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Almost Thunderheads. Aerial Panoramic over Mid-West. 2013. Email to order a print. Next Workshop: Raw to Print Summer Digital Bootcamp August 21-25

Welcome to the August 2013 Edition of the Photography Newsletter.

We were off to Alaska as I was finishing the August Newsletter and have been deeply immersed in this wondrous place. Flew over Denali last night. I was so anxious to plunge back into the vastness of Alaska, if's glaciers, it’s wildlife, and giant Denali. Being back is magical.


This month's View From Here column discusses the wide variety of subject matter my visual curiosity embraces. We hope you find the column of value and will consider sending us some comments. Our Featured Videos this month are interviews my friend John Paul Caponigro did with me when I was teaching in Maine last summer.



Raw to Print Workshop. 2009.

  • A second section of our annual and popular RAW to Print Summer Digital Bootcamp has been added to the summer schedule for August 19-23, 2013. There is still one discounted space available..
  • With a special $375 discount for the first 5 students, the next section of our popular printing workshop Fine Art Digital Printing Hands-on runs from August 27-30, 2013
  • New Workshop: Explore the Golden Gate region for two days of fieldwork on headlands, overlooks, the bridge and lighthouses September 7-8, 2013.


Wawona Grove of Giant Sequoias, Yosemite. 2009.

We are offering our Yosemite in Autumn workshop this year for the the first time in many years October 17-20, 2013. Hope you can join us.


Workshop Testimonials



Lotus. 2013.

Lotus. 2013
9x14 Pigment Inkjet Print on Cotton paper
$195 each. Purchase this print.

from a huge stand of blooms, most over five feet tall. The iPhone proved easiest to use, as I could hold the camera high enough and still see. I'm always surprised when I get something I like so much with the iPhone. I shouldn't be, it's the camera I always have with me and has impressed me again and again.

Scholarships and Mentoring

As part of our ongoing commitment to photographic education, there is one student scholarship spot in many of our classes. Please pass the word along.

For discounted time studying with Steve, keep in mind our Mentoring Program.

With all of our busy schedules and limited budgets, destination workshops or classes become a challenge, but many of you still have questions you need answered, or feedback on some new work. We want to remind you of our Virtual Online Consulting Program. This service allows all of you out there around the globe to consult online live with Steve on technical, aesthetic and workflow issues using Skype and your webcam.

Our Essays and Tutorials from the past couple of years can now be found on Google Blogger.

We hope you can come by the gallery and see the new Panoramic Prints we've added to the National Parks Gallery, and the Exquisite Earth exhibition with its accompanying very special Exquisite Earth Portfolio 1. We invite you to join us on a workshop, rent lab space, or just say hello and let us know what you are up to photographically and what you might like to see us offer. We value your input.


Stephen Johnson Workshops and Event Calendar
RAW to Print Summer Digital Bootcamp August 21-25, 2013
Fine Art Digital Printing Hands-on August 27-30, 2013
The Golden Gate September 7-8, 2013  NEW!
Flora and Form September 12-14, 2013  NEW!
Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra October 12-15, 2013
Yosemite in Autumn October 17-21, 2013
Black and White Printing Hands-on November 16-18, 2013
Death Valley in Winter January 11-14, 2014
Speaking Events (see below)

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New Photo Link

Supreme Court Cloaked. Washington DC. 2013.

A scene I found compelling, the highest court in the land draped in a false front picturing the real court.



st helens

Reflections, Lake Erie. 2013.

by Stephen Johnson

So Much To See

Traveling in Maine, Washington DC and around Massachusetts these last weeks. So many scenes, both from the air, on the water, wandering monuments cloaked in images and surrounded by exoskeletons. It made me consider the visual diversity of what I am drawn to photograph.

Looking back over such a short period of such visual diversity is actually a bit disconcerting. In looking through the photographs it is clear to me that I don't have a subject. It is everything curious, beautiful, wired, compelling, ironic, bucolic.

I remember being told in school that I needed to hone in on a particular subject matter, that my interests were too broad. For a long time I thought that to be a general comment about a photographer's body of work, not just a group of work being presented. A portfolio, or a project are very different entities than a career, and very different than the broad fascinations that lead us to to becoming visual artists.

My visual interests remain broad, even though I might be known primarily for my color landscapes and attention to pastel color. This Newsletter often embodies my wide visual interests.

We fall in love with sight itself, and all of the wild possibilities that implies. My romance is with being alive on this planet, this precious veil of air scattering light, enveloping, illuminating, bathing the earth in this thin and fragile oasis of life.

a fragile veil
on a moving crust
such a thin veneer
holding us

spinning round
in the cold of space
an ocean of blue
in such a dark place

where everything we know, every rock and tree
everybody we've loved, all of history
can be found

excerpt from "Our Thin Veil" 2012 lyrics by Stephen Johnson

Whether man-made or naturally pristine, or some ironic blend of the two, I react with my heart, call upon my sense of design and order, and intuit my way through an exploration of what I see. It could be anything.

I love wandering in Washington DC. I make a point of spending some at the Jefferson Memorial, and most always the Air and Space Museum.



Cactus. US Botanical Garden. 2013.

On this trip, the US Botanical Gardens became a priority and turned out to be a very special place. Calling ahead allowed to arrange for a tripod permit which really helped. A lunch afterward sampling Native American cuisines at the National Museum of the American Indian was a real treat.


Atrium, National Museum of the American Indian. 2013.


Washington Monument Encased. 2013.

Some of the sights were strange. Both the Supreme Court and the Washington Monument were surrounded by new faces. Both presented brand new visual opportunities that I had not expected.

The visual wonders continue.



...continued top of right column


Misty Sunrise. North Spectacle Lake, MA. 2013.

I was lucky enough to take a few days after a round of lectures and spend some time at a friend's cabin next to a lake near Amherst, MA. It was a good few days of much needed quiet and slow down. As is often best, I got lost in just being, I read, enjoyed the quiet, watched the sun, fog and stars come and go.


Water Lilly Pads and Reflections. North Spectacle Lake, MA. 2013.

Not that I felt a need to resist making photographs, but it was a good short time with no agenda, no tasks that had to be accomplished. Probably a great state of mind to photograph when the impulse struck, without agenda.


Water Lilly Pads and Blooms. North Spectacle Lake, MA. 2013.


A Few Talks Ahead

Carmel Workshop

As I prepare to go back to Carmel's Center for Photographic Art in November for their annual Member's Workshop,

I thought back to an interview Jim Kasson from the Center did with me in 2004. So, I thought I would post a link to it here.

cpa interviewsteve 2004

Steve at his studio after interview. Jim Kasson. 2004.

An excerpt from the interview:

JK: You are one of the few fine-art photographers routinely working in both color and black and white. What's your history with the two media?

SJ: I started shooting color film before black and white, unless you count the occasional forays in high school. When I went to junior college, I had a job in the audio/visual lab at Merced College developing and shooting color slides, while at the same time taking a beginning black and white course, so my familiarity with both media was pretty much simultaneous. I actually developed color film before I developed black and white. I was in college, I was 17, I was still getting used to having my own car and being able to drive. Suddenly, I could go to Yosemite whenever I wanted. I was backpacking at will instead of when I could get people to take me, going on over the hill and seeing Mono Lake for the first time. Having been raised among hunters, turned vegetarian, still wanting to be outdoors, but not needing the hunting as an excuse: it all came together. Id been making things since I was a little kid. Id always been interested in technology. Landscape photography is the medium where technology, being outdoors, and making things: it all came together. Then my first girlfriend dumped me and went off to college, leaving me with her 35mm camera. I started wandering around in the foothills with that camera, and ended up actually using one of those photographs in the Central Valley book 15 years later. I left the A/V lab and became a teaching assistant in the photography department, over the next year and a half it all started to come together.

JK: When did you start to get interested in classic large-format landscape photography?

SJ: During my time at Merced College Id become more aware of Ansel, Edward Weston, and Carleton Watkins, and the f/64 group. Id seen the Ansel Adams Gallery since I was a kid. It made an impression, but Id not thought much about it beyond, Well, thats neat. But when I was in college, I remember seeing what must have been an 1822 Watkins on the wall. I think it was $800, which seemed like an insurmountable amount of money to me. It started to sink in that this was actually a legitimate way of spending ones career. When I look back at my photographs, they weren't compelling, so it wasn't clear I could be successful. In spite of all that, when I graduated from junior college, I transferred to San Francisco State University, largely because of the photo program.


Oregon: Focus on Nature Festival

We're spending a few days in Oregon in early October, doing a series of talks and workshops with the Tualitin River Photo Society for their Focus on Nature Festival.

I will give the keynote address to the conference on my "With a New Eye: Photography Forever Changed," a groundbreaking digital landscape photography project. I will also be conducting three workshops: Twelve Steps to Improve Your Digital Photography; Photography and the Environment: A History and call to action; Fine-Art Digital Printing.


New York City: PhotoPlus

I am always happy to going back to NYC for the PhotoPlus show which I've been doing for over 15 years. I've always had a good time in New York, and it has given me some wonderful photographic opportunities, photographing, going to shows and seeing so much work and so many old friends at the show. It seem I always make some interesting acquaintances.

I'm pleased to be presenting my "12 Steps to Improve Your Photographs" talk on Friday afternoon. I usually also do a talk in the Canon booth on my recent work.

email your comments to us





Mid-west Gallery Carrying My Work

steve 2004

A chance to see (and purchase) some of my original prints at the Armstrong De Graaf International Fine Art Gallery in Saugatuck, Michigan

© Copyright Testimony in Congress

Copyright Testimony from ASMP Director Eugene H. Mopsik to the Committee on the Judiciary U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee hearing held on July 25, 2013.

Amazing Body Photographs

Check these out, the beauty of the the body of the earth.

Consulting Programs and Speaking Events

Virtual Education: Our Virtual Consulting and Mentoring Program is working well. Readers of this Newsletter can still get a discount by mentioning this reference when you enroll.

Our One on One Program links you up with Steve at his bay area studio, or when he is on the road near you. Keep an eye on when Steve will be near your town.

Catch Steve Live: Steve will be speaking here and there over the next year, such as Amherst and Boston, MA in August, near Portland, OR and New York City in October.

  • Pacifica: At the Gallery
    Come by and talk with Steve about his ongoing Exhibitions of work on display.
  • Lecture: Craft and Aesthetics of Fine Art Digital Printing.
    Saturday Sept. 21. 11am Keeble and Shuchatt Photography. Palo Alto, CA

  • San Francisco Photoshop User's Group. Wednesday October 10. Adobe, San Francisco.
  • New York City. PhotoPlus Expo 2013 seminar "12 Steps to Improve Your Digital Photography" Friday, October 24th from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
  • Center for Photographic Art. Members Workshop. November 9, 2013. Carmel, CA.

Northern California Field Workshops Coming Up

The Golden Gate: September 7-8, 2013

A two day digital photography workshop exploring San Francisco's Golden Gate. We'll spend time in the Presidio with its tremendous views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Fort Point with its spectacular views of the bridge, the Marin Headlands with Point Bonita Lighthouse, views along and San Francisco's ocean headlands of Land's End and the Sutro Baths near the restored Cliff House and its historic Camera Obscura.


Sacred Photography
Important Moments

I sat down with my friend John Paul Caponigro for a video interview about a year ago. I've been meaning to post them, so here they are..

Previous Tutorial and Technique Posts

The Stephen Johnson Photography Gift Shop

Featured Product

National Park Notecards

note card

National Park Color Notecard Set
Stephen Johnson
12 cards/envelopes $20 set

From "With a New Eye" Beautiful 300 line screen offset reproductions with envelopes in clear box. A great gift.




or call to order 650 355-7507



Please come visit us at our gallery and see our original prints in person. The subtle detail of the prints and the beautiful texture of the fine art paper have to be seen to be understood. And while you're here, browse through our books, cards, posters, and specially priced prints.

We're happy to mail you a copy of our product catalog, just send a note to or call us.

We're located at:

Stephen Johnson Photography at the Pacifica Center for the Arts
1220-C Linda Mar Boulevard, Creekside Suites, 5-7
Pacifica, CA 94044
(650) 355-7507



Pacifica Center for the Arts from Linda Mar Boulevard

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Stephen Johnson Photography at the Pacifica Center for the Arts
1220-C Linda Mar Boulevard, Creekside Suites, 5-7
Pacifica, CA 94044 650 355-7507

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Last updated on December 15, 2016 . Mail comments to:
Photographs and Text Copyright ©2013, Stephen Johnson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide