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Sailboard Wonder near Santa Cruz. 2012. Email to order a print. Next Workshop: From RAW to Print July 16-21, 2012.

Welcome to the June 2012 Edition of the Photography Newsletter.

Last night, as Venus was transiting the sun, I was reminded how small we are, what an island of wonder this earth is, and how fascinating it is to witness it all through a lens...

This month's View From Here column reflects on upcoming trips, tasks and printing. We hope you enjoy reading it and perhaps will send us some comments. Our Tutorial this month discusses Photoshop CS6, RAW and HDR.


For those of you in the Rochester New York area, Steve will be lecturing on his all digital national parks project With a New Eye at the George Eastman House on Thursday June 14 at 7pm.

Our annual sojourn to Maine and the Maine Media workshops is coming up in Rockport for those of you who can join us on the east coast. Our Vision & Craft: Perfecting the Photograph landscape class runs June 18-22, 2012, and the Printing Photographic Beauty course runs June 24-30, 2012.

The Summer Digital Bootcamp, From RAW to Print is now on the schedule for July 16-21, 2012 with an early enrollment $200 discount for the first 4 students.

The individual opportunity to study printing with Steve this summer has been added with our very intensive The Fine Print: A Week of Advanced Hands-on Printing Work with Steve July 23-27, 2012.

We've also just added the second installment of our High and Eastern High Sierra, Owens Valley, and White Mountains Photography Workshop for August 19-25, 2012. This is a wonderfully rich and amzing landscape. We hope you can join on this 7 day trek.

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 with thanks to the work of Alex Dziesinski and Sara Johnson.

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.

Workshop Testimonials



Golden Gate Bridge at 75. 2012.

Golden Gate Bridge at 75 and the Marin Headlands
11x14 Pigment Inkjet Print on Cotton paper
$195 each. Purchase this print.

On the beach at Crissy Field just before the bridge's 75th anniversary. Real dynamic range demands led it to be a good test of the new HDR decoding in Photoshop CS6, and a tight crop (on my too short of a lens, even at 200mm) showing just the bridge deck and the hills behind.

Stephen Johnson Workshops and Event Calendar
From RAW to Print July 16-21, 2012.
The Fine Print: A Week of Advanced Hands-on Printing Work with Steve July 23-27, 2012
Photoshop CS6 and Photographers July 28-31, 2012
High and Eastern
A High Sierra, Owens Valley, and White Mountains Photography Workshop

August 19-25, 2012
Fine Art Digital Printing Hands-on September 8-11, 2012
Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra October 13-16, 2012
Death Valley in Winter (full moon) January 24-27, 2013

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Red Shouldered Hawk. Pacifica, CA



...a hawk in a tree, gab the longest lens you have with you, set to fast shutter, continuous focus, multi-shot exposures, and a high ISO, park away, approach slowy, get only one chance. hope...


San Francisco and the Golden Gate from the Marin Headlands. 1994.
Betterlight Scanning Back.

by Stephen Johnson

A Summer of Photography, Education, Travel and Tasks

I'm thinking through the summer ahead, of the places I'll be going and the tasks where progress can be made.The travels often come from my speaking engagements, the tasks from what I now may feel empowered to do, and some are long overdue.

The tasks can seem endless, and however carefully I plan, they are rarely caught up nor central to my photographic motivations or inspirations. Many are business related, some are purely photographic in this digital age, but just tasks. Some critical. The business of the arts, is fundamentally different than making art.


I almost feel as though I've been on the road already with many recent visits to the Golden Gate, but it is only 15 miles from my studio. Showing people around and the 75th Anniversary of the Bridge were the supposed reasons, but an impulse to just walk across the Golden Gate Bridge one evening was acted upon and really enjoyed. It was a real reminder of how we take things nearby for granted, and shouldn't.

The first trip comes next week as I head off to Rochester for a June 14th. lecture at the George Eastman House International Photography Museum. I must say, I'm deeply honored to be invited to lecture there. I'm speaking on my national parks project, With a New Eye, and looking forward to describing my journey and the remarkable results I was able to hold. Image City Gallery will also host a reception for me on the evening of June 13. If you're in the area, please come see us.

Next, onto the northeast where I'll be teaching for two weeks at the Maine Media Workshops, a field workshop Vision & Craft: Perfecting the Photograph June 18-22, 2012, and the Printing Photographic Beauty course running June 24-30, 2012. I've been teaching in Maine for a few weeks each summer for over a decade now. It is a part of my summer experience that I have come to treasure. The landscape shift, the weather, the community of the Maine Media Workshops, all part of a great experience.

In August I'll be off to Michigan to speak at the Southwestern Michigan Council of Camera Clubs photo conference and explore more of the Lake Michigan shoreline and dunes.


White Mountains. 2011.

Later in August we'll be going back to the eastern Sierra for a 7 day trek along its dramatic escarpment and into the White Mountains with their ancient Bristlecone pines. This is one of my favorite areas of California and allows me to link the high country of Yosemite to Mono Lake and the Owens Valley. The area is deeply embedded in my early years of landscape photography and often feels like a sojourn home.

High and Eastern
A High Sierra, Owens Valley, and White Mountains Photography Workshop

August 19-25, 2012




On photographic tasks, I am readying a big archive project with Blu-ray Gold disks to back-up all of my hard drive archives onto what I now believe to be a stable media. So far, the project is starting off well with both 25gb and 50gb double layer disks.

The latest push to move forward on the project is the availability of gold disks which are just now coming onto the market. I consider the gold reflective layer to be one of the critical factors in building a reasonably stable archive of disks on an additional technology to hard drives, without their mechanical risks and fragile directory structure.

As I have mentioned earlier, I will keep updating the newsletter as I gain experience and confidence in the project

...continued top of right column


Alabama Hills. 2011

Printing and the Evolution of Vision and Skill

Its funny, and fascinating, the way our vision of the possible just keeps expanding. It is partially due to this high technology medium that the recording and rendering of light has evolved into, but it is also a measure, I hope, of continued growth in aesthetics and at least in an individual maturing of vision and craft.

I'll be 57 this year, and for many that may seem young, for others nearly ancient, but having worked in the arts for more than 40 years, you might think I would know exactly what I want to do to and how to do it. It really hasn't worked that way for me. My aspirations keep growing, as do my skills, I still learn so much in the process of asking more and more of my work.

This has certainly been influenced by the opportunities I've had to push the technology forward. I've been consulting on the development of printers, printer technology, software development and printing papers for almost 20 years. That has given me a chance to tackle and help solve many of the very issues that stood in my way, and tackle new ones as they were revealed or developed with the evolving technologies.

I have had confidence in my printing and my judgment as to what a print can be for a very long time. But it is also true that my prints are getting better. I am making the best prints of my life, and I am very proud of them.

That is not to say that my relentless pursuit of perfection has been achieved, but it is quite a profound feeling of satisfaction to be able to make prints that rise so high on my level of satisfaction. It makes me anxious to see the work 20 years from now, as I assume this process will only continue.

There are still some issues I want to address and the real world so beautifully rich...


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, June in NY, late June in Maine, early August in MI.

Some other opportuniities to see Steve follow the Viewpoint Gallery invitation below.




Photoshop CS6, RAW and HDR

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

Camera RAW 7 Can Now Decode HDR Encoded Multiple Bracketed Exposures

As I mentioned last month, with the release of Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6, we now have a power in Adobe RAW processors to hold shadow and highlight detail like never before. Their new Black, Shadow, White and Highlight sliders essentially allow you to smoothly narrow the dynamic range of the capture through the RAW interpreter.

Photoshop's HDR ability to Merge to HDR Pro multiple bracketed exposures into a floating point 32 bit per channel file has long been in place. Adding the Remove Ghosts function to the encoding function a few years ago really helped manage misalignment of moving objects in the set. The main problem with the Merge to HDR feature was in the conversion from these encoded HDR files into a useable 16 bit/channel (normal) file. Previously, it was just very hard to manage the look and feel into something natural while transforming the image from this high bit depth state.

Now we have support for HDR conversion built right into the Adobe RAW processor with Camera RAW 7 and Lightroom 4.

The procedure is rather simple. Just save the open HDR integrated file as a TIFF (turn on support for TIFF in Camera RAW Preferences) or DNG, and poof, magic, you can now convert your HDR encoded files via the familiar RAW interface with all of the controls you are already accustomed to.

This has dramatically increased my use of HDR and the usability of the files themselves.

You can download a free 30-day trial of Adobe Photoshop CS6 here.


Adobe's New RAW Processor in Camera RAW 7 Transforming and HDR TIFF



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

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 June 11, 2012 . Mail comments to:
Photographs and Text Copyright ©2012, Stephen Johnson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide