River and Hills. Iceland. 2009. Canon 1Ds Mark III
Welcome to the January 2011 Edition of the Stephen Johnson Photography Newsletter.
In addition, we have some new workshops, Photoshop Selections/Editing this month, Fine Art Printing and Yosemite in Winter in February, Color Management and Highway One in March, with one scholarship spot in each.
We hope you'll check out our new set of National Park Notecards and a special sale of Vintage Prints we've highlighted again this month.
This month's Tutorial is on Chromatic Aberration.
FEATURED PRINT for January 2011
Looking up at the cliffs below Glacier Point from Yosemite Valley on last years Yosemite in Winter workshop.
Glacial Dome, Iceland. 2009
THE VIEW FROM HERE
Exquisite Earth : A Photographic Exhibition Constructed and Open
The show is up, the Opening a good success, a few weeks have gone by and I continue to be pleased as I walk the hall of the Exquisite Earth installation. It might be that it doesn't get any better than that.
As we now try to document the Exquisite Earth show, edit video of the opening, and continue efforts to let people know it is here, it now seems like a completely different entity than when it was in creation. And it is. This Exhibition is now a business as well as an artistic statement. Now the value of having created this show is measured by exposure, income and still most importantly by viewers being moved. And of course how it drives me forward.
These photographs are now fixed renditions of my experience. The distance from the creation of the prints is now sufficient to see the photographs as separate from their making. Now they are jewels of the earth and process, still mostly unbelievable, even to me, even with my eye behind the camera for each exposure. The detail, real color, the re-creation of my visual experience, these are the qualities that make my heart warm and give me the satisfaction of creation.
The moments remain magic and have moved back into the realm of feeling like I couldn't have had anything to do with this work, it is beyond my capabilities of seeing or creation. A little distance and the work moves beyond me, quickly. It sounds full of ego or pride to say it's too good to be from my hand, but mine are such imperfect hands. I think it is really that curious mixture of asking much of ourselves, trying so hard to reach high, and even when the reach is far less than perfect, it can be rewarding to a degree that pushes us forward, into more work, harder work, more risk, more heart, more soul poured into the art. Satisfaction, seduction and a big kick in the butt to do more work.
Maybe this is how we keep working. Driving ourselves to follow our creative compulsions and asking more than is reasonable. Reaching part of that distance feels great, as we forget just how hard it was and we are amazed that we could have done it at all, feeling like it would be impossible to ever match the same level, then driving yourself to prove it again, at least to yourself.
I continue to be humbled by what I've been privileged to see as I've wandered this planet and now put on these walls. It feels like a touch of wonder.
A Virtual Walk down the Gallery. QuickTime pano of Exquisite Earth Installation East Wall (photos are digitally tipped-in).
A Virtual Walk down the Gallery. QuickTime pano of Exquisite Earth Installation West Wall (photos are digitally tipped-in).
Of course one of the fundamental and ongoing issues is how do we get people to see the work? My studio and gallery may be in an Art Center, and near one of the great cities of the world, San Francisco, but street traffic is low, and visitation has to be intentional. Setting up shop in a more commercial urban or tourist center is not a goal for me.
We have to reach out for the work to be seen. Letting people know it is here via the internet, scheduling open gallery days and evenings when we can be here beyond normal work hours, and a show closing event as we ready the next exhibition may all be worth doing.
Extended Gallery Hours:
Thursday February 3, 2011 7-10pm
A special thanks to my assistants Elizabeth Bredall and Emma Simmons for their help with the exhibit. And to my friends and former students Darin Steinberg and Carl Schwab.
Video of Opening December 10, 2010 by Tom Adams.
A Video Record
I asked my friend videographer Tom Adams to make a video of the exhibition opening, including the 15 minute talk, the conversations, the questions and the repartee. Linked above is our first take on an edit of the the evening's events, concentrating here mostly on excerpts from my talk, later to come an expanded version including discussions of the photographs and other conversations.
Building An Exhibit and an Experience by Emma Simmons
A few quotes from the evening:
“Every idea you have is a blind spot that keeps you from seeing” Bill Atkinson
"I do appreciate your discussions about what reality is. It's going to make me re-think certain things about shooting" -visitor
"you did ok Dad" Matt Johnson
(excerpt from the book Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography unreleased revised electronic version)
Chromatic Aberration is the failure of a lens to be able to focus different wavelengths of light at the same place in space on the sensor or film. Red, green and blue look different because they are different energy levels, different wavelengths and literally produce different sized images on the focal plane. A lens can only focus in one place at a time and most of our focusing systems are designed to focus on green, the middle energy wavelength between the red and blue. This inevitably leaves both red and blue slightly out of focus while rendering the green the sharpest.
Modern lenses are designed to try to compensate for this problem by special optical designs and lens coatings. A very low Chromatic Aberration lens is called apo-chromatic, but can still suffer from the problem. Wide-angles tend to have the worst Chromatic Aberration.
This problem can be seen as colored rings around detail, particularly at the edges of an image. In the days of film, there was really no way to post-treat this problem. Modern RAW processors have a color plane re-alignment tool in Lens Correction that is feathered in from center of the image designed to line up these mis-registered color planes and reduce or eliminate the problem.
The RAW Lens Correction tools should always be used to correct this problem. It has normally been done manually by adjusting Red/Cyan Fringe or Blue/Yellow Fringe sliders.
In Hasselblad, Nikon and Canon dedicated software auto-chromatic aberration has been built-in for awhile, and now Photoshop CS5's Camera RAW and Lightroom 3 have this auto Chromatic Aberration built-in as well. The process involves checking the menus for your lens, selecting it, and inspecting the aligned results which happen automatically. If your lens is not on the list, there is a Adobe Lens Profile Creator utility from Adobe that can be downloaded to produce a correction table for your lens. These lens correction tables also correct for field distortion introduced by the optic.
Red/Cyan Fringe Corrected
National Park Color Notecard Set
From "With a New Eye" Beautiful 300 line screen offset reproductions with envelopes in clear box. A perfect Christmas gift.
PLEASE VISIT US!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Pacifica Center for the Arts from Linda Mar Boulevard
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Photographs and Text Copyright ©2011, Stephen Johnson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.