. One thing to recognize and make peace with: a lot of the lightweight lenses depend on software to overcome optical distortion issues. But the software, such as Lightroom lens corrections, works effectively.


Recommended Equipment for Family Vacations
Camera body Fuji makes highly regarded small-sized mirrorless cameras and well thought out lenses for the APS-C format.  For DSLRs, go with a small APS-C body. Pentax makes a great system with very small lenses.  The Canon SL1 is small and capable. Olympus has a very well executed system and excellent glass. Otherwise, just use your smartphone. Software like Camera+ lets you manually control the shooting. Don’t forget the panorama shooting offered by smartphones.
Lenses Tamron superzoom. For FF, 28-300mm f 4.5-5.6 IS VC; for APS-C 16-300mm etc. I have made peace with the all-in-one superzoom lens. Sigma is good too. When you don’t want to haul around heavy glass, especially for street shooting, go for a Canon or Pentax 40mm f2.8 pancake. Surprisingly good image quality, The Canon 40mm will work fine on both FF and APS-C; Pentax APS-C only. Pentax also makes 15mm, 21mm, and 70mm pancake lenses of excellent quality. The Sony E 16mm f2.8 for APS-C has an excellent reputation.
Macro lenses True macro lenses capture images at 1:1 magnification.  Everything smaller is a closeup lens. Most macro lenses pack a lot of heavy glass. Your body will thank you for getting the lightweight Canon 500D Closeup Lens. This is a very high quality lens that screws onto the front of your lens like a huge filter. It is intended to be used with zoom lenses, and works very well with the Tamron noted above. You can purchase the Canon 500D in a few filter ring sizes; I prefer the 77mm and then purchase step up rings for smaller diameter lenses.
Tripods & heads Within the past several years there have been several ultra-light collapsing tripods released by the popular Chinese brands like Sirui, Benro, Vanguard and MeFoto. Most of these include a ball head of sorts. All of these are aluminum (carbon fiber is in a different class) highly imperfect. Most are 4-5 sections and when two sections are extended things get close to wobbly. That said, they fold down to under 12 inches, are under 3.5 pounds, and can support a DSLR and a superzoom lens. I chose the ProMaster SC522 and find it usable. That’s about as tepid an endorsement as I can give. I ditched the included ball head for my Acratech Ultimate, but even with the sturdier ball head, the whole works can fit almost anywhere. That’s what makes it valuable on family vacations.
Flash I don’t like on-camera flash, but also don’t like the bulk of larger speed lights. Consider small-sized TTL flashes like the Sunpak RD2000C, with a guide number of 20. Remember to get a diffuser, one of the best is from Joe Demb.





[email protected] (Digital To Go) Analysis Mon, 01 Aug 2016 03:49:45 GMT