Sunrays over New Jersey. 2008.
Canon 1Ds Mark II.


Congratulations America! Whatever your political beliefs, a President Obama is an affirmation of our belief in equality, one of our deepest values as a people.

Obviously I'm finishing this newsletter after Election Day and am personally feeling very optimistic and full of possibility. The faith and hope so many feel today is critical to move this nation forward, but it is also critical in the everyday life of the arts. The plunge into artistic expression and a deeper understanding of the natural world is what I strive to bring to those of you out there reading this newsletter. I hope the work we all do together will make a difference for you. It certainly makes my life much richer.


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

For those needing a starting point to get involved in digital photography, a fall offering of our Fundamentals of Digital Photography class (next weekend) in early November should help substantially. We are also restarting our Thursday evening Critique Sessions (November 13) and continuing our Graduate Study Lab on November 14.

We have added a one-day Color Management seminar for mid-November and by request another session of our highly regarded Fine Art Digital Printing Hands-On workshop in early December.

Our 2009 workshop schedule is forming up, starting with Death Valley in Winter workshop, a four day excursion into this strange valley's often soft winter light. Our May Mendocino and the North Coast workshop is now up as well.

We are considering another Galapagos Photo Workshop, April 3-13, 2009. Email us for more details - this workshop should be a blast for all.

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

Steve with Erick Leskinen and Michael Collette. Yosemite Workshop. 2008
Photograph by Robert H. Caughron.


...New Ted Orland Poster
...Al Weber book
...Art and Fear
Featured Print Offer
Moonrise Yosemite. 2008
The View From Here
...Photographic Tools of Revelation
The Digital Book
...Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography
Workshop News
...Color Management Seminar
...Fundamentals of Digital Photography

...Fine Art Digital Printing
...Death Valley in Winter
...Galapagos Photo Workshop
...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


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

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.

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

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

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

November 2008
Moonrise Yosemite. 2008
11x14 Pigment Print on Rag paper
$195 each

Moonrise over Half Dome's lower slopes from our Yosemite in Autumn workshop.

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 November 30. We'll be taking orders until then, and shipping them out by December 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.


falls and rainbow

Infrared, Hoh Rainforest. Olympic National Park, Washington. 1994.

Photographic Tools of Revelation

We are curious creatures. We try to imagine the experience of our fellow humans, we try to imagine the world our pets and other creatures see, we reach out to places we cannot yet go and send back scenes of whole new realities. It is part of the reach of our imagination and our insatiable curiosity.

Photography has the unique and precious power to hold a semblance of what we visually experience. It has become our visual tool of record. This remains its greatest strength. But it also has a wonderful ability to see in ways we can't. Through long exposures, infrared, microscopes, telescopes and cameras in very remote locations like Titan, orbiting our ringed giant Saturn–we are able to hold visual records of scenes way beyond human vision and presence.

We see the world through our human eyes, but we often try to imagine, and science researches, how other creatures see, from multifaceted fly eyes to ultraviolet bee vision, all worlds beyond our visual experience. As we customize our photographic devices, more and more we find ways of exploring imaging of a different sort.

We know x-rays form images, with radar we know radio waves can image, in fact we map the earth with radar images and derive our topographic view of our planet encoded into digital elevation maps (DEMs) and other forms. Spacecraft image through ultraviolet and many other very narrow bandwidths to analyze spectral signatures of various elements.

Black and White

Of course, even ordinary black and white photography gives a glimpse into other worlds. It is a viewpoint we are now quite familiar with, but was very unusual when photography first came along. It reminded us of very fine pencil drawing or engravings. In fact, Fox-Talbot made the first photographic book and called it "The Pencil of Nature."

We now can further customize our traditional black and white views with highly specialized tonal interpretations of real world color into grayscale. Concrete and versatile tools like the Black and White Adjustment Layer in Photoshop births dramatic new possibilities for many, particularly when combined with masks for selective conversion.

falls and rainbow

Color and Custom BW Conversion. Pacifica, California. 2007.


My 14 years of work with the 4x5 Better Light Scanning Camera has been engaging on many levels, not only in its extraordinary resolution and accuracy, but also for its inherent design allowing for direct infrared photography. Not only does its clear path for infrared see through haze (no IR cut-off filter), it also increases the back's dynamic range to 14 stops, and increase the basic ISO to 800.

Many people are now having their older digital cameras converted to infrared sensitivity by having the standard blue-green IR cutoff filter removed from the sensor. Others are putting a visible light cut-off filter on their camera, letting mostly IR through to the sensor, but leaving you no view through the lens. The results are fun, stimulating and often amazing.

Merced River Canyon, Infrared. Yosemite National Park, California..1998.


El Capitan by Moonlight. Yosemite National Park, California. 2008.

falls and rainbow

Fly Wing and Muscle, SEM. 1980.

Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

I am endlessly curious. When I went back to graduate school in 1980, one of the things I wanted to explore was the micro landscape made visible by Scanning Electron Microscopes. It was a fascinating experience, moving around with hundreds of power of magnification, recording high resolution CRT screen images from electron beams onto 4x5 black and white sheet film.

I found myself collecting ordinary and extraordinary objects for the gold plating process needed before an object could be imaged with the SEM. Often the object itself was interesting, but the flow of now gold-plated glue adhering the object to the sample disk was even more so.

I found once again the endless complexity and beauty in form I knew from the world of human scale. It was indeed, another world revealed.

falls and rainbow

Leaves and Stream, Infrared. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. 1994.

falls and rainbow

Ferns, Infrared and Visible Color. Redwood National Park, California. 1994.

New Views, New Perspectives

We are in an age of expanding imaging capabilities, all enlarging and translating to what our eyes can natively see, a wondrous world invisible to us without technology. As we move deeper toward micro and macro exploration, expanded notions of alternative realities suggested by quantum physics, our eyes and minds will demand visualization, ways of translating these new "scenes" into our perceptual reach. What a long and strange trip this is likely to be for us all.

As I've said many times, it is an amazing time to be involved in photography. I hope you are feeling the way.

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.

Fundamentals of Digital Photography
The Basics and Much, Much More
November 8-9, 2008
Stephen Johnson Studios & Gallery
Pacifica, California.

This is an exciting exploration of photography's powerful new digital tools with one of the most knowledgeable artists in the field. This class is designed to provide you with the background and understanding to transition your work into the digital realm.

The digital basics are covered here, in real world terms, with care to make sure the concepts are understood and the complications simplified. Those basics are built on to tackle the thorny issues of camera design and choice, data storage, color management and printing.

Color Management Seminar
November 15, 2008

An exploration of Color Management in theory and practice designed to get you comfortable with the concepts and architecture of color management and build practical experience methods for using profiles for display and in printing. Monitor calibration and print profiles will be explained and you will have hands-on experience making both.

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.

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
November 13, 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
November 14, 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 November 6, 2008 . Mail comments to:
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