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Pt. Lobos. 2011. Email to order a print. Next Workshop Pt. Lobos and Carmel   Dec. 1-3, 2012.

Welcome to the November 2012 Edition of the Photography Newsletter.

Just returned from a trip to New York City and Washington DC. The trip to DC had some interesting underpinnings, being on the edge of Hurricane Sandy (and basically untouched except for a cancelled lecture) and being fully aware of the impending presidential election. This was made even more poignant by a visit to the West Wing of the White House. It stirs all sorts of emotion and hopes...

This month's View From Here column explores aerial photography and a recent trip to Washington. We hope you enjoy reading it and perhaps will send us some comments. Our Tutorial this month discusses photographing from a commercial jet.


The next section of our popular printing workshop Fine Art Digital Printing Hands-on runs this Saturday from November 10-13, 2012.

A special Print Day with Steve is available for printing workshop alumni on
November 25.

We're going back to one of our favorite places in December, Pt. Lobos and Carmel December 1-3, 2012. Whether on this workshop or at another time, you must visit Pt. Lobos, so why not join us for a group photo journey?

The one-day seminar Photographic Projects will be offered January 12, 2013. Keeping in mind people's limited budgets and recurring requests, these one-day classes are an effort to keep photo education affordable.

We return to Death Valley for our Death Valley in Winter workshop January 24-27, 2013. This full moon and winter light on the goegraphically rich and multi-hued valley make for an amazing photographic trip. Add the Sand Dunes at dawn and you have quite a set of photographic opportunities.

One of the true wonders of the world has been added to our winter workshop schedule with our Yosemite in Winter workshop Feb. 16-18, 2013.


Don't miss a chance to join us on our Ireland Workshop this Summer!

We are excited to announce our Summer 2013 Photography Workshop to Ireland's Spectacular West Coast July 14-25, 2013. My good friend Anthony Hobbs of the Dublin's National College of Art will be co-leading this ten-day immersion into the Irish landscape and culture.

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 announced last fall.

Our busy schedules and limited budgets often keep us from destination workshops or classes, 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 Exquisite Earth exhibition, 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 November 2012


The Crypt. US Capitol. 2012.

The Crypt. US Capitol. 2012
9x14 Pigment Inkjet Print on Cotton paper
$195 each. Purchase this print.

The Capitol Crypt was originally supposed to be the final resting place of George Washington but the family had other ideas, like Mt. Vernon. Directly under the Capitol's Rotunda, where so many have been honored after their loss, it held my heart for awhile, as it held so much history just above. Still a wild and beautiful set of lines and arches...


Stephen Johnson Workshops and Event Calendar
Fine Art Digital Printing Hands-on November 10-13, 2012
Photographers & Photoshop Series Photoshop CS6 and Photographers
Two Weekends: Part 1: Nov. 17-18. Part 2: Dec. 8-9, 2012
Print Day with Steve: November 25, 2012
Pt. Lobos and Carmel December 1-3, 2012
Photographic Projects: A Personal History and Survey. At Mono Lake, The Great Central Valley, With a New Eye
January 12, 2013
Death Valley in Winter (full moon) January 24-27, 2013
Yosemite in Winter. February 16-18, 2013
Ireland 2013: July 14-25, 2013

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Clouds Over Great Highway



...clouds reaching to sky on the Great Highway in San Francisco...



Clouds and highway Over.... 2012.

by Stephen Johnson

On Aerial Photography: Commercial Flights

I am a deep fan of aerial photography. I am always seeking a window seat and carrying my camera, as I have been for over 30 years.

Flying back from my recent east coast lecture tour, I looked into using an App from my iPad/iPhone called Fight Aware to track the route we flew. As I was exploring it, I noticed I could save the route as a Google Earth compatible .gmx file and save the times and location of the entire route,


San Francisco at Dawn. 2012.

This led me down a path of tracing back some photographs I made along the way of curious sites and some nice compositions. I now have the ability to determine locations, place names and some investigative opportunities to find out what on earth some of these markings on our earth actually were.


Baker Lake, Arkansas. 2012.


Razor Bluff, Colorado. 2012.


Flight Aware Route Screen.


At The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City

A must see if you are in New York City, Faking it: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop is a wonderful exhibition at the Met in NYC thruogh January 27, 2013.


...continued top of right column


Snapshot: Steve in the White House Press Room. 2012.

A West Wing White House Tour

While in Washington DC last week, I was fortunate to be able to tour the West Wing of the White House. It was amazing to look into the Oval Office and take in all that has happened there. The fate of our nation rests with decisions made in that room.

The Presidential election this year probably heightened that since of history. But I do find my mind keeps coming back to staring into that room, the Oval Office. The fact that it is smaller than all of the wide-angle photographs have suggested, the concrete non-emperor quality of ordinary old paint on old wood, the simple reality of the real space. We were not allowed to photograph on the tour, but the scene made a deep impression on me.


North Portico of the White House from the West Wing.2012.

Just moving around the White House, going in and leaving the tour, brought a core reality to the place that took myth and made the place real. Even the interrelationships of the rooms and space was surprising. It was hard not to photograph, as so much of what I saw contextualized spaces I had never before put together quite right. I was happy to make a few images outside and in the Press Room.


Like most any visitor to Washington DC, I am always taken by my first sighting of the Washington Monument. It seems from almost any view, I keep making photographs of the spire. To say that it's iconic is a bit obvious, but there is something singularly remarkable about it as a form and symbol. I get emotional at the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, and particularly at the Vietnam Veterans Wall. But there is something about this towering spire...


The Washington Monument from the Old Post Office. 2012.


A few things I would like you to keep in mind...

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 around the country over the next few months, such as San Francisco in December.

  • San Francisco

The Bay Area Photography & Exploration Society Meet-Up Group.
December 4, 2012 7pm.


Aerial Photography From a Commercial Plane

(excerpt from the book Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography unreleased revised electronic version)

Photographing from a commercial airplane is both difficult and irresistible. The views can be astounding. I'm amazed that people close their windows. There are a few obvious, and perhaps not so obvious things, that can make a difference in making the best of a challenging situation, to take advantage of the view, and occasionally make some fine photographs.

Plan Ahead

Unless seeking a specific view, try to book a seat on the opposite side of the plane from the sun, usually in the northern hemisphere this means facing north.

Book early and try to get a seat well in front of the wing to avoid jet exhaust. If that is not possible for increasing far and late bookings, try as far back in the plane as you can get.

Dress for minimizing internal reflections with a dark, non-patterned shirt.

Bring a rubber lens shade with sufficient flexibility to press against the acrylic plane window without it squishing and blocking your view.

Making the Photographs

Do what you can to buff the inner window of smudges. A laptop screen cleaning kit seems to present no problem for the airlines and can help. The elbow cloth of your shirt can also be a quick help.

Always use fast shutter speeds for normal plane motion, but particularly in turbulence. Higher ISO with the noise they can bring is better than blurs.

I usually opt for my 28-70mm lens as that is slightly too wide to avoid the wing in many cases, but long enough to simplify a bit without too much added apparent motion from a long lens. There are times when I wish I could go a bit longer though, so I keep a longer lens handy when I can.


Use an app like Flight Aware to download the path of your flight, save the flight log and map to know where you were and when to match the time of the photograph to the log in order to identify your subject. This can be particularly satisfying when really bizarre things are seen and you become determined to find out what on earth they are.


Biscayne National Seashore. 2009.


Featured Posters  


Beautiful posters from Steve's National Parks work.

30x24 inches
Price $20.00

More Information

To order by credit card.



note card

National Park Color Notecard 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 November 8, 2012 . Mail comments to:
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