Acadia National Park
A Digital Photography Field Workshop

August 29-30, 2015

2 days $475

Class is limited to 12 participants.

Click to Register

Come join us at Maine's Acadia National Park with it's dramatic seascapes, dense forest dells, majestic views from granite peaks, on this visually rich two-day workshop with photographer and author Stephen Johnson.

We'll spend one day on Mt. Desert Island and another on the Schoodic Peninsula where Stephen will lead participants to some of his favorite Acadia locations bathed in Maine's unique light. The variations of this light as it as plays on the unusual pink granite boulders, and surging surf can be quite beautiful.

We'll photograph the area's natural landscapes sculpted by the tremendous forces of Atlantic Ocean waves as well as its man-made constructions of traditional New England villages.

Granite and Brush, Cadillac Mountain. 1996.

The Park

From the pink granite along the north shore of Mt. Desert Island, to the dense forests, streams and stone bridges, huge vistas of Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park is home to a wide variety of land forms and interesting geologic features.

The park covers 47,000 acres of biologically diverse glaciated landscape from the granite domed mountains to the woodlands, lakes, ponds and rugged shoreline that offers unique habitat to over 40 different species of mammals and 273 different bird species.

The park features meadows, marshes and dense evergreen forests and more than 120 miles of hiking trails. There is a fjord in Acadia National Park that almost divides Mount Desert Island in half and is in fact, the only fjord on the American Atlantic Coast.

Park History
Acadia is the oldest American National Park east of the Mississippi River and the first park where the land was donated to the federal government.  It was originally established in 1916 by president Woodrow Wilson Sieur de Monts National Monument, Congress renamed it Lafayette National Park in 1919 in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette a French supporter of the American Revolution. In 1929 it was renamed again as Acadia National Park.

Geology, Flora and Fauna
Granite peaks rise over 1,000 feet. Cadillac Mountain 1,530 ft. 25 other mountains are located inside the boundaries of the park. Lakes, ponds waterfalls, dense lush forests abound.

Acadia is biologically diverse, featuring northern coniferous forests and temperate deciduous forest Arctic Tundra. Over 40 different species of mammals live in the park. Coyotes, moose, otters, beavers, white tailed deer, bobcat, black bears humpback whales can be spotted off shore Bird species include bald eagles, peregrine falcons, heron, owls, hawks, cormorants, terns at varying times of the year. Snapping turtles, garter snakes, red-backed salamanders are found in the forests and ponds. Maple hemlock, eastern pine fill the hills and valleys.

from the
NPS: The sea constantly reinvents the coastline of Acadia National Park. Waves and currents take material from one point on the coast, only to deposit it somewhere else. Cobble beaches are created in this manner, as rocks are dislodged and smoothed by the force of the ocean then placed on another section of shoreline. Because Acadia's coast is young, sandy shores are rare. However at Sand Beach, the park's largest feature of this type, shore currents have shifted the tons of sand that the sea eroded from the rocks. Mixed into the sand are broken bits of shells and the skeletons of crabs, mussels, sea urchins, and other marine life. 

Acadia NPS website
Acadia Map

Stone Bridge near Jordan Pond. Acadia National Park. 1996..

Cadillac Mountain and offshore Islands. 1996.

Jordan Pond. 2011 Acadia Workshop.

Near Thunder Hole. 2012 Acadia Workshop.

Islands and Fog off Bar Harbor from Cadillac Mountain.
July 2011 Acadia Workshop.

Misty Lake, Acadia National Park.


Schoodic Peninsula
Less visited than Mt. Desert Island, the Schoodic Peninsula section of the park features beaches with surf tossed stones that that echo human conversation, often called talking beaches, New England coastal villages, geometric patterns in the granite and more intimate landscapes .


The Workshop
The first morning, we will spend a couple of hours preparing for our outings. Topics covered will be optimal digital camera use in a variety of formats, file size and printing considerations. Fieldwork with intensive presentations and assistance will fill our days. We will photograph in some of the most spectacular places in the park, see a variety of landforms and work on our photography, An evening critique will be conducted, opening files, review successes and challenges of the photographs made during the day, going back in the field the next day and putting into practice lessons learned.

The advent of the digital age of photography provides unique opportunities for field photography instruction. We will be reviewing work on camera screens as it is made and on portable computers, examining exposure, composition and emotional impact.

Field instruction will concentrate on technical and aesthetic issues, working to develop a personal vision of these places. We will be doing some walking and hiking.

Weather can be variable, and Maine does have rain during the summer. The workshop will adapt as the weather creates and blocks opportunities, always providing more instruction and often beautiful light.

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

Registration online or by phone 650 355-7507.

Refunds and Cancellations

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.

Photo by Fiona McDonnell

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, 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.

Apple Computer recognized Steve in 1997 with a ColorSync Profiling Excellence Award along with his good friend Bruce Fraser. 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.

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.”

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Last updated on July 24, 2015 . Mail comments to:
Photographs and Text Copyright ©2015, Stephen Johnson. All Rights Reserved.