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Life Form Gallery. Canon Booth, PhotoPlus. New York.. 2017. Canon 5DSr. Upcoming Workshop: Point Lobos, Carmel and Big Sur. December 2-4, 2017.


Welcome to the November 2017 Edition of the Photography Newsletter.

The PhotoPlus Exposition in New York made for a busy few weeks, with two talks and a gallery of 40 inch prints in the Canon booth. The Gallery was a little last minute, but a bunch of people came together and pulled it off.


This month's View From Here column chronilces my recent PhotoPlus Exposition Canon Gallery development. We hope you find the column interesting and will consider sending us some comments.


  • We have a new Pacifica book, a gathering of work from my Pacifica Calendar series over the last few years and other photographs I've made in the course of living here for 30 years. I'm happy to have Ben Pease's great trail map as part of our outreach to bring attention to the natural wonders of Pacifica.
  • 2018 Workshop Schedule is building with these and other great courses coming up. See what a great experience students have had on Steve's Workshops by exploring Workshop Testimonials.


    Point Lobos, Carmel and Big Sur. December 2-4, 2017. Ansel Adams called Point 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.

    Image Editing in Photoshop. December 9-10, 2017. This is a great chance to explore digital photographic editing with Steve in his custom built digital lab. Full lab access and your own work station with 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 to help participants really understand the processes, and to work through difficult images with custom techniques building an intuitive path through an image's needs and possibilities.

    Fine Art Editing & Printing Hands-on. January 20-23, 2018. Focusing exclusively on fine-art digital printing, Stephen explores the possibilities of printmaking using Epson inkjet printers. Concentrating on printing with color pigments and black/gray ink combinations on coated and cotton papers, students learn from the digital pioneer how he obtains his impressive results. Stephen covers workflow issues, color management, correcting color casts, adjustment layers, custom profile generation, editing, and inspection, as well as paper visual qualities and the challenges and advantages of printing.

    Death Valley in Winter. January 27-30, 2018 (only a few places left) 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.


Steve with the Fine Art Printing Workshop in early May 2017.

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 our Newsletter Archive and some on Google Blogger.

We hope you can come by the gallery and see 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 November 2017


Total Solar Eclipse with Prominence. 2017.
Canon 5DSr

Total Solar Eclipse with Prominence. 2017.
Canon EOS-1Dx II

9.5x14 Pigment Inkjet Print on Cotton paper
$195 each.

My combo of a few frames of the Total Solar Eclipse last August. I was particularly interested in holding the prominences and the extended corona.


Workshop Schedule

Point Lobos, Carmel and Big Sur. December 2-4, 2017
Image Editing in Photoshop December 9-10, 2017
Fine Art Digital Printing Hands-on January 20-23, 2018
Death Valley in Winter January 27-30, 2018
Yosemite in Winter February 24-26, 2018


Linda Mar Bay, just down the road from Stephen Johnson Photography.


Speaking and Exhibition Events


Installation. Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA Jan. 17, 2017 onward. Make Software Exhibit

A Landscape Photographer in the Digital Age. Seattle Mountaineers. Seattle. November 17, 7pm

Coming March 10, 2018. Life Form. Viewpoint Gallery. Sacramento.

Follow us onlinesjphoto twitter facebookfacebookgoogle+ bloggerblogger





Rocks and Surf. Pacifica. 2017.
DJI Phantom 4 Drone.

What a difference a bit of elevation makes in showing us a new world.


Purchase a print of this photograph



Canon Gallery. PhotoPlus. 2017.

Canon "Life Form" Gallery. PhotoPlus. NYC. 2017.


by Stephen Johnson

PhotoPlus New York 2017

As has been my privilege for many years, I was invited back to speak at the Photo Plus Exposition in New York this year. My 12 Steps to Improve Your Digital Photography lecturewas again requested and Canon asked me to do another booth presentation. This year we decided to create a new variant on my talks, The Craft of Fine Art Photography.

In mid-October I started reviewing these talks and was making good progress. Suddenly that pace of prep changed dramatically. Canon called on October 12 and offered me a 30 foot gallery wall for my new Life Form work. The problem was, in order to have time to frame the work, the prints had to ship by the following afternoon. So I swung into full speed prep.

The first task was to mock-up the space using Photoshop and curate my little gallery on screen. I created a file 30 inches long for the 30 foot wall, and consequently everything could be brought in and quickly scaled framed prints to size. I photographed a framed print with my iPhone, re-proportioned it for the image and started pasting the files in to just see how many would fit and the spacing they needed on the wall. Six fifty inch frames seemed to work, with at least one vertical.

I then pasted my actual photographs into the frames and started playing with which images to use, looking at leading eye-direction, color and overall intuitive considerations. It was not practical to ship framed prints, so I wanted to choose from the unmatted prints waiting to be framed for upcoming exhibits. This worked for half the show. Two of the finished chosen photographs were already framed and not easily shippable. One had been mounted to form core for temporary display and therefore could not be shipped easily either, and with the mounting, was not up to my archival standards. That left at least three 40 inch prints to make in a day.



Gallery Mock-up. Canon "Life Form" Gallery. PhotoPlus. NYC. 2017.


I plunged into the printing and began discussions with the framer Canon had chosen. It was a very full day. One of the new prints had to be redone because I noticed some flaws in the print. All printed with the color right on the first print. They should have, as I had printed tham all before. The profiles I had made were good.

Because of time consideration, the framer had to start the frame building before the prints arrived, so very precise measurements had to be made. I re-checked the numbers three times. I also had to describe the moulding I wanted so as to most nearly match the frames with my building exhibit. I took a number of iPhone photos of my frames with tape measurer included, then photographed the photo corners I use, and made a close-up of the print-to-matt reveal space. They then understood what I wanted.

After emailing the wall mock-up to Canon, I realized that the scale was not clear. I asked my partner Fiona if she would come down to the gallery to pose in front of the existing foam-core mounted print on the wall. That created an easy image of a person and the orange orchid which I could strip into my mock up.


pp gallery

PhotoPlus Canon Gallery Mock-up with Fiona. 2017.
Canon 5DSr


I had already designed a poster for the project, so we quickly modified the text, then started exploring a print-on-demand edition of poster for the show. That search quickly became a cost and speed of shipping challenge at poster size. Canon offered to print a small version on one of their color laser printers and made a handsome 12x19 piece. Thanks to DJ Montalto at Canon.



Commenorative Poster. Canon "Life Form" Gallery. PhotoPlus. NYC. 2017.
Printed on the Canon imagePRESS C10000 VP, powered by PRISMASync.


We needed an exhibit wall panel to explain the work, me, and the focus-stacking process. So I set about creating this as well. I knew that something along these lines would be needed for future displays anyway.


life form info

Info Panel. Canon "Life Form" Gallery. PhotoPlus. NYC. 2017.


I also wanted to do a small brochure that documented this project and highlighted the exhibited prints. I took an existing gallery brochure on my Exquisite Earth installation and modified it. 

All of these associated materials took some real time to prepare and cut deeply into my prep time for my talks at the conference itself. But I managed it and got all of the materials to Canon.




Canon "Life Form" Gallery Brochure. PhotoPlus. NYC. 2017


Arriving in New York the day the show was to hang, I was a little nervous about how the frames and matts would look, having done all of the communication remotely. When I first arrived at the Javitts Center, the prints had just been unpacked and were sitting on plastic, leaning against a table in the Canon booth being constructed all around them. With great relief, I saw that they were extremely well done by Laumont Studios in Queens, NY. 

Then, of course, I had concerns about the lighting which Canon had already taken care of rather spectacularly. Bright daylight lamps with good coverage were already in place. I was very pleased.




Stacked Framed Prints. Canon Booth. PhotoPlus. NYC. 2017.

A Concurrent Prep Crisis

With all of the exhibit work, preparation of my talks got pushed to the end of the weekend before I flew out. As I was getting deep into the process, my laptop started crashing, just plain shuting down with what seemed to be a Kernel error. What ever the problem was, I thought I could get through the weekend prep work, but there was no way I could rely on the machine for public talks.

I made an appointment at the Apple Store at Hillsdale to have the MacBook looked at. It was not a software problem as I had hoped, but the motherboard itself. By then it was Saturday afternoon. Frank, the Apple employee who helped me, said they didn't have the part in stock, but determined there was one in their Palo Alto Store. He said his manager would pick it up on Sunday morning. I said I would bring the machine back the next day, thinking it's intermittent working would still give me time to refine my talks. I brought the machine back on Sunday morning, and my laptop was repaired and ready to pick up the following morning. I was amazed and impressed, even if about two days behind on my work. Thank you Apple Hillsdale.


steve in gallery

Steve in the Canon "Life Form" Gallery. PhotoPlus. NYC. 2017
Bobbi Lane


print signing

Steve in the Canon Booth Signing Posters PhotoPlus. NYC. 2017


I did a booth talk on the PhotoPlus' opening day and signed posters afterward. Canon then held a catered invitation only reception in the booth Friday evening after hours and I signed more posters.

Great thanks are due to many Canon employees who went to some trouble to make this happen, Chris Campione, Rich Reamer, Rob Altman and Dan Neri, from the Printer and Camera Divisions. 


Don't forget to Check out our next workshop:

Point Lobos, Carmel and Big Sur. December 2-4, 2017



...continued top of right column of the essay

color profile

Creating a Custom Printer Prolfie. Fine Art Digital Printing Class. 2016.
iPhone 6.


The Workshop Experience

Here at my studio in Pacifica California, about half of our space is devoted to Education. After teaching photography since 1978, I can easily say that photo education is one of the most rewarding aspects of my professional career as a photographer.

In the arts, we often have to blend income from various sources to make a living. My photographic prints, public speaking, and writing are all treasured aspects of the life I have had the privilege to lead. But in my heart, I suspect the teaching has made the most difference. Of course, I hope my photographs are right up there too.



print to screen match

Print to Screen Match. Stephen Johnson Photography Workshops.. 2017.
Canon EOS 5DS R.


My workshops stress understanding the fundamentals of the photographic craft, while constantly discussing the scene elements that are getting your attention, working toward distilling those light-based elements into photographic beauty.

Topics always include exercising finesse over camera use, including exposure, depth of field, ISO and color balance. Even advanced students say they come away with a better understanding of the fundamentals.

I address being aware of movement from wind, the challenges of contrasty light, nuances of strange color and lighting. Getting the color right is important. Knowing when the color is important is critical. Design and composition discussions are constant. Asserting control over depth of field is reviewed and encouraged.

As a workshop instructor, I am dedicated to making a positive difference for your work.




Workshop Gallery Talk. 2013.
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III.

A Few Workshop Testimonials

Let’s hear it for Stephen Johnson. Working from a studio and gallery complex in Pacifica, California, Steve runs a fine series of workshops directed towards digital photography. No one I am aware of is as advanced as Steve, and few others have the proper training to teach. Steve offers the complete package. Not a rented space with tired old computers, but a real digital lab, with state of the art equipment and printers and scanners and ... expertise you wouldn’t believe. Soft-spoken and easy going, Steve has years of experience and it is all on the walls. Write for a brochure and calendar of on going classes AND check his webpage:

Al Weber, Photographer
Carmel, California
from his 2001 NEWSLETTER


Too many photography instructors want to impress you with their knowledge of photography. Steve Johnson wants to make sure you to leave his workshops confident in the knowledge you've gained. Steve is an excellent, caring teacher and his insights and knowledge of digital photography are extensive. His Fine Arts Print Workshop - which I just completed - is a must for anyone who wants to create beautiful digital prints. Well done Steve!

David P.
Barrington, RI


color checker

Steve and Dan at Crater Lake with ColorChecker Passport. 2017.
Canon EOS 5DS R.

maine printing

Maine Printing Class. Maine Media Workshops. 2014.
Canon 5DSr.


There is no better teacher than Stephen Johnson. YOU are the reason for the workshop and he is passionate about helping YOU become a better photographer. Honest, kind and always willing to help make a Stephen Johnson workshop a remarkable experience. Stephen Johnson is a great photographer- and a greater friend. His love of nature and its beauty will inspire your work."

Paul Tornaquindichi


Thanks for an amazing experience during the recent RAW to Print workshop. Your course delivered considerably more than I had ever hoped for, and I learned a tremendous amount, as did all the students. Your professionalism and willingness to go the extra-mile for your students was most appreciated, your grasp of the subject matter mind-blowingly deep, the curriculum rich and well structured, and your personal standards very high. The lab is a fantastically complete environment that is very impressive. I cannot say enough about how impressed I was … on a scale of 1 to 10, your Raw to Print class gets a 12.

-Russ Andersson. July 2010 class


workshop monument valley

Southwest Workshop at Monument Valley. 2009.
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III


My decision to attend a Stephen Johnson workshop was based on my own internet research for a unique opportunity to learn better image composition and visualization from a master capable of demonstrating that talent. Stephen Johnson's accomplishments in digital imaging impressed me that he would be the right person.

The four-day Death Valley in Winter workshop more than fulfilled my expectations. Stephen has to be one of an extremely limited number of individuals in the world that fully understand the process of image concept to realization within the digital imaging domain. I found, not only his knowledge of the subject, but his passion for it to be the most rewarding for me. His philosophy, passion for photography, and constructive attention not only gave me new insight into seeing better images, but helped mold the direction of my own creative decision-making and philosophy. The essence of that alone was well worth the experience.

I can't recommend him enough to anyone interested in improving their skills. I will most definitely recommend and be found on other Stephen Johnson workshops.

Steve Somers
Los Angeles, California


acadia workshop

Workshop at Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park.. Maine Media Workshops. 2012.
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III.




Hills. Zabriski Point. Death Valley. 2013.
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III.

Death Valley

As a reminder, my Death Valley in Winter workshop is coming up in January. There are only a few places left in the class.

Death Valley is an exquisite place. This desert is vast and the landscape so strange and complex that it feels like another world. In fact, Death Valley has been the setting for many science fiction movies and television, from Stars Wars to the Twilight Zone. It feels other worldly.

On workshops, we often go up to Dante's View for dawn to watch the moon-set and sunrise on the mountains to the west. It can be bitter cold on at that 5000 foot precipice. The light changed amazingly fast on this band of blowing clouds above hanging on the Panamint Mountains.

The star-filled nights are startling. We are simply unaccustomed to dark clear skies, and Death Valley can provide such a setting making for amazing night time photography.

From fields of dunes to twisted towering mountains, and views that can encompass a hundred miles of visibility, Death Valley is a place I do feel compelled to return to.


Death Valley in Winter January 27-30, 2018


Interesting Links

Preservation Guidelines for Matting and Framing from the Library of Congress




please email your comments to us

The Stephen Johnson Photography Gift Shop

Featured Products



New Exquisite Earth Exhibition Catalog

pacifica book


ee book pageee book page

The Exquisite Earth Exhibition Catalog

As I've been on a roll on fixing bodies of work into POD books, I decided before the Exquisite Earth show could come down for new upcoming show, I wanted to create a printed record. So, now available is the 56 page 11x17 wire bound book, 5 years of work from 2005 to 2010 traveling this wondrous planet.

  • Photographs from 2005-2010
  • 56 pages
  • 11x17 wire-bound book
  • $50

Preview and Order Here

New Pacifica Book

pacifica book



pacifica bookpacifica book

  • 74 pages
  • 11x17 wire-bound book
  • Pacifica Trail Map
  • 32 years in Pacifica
  • Drawn from 10 years of calendars
  • $75

Preview and Order Here


Pacifica Land Trust Trail Map

Pacifica Trail Map by Pease Maps special to the Pacifica Land Trust.

11" x 17" folded
(free shipping) proceeds go the Pacifica Land Trust, a non-profit corporation.

I'm proud of my 16 years on the board of the Pacifica Land Trust, and happy to have Ben Pease's great trail map as part of our outreach to bring attention to the natural wonders of Pacifica.


trail maptrail map


2017 Pacifica Calendar

20 scenes in and around Pacifica, California where Stephen Johnson Photography is located. Full page trail map included. Printed on a color laser digital press.

11" x 17"

To order directly from MagCloud Printing

2017 pacifica calendar

Gift Certificates for Prints and Workshops!

Emailed or shipped with beautiful gift note card.


To Purchase



gift certificate

Life Form Note cards

5x7 inches (now in stock)



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


gift certificate

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.


gift certificate



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

Studio Lab Rental

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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 10, 2017 . Mail comments to:
Photographs and Text Copyright ©2017, Stephen Johnson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide