The Landscapes of America:

Zion National Park

A 3 Day Digital Photography Field Workshop
with Stephen Johnson

August 30 thru September 1, 2008. $975
Enrollment limited to 12 people

Co-sponsored by

The Trip

Join us on a three-day adventure through the visual wonderlands of southern Utah's Zion National Park. The trip is designed to be a complete immersion into landscape photography and its digital evolution with the pioneer in digital landscape photography. Extremes of brightness and shadow, distance, haze, perspective and form can make Zion a real challenge to photograph, but are at the heart of its beauty as well. Thoughtful seeing and good use of digital tools assist greatly in this process, and the workshop will emphasize those aspects of digital imaging and processing for which this location creates such a unique need.
We'll work on creating photographs which succeed in carrying some feel of what is special about this place with a visual integrity that speaks to you.  The place was named "Zion" as a sanctuary by the early settlers, and was a holy place to the Native Americans before that.  Zion is more than just a scenic national park; it is at once wild and unknown to most visitors, while at the same time managing to be comforting and intimate, becoming nature at its most intriguing. If you haven't been to Zion, imagine huge rocky outcrops, similar to Yosemite, but much closer together.  There are towering red sandstone cliffs accented by pines and chartreuse cottonwood foliage; mossy seeps and creeks; sandstone in every color from mustard to raspberry, eroded into sensuous forms; petrified dunes with their layers, angles and striations; aspens, slot canyons, slickrock, sage; wide views and precious details. Infusing your reactions to all this into your photographs will be the second focus of the workshop.

The Workshop

The digital landscape workshop explores Zion with the new tools of digital photography, including on-site visualization and technical evaluation. During field sessions, Steve's prime goal is assisting students. We plan to spend the best hours of the day shooting, and the evening gathered in a meeting room conducting lectures, critiques and processing RAW files on our laptops. Students in prior workshops often comment that these group processing/critique sessions spur breakthroughs because of the ability to listen to a lecture in which the student perhaps hears something that resonates in a new way to her, go out and shoot with that concept in mind, and then review the results of that shoot with Steve afterwards while everything is still fresh. We will hold group critique sessions each evening, using digital projection to display selections of the day's work. Lectures will include digital exposure, composition, visual distillation, archiving, color management and fine-art printing.

We will discuss technical and aesthetic issues, tapping into your emotional response to the landscape, working toward images that are uniquely your own. The emphasis will be improving the composition and technical finesse of the participants and empowering the individual photographers to better pursue their vision, from image-making to print-making.

The Workshop Program

Individual problem solving has been a high priority in Steve's workshop program all through its 25 year history. Classes are kept small to maximize individual attention. Plan to bring some of your work to demonstrate how you see, what you are happy with, and photographs that indicate problems you are encountering. Some digital cameras may be available to borrow during the workshop, please inquire beforehand.


Participants are responsible for their own transportation, food and lodging, although it may be possible to put students in touch for ride shares from Las Vegas or St. George for individuals with similar travel plans. Suggested places to stay for both camping and motels will be provided. Depending on group interest, lunches and dinners will most likely be in restaurants chosen by the group.

Limited to 15 students.
Lodging details will be sent on enrollment -- accommodations in Springdale (our base) range from extremely modest motels to seriously comfortable resorts. Camping is available as well.

A full agenda is planned for this workshop, including dawn and dusk sessions. We will be doing a fair amount of walking, although we will maximize shooting time by avoiding long hikes. Most of our field work will be done either from short to moderate walks from our vehicles (if outside the valley proper) or from the park's shuttle system while we are inside the valley. Weather this time of year is usually quite warm, but the shade of the canyons provides good cooling, and the canyons are usually shirtsleeves comfortable this time of year.

Zion NPS Website

Stephen Johnson

A photographer, teacher 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.

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. He was named to the Photoshop Hall of Fame in 2003. 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.


Stephen Johnson Biography
Workshop Testimonials

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

Credit Card Registration by phone 650 355-7507 (preferred)
Click here to register online now with a credit card.

Refunds and Cancellation

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 a full refund, a 50% refund will be given for notice received 2 weeks immediately prior to the workshop (a full refund less a $50 overhead fee will be given if another student is able to fill the spot from a waiting list).

Workshop Spouse Policy

Our workshops are designed to be intense visual experiences with fellow participants committed to photography and the workshop learning experience. Workshops often include short hikes, evening critiques and lectures. While we welcome spouses to group dinners (and lunches where practical), but would rather other activities are arranged for partners during the day when the group dynamic and size can be effected by non-participants. Thank you for your understanding.

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Last updated on 8/3/08 . Mail comments to:
Photographs and Text Copyright ©2008, Stephen Johnson. All Rights Reserved.