Trees, Vermont. 2009. Canon 1Ds Mark III.

Coast Workshop. California. 2006.

Paul on the cliffs, Pt Lobos Workshop. California. 2008.

" I learned more in those two and half days at Pt. Lobos about digital photography than I have in a lifetime! Just understanding how to use the gray card to get white balance right alone was worth all of it!! Thanks, Steve. Even though I live quite close to Pt. Lobos and have visited the park so many times over the years, you gave me a perspective of the beauty of this great place that I had never seen before. And just that one shot of the curious seal made my trip. Steve is a great teacher, artist and wizard!"

Jagi Shahani
Monterey, California


Other Workshop Testimonials


Welcome to the April 2009 Edition of the Stephen Johnson Photography Newsletter.

I'm just back from a week in Massachusetts and upstate New York, doing a few lectures, meeting with faculty and students, wandering with a good friend a bit and visiting some photographers along the way. The wander took me from Boston to Turner Falls, Woodstock to Lake Placid, and finally to Walden Pond. This months View from Here column talks about the trip.

On workshops, coming right up there are a few spots left in our Pt. Lobos/Carmel workshop that will take us to one of the most special places on the west coast of America, Pt. Lobos. It starts April 18 and includes 3 days to really getting know this special park. A visit to Carmel Galleries is planned and a special session with photographer Al Weber at his Carmel Highlands studio.

Our most popular workshop, the Fine Art Digital Printing Hands-On class will be offered again May 14-17. If you've wanted to take the printing class, this is likely the last session until next Fall.

If you can help us get the word out better on the workshops, please be in touch. Referral credits are now available, giving you 10% off the next workshop you take for every enrollee you send to us.

As a nod to tightened budgets and in response to many requests, we are offering our very economical Basic Digital Camera Use and Making Better Digital Photographs classes as a pair of evening events in April, Monday night April 13 and April 20. These are offered to the photo community and the general public as a help up into the world of digital photography.

Also in the offing are two one-day classes often requested, Doutones in Photoshop on April 25 and Color Management for Photography on May 30.

In May join us on our Highway One and the San Mateo Coast workshop exploring redwood rainforests, cliffs and beaches, old stagecoach roads and coastal hamlets.

Summer and Fall excursions include the spectacular 12 day Southwest Digital Journey workshop and the exotic Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra in October for the fall color.  For full descriptions see the workshop section below.


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


...Workshop Scholarships
...Online downloads
...Added to the Special Collections
Featured Print Offer
Vermont Trees
The View From Here
...Northeast Wander
The Digital Book
...Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography
Workshop News
...Pt. Lobos and Carmel
...Highway One and the San Mateo Coast
...Fine Art Digital Printing Hands-on
...Southwest Digital Journey
...Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra
Upcoming Events
...Maine Media Workshops
...Iceland Photography Workshop
...Berkeley Camera Club Talk
...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
Lab Rental Time
Photographic Services
...Stephen Johnson Editions
Visit Us
Newsletter Administration
...Newsletter Subscription
...Newsletter Archive


Workshop Scholarship Program

We're restarting our photography workshop scholarship program. We will try to reserve a spot in every class we can, particularly field workshops. To start, we will be be gathering applications from qualifying college photography students who would like to join us on a workshop.

We will be developing an application page, hold received applications, then choose awards as spots become available. Let people know who you think might be interested.

For applications, please email:

Online Downloads

Where ever possible we want to make material available to our readers in the most universal and affordable way possible. We have long talked about online downloads of various resources, including book chapters, portfolios, and video instruction.

We are premiering this option with two features, an internet video on photographic Framing and Matting, and the Color Management chapter from my 2006 book "Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography". These are both free. The full prototype DVD can be ordered as can the book, but as downloads we hope they prove useful.

These are free for the the first week after the Newsletter is posted.

2009 calendar

Online Downloads Page


Added to the Stephen Johnson Photography Special Collections

Van Morrison Portrait from Moondance Album cover
Photographer: Elliott Landy
Circa: 1970

Visit 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 and one devoted just to products from our national parks prooject, With a New Eye.

Please take a look and browse. There are many one of a kind items there, available nowhere else.


Featured Products

2009 calendar

Hoodman Loupe 3.0

Imagine being able to see your camera screen in detail, in any kind of outdoor lighting.

This is a tool so terrific for viewing your camera LCD screen in the field that we felt that we had to resell them and make them directly available to our audience. This is a critical ingredient to your digital fieldwork.


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






The Bookstore  

Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography

There is something for everyone in this beautiful and definitive guide for digital photography enthusiasts, from cutting edge camera and software techniques to engaging discourse on the history and future of digital photography. Published by O'Reilly, 2006 .320 pages, over 700 color and duotone illustrations.


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 and critical digital truths.


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.

April 2009


Vermont Trees. 2009.
11x14 Pigment Print on Cotton paper
$195 each

Wandering around northern NY State with my friend Pete Sucy, we ended up almost in Canada. As we turned south into northern Vermont the gray day became grayer still As we drove south, a number of stops yeilded very nice images. I liked, including this one. This month the header photograph is also the Featured Print.

We're offering an 11x14 inch print, matted to 16x20 and ready to frame for $195, framed in silver for an additional $75, wood for $150. This print at this price is offered through April 30. We'll be taking orders until then, and shipping them out by May 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.


Sunset Window. Woodstock, New York. 2009.

Northeast Wander

Lectures in western Massachusetts and near Boston, almost a week apart led me wandering around upstate New York, Vermont and central Massachusetts for a few days. It gave me a chance to hook up with some old friends, lend a hand here and there and return twice to one of the truly special places on the planet for those in love with the natural world, Walden Pond.

The first lecture at the Hallmark Institute for Photography in Turner Falls was a wonderful trip of impressive facilities, warm faculty and students in an old Mill town with a slight hippie overtone in the presence of the college. My old friend from Polaroid, Vern McClish is the Director of Marketing at Hallmark and not only served as my host, but showed me a whole body of work from early 1970s Appalachia.

From Hallmark I headed to Woodstock, as any aging hippie type has to do if nearby. In this case the town, not the concert site some 70 miles away. Strolling through the little hamlet did feel a bit like a drift back through time, with peace signs, tie-dye and rock and rock artifacts about. The visit turned into something of an immersion in music as part of my reason for going was to see my friend photographer legendary rock and roll photographer Elliott Landy.

Woodstock Scenes, New York. 2009.


Elliott Landy holding one of my favorite photographs of his, the cover of Van Morrison's Moondance. 2009.

Elliott Landy

I had always promised my friend Elliott Landy that if I was anywhere near Woodstock, I'd come by for a visit and help with digitizing his rock and roll archive. We worked on some paper issues, and printer driver protocols, but he and his two assistants basically had things pretty well wired. We did do a new print of the Van Morrison portrait from the Moondance album, looking carefully at the green/magenta balance and how the image could look on the new Hahnemühle PhotoRag Pearl gelatin-like paper. Clearly we needed a little more time to talk about duotones and some work he wanted to do on the Band album covers.



Going through many of Elliott's archives was like a trip through a Rock and Roll time machine. He dug out the original slide sheet on the Morrison/Janet Planet session. It was a real treat. There were walls literally lined with boxes of rock and roll history. As we went out and about town, everybody seemed to know Elliott and Linda, ran into the founder of the Fugs, Ed Saunders talking about the picture Elliott took with him and Janis, and ate dinner with Happy Traum (youtube video of Happy) at the next table. It was a trip. Elliott is a great guy and it was terrific to spend the time.



Sulfur Pool and Plant. Hawaii. 1998. Photograph by Peter J Sucy.

Pete Sucy

I've made many friends over the years in this newfangled digital photography world, but among the dearest to me is my longtime friend Pete Sucy. While at Kodak, Pete helped conceptualize much of what we know of as digital photography, and even when ignored often saw his ideas materialize later. Peter has started a great series of documents on his website on the history of digital imaging. He has also been working for many years on lenticular 3D imaging and having a good time with it.

Pete drove out from Rochester to meet me for a few days to drive around the Adirondacks, and as it turned out, up into Vermont. We met up at Elliott's house and headed north ending up at Lake Placid. The winter was in bare retreat, browns and whites, still ice falls clung to cliff sides, fairly empty roads and sleepy summer resort towns as yet far from awakened.

left: Ausable Chasm, New York. 2009.
right: Ice Fall on Highway Roadcut near Saranac Lake, New York. 2009.


Many of the places we passed through were right out of Pete's childhood, passing through on their way to Maine summers. Although it rained most of our last day out, the light glowed off the rural land, creating sculpture from structure and magical silver from gray.


Walden Pond State Reserve. 2009

Walden Pond Reserve, Massachusetts
April 6, 2009

Sudden wind-whipped swirl currents jerk across the pond, starting from nowhere, dissipating as suddenly, repeating this abstract dance again and again.

Thoreau talks about the prison of possessions and excess, the wind rises behind me on the hillside as a slow building roar, then a stream of crackling dried leaves rush past. I read on, then reach for pen and paper to hold  these thoughts and ramble a bit.

Old shoes, somewhat unkempt, even with a recent haircut, I only "clean-up" so well. I am deeply human, frail, strong, almost shivering in this gusty breeze, still the sun comes through my old Levis jacket and the skin on my neck.

Somewhere just in front of me, unseen, a tree keeps snapping, a break evolving. The naked tree tops sway and rattle as they brush against each other making their own free form percussion.

Rock, Leaves and Stick. Walden Pond State Reserve. 2009

Wind Swirls on Water. Walden Pond State Reserve. 2009

The annotated copy of Walden I bought at the Visitor's Center is the nicest copy I've owned. Context is created in the book where my own education and the distance of a 160 years fail. It is remarkable how little people have changed since Thoreau's time. He speaks eloquently of the tragedy of pursuing job over living, the labor of life over relishing life, the small narrow views of the possible instead of imagining a life we would want to live and making it happen. Most of us are clear products of our times, and occasionally manage to reach beyond the confines of the commonly accepted parameters of life, a few manage to broaden their notion of what life can be. Thoreau did.

Even today, his writing helps us value far simpler things, perhaps far more essential things. I was reminded of my favorite van Gogh quote from a few decades later, his desire to "exaggerate the essential" seems almost the logical visual extension for an artist of Thoreau's natural life of intention.

I pick up a few leaves as bookmarks to carry with the book from now on. A bit of Walden dirt on the pages also seemed ok, an acorn cap in my jacket, small remembrances for a wandering romantic. There are some things I do clearly like about me.

Just spending time pond side was a great experience, reading, looking around and thinking through the deep influence Thoreau and Emerson had on the birthing of the environmental movement. They had a deep influence on so many of us with instincts to care about the land, but initially without the vocabulary, and articulated value system. They helped teach us to care, and were eloquent in their appeal.

Winter Forest in Rain. Walden Pond State Reserve. 2009

The remnant hippie flavor of Woodstock blended nicely with the thoughts of Thoreau's back to basic and direct relationships with the land. That was one of the themes we grew up with in the late sixties and early seventies. It seems we've drifted far from those instincts. My landscape photography keeps me refocusing, even if my lifestyle is not simple.



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.

Referral Discounts

As we are always trying to enlarge our reach out to people to let them know about the workshops, we have instituted a discount policy that can be earned by referring people to the program. It is simply, if they list you are having referred them, and they take a workshop, you get 10% off the next workshop you take from us within one year. These referrals are cumulative and can even bring a you a free workshop. Again, they do have to be redeemed within one year. Deal? Deal!

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.

Evening Photography Classes: April 2009

Basic Digital Camera Use and Making Better Digital Photographs classes as a pair of evening events Monday night April 13 and April 20.

One Day Classes this Spring

Duotones in Photoshop
April 25, 2009

Color Management for Photography
May 30, 2009


Pt. Lobos and Carmel: A Digital Photography Field Workshop
April 18-20, 2009

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 do a special session with photographer Al Weber at his Carmel Highlands studio in this three-day immersion into classical California landscape photography.

pt lobos map

pt lobos


Highway One and the San Mateo Coast
May 2-3, 2009

The coastline of San Mateo County is one of the most beautiful stretches of land and sea anywhere. From eroded, rocky shorelines, to cliffs, long beaches, redwood forests and small towns, this coast is complex and varied. We'll spend the day roaming the coast and mountain roads, stopping at state parks, county parks and checking out the lunch options along the way.

The workshop will be a dynamic combination of a traditional landscape photography workshop while diving deep into the digital age. Technical and aesthetic considerations will be discussed in detail. Our concentration will be on controlling your camera's operation to achieve your desired technical results, while building composition and visual skills to make the photograph what you want it to be. Digital exposure and dynamic range, composition, emotion and amazement-all will be part of our 2-day excursion into the evolving world of digital photography.


Fine-Art Digital Printing Hands-On
May 14-17, 2009
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 cotton 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.

We are also including a one-hour DVD prototype we have made on matting and framing for all enrollees.


A Digital Journey through the Southwest
12 Day Digital Photography Workshop
August 9-20, 2009

Join us on a twelve-day trek through the visual wonderlands of southern Utah and northern Arizona. We'll visit Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Betatakin, Monument Valley and end up at Canyon de Chelly National Monument. The trip is designed to be a complete immersion in landscape photography and its digital evolution with the pioneer in digital landscape photography.

dusk mono lake
Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra
October 10-13, 2009

The stark and beautiful scenery of this legendary lake is unlike any other landscape in the world. Its alkaline water, desert vistas, volcanoes and unusual tufa towers make it a remarkable place. These four days will be a dynamic combination of a traditional landscape photography workshop while diving deep into the digital age.

Technical and aesthetic considerations will be discussed in detail, while we explore this high desert lake and its strange environs.




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

mmw logo

Maine Media Workshops


Iceland: Mastery of Landscape
July 26-August 1, 2009



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


Fine-Art Landscape Photography in the Digital Age
A Lecture by Stephen Johnson
Berkeley Camera Club
April 28, 2009 7:30pm
Northbrae Church, 941 The Alameda, Berkeley, California

At The Studio Gallery

Critique Session
April 23, 2009

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
April 24, 2009

Days dedicated to labwork with guidance by Stephen Johnson in his specially-built digital photo lab. Afternoon reviews of work.


Feature Story in the last issue of Studio and Location Photography. April 2009.


7 Photography Questions
Interviews with top photographers to improve YOUR photographs

Podcast #37: Witnessing and Holding the Beauty in Landscape Photography -- An Interview with Stephen Johnson



Guest appearances on Bert Monroy's Pixel Perfect Web TV Series.
Episode 103
Episode 104

O'REILLY podcast
MacVoices Podcast
MacEdtion Radio
DIMA Podcast
Photoshop World Podcast

sj interview pix

Photoshop World: March 2008 Interview

Parks Book Interview with Dianne Pitman. May 2008.


Inside Digital Photo by Scott Sheppard: Stephen Johnson. Sept. 2008


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. Donations to educational/charitable organizations will also be considered.

  • 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 April 21, 2009 . Mail comments to:
Photographs and Text Copyright ©2009, Stephen Johnson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.