Ice Grotto, Errera Channel, Antarctica. 2009. PhaseOne P65.

Steve with a little too much Antarctic Sun in The Gullet, Antarctica, 2009. Seth Resnick.

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



Welcome to the February 2009 Edition of the Stephen Johnson Photography Newsletter.

I am just back from a 3 week long photography excursion and workshop in Antarctica. The photographs from the many students on the trip and my own maturing view of the place are much on my mind. It is a mind-filling place, an unearthly part of our planet. It is a truly remarkable place to hold a workshop. Thank you Michael Reichmann of Luminous Landscape for organizing it and inviting us to teach.

Our Spring Workshop schedule has a full offering of the essential components of a solid digital photography foundation including the next workshop,
Professional Image Editing. This is a class many people need, but don't take the time to take. Please join us, it can make a huge difference in your digital photography work.

Following on in the professional development offerings are the Black and White Digital Printing workshop later in February and Fine Art Digital Printing Hands-On class in March.

Field workshops this spring will take us too
Pt. Lobos/Carmel in April and in May to the Mendocino and the North Coast workshop.

Summer and Fall excursions include the spectacular 12 day Southwest Digital Journey workshop and the exotic Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra in October for the fall color.  For full descriptions see the workshop section below.


Just had a "wonderful four days" in Steve's Printing workshop. "The workshop was satisfying in every way---and real world ---beginning from how annoying and balky digital devices can be all the way to how superb prints are within the reach and the grasp of mere mortals (like me). The recipe is disarmingly simple: add equal parts of education, inspiration, perspiration, frustration mitigation, insight, excellent technical support and equipment; mix liberally (all meanings); season with a generous spirit and humor and out comes a great four day workshop."

George Andros
Los Angeles, California


Other Workshop Testimonials


...New 2009 Parks Calendar
...Featured Poster
...Parks Notecards
...Pacifica Notecards
Featured Print Offer
Ice Boulders, 2009
The View From Here
...The Exotic and Dreams
The Digital Book
...Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography
Workshop News
...Professional Image Editing Hands-on
...Black and White Digital Printing Hands-on
...Fine Art Digital Printing Hands-on
...Pt. Lobos and Carmel
...Mendocino and the North Coast
...Southwest Digital Journey
...Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra

Upcoming Events
...Maine Media Workshops
...Iceland Photography Workshop
...Hallmark Institute of Photography
...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.

Featured Products

This Month's Featured Poster

Mt. St. Helens
by Stephen Johnson
$25 unframed (February Special $15)

Photographed from the volcano crater rim looking north toward the blast zone and Mt. Rainier. Amazing color and clarity revealing steam venting from the lava dome inside the crater and landslides in progress on the inner slopes. A 24x30 inch poster beautifully printed on heavy paper. Call 650 355-7507 for special price.


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.

February 2009

Ice Boulders, Antarctica. 2009
11x14 Pigment Print on Rag paper
$195 each

Ice, in every variety, found floating in Antarctica.

We're offering an 11x14 inch print, matted to 16x20 and ready to frame for $195, framed in silver for an additional $75, wood for $150. This print at this price is offered through February 28. We'll be taking orders until then, and shipping them out by March 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.



The Exotic and the Dream

Errera Channel, Antarctic Peninsula: Sitting in the Zodiac, with this giant ice grotto stretching out in front of us, clearly there, clearly impossible, it seemed completely unreal.

Sometimes the mix of dream and reality is hard to distinguish, it seems much of my work rides an edge through that strange space where dream becomes reality and reality is beyond belief. It is a strange place to be suspended. It mixes the natural wonder of the real world with a dreamlike splendor that seems super real. It is in no small part why I completely fail to understand photographers in the digital age running around with notions of enhancing reality with Photoshop.

Given the history of photography and landscape icons like Ansel Adams clearly exaggerating what he saw with filters, the Zone System and the very fact of black and white photography, this should perhaps not trouble me at all. But black and white is different, it is understood to be derivative, color photography carries a facade of the ordinary that brings with it an added expectation of real views.

Then dreams come into play. And who would deny the importance of dreams, fantasy and imagination in the making of art. Certainly I would not, which brings the whole process of witnessing the exotic into turning back on itself. Photography as Art, Photography is Art, Digital Painting as Photography, what the hell are we looking at and does it really matter at all?

I think it does matter, because photography is at it core of way of transmitting and translating visual experience. It is so much more than that too, which is the real quandary for landscape photographers like myself or anyone else working in a photographic genre that suggests experience rather than fabrication.

I suppose my internal working answer to questions of that kind is to simply get better at my photography and speak out about the value of photography as photo-graphy, light writing. Internally, I suppose I am always trying to work to plumb the depths deeper in my own work, work harder, try to understand my successes and my marginal work––probe, ask, look, feel––dig deep for every ounce of talent and perception we have running through our souls and work like hell to give it physical manifestation.



Hikers in Snowstorm and the Ocean Nova Offshore, Deception Island, Antarctica, 2009.

We travel great distances to experience dream-like exotic sights. Antarctica is not a bad example. It is interesting how difficult it sometimes is to then translate these unusual places into strong photographs. The surface features that seem so different can easily become an inventory of the strange rather than sensitive and insightful photographs. A first visit to any unusual place usually leads me to far weaker photographs than after I've had some time to take in the experience, digest the view, get past the surface exotica and start to see irony and juxtaposition.

Antarctica keeps an edge on the experience, for many reasons. There is a huge expenditure of CO2 to get there, it is basically unlivable and therefore somewhat foreboding, although tricky to fully appreciate its harshness in the Antarctic summer when it can be so mild. Human occupation is rare, abandoned sites outnumber occupied. The ship becomes your lifeline and it is floating in a endless cold sea. There are a series of trusts one must assume to do such a trip; the boat is safe, the Zodiac won't dump you in the water, giant Humpback Whales have nothing but goodwill towards us despite their past slaughter, the Leopard Seals rarely eat people...



Copper Extrusion, Horseshoe Island, Antarctica, 2009

Antarctica is primal. It gives us glimpses of a world once known by humans but now gone. There were periods in human history where as we walked the planet, we might have seen a raw land revealing many of its treasures, ore and minerals naked in the earth, easy to see, create curiosity and eventually unique uses. We came across such an extrusion with streaks of copper marking stone expanses. Copper that in our normal world would have long since been seen, dug out and used. The experience of the natural world was once very different. Imagine that. Antarctica is a place so untouched by us that such experiences are still possible. More visual glimpses into the exotic.

I continue to want to explore the earth, often justifying my own personal travel impact on the planet by thinking that I'm sharing important subjects with others. For me, that can't help but sound self-serving, but it does deepen the obligation to give back, in every way we can imagine.


Steve on Stonnington Island. Antarctica. 2009. Kevin Raber.

An Antarctic Journey

Just now back from my third trip to the Antarctic Peninsula and I am finally beginning to feel as though I know what I want to photograph there. The photographs that seem successful are easier to see, perhaps more numerous as I gradually come to know a bit of the place.

On many days it felt like our view was a parade of wonder, almost too beautiful and precious to even try to record some of it's remarkable light. Going through photographs since returning has often felt like such an abundance of riches that it's hard to know where to focus. It is also looking for that rare combination of bucolic pleasure and dynamic design. It's hard not to see some of them as just overly sweet, like some sort of desert instead of art.

Each of my trips to Antarctica have had that quality, that the photographs, despite my intrigue, work hard to rise high enough to match my emotional reaction to the experience. When I'm back, I work very slowly to understand what I've done.

Only in the last few months have I made a few good strong prints from my last two trips. For me, internal comprehension can take as long, or perhaps longer than external knowledge.


Iceberg Sunset, Marguerite Bay, Antarctica. 2009

Our Trip Route Down the Antarctic Peninsula, 2009. From Ship's Log and Google Earth.


Humpback Whales, Antarctica, 2009.



Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,
we must carry it with us or we find it not.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Regarding photographs and Photoshop, I constantly hear the word enhance.
I hear it even more in junk email touting male virility.
I wonder, is there a connection?

-Stephen Johnson

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.


Professional Image Editing
February 14-17, 2009 (note new dates!)
Stephen Johnson Studios & Gallery
Pacifica, California.

This is a great chance to explore digital photographic editing with Steve. Hands-on help and demonstrations of his use of editing tools with restraint and finesse will benefit all of your digital photography work. This class is designed with the time to really understand the processes, and to work through difficult images.


Digital Black and White Printing
February 28-March 1, 2009

Stephen Johnson Studios & Gallery
Pacifica, California.

Explore black and white printing in the digital age with a classical landscape photographer who comes from the world of large-format black and white.

Steve has maintained his deep love of black and white photography while leading the transition into digital photography. His digital black and white work dates back through 1992 with the Kodak DCS 200, the Leaf DCB and later through the BetterLight, Kodak dedicated BW cameras and the Foveon BW mode. Steve's use of custom Iris inks, gray inks for Epson printers and development work on the new HP Z3100s black and white modes shows a long-term interest in bringing BW into the mainstream digital world.




Fine-Art Digital Printing Hands-On
March 19-22, 2009
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

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.


A Digital Journey through the Southwest
12 Day Digital Photography Workshop
August 9-20, 2009

Join us on a twelve-day trek through the visual wonderlands of southern Utah and northern Arizona. We'll visit Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Betatakin, Monument Valley and end up at Canyon de Chelly National Monument. The trip is designed to be a complete immersion in landscape photography and its digital evolution with the pioneer in digital landscape photography.

dusk mono lake
Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra
October 10-13, 2009

The stark and beautiful scenery of this legendary lake is unlike any other landscape in the world. Its alkaline water, desert vistas, volcanoes and unusual tufa towers make it a remarkable place. These four days 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, while we explore this high desert lake and its strange environs.




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

mmw logo

Maine Media Workshops


Iceland: Mastery of Landscape
July 26-August 1, 2000



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

Hallmark Institute of Photography
At the Airport, P.O. Box 308 •
Turners Falls MA 01376

Monday morning March 30, 2009. 9am to noon.

At The Studio Gallery

Critique Session
February 26, 2009

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
February 27, 2009

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 February 24, 2009 . Mail comments to:
Photographs and Text Copyright ©2008, Stephen Johnson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.