sj news logo
pacifica pano

San Francisco Panorama from Twin Peaks. 2017. Canon 5DSr. Click to order a print. Next Workshop: Pacifica Nature's Gem. May 20-21, 2017


Welcome to the April 2017 Edition of the Photography Newsletter.

I've been doing a lot of printing lately, finishing additional copies of my soon to be available Life Form Portfolio and working on longer-term 2017 projects including more care invested in my archive and a new Pacifica Land Trust Trails map.


This month's View From Here column features some new photographs of scenes I've been running into. We hope you find the column interesting and will consider sending us some comments.


  • I just finished work on a new Trail Map of Pacifica for the Pacifica Land Trust. My work with the Land Trust continues to make real my need to give back to this precious earth. Where my graphic design and photography experience can produce useful publications, I want to help. I'm proud of my 16 years on the board and happy to have Ben Pease's great trail map as part of our outreach to bring attention to the natural wonders of Pacifica.
  • 2017 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.

    Pacifica Nature's Gem. May 20-21,2017. 15 miles from downtown San Francisco, the cliffs, hills and beaches of Pacifica offer a unique touchstone to the natural world with 50 miles of trails, national, state, county and city parks, remarkable vistas, the roar of surf, the wonder of migrating whales, the solitude of forested trails. Pacifica is a gem of nature, hidden in plain sight, a treasure trove of landscape experiences. Although we will drive to various locations, this is a walking workshop. We will be walking near cliffs, on trails, beaches, and on rocky beaches. Lab work and field photography.

    From RAW to Print: A Digital Photography Bootcamp. June 5-9, 2017. This full-week photography workshop is an intense immersion into digital photography with one of its pioneers. In five days you will go from perhaps not even understanding what a RAW file is, to making well-crafted and thoughtful prints. Fieldwork, extensive lecture and lab work will fill our time together. Every student will have full access to their own workstation in our lab. Topics include practical experience with digital exposure, RAW processing, image editing, color management and printing.

    Image Editing Intensive. June 24-27, 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 with the time to really understand the processes, and to work through difficult images.

    Fine Art Editing & Printing Hands-on. July 15-18, 2017. (May session full) 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 rag 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.

    Crater Lake and Total Solar Eclipse. August 16-21, 2017 Awesome Crater Lake, a total Eclipse of the Sun among strange Painted Hills, check this out, an amazing opportunity! (full with waiting list)


Steve in daily group discussion with his April Image Editing Workshop.
Photos by Fiona McDonnell.

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



Cottonwood Tree. Owens Valley. 2016.
Canon EOS 5DSr.

Cottonwood and Desert. Owens Valley. 2016.
Canon EOS-5DSr

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

Classic Cottonwood Tress in soft light along the Eastern Sierra in the Owens Valley.


Workshop Schedule
Critique Session. April 20, 2017 7 to 10pm
Pacifica Nature's Gem. May 20-21, 2017
From RAW to Print: A Digital Photography Bootcamp June 5-9, 2017
Wet-Plate Collodion Photography. June 10-11, 2017
Image Editing Intensive. June 24-27, 2017
Fine Art Editing & Printing Hands-on. July 15-18, 2017
Large-Format Fine Art Digital Printing July 22-23, 2017
Crater Lake and Total Solar Eclipse. August 16-21, 2017
Pt. Reyes National Seashore. September 23-26, 2017


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


Speaking and Exhibition Events (see below)

Follow us onlinesjphoto twitter facebookfacebookgoogle+ bloggerblogger





Shell and Fern. Shelldance. 2017
Canon 1Dx II.

I couldn't pass by this shell while strolling Shelldance Orchid Gardens one recent afternoon. The ferns seemed a perfect setting, and the color was simply not needed.


Purchase a print of this photograph


Spouting California Gray Whale off Devil's Slide.
Canon EOS-1Dx Mark II

by Stephen Johnson

Knockin' Around

I know I am interested in too many things, photographic and nothing to do with photography. Music, the cosmos, understanding our place among those stars and galaxies. It is that general curiosity that makes us well rounded humans. There is much to embrace and learn even if it were only confined to photography. Broad Interests makes for interesting human life, but it can make the breadth of overlapping photo interests and tasks large.

For most of us seduced by light and image making, the things we incidentally see become as important as any imagery we plan. Thus, even our photographic interests are broader than we might sum up, as visual seduction is everywhere.

Enjoying a sunset with a glass of wine on the front deck can instantly switch into a photo experience when a giant ray of light suddenly juts upward from the setting sun. Remarkable moments held in some fashion are worth the effort, even with no expectation of making a great photograph. We try, but most importantly to me, I get to witness.

gift certificate

Light Burst. Sunset over Pacific Ocean. Pacifica. 2017.


How many skies over ocean can one person photograph? But honestly, they do continue to seduce me and seem ever-changing. The draw of the oceanic space, and the great unknown feeling to that space continues to grab me. I hope some of you continue to find some of them worthwhile. Apparently I do.


gift certificate

Layers of Sea and Clouds. Pacifica. 2017.
Canon EOS-5DSr


Or a simple dog walk on a trail climbing the ridge behind our house up to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area GGNRA where views of the mottled sky and my coastal town kept drawing my camera.

The GGNRA preserves many remnants of WWII observation and artillery emplacements. Walking up the Milagra Trail takes me past a few of these, and takes my mind back to what the world must have looked like after Pearl Harbor and the crisis facing the world. The old concrete bunkers carry the life of that time, even now, covered in graffiti, but still there.

gift certificate

WWII Observation Bunker. GGNRA. Pacifica. 2017.
Canon EOS-5DSr


Pacifica Marin Headlands and the entrance to San Francisco Bay. 2017.
Canon EOS-5DSr.


We collect images as we collect experiences. More often than not, these are simple experiences, the makings of everyday life.

So often I see wonder. Frequntly scenes that clearly will need photo craft to hold and reveal the light. But I have the craft, it just requires time. This newsletter often provides the incentive to focus.



Stone Spiral. Mori Point. Pacifica. 2017. iphone 6.


These spirals have turned up south of the Mori Point section of GGNRA. I first noticed them from the air with my Phantom 4 drone. I don't yet want to know anything about how they got there. For now, a fantasy about some spiritual beings from another dimension laying out markers of wonder works for me. There seems no point in shattering illusions just yet.

They could be portals to some other place. But given the steepness of the eroding cliff side, the most likely journey would be a quick one down to the sea below.



Merlin in Grass. Pacifica. 2017. iPhone 6.


Sometimes little moments of life reveal so much visual magic and tenderness that they can become important in their own right.


I am grateful for all of you that read this Newsletter, and let me know that you appreciate these musings. I rarely know ahead of time what the subject will be. It usually just evolves as I try to articulate what's been wandering through my mind and the photographs I've recently made. The writing itself stimulates more thought.


...continued top of right column of the essay


Broken Wine Glass and Sky. 2016.


A broken wine glass and a dark post-election mood made the shattered line, stain of red beautiful blue sky compelling. I've worked a bit on redoing it a little better. But the redos have not yet had something the original possessed, probably the spark of spontaneity.

I'm sure we all snap the shutter on incidental scenes we find, with no illusions as to them being great photographs. But they do build up in numbers over time, and the unusual, the quirky, and yes, sometimes the adorable is part of what makes photography so damn rich.



Devil's Slide Tunnel. 2017
Leica M1.

The Tunnels at Devil's Slide keep pulling me to photograph. They are architectural passages hinting at a portal into a 1950s vision of the future. They have now also become the real portal to the San Mateo County Coastline south of my home and studio in Pacifica. The bridge connecting them to Highway One on the northside has been getting my attention since construction started in 2006.


Tunnel Bridge Construction and Fog. Highway One. 2007.
Canon 1Ds II stitched from three horizontals..


Stacked Cliffs. Devil's Slide. Pacifica. 2017.
Canon EOS-5DSr.


The San Mateo coast pulls me into the world constantly. The cliffs, the fog, the smell of salt air and endless beaches are a continuous draw out into the world. Some of those beaches are populated with stone creatures that almost seem to come alive. Being near the sea has become sacred to me.



Rock Form. Pebble Beach. Bean Hollow State Park.. 2002.
4 stitched Kodak Pro photographs on Hasselblad ELM



Recently at Stephen Johnson Photography

gift certificate

Bob Dylan and Neil Young. SNACK Benefit. San Francisco. 1975.
Kodak Ektachrome 35mm transparency film

Slides Found!

About 25 35mm transparencies from 1975 had gone missing for about 15 years. As is typically the case, looking for something else, there they were. And not even a slide pages. My recent work with the Canon 5DSr for slide copying got instantly employed and they were all digitized within about an hour.

It was a difficult lighting situation for the photography that cold overcast day in March 1975. The sky was white, the stage back lit. and the lost slides were not the best from the day, but I am very grateful to have them back.

The black and white negatives generally worked better. I offered a set of them with Bob Dylan and Joan Baez as featured prints in 2011. Of course, prints are still available, just at regular prices. The emcee for the day was Marlon Brando, Neil's band featured Rick Danko and Levon Helm of the Band. Bob Dylan was the surprise guest. BW proofs can be found here.



please email your comments to us


The Stephen Johnson Photography Gift Shop

Featured Products


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 (sold-out, on backorder)



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

We're open by appointment. To find us, use our map online at:

Google Map to Studio
Yahoo Map to studio

Studio directions and site layout.


We've sent you this newsletter because, at some point, you told us you were interested in hearing from us.

If you'd like to unsubscribe, change your email address, or give us comments about the newsletter, please send a note to

Newsletter Subscribe

To communicate with us regarding the list, email:

Newsletter Archive


Home | Fine Art Prints | Products | Workshops | Announcements | Online Gallery
Consulting Services | Contact Info | Site Index | Related Web | Mailing List


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

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Gallery Hours are by Appointment.

Last updated on April 21, 2017 . Mail comments to:
Photographs and Text Copyright ©2017, Stephen Johnson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide