Bay Area Digital Photography Workshop Series


Surfing Seals.

The Landscape of the California Coast

Pacifica: Nature's Gem
Digital Photography Workshop

with Stephen Johnson

May 20-21, 2017 (add on lab day May 22)

$495. First Three discount $450. Enrollment bonus: 20% discount on most classes coming up.
One Day add-on $200.
Limited Spaces Available and one full-time photo student scholarship.

Credit Card Registration online or by phone 650 355-7507
Enrollment limited to 12 people

15 miles from downtown San Francisco, the cliffs, hills and beaches of Pacifica offer a unique touchstone to the natural world with 50 miles of trails, national, state, county and city parks, remarkable vistas, the roar of surf, the wonder of migrating whales, the solitude of forested trails. Pacifica is a gem of nature, hidden in plain sight, a treasure trove of landscape experiences.

Pedro Point. 2013

From the Pacifica Land Trust: Our coast is a rugged harmony of endless combinations. Stiff sea winds can polish the skies to a blue brilliance unlike any other. Along the shore, pelicans, gulls and sandpipers vie for the oceans harvest. Inland valleys support steelhead streams. Silken fingers of fog reach down and enshroud the land below. Dramatic coastal ridges thrust upward where hawks and falcons circle.

This is Pacifica.

South from San Francisco along the coast, travelers are routinely stunned by breathtaking views and dramatic sunsets that sweep the coast from Highway One. From the northern ocean bluffs, south to Pedro Point, Pacifica encompasses not only 40,000 people but several unique micro-climates and ecosystems with rare and threatened plant and animal species including the Montara Mountain manzanita, the San Francisco garter snake, and the Mission Blue butterfly.

Mori Point. Pacifica. 2001. BetterLight Scanning Back.


Wildflowers, Pacifica.


Fog Bank. Pacifica.


Lightning, Pacifica. 2013.

Pacifica is located along one of the most beautiful stretches of land and sea anywhere. From eroded, rocky shorelines, to cliffs, long beaches, forests all nestled around this special coastal community. We'll spend the day roaming the coast and hills, stopping at state parks, county parks and checking out the lunch options along the way.

The workshop will be a dynamic combination of a traditional landscape photography workshop while diving deep into the digital age. Technical and aesthetic considerations will be discussed in detail. Our concentration will be on controlling your camera's operation to achieve your desired technical results, while building composition and visual skills to make the photograph what you want it to be. Digital exposure and dynamic range, composition, emotion and amazement-all will be part of our 2-day excursion into the evolving world of digital photography.

Although we will drive to various locations, this is a walking workshop. We will be walking near cliffs, on trails, beaches, and on rocky beaches. No trail over a mile is contemplated.

Day 1 will be fieldwork at various locations with intensive presentations and assistance. We will then come back into the lab and process the photographs we made to maximize feedback and learning. Day 2 will be back in the field putting into practice lessons learned during the previous day. Day 3 add-on will be out again for field work then back in the lab for our wrap-up look at our work. The workshop will run from 9am to sunset. You will be responsible for your own transportation. Lunch stops will also be pre-arranged but are not included in the fee.



Mori Point
Pedro Point Headlands
San Pedro Valley Park

Milagra Ridge

Devil's Slide Trail
Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

Pacifica Land Trust

A few images from the 2006 Coast Workshop.





Moonset over Pacific Ocean. Pacifica. 2014 (left) Forest, Pedro Point. Pacifica. 2014. (right)


Stephen Johnson

A photographer, educator, author and designer, Stephen has been teaching and working in photography since 1977. His books include At Mono Lake, the critically acclaimed The Great Central Valley: California's Heartland and Making a Digital Book. He runs his own photography, publishing and design company--scanning and designing his photographic books using a Macintosh computer and since 1994 photographing in the field with digital view cameras.

Current projects include With a New Eye, his groundbreaking and historic all digital national parks project, a new book Stephen Johnson On Digital Photography for O'Reilly, ongoing portfolio development and extensive lecturing.

Stephen's pioneering work in digital photography, desktop color separations and digital imaging has included software and product development for clients such as Apple, Adobe, Eastman Kodak, Leaf, Ricoh and SuperMac. His work with Adobe includes the creation of the duotone curves shipped with their Photoshop software.

His photographic clients have included the Ansel Adams Publishing Trust, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and the Friends of Photography. Johnson's photographs have been widely published and collected internationally.

In 1999, Folio Magazine declared the publication of Johnson's digital photographs in Life Magazine to be one of the Top 15 Critical Events in magazine publishing in the twentieth century. Stephen Johnson was named as a 2003 inductee into the Photoshop Hall of Fame, recognized for his achievements in Art. Canon named Steve as one of their Explorers of Light in 2006. In 2007 X-Rite named Stephen as a founding member of their exclusive Coloratti group of photographers and educators honored for their skills in color management.

Photographic clients have included the Ansel Adams Publishing Trust, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and the Friends of Photography. Johnson's photographs have been widely published and collected internationally.

Steve is a 30 year resident of Pacifica where he runs his gallery, studio and education center. He has received an Outstanding Citizen Award from the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce, has long worked on land preservation issues and has served on the board of the Pacifica Land Trust since 2002.

In 1997, Life Magazine described Stephen Johnson as an artist that "...applies science to nature and creates art." His images create " intimacy that brings subject and viewer close in ways conventional photographs cannot." 

The Photographer’s Gallery wrote in 1998: “Stephen Johnson's photography rides on the "bleeding edge" of photography's transition to a digital media. Schooled in the traditions of fine-art western landscape photography, Johnson has taken his understanding of traditional photographic processes and brought those skills to bear on the emerging technologies and aesthetics of digital photography. He has pushed technology companies to rise to the best of what imagemaking can be, and pushed his own vision of how we see and record light in the natural world. This has led him to conclude that the way we have traditionally captured images with silver-based photography has been a poor and distortive view of the real and rich world before our eyes. His photographs look almost "unphotographic" in their clarity and purity of color. He shows us a world we know, but rarely see on paper. His is a truly remarkable vision.”


Registration fee must be paid in full to secure a spot in the class. Additional information will be sent upon registration.

Credit Card Registration online or by phone 650 355-7507

Photography Workshops with Stephen Johnson

Overnight accommodations in Pacifica


Refunds and Cancellation (note changes)

This workshop is financially dependent on adequate class registration. Where minimum enrollment requirements are not met, the class will be canceled, and a full refund given. You will be notified at least one week in advance if a workshop is not going to take place. Student initiated cancellations received prior to one month before the workshop will receive credit for a future workshop of similar value, a 50% credit will be given for notice received at least 2 weeks immediately prior to the workshop (a full credit less a $50 overhead fee will be given if another student is able to fill the spot from a waiting list). No credit will be given if cancelled less than 2 weeks prior to the workshop. Credits need to be redeemed within one year.


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Last updated on work May 12, 2017 Mail comments to:
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