Over Greenland. 2008.
Canon 1Ds Mark II.


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

I'm on my way to our Yosemite in Autumn workshop and pushing the newsletter out before I go.

For those needing a starting point to get involved in digital photography, a fall offering of our Fundamentals of Digital Photography class in early November should help substantially.

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

The first 2009 workshop is up, our long-running Death Valley in Winter workshop, a four day excursion into this strange valley's often soft winter light.

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

Our May Mendocino and the North Coast workshop is now up as well.

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

Steve with GrayCap. Iceland. 2008.
Einar Erlendsson


...New Ted Orland Poster
...Al Weber book
...Art and Fear
Featured Print Offer
Paper Stirrer. 2008
The View From Here
...The Arts, the Economy and Hope
The Digital Book
...Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography
Workshop News
...Yosemite in the Fall
...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
...PhotoPlus New York City
...Sierra Club Talk New York City
...Landscape Photography Talk Portland, Oregon
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.

October 2008
Paper Stirring Tank, Germany. 2008
11x14 Pigment Print on Gelatin Rag paper
$195 each

Marveling at the paper making process during my visit to the Hahnumuhle plant in Dassel Germany, this huge stainless steel tank caught my eye as a peice of strange sculpture.

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


The Arts, the Economy and Hope

In bad economic times, all but the most expensive of the arts suffer. Artists struggle even harder to find a way of working and living. In the arts, working and making a living are often separate pieces of a complex puzzle.

Art must have hope to survive. There must be hope that one day there will be financial reward. It is not why you work, but it can be what keeps the challenge of the struggle for income from becoming overwhelming. I'm not talking about the hope of great fame and fortune, but enough income and recognition to create a balance between the need to create and the need for money.

The great secret that is not so secret is that most artists struggle. Their ability to be attentive and clever business people is often limited by lack of interest in money, and preoccupation with the creative process. We teach, we do commercial work, we publish, we consult, some seek grants, other patronage. Everybody wants a de Medici or even simply a good business manager. "If only I had somebody to market my work..."

I know many business people, many through their effort to broaden their lives beyond the business path they've chosen, or having finished with that now ready to take on the creative instinct that has always yearned for voice. Most don't need income from their art.

But, of course, artists do need income. A fact that seems to surprise some business people who often offer the publicity of their use instead of use fees for their photographic needs. This ranges from web banners to magazines. I often do give, to causes I believe in, the organizations promoting the arts, human rights, education and the environment. But the calls for free use are common. It's always nice to be asked, nice that someone values your work, even nicer many times if they value it with income to you.

Difficult economic times mean less discretionary spending, less freedom to take courses, often less freedom to even indulge in the creative process itself. The path through these times is not clear. As with any artist, being true to our creative instincts means we must keep working on the art itself. In its most obsessive forms, we work regardless of going broke, for most the realities of economic survival often distract and confuse the inspiration. We are, after all, sometimes making a product that no one even knows about, much less has a built-in or predictable desire to purchase.

Getting to the point that your work has enough following to at least provide a mechanism for outreach is very important. Sometimes that takes years in and of itself to build. This has been made much easier with the internet, but with huge populations of artists on the net, getting noticed remains a challenge. Good teaching helps because you build a kind of extended family of people that you have made a difference for and that might well stay engaged with you on your own creative process. Of course you often also make life long friends.

I suppose the same formula that always applies to the arts applies even more so in times of economic challenge; be clever, use homegrown resources, trade time and labor for needed skills, make web word of mouth a very high priority. Reduce overhead if at all possible, give others access to your resources to build community and help each other. Be prepared to work even harder, longer hours and accept the necessity of looking at budgets and managing your resources, whatever they may be, very carefully. Try to build back-up plans if you have to pull back.

Creativity and hope are both intangible states of mind, instincts and talents. They lean on each other. In a sense, everything an artist makes is an act of hope. It is an affirmation that it is worth getting it down, making something tangible, attempting communication, usually with a degree of commitment and craft that is borne of care, and that is also hope. These pieces of who we are need each other. The world outside may pose difficulties, but the drive to create is itself a push back against chaos and despair.

Remember that your talent will survive the hard times, it is life long. Finding ways to keep your creative instincts nourished during economic distraction and other inventive ways of supplementing income I suppose is the trick.


falls and rainbow

Pulp Mixing. 2008.

Fine Art Papermaking: A Day at Hahnemühle

I am endlessly curious, particularly about the materials I work with as an artist and the places I photograph. My involvement with art paper goes back to grammar school. In college, fine art printmaking paper was part of the curriculum with cyanotype and calotypes. Printing with inkjet back in the mid-90s, it was natural to gravitate to some of the same papers. Eventually we got inkjet coating on them, and it has been a beautiful journey since.

While at Photokina in Koln, I made arrangements to visit the Hahnemühle factory in Dassel Germany. It was a fascinating day, one filled with ever more wonder at this art making process. A longer write-up and more photos will come later.
falls and rainbow

falls and rainbow

left: pulp floating into flats while draining

above: water tightening wet paper edge

below left: paper emerging from felt press

below: dry paper roll at the end of line

falls and rainbow falls and rainbow

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.

Yosemite Valley in Autumn
October 11-14, 2008

The fall colors of Yosemite offer photographers a wide variety of hue and texture. As the weather cools, the valley begins to change, subtle and beautiful colors start to emerge. People begin to disappear, bright greens turn to browns, yellows, blacks and golds. The valley smells fresher, the air clears and invites the walking we will be doing during this workshop. Views from Glacier Point, the Wawona Grove of Giant Sequoias and numerous spots along the Merced River with the valley's towering cliffs will fill our frames. We'll spend four activity packed days in the valley and surrounding areas, sometimes rising before dawn and lingering for the last moment of twilight.

The trip is designed to be an in-depth landscape photography workshop in the context of this digital age. We will discuss technical and aesthetic issues, tapping into your emotional response to this landscape, working toward images that are uniquely your own.

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.

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.

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


PhotoPlus New York City
October 23-25, 2008

The Elegant Black & White Image
Thursday, October 23, 2008. 9:00am-11:00am

The Fine Print: From Concept to Exhibition
Friday, October 24, 2008. 1:00pm-3:00pm


Guest appearances on Bert Monroy's Pixel Perfect Web TV Series.

Episode 103


Canon's Explorer of Light Photographer - Stephen Johnson
Photographer Lecture Series

Photography, Realism and the Environment
New York City Sierra Club Photography Committee

Wednesday evening October 22, 2008. 6:30pm to 9pm
St. Paul's Church on West 59th St., between 9th & 10th Avenues, Second Floor, New York City 10021

Canon's Explorer of Light Photographer - Stephen Johnson
Photographer Lecture Series

Lecture with Photographer Stephen Johnson
Thursday, October 30, 2008 7pm - 9pm

Portland Art Museum / Mark Building
Event in the Miller Gallery
1219 SW Park Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97205



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 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.


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Last updated on 9/13/08 . Mail comments to: info@sjphoto.com
Photographs and Text Copyright ©2008, Stephen Johnson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.