Welcome to the March 2008 Edition of the Stephen Johnson Photography Newsletter. As always, we hope you enjoy this edition.
The winter and spring schedule includes San Francisco in April and the new Digital Black and White Photography Hands-on from May 15-18, 2008. Due to many inquiries, we are exploring adding a second session of the Professional Image Editing course for sometime in late April. Let us know if you are interested. Also becaue of many inquiries, we have scheduled another section of our much in demand Fine Arts Digital Printing Hands-On workshop for May 24-27.

We finally found a date to offer the long overdue Pt. Lobos and Carmel Workshop May 3-5, 2008.

The Galapagos trip is full, but for a single option, we are one short on a single female shared cabin with another female student.

We are very excited about our Ireland's Spectacular West Coast workshop in June. Our ten days with co-instructor Anthony Hobbs of the National College of Art in Dublin should prove to be a fantastic immersion in the Irish landscape and culture.

We are also starting a new program of letting people request the workshops they want. Email the Workshops Currently Building List so we can build a list of people and determine dates.

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

rock pt lobos

Rock, Pt. Lobos
Kodak DCS 460m


Gallery Events

Critique Session
March 27, 2008, 7-10pm


The Bookstore Expands

We are now carrying not only books by Steve, but by Ted Orland/David Bayles, Al Weber and others.

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

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

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

Featured Products

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

March 2008
White Dune. Baja California. 1988
11x14 Pigment Print on Gelatin Rag paper
$195 each

In 1988 I went on what has turned out to be one of the journeys of my life with my friend Art Bridge to Baja California. This dune in the white sands near Guererro Negro has often come back to me and I'm proud to offer it here this month.

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 March 31. We'll be taking orders until then, and shipping them out by April 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.


Notions of Beauty and Design

Fundamentally, I keep wandering the same paths, even as varied as the places might be, I still bring me, my emotions, my heart, my eyes to everything I photograph. I keep seeking simplicity out of complexity, order out of overload, sensuality out of the commonplace. I keep looking for a lover in the rocks, sand or mud, a mother-earth image of Gaia as the source of soul and heart. I see it everywhere; occasionally I manage to photograph her.

Seduction is laced throughout the process, in the wanderlust, in the stopping to consider a sight, in the judgment brought trying to make an image work, in the realization of the print, in the very earth forms I continue to seek.

I've said for years that the only thing I think we have a prayer of understanding is ourselves. We seek human line and form as we explore the world. We are constantly measuring what we see against who we understand ourselves to be. It's what leads to the often seen nude in the dunes, thigh in the sky, orchid female. Some of these connections are obvious, some more subtle, but the pull seems strong. It seems universal; I know it is in me.

My friend the poet George Oppen wrote in 1968:

One must not come to feel that he has to hold a thousand threads
in his hands,
He must somehow see the one thing

-section of #27, from Of Being Numerous

recording of Oppen reading the whole poem section

If it were only the issue of simplification, the lines would be drawn, so to speak. Distilling, abstracting, funneling, selecting a piece of the planet, a scene of light on earth, that is the task. As Van Gogh so wonderfully put it more than a hundred years ago, "exaggerate the essential, and leave the obvious vague." It is a process of looking for the deeper qualities.

The rectangle of a conventional photograph forces the issue. The static nature of a still frame unrealized leaves me cold. I want to imbue my photographs with life, just as they are made on a living planet. Movement and life must be implied from a still frame, energy and life emerge from a carefully seen and recorded dynamism, inherent in the structural arrangement of space and line within the image.

This has nothing to do with formal rules of composition. I run from those truisms like youth from age. But a strongly seen arrangement of space and line can take a photograph from confusion to vision, and aid the communication of discovered beauty.

Reading a book like Robert Adams' Beauty in Photography helped me think about notions of beauty I was carrying with me. Hearing my friend Dave Bohn muse on the "wandering" as being a primary source of inspiration and discovery, hearing Dorothea Lange allude in the 1965 film Under the Trees to getting "lost' in the world, seeing the almost religious iconography that Ansel Adams sensitized so many of us to, all of these sources, and many more led me down paths of an ever more deeply felt relationship to this land and the camera as an enabler of earth-awareness.

Thinking through what might be part of my core aesthetic, I started resorting some existing work and came up with a small gallery for some perpective. These might be the genesis of a more focused effort to see, perhaps to look back, likely both. See what you think.



rock, valley of fire

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
May 24-27, 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 judgements and interactive honing in on the best print possible.

Highway One and the San Mateo Coast
March 15-16, 2008 (full with waiting list)
Optional extra day at Pt. Lobos March 17

Professional Image Editing
March 27-30, 2008 (full with waiting list)

Exploring adding a second session for sometime in late April. Let us know if you are interested.

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.

San Francisco Digitally
April 5-6, 2008
post workshop Critique
Optional extra day at Alcatraz

A two day digital photography workshop exploring some of San Francisco's most visually interesting areas. We'll spend time in the Presidio with its old forts and forests, downtown skyscraper cityscapes, the Palace of Fine Arts World's Fair remnants, Fort Point with its spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, (and possibly the Marin Headlands) and the urban eden of Golden Gate Park. We will also take in the restored Cliff House and its historic Camera Obscura. Much time will be spent walking and looking, knowing we will be in the area for awhile, giving you the freedom to explore, but also keeping help nearby.

Pt. Lobos and Carmel: A Digital Photography Field Workshop
May 3-5, 2008

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

Digital Black and White Photography Hands-on: Scanning, Conversion and Printing
May 15-18, 2008

Stephen Johnson Studios & Gallery
Pacifica, California.

Explore black and white photography in the digital age from file creation to print 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.

Ireland’s Spectacular West Coast
June 20-30, 2008

Join Stephen Johnson and Anthony Hobbs for an unforgettable journey along the rustic West Coast of Ireland. This workshop will include hotel stays in several towns along our route from County Clare towards Achill Island. Along the way, participants will explore western Ireland's landscape with its rugged coast, lush greens, rocky islands, lake-filled valleys and remote castles.

Irish culture and history will also be part of this trip as we visit key locations and provide natural and human history discussions along the way. Some Gaelic language lessons and Irish folk arts performances might also be picked up on our travels along with the warmth and friendliness of the Irish people.

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 Penninsula, 2002

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


Photoshop for Photographers:The Basics
with Seán Duggan. May 3-4, 2008

Stephen Johnson Studios & Gallery. Pacifica, California.

This two-day class is an introduction to Adobe Photoshop CS3 designed for photographers by a photographer.  Participants will be guided through the Photoshop interface and learn the basic tools, techniques and concepts used in the editing of photographic images. We will cover the basics of working with digital images with the aim of fostering a familiarity and comfort level that will serve as a strong foundation for further exploration with this powerful software. To enroll, email Sean: sean@seanduggan.com.

Topics include:

  • Essentials of the Photoshop Interface
  • Adobe Camera Raw Basics
  • Tonal Correction with Adjustment Layers
  • Dodging and Burning with Adjustment Layers
  • Working with Selections
  • Converting Color to Black & White
  • Spotting and Simple Retouching
  • Resizing  & Cropping
  • Sharpening

UPCOMING EVENTS with Stephen Johnson

Photoshop World

April 2-4, 2008 Orange County Convention Center South - Orlando, FL

The Digital Landscape: Santa Fe Workshops
April 21-25, 2008

mmw logo

Maine Media Workshops

Canon's Explorer of Light Photographer - Stephen Johnson
Photographer Lecture Series
March 10, 2008, 6:30 - 8:30 pm.

San Francisco City College
50 Phelan Avenue
San Francisco, CA

New England Camera Club Conference
Friday through Sunday, July 11 - 13, 2008

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA


Book Reviews
Book Comments online


Printers I'm no longer using. Make 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 michelle@sjphoto.com 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.


We've sent you this newsletter because, at some point, you told us you were interested in hearing from us.

If you'd like to unsubscribe, change your email address, or give us comments about the newsletter, please send a note to lists@sjphoto.com.

To subscribe to the sjphoto-news mailing list
web: http://sjphoto.com/mailman/listinfo/sjphoto-news

To communicate with us regarding the list, email: sjphoto-news@sjphoto.com

Newsletter Archive

Home | Fine Art Prints | Products | Workshops | Announcements | Online Gallery
Consulting Services | Contact Info | Site Index | Related Web | Mailing List

Last updated on 3/14/08. Mail comments to: info@sjphoto.com
Photographs and Text Copyright ©2008, Stephen Johnson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.