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Drying Leaves. Life Form Series. Shelldance. Pacifica, CA 2014. Canon 5D III. Click to order a print. Next Workshop Fine Art Digital Printing Hands-on March 14-17, 2015

Welcome to the February 2015 Edition of the Photography Newsletter.

The beauty of being in Yosemite a few weeks ago is still very much with me. The memories are now mingling into my Image Editing class last weekend with scenes and demos starting to merge, learning is universal. There is much work to do in the studio this month, so February shifts some gears. As always though, the Newsletter allows for some reflection on recent work and exploration of plans.

This month's View From Here column discusses our Yosemite in Winter workshop and some of the learning opportunities along the way. We hope you find the column interesting and will consider sending us some comments. Our Tutorial Section is a video of my HDR demo from the recent Image Editing class.


  • New Zealand 2015 workshop is moving to a new date in November.

photo review

Steve in daily group discussion with his February Image Editing Workshop.
Photo by Fiona McDonnell.

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.


Workshop Testimonials

FEATURED PRINT February 2015


Trees and Brush at Dawn. Merced River, Yosemite. 2015.
Canon 1Ds III

Trees and Brush at Dawn. Merced River. Yosemite. 2015.
Canon 1Ds Mark III

11x14 Pigment Inkjet Print on Cotton paper
$195 each. Purchase this print.

The blue light of dawn cast a beautiful patina of color on these frosty Aspens alongside the Merced River.

2015 Workshop Schedule
Graduate Study Days February 20 & 21, 2015
Color Management for Digital Photography March 7, 2015
Fine Art Digital Printing Hands-on March 14-17, 2015
Pacifica: Nature's Gem March 21-22, 2015
Digital Black and White Printing Hands-on March 28-30, 2015
Flora and Form April 23-25, 2015
The Golden Gate May 2-3, 2015
Raw to Print Summer Digital Bootcamp June 1-5, 2015
New Zealand November, 2015

printing class

February 2015 Image Editing Class. Photo from demo video by Fiona McDonnell

Speaking Events (see below)

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Merced River at Dawn. 2015


New Photo Link

Trees at Dawn. Merced River. Yosemite, CA.
2015. Canon 5D III.

Click to order a print

Frosty shoreline and blue light of dawn, Merced River, Yosemite Valley.


Moon Rising over Half Dome in last light. Yosemite. 2015

by Stephen Johnson

Looking Back at the Yosemite Workshop

We had a great Yosemite in Winter workshop. It is such a special place, and so few people there in winter. We had some very nice moments watching the full moon rise over the valley. I believe my students made good progress and certainly expressed appreciation for the trip.

We've been doing some end of workshop videos with students talking about their experience:

Workshop Enthusiasms. 2015.

The workshops have proven to be a very useful construct. The age of digital has only made it more so. Being out in the world that makes us want to photograph, putting together scenarios where our technical and aesthetic skills are challenged and supported seems to work very well.

I've been teaching field workshops since 1978. They bring together a variety of positives that are hard to beat. We get filled with light and wonder, some days it is hard to stop with so much possibility.

Workshop Testimonials


The Yosemite in Winter Workshop wrapped up in the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. It is always amazing to bring people to the grove. Preserving these trees is one of the main reasons Yosemite was set aside in 1864.

Many topics were tossed around beyond the rather intense photographic talks. Families tend to grow out of the camaraderie.

It's hard to put to words or to camera the magnificence of these trees. The word tree doesn't even begin to get at the nature of the Giant Sequoias of the Sierra Nevada. They are massive ancient beings with a history stretching almost halfway through human history. They were birthing when Rome was an empire and most human religions were yet to form. They dwarf us, inspire us, drive our curiosity, and amazement.

It seems to me there is a spirit here among these sentinels. I love to walk among them slowly trying to imagine the eons of storms, fires and other creatures walking about.

Like many places in Yosemite, I wouldn't think I could take another photograph of Half Dome or Yosemite Falls and see anything new. Although the Half Dome Moonrise above, or the rainbowed falls below are not earth shatteringly new, they were beautiful moments that go to the heart of why I make photographs.

I witness beauty, I photograph.

I look for line, design, simplicity and sensuality. I'm a great advocate for less is more, and leaving enough unsaid, unrevealed for the viewer to be drawn in to the interpretation of the image. I try to rise to the occasion of sharing some of the wonder I see.


Yosemite Falls Rainbow. 2015.

Teaching is always an opportunity to learn. I learn from my students all the time. From their questions, to new problems I encounter, and from the possibilities others are considering, all become horizon broadening moments.

Just asking the question "what makes you curious here?" and working through the photographic distillations and challenges become learning for all involved. At the end of every day, if I can feel a satisfaction in what we've seen and been challenged by, I'm a happy educator.

...continued top of right column of the essay


Coyote. Yosemite Valley. 2015.

A coyote that is way too human acclimated seems to be hanging around Bridalveil Falls. We encountered the coyote twice, along the oaks at the El Capitan View and in the Falls parking lot. People were generally keeping their distance, but he was clearly unafraid, and seemingly accustomed to humans supplying food.


Tree and Granite. Yosemite. 2015.

Our walk to Happy Isles through the Fen created an opportunity for an impromptu depth of field demo working with the simple plants, leaves and creek. It was time well invested and gave me a chance to suggest that almost any subject could be looked at for its photographic possibilities. Whole worlds open up when approached with craft, attention to design, depth and dynamic range.

Many moments along the way provided teaching opportunities. The photograph below came out of my assertion there were photographs all around us, and provided a depth of field demo opportunity. If both the grasses and the creek were not sharp, there was no photo, not even the quiet one I managed.


Creek and Grasses. The Fen. Yosemite. 2015


HDR of Sequoia Burn. Mariposa Grove. 2015.

New Developments at the Studio

Life Form Exhibition

My Life Form Exhibition continues to take shape and we are looking forward to it's premier soon. I'm making a series of large prints for the exhibition. We've been showing a few 40 inch photographs to visitors with very enthusiastic responses. We'll have a big party for the opening, so stay tuned.

Custom Workshop Scheduling

People often want to take workshops and the dates just don't match up with their schedules. Sometimes they watch the newsletter and webpage for years for their interest, free time and the workshop to all coincide. We've decided to be proactive in creating a forum for potential students to tell us what you need and when you can take a class. Please email us with workshop ideas and suggestions.

More formally, we are experimenting with a workshop poll to determine when interested people can make particular workshops they really want to take.

Currently we have up two workshops to experiment:


The San Mateo Arts Council Gallery is showing a group of my digital national park prints from With a New Eye. The Caldwell Gallery, 400 County Center. Redwood City, CA.. January 19-February 28, 2015


San Mateo County Arts Commission Caldwell Gallery with Selections from With a New Eye. 2015.

please email your comments to us




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  few months, such as his up coming talks in New York City at Photo Plus.

  • Pacifica: At the Gallery
    Come by and talk with Steve about his ongoing Exhibitions of work on display

Canon Sponsors Steve to speak at Universities, Colleges, Photo Groups and various events around the country. If you would like more information on arranging for Steve to do a Canon sponsored event, go to: Canon SJ EOL talks



Steve Lecturing at Photo Plus. New York City. October 2014.



High Dynamic Range (HDR) Demo

We often make screen recordings of my demos during the lab classes so students can take them home for review. In this case, the topic of HDR encoding and decoding was demonstrated in my February Image Editing workshop. The demo was captured with ScreenFlow.

Previous Tutorial and Technique Posts


Dawn, Yosemite Falls. 2015.

Edited photograph with perspective corrected. The wide angle resulted in a dramatic leaning in of trees as I tilted the camera up to include the sky. As the correction straightening the trees made the entire photograph somewhat squat. I worked with unconstrained resize to try to restore the cliffs to a slightly more vertical version of their height which seemed more reflective of what I saw and know.

The Stephen Johnson Photography Gift Shop

Featured Products

gift certificate

Gift Certificates for Prints and Workshops!

Emailed or shipped with beautiful gift notecard.

2015 Calendars

11" x 17"
Price $25.00

2015 Life Form Calendar
12 selections from Steve's Life Form work.

Life Form Calendar order


2015 Pacifica Calendar
12 selections from Steve's Pacifica, CA work.

Pacifica Calendar order.


2014 Life Form Note cards
5x7 inches,

Click to Purchase

12 image Note card set with envelopes featuring photographs from Steve's new Life Form work.

Printed by Steve in his studio in very limited numbers on a color laser digital press


National Park Note cards

note card

National Park Color Note card 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 March 5, 2015 . Mail comments to:
Photographs and Text Copyright ©2015, Stephen Johnson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide