Glacier. Iceland. 2008. Hasselblad H3.


Welcome to the December 2008 Edition of the Stephen Johnson Photography Newsletter.

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, please join us for our Holiday Open House Saturday December 13, noon to 5pm. This Holiday Party is a great opportunity to check out the studio, preview new work and get information on upcoming workshops while meeting great people.

Drop by and pick up our new 2009 National Parks Calendar, sets of parks and local notecards, take advantage of our big poster sale and see many new prints which make great affordable gift items for anyone interested in photography, parks, nature, and Steve's unique photographic style.

Come join us on one of our photography workshops in 2009. These workshops have proved critical for many working photographers - bringing them skills they need in today's digital world to make them more successful.

Our highly regarded Fine Art Digital Printing Hands-On workshop is coming up this week, early December.

Our 2009 workshop schedule is forming up, starting with the nearly full Death Valley in Winter workshop, a four day excursion into this strange valley's often soft winter light. The spring will bring our Pt. Lobos/Carmel workshops and in May the Mendocino and the North Coast workshop.

This year we are introducing Gift Certificate discounts just in time for the holidays, save 15% off any purchase and give a great gift. Offer only good through December 24.

Great teaching, great facility.
What more could you need for the plunge into digital photography?

Steve on Hill in Iceland. 2008.
Photograph by Einar Erlendsson.


Stephen Johnson's workshop on digital photography has entirely shifted my former perspective about digital imaging. What I learned in his workshop gave me a new outlook on film, digital imaging, visual sensitivity to color, film and chip sensitivity to color, pre-visualization and composition, and digital printing.

Janie Fitzgerald, Photographer
Los Angeles, California


Other Workshop Testimonals


...New 2009 Parks Calendar
...Holiday Open House Dec. 13
...Parks Notecards
...Pacifica Notecards
Featured Print Offer
Glacier, Iceland. 2008
The View From Here
...Photographic Play and the Everyday
...Memory and Friends
The Digital Book
...Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography
Workshop News
...Fine Art Digital Printing
...Death Valley in Winter
...Pt. Lobos and Carmel
...Mendocino and the North Coast

Upcoming Events
...Color Management Conference
...Critique Session
...Graduate Study Day
Recent Publicity
...On Bert Monroy's Pixel Perfect Web TV show
...Parks Book Interview. May 2008.
...Book reviews
For Sale
...Older Epson Printers for sale that are no longer being used
Photographic Services
...Stephen Johnson Editions
Visit Us
Newsletter Administration
...Newsletter Subscription
...Newsletter Archive


New Products

2009 calendar

This color calendar is a visual preview of Stephen Johnson's photographic project, With A New Eye, The Digital National Parks Project. More info and to order.

Our Online Store

We continue to offer a wide variety of Steve's posters, books, notecards and a video or two from our Products page.

There is also a new page devoted just to books. Please take a look and browse. There many one of a kind items there, available nowhere else.


The Bookstore

Advice for Photographers: The Next Step
by Al Weber
2007. $12

products Based on decades of teaching, Weber has collected and organized ideas and suggestions to aid those who would be photographers. A 72-page field manual.

Art and Fear
by Ted Orland and David Bayles
1993. $12.95

products A terrific book. A must read for every artist who has struggled with working, creating, reaching out and hanging in there.

Ted Orland's New Photographic Truths Poster.
24x36 inches. $20.

products An underground classic, gracing the walls of university darkrooms and professional studios alike. But now (finally!) it’s available again in a new edition — still illustrated with the same friendly picture of Ansel Adams, but with a text that now includes many newly-discovered digital truths.

Holiday Open House

Our 2009 Holiday Open House is Saturday December 13, noon to 5pm.






Featured Products

Available Again during the Holiday Season


National Park Notecards

A set of National Park color notecards from "With a New Eye." This 12 card set with matching envelopes would be a selection of some of the parks project's greatest hits to date.


Pacifica Notecards

A 12 card set with matching envelopes from Pacifica California, home of the Stephen Johnson Photography Studios and Gallery.


GrayCapsTM Digital gray card. The Digital gray card you will always have with you, even among 10,000 penguins.

December 2008

Glacier, Iceland. 2008
11x14 Pigment Print on Rag paper
$195 each or
16x20 for $500.

Walking along the cliff trail above the ice gave me a great view of the glacier stretching out around me, but the bursting wind almost knocked me over the edge. The sun was coming out and fading, changing the ice with almost every moment, causing blue and gold glints, and in turn this soft, sourcelsss glow that made this photograph.

The Headline photograph is also our Featured Print this month, with a twist, it is available in 2 sizes, the standard 11x14, and a 16x20 for $500.

We're offering an 11x14 inch print, matted to 16x20 and ready to frame for $195, framed for an additional $75. This print at this price is offered through December 31. We'll be taking orders until then, and shipping them out by January 15th.

About the Program
Each month we offer a signed, original print, at a special price. This is a great opportunity to own a very affordable fine-art photograph. Orders are taken for a 30-day period, then printed and shipped within two weeks after the close. When it's over, it's over, these prints won't be available again at this price.


Pear. 2008.

Photographic Play and the Everyday

As a landscape photographer, my work almost always arises from a whole I see, found and noticed amid the larger world, form and design distilled from the earth's creations. Of course that is only one way of working photographically, even while working the same genre of form and design, both close up work and assembled subject matter can also yield work of unique beauty.


Over the years as we work, we develop habits and approaches that may serve us well, but as most things, benefit from stirring things up. The creative process loves such stirring. Play often stirs.

For a long time I've been wanting to play a bit more. Photographically play that is. Not that I couldn't use a little more play in general. With no particular illusions about breaking new ground, I've been tempted with every salad or stir fry, to buy some nice vegetables and work on some still lifes.

Working with objects, noticing their intrigue, arranging and rearranging, sculpting with light, it is in these areas that photographers become choreographers, sculptors, painters and set builders. Such work demands different skills than the power to witness and distill, those are still needed, but many other demands are made. The exercise forces discomfort, a key ingredient to creative growth, it forces review, iteration, review again and as any studio work expects, you must also be the god of light, rather than being witness to the sun's own light.

The intrinsic beauty of natural form comes in such wide varieties of scale, hardness, living and rock, ephemeral and human-permanent, that almost any subject allows for an exploration of form. Not that Weston's peppers and cabbage haven't already broken the sensuality ground rather thoroughly, it seemed nonetheless worth taking over the gallery for awhile and working with some fresh and beautiful food.

The first round sought the easiest path, my old studio lights and a dark background, just a black shirt at first, then the dark cloth, then a real background cloth. Soon I was drawn to the idea of these forms floating in light and so set up the backlit stand. Then I just wanted to play. Whole foods first, single pieces. Then a couple of interleaning peppers, then on to whole groups resembling more a Thanksgiving cornucopia than I may have wanted.

Still I was intrigued and so kept working, playing. The store bought veggies were pretty beat up, so the Farmer's Market is next. Fungus is a must. My old dry flowers. I want to slice, freeze, back light, soft light more stuff.

I want to go though my "objet d'art" bookshelf (also known as "dusty junk") and start collecting images of these treasures, pieces of lava, beach detritus my kids and I had picked up for years, old machinery, glass, shells, St. Helens ash. All worth having a look at as I am going in this direction. Again, many people whose work I greatly admire have been down this path, from Olivia Parker to Weston, but it's a big road.

Of course, this kind of play fits in well with things I see all of the time, and can't resist, just those are almost always in natural light and completely found, rather than assembled. Although early on in this particular play project, I thought it worth sharing a few of these as they evolve. No pretension here, nor assumptions of great artistic interpretations; just play.

Still-life Play Flash Gallery

Memory and Friends

In the middle of this still-life exploration, the funeral service was held for my good friend and long-time Mono Lake compatriot Grace de Laet. Being a friend of nearly 30 years, this was a hard event for me, but brought many friends and memories together.

Grace was full of life and a tireless worker for the environment. She brought a contagious energy and enthusiasm to her work. At her memorial I suggested she was something of a combination of Mae West and John Muir, with a little Cheerleader steroid mixed in.

It's true that she had the leisure of a husband who made a very good living, but unlike most without money concerns, she devoted much of her time to causes and organizations working for them, the Mono Lake Committee, the Audubon Society and the Bay Institute.

True to form with Grace, the memorial was attended by many in the Bay Area environmental arena. One was our old friend Martin Litton, who spoke beautifully of the word grace and the woman Grace having so many common traits. He also asked us all to consider helping him with the fight to save the Giant Sequoia National Monument which is suffering from mismanagement and logging. It was quite appropriate during a tribute to Grace.

Also there were my old friends Dave Phillips, John Knox and Ellen Manchester of Earth Island Institute, my partner on the Central Valley project, photographer Robert Dawson and many friends from the Mono Lake Committee including Sally Judy, co-founder of the committee with her husband the late David Gains.

Many of us brought pictures in to the service, and many of Grace's photographic treasures were brought in as well. Two of the photographs were ones I knew, and I knew she treasured; one of her with Wallace Stegner, and one with Ansel Adams. I offered to scan them both so all of her friends could have copies. The Stegner framed print had magazine clippings rather tenderly attached to the back, and although I'm not sure how, somehow seemed related to the still life work I was doing, and more clearly to all of the treasures I had preserved of my grandmother's photographs.

Of course, both of these treasures of Grace's had personal meaning for me too. I knew Ansel a bit and he had generously helped me on both my Mono Lake and Central Valley projects. Grace and I had met because of our mutual Mono Lake work.

I had felt very special when some of my photographs were licensed many years ago by Penguin Books for a few of Wallace Stegner's book covers, He was one of my favorite authors as he was of Grace's. She had been thrilled to meet him, the photograph had preserved that thrill.

Ansel Adams, Grace de Laet and others, circa 1980.

Wallace Stegner and Grace de Laet, circa 1980. Sunset Magazine Story, post 1993.

To this day, when I'm in a bookstore I can't help but look through the stacks to see if any of the editions of Stegner's work with my covers are on the shelves. I didn't know the man, but he made my life richer and I'm proud to see those covers, something I found beautiful gracing the cover of some of his works of beauty.

Thanks Grace, for being reminded of Adams and Stegner, but far more profoundly, thank you for all of your work to help preserve wild places and wildlife, and for the good friendship of almost 30 years. You are already missed.

Order Now for a signed copy!

Professional Photographers of America 2007 Hot One Awards

Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography

Book Reviews
Book Comments online

* Upcoming Workshops
We trust you find our selection of classes interesting and useful for your needs. We take the imparting of information and the empowerment of our students quite seriously. The digital age has considerably enhanced our ability to teach, and we believe, your ability to capture what you see. This program is designed to help you benefit from both of these advances.

We hope you can join us on a workshop.

Request a Workshop

We are also starting a new program of letting people request the workshops they want. Check out the Workshops Currently Building List and help us build a list of workshops and people so we can then determine dates. See the workshops page for a list of previously offered classes that we would be happy to teach when we have enough people.

Fine-Art Digital Printing Hands-On
December 4-7, 2008
Stephen Johnson Studios & Gallery
Pacifica, California.

This workshop focuses exclusively on improving your fine-art digital printing in our new Digital Lab, primarily using Epson inkjet printers. Concentration will be on inkjet printing with color pigments and black/gray ink combinations on coated and rag papers. Learn from the digital pioneer how he obtains his impressive results during four days of lectures, printing, and feedback in the studio.

We will cover workflow issues, color management, correcting color casts, adjustment layers, custom profile generation, editing and inspection. There being no magic bullet to making good prints, the workshop will also explore old fashioned testing, careful color judgments and interactive honing in on the best print possible.

death valley

Death Valley in Winter
January 31-February 3, 2009

Transformed from a searing 120 degree desert in summer to January's mild 60-70 degree weather, Death Valley is filled with intriguing landforms, delicate flora, strange mineral deposits and expansive views. Mile high Dante's View overlooks the patterned salt flats of Badwater and the Amargosa River below (the lowest point in the United States). Badwater's still water in turn mirrors the blue and white Panamint Mountains to the West. The lunar landscape of Ubehebe Crater's black volcanic fields rise from the rolling desert at the valley's north end with the steep gorge of Titus Canyon and Red Pass to the southeast

death valley

Galapagos Photography Workshop
April 3-13, 2009.

Ten days in the strange and wonderful Galapagos Archipelago. Wildlife beyond belief, raw volcanic landscapes and beautiful beaches. Voyage with us on the 12 passenger catamaran Nemo on an intense photographic journey. Gallery.

Email us for more details and apply for a space - this workshop should be a blast for all.


pt lobos

Pt. Lobos and Carmel: A Digital Photography Field Workshop
April 18-20, 2009

Ansel Adams called Pt. Lobos "the greatest meeting of land and sea" on earth. It is truly an amazing combination of rock, surf, wildlife, changing light and abstraction...aqua surf, orange lichen, organic rock forms and waving sea palms. We'll walk the trails, wander the rocks, get lost in form and light.

We'll talk to a gallery director, explore the Carmel photography scene, likely eat well and meet some career photographers in this three-day immersion into classical California landscape photography.

pt lobos map


Mendocino and the North Coast
May 2-3, 2009

Dive into the lush seascape of California's North Coast on this intensive two-day photographic workshop to Mendocino. Dark, musty redwood rainforests pierced by sunbeam shafts, spectacular rocky cliffs with the tumbling surf below, and rolling shoreline dunes will fill our two days with remarkable varied photographic experiences. The north coast architecture of this beautiful little township and the fishing port of Noyo will add plenty of man-made subject matter to our weekend. And, of course, we will find time to sample a few of Mendocino's good eating establishments.

The misty north coast light will likely be as much our subject matter as the landforms. This special quality of light is part of what makes this area so visually interesting and dynamic. Come prepared for rain, fog and sun.

Personal Workshops and Art Consulting

Arrangements can be made to work with Steve individually at his studio or at custom locations. Call for a discussion of the possibilities. 650 355-7507

Steve and Tom
Olympic Peninsula, 2002

* Check out our workshop web page for information on all of our workshops, including both our field and studio workshops.
UPCOMING EVENTS with Stephen Johnson


Canon's Explorer of Light Photographer - Stephen Johnson
Photographer Lecture Series

Keynote: Photography and Realism
PIA/GATF Color Management Conference, December 2008

Monday morning December 8, 2008. 9:30am
Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort
11111 North 7th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85020

At The Studio Gallery

Critique Session
December 18, 2008

Feedback on our work has proven critical to many of us involved in the arts. In this emerging age of digital photography, it is hard to find people knowledgeable in the technology and with a background and experience in the fine arts.

After many requests, we are initiating monthly critiquing sessions at our studio in Pacifica, California.


Graduate Study Lab
December 19, 2008

Days dedicated to labwork with guidance by Stephen Johnson in his specially-built digital photo lab. Afternoon reviews of work.



Book Reviews

Barnes & Noble Review: From Our Editors

This is a passionate, deeply personal guide to digital photography by a true legend in the field. If you've been fortunate enough to participate in one of Stephen Johnson's seminars or to view his breathtaking national parks landscapes, you know his book has the potential to be truly extraordinary. And so it is.

Johnson teaches sophisticated technique without ever losing track of art. You will learn powerfully important things about digital sensors and high dynamic range photography; about multi-exposure panoramas and scanning; about tone, layers, and Photoshop curves; about Camera RAW Workflow and honest restoration.

He roots digital photography deeply in its historical context without ever losing sight of the present -- or the future. He also captures the deep importance of digital photography -- and its ethical implications -- without ever becoming pretentious. And the images? No words suffice.

-Bill Camarda, from the November 2006 Read Only

Book Comments online

"Steve Johnson, one of the true visionaries of the digital photography era, offers us a technical tour de force and passionate artistic overview of the possibilities inherent in this new medium. On Digital Photography should be required reading for every aspiring photographic artist."

-Ted Orland, photographer & writer

...As Johnson says at the books very beginning in a Note from the Author: “I have often also been frustrated at the concentration on the technical aspect of digital photography with so little discussion of the aesthetics and the heart behind the imagery.” Indeed and at the book’s end he uses this frustration to deliver hugely enlightening home run. The book itself is an artistic treasure with a very meaningful subtitle: Text, Photography and Design by Stephen Johnson. Johnson obviously demanded freedom to create. Tim O’Reilly did well when he granted Johnson’s wish. Quite simple the best photography book I have ever seen.

-Gordon Cook's Collaborative Edge
September 9, 2006


Printers I'm no longer using. Make an offer. Must pick up.

  • Epson 1280
  • Epson 5500 (with lots of ink supplied)
  • Epson 9000 (dye inks and Lyson grayscale set included)
  • Epson 9500
  • Epson 10000

Printers being replaced:
  • Epson 2200 $300


We are now offering rental time in our new lab on an hourly basis during our normal business hours.

Tuesday-Friday 10am to 5pm.
$25 per hour, plus a per print charge

Includes full access to calibrated monitors, fast G5 Macs, Epson pigment inkjet printers, 5000°k viewing lights and color profile creation hardware and software.

Appointments can be made by calling 650 355-7507.
Familiarity with Mac OSX and Photoshop CS2 or 3 or Adobe Lightroom recommended. Staff tutorials available for additional charge.

A Great Opportunity!
  • Fully equipped lab
  • Make your own printer profiles
  • Finally have access to the equipment you need


Digital Portraits by
The Studios of Stephen Johnson Photography

  • Instant Feedback
  • Special prices
  • Satisfaction or no fees


  • Artwork Copying
  • Custom Printing
  • Custom Profiles




watercolor by Ralph Putzker


To purchase original prints, see:

11x14 pigment on rag paper $450 from existing prints

•Information on Stephen Johnson's Original Prints

With a New Eye: The Digital National Parks Project


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


We're open by appointment. To find us, use our map online at:

Map to studio
Studio directions and site layout.


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Last updated on December 4, 2008 . Mail comments to:
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