Welcome to the May 2008 Edition of the Stephen Johnson Photography Newsletter. We hope you enjoy this edition.

Our BIG NEWS is our Spring Gallery Discount Sale of 40% off original prints. Running through June 14, we are offering our gallery wholesale discount to all buyers.

We have many new exciting trips and offerings this month. There is also a new podcast up.

The months offerings include the new Digital Black and White Photography Hands-On workshop from May 15-18, 2008. Also because of many inquiries, we have scheduled an additional section of our much in demand Fine Arts Digital Printing Hands-On workshop for May 24-27. Both of these workshops are held in our beautiful Pacifica studios. If you haven't taken a course with us, May is a great time to acquaint yourself with our stunning coastal town.

We are very excited about our Ireland's Spectacular West Coast workshop in June 20-30 has a few spots available. This is THE workshop to bring your family or partner.  We'll be exploring western Ireland, the Burren, the Aran Islands, going to castles and cliffs, ancient stone structures and family pubs. It's a perfect opportunity to share your passion for photography with other people in your life. Helicopter flights have now been added to the experience!

Summer and Fall workshops include the popular From RAW to Print: Summer Digital Boot Camp, Zion National Park, and Yosemite in the Fall. Our Maine Media workshops still have some space so check out The Digital Landscape and Fine Art Digital Printing in Rockport Maine during early August. The first 2009 workshop is up, Death Valley in Winter.

Iceland in July! The long days, the colorplay of ice, volcanism, greens and shimmers of white merge in the short summer months. Join us for our first Iceland Workshop for the last week of July.

big bend clouds

Castles and Clouds. Chisos Basin. Big Bend National Park. Texas. 1997.

Our workshops are designed to enhance your photographic talents and skills. Tell us about your needs, talk to us about photographic destinations. This is continuing new program of letting people request the workshops they want. Email the Workshops Currently Building List so we can build a list of people and determine dates.

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


...Big Print Sale
...New Ted Orland Poster
...Al Weber book
...Art and Fear
Featured Print Offer
...Volcanic Wall. Mt. St. Helens
The View From Here
..Thoughts on Photography Books
The Digital Book
...SJohnson on Digital Photo
Workshop News
...Fine Art Digital Printing
...Digital Black and White
...From RAW to Print Bootcamp
...Yosemite in the Fall
...Death Valley in Winter

Upcoming Events
...Maine Media Workshops
...Canon Lectures
...New England Camera Club Conference
...Iceland Landscape Mastery Workshop
Recent Publicity
...book reviews
For Sale
...Epson Printers no longer used
Photographic Services
...Stephen Johnson Editions
Visit Us
Newsletter Administration
...Newsletter Subscription
...Newsletter Archive


Big Gallery Discount Print Sale

Our BIG NEWS is our Spring Gallery Discount Sale of 40% off original prints. Running through June 14, we are offering our gallery discount to all buyers. This is strictly limited to our cut-off date of June 14, but applies to all original works over 16x20 in size. This is also accompanied by a price increase on original prints that will be in effect as of June 15, with most works going up about 20-40%.

The Bookstore

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.

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.

Featured Products

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

May 2008
Volcanic Wall. Mt St Helens. 1995
11x14 Pigment Print on Rag paper
$195 each

This pattern of erosion and oxidation on northeast wall inside the crater on our September 1995 climb.

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


Thoughts on Photography Books

Can a book sell for between $65 and $100 and be a success in today's publishing market? Even with what may be a long-anticipated book like my work on the national parks, With a New Eye, this is an important question. That is exactly the question we are grappling with as we finish the book for publication.

With a New Eye: Stephen Johnson's Journey through America's National Parks is a 256 pages 12x15 documentation of my large-format digital work in the national parks over the last 10 years.

The book was intended to be published in 2007 but some editing delays pushed us into 2008 and subsequently into a depressed worldwide economy and rather poor Euro to Dollar exchange rates. The exchange rates are important as we had tested reproductions with the same Italian printer we used for Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography, LEGO near Venice. Of course, my goal was always to print the book in America, but costs have simply been too high. I am firmly convinced that there is no higher quality printing than can be had in the United States.

The sheer costs of high-end photographic book reproduction is the steepest hurdle to overcome. Press time costs and prep are expensive, but today high-quality paper is likely to account for about 60% of production costs.

There are many who say that the day of the printed page is nearing an end. Certainly big photo books have to struggle into existence and are often quickly remaindered to wholesalers at less than cost of production. Few photographers make any real income on their books, regardless of effort expended or beauty contained.

Some artists are addressing the problem by opting out of the publisher/printing press scenario and self-publishing, going to print-on-demand options like Apple iPhoto books, Shutterfly, Lulu or mpix with high-end color laser printed generically named digital presses. Although the quality is not as impressive as high quality conventional offset printing, it can be quite good and might well be suitable for many projects. My friend Douglas Holleley has published a number of thematic explorations of ideas and images in this print-on-demand model. As Douglas points out, good on-demand digital press work can often be better than run of the mill offset.

My Pt. Lobos workshop last weekend had the unique privilege of visiting with my old friend Al Weber in his Carmel Highlands Studio. One of the interesting conversations came round to books, ownership, royalties and size. Al pointed out that another way of dealing with some of these challenges is to go small, into intimate books that may lack size but pack the real world impact of being able to be much more affordable to produce and to purchase. Los Angeles photographer Doug Busch is doing a series of smaller books along this line that are doing quite well.

Self-publishing smaller text-based books is easier, and with good content can be quite successful such as Ted Orland and David Bayles' Art and Fear from their Image Continuum Press and the very recent Advice for Photographers: The Next Step by Al Weber. Robert Adams' Beauty in Photography remains one of my favorite photography books, is not large and has very few illustrations.


The Parks Book

So, here I am trying to do a traditional large-format coffee table type book, except with much higher than normal reproduction values and in an oversize horizontal format. Why?

A project-based photographic book is a culmination of sometimes years worth of work. It is a bringing together of the ideas into a single place, a permanent record of intent, hopefully a record of achievement that becomes an accomplishment in its own right.

The parks project was based on a reaction to the remarkable quality that a large-format scanning camera could deliver. It was, in many ways, a staking out of determination that this could be done. With virtual contact-prints of 20x24 inches, it was always clear that any book would have to be a reduction of the impact of the original work. For a very long time I mulled over what this book might be. As I started to design the book, it became clear that a large book would be critical, as large as one could conceivably hold. It was with that consideration in mind that I choose O'Reilly, a publisher willing to help create just such a volume.

The current book specs call for the 25 inch wide images to be reduced to about 13 inches to fit into the book. This still makes for a massive volume. In 2003 we made a 12 page sample of what the book could look like. It won many people over to the beauty and potential of the book. In 2004 a full-sized full-length copy was created on the Hewlett Packard Indigo digital press, helping dramatically in securing our publishing arrangements.

These desires and plans do not change the present economic challenges facing this book. Under such circumstances, it is hard to know exactly what to do. Some have argued for a delay until optimism returns to the country. More delays in an already long overdue book seems like a poor choice. Some have suggested a smaller book, more in keeping with current economic realities. Others have suggested simply waiting until next year when we hope the economy improves.

Challenge and Opportunity

An inherent challenge and opportunity is embedded in the parks project. The challenge is money, distribution and some reasonable measure of market interest intermingling with the first two.

How many of you will pre-order a $95 hardbound copy? A $65 softbound edition? How many of you would be interested in what we believe to be an historic limited edition with an original print for $500?

These are real questions we need help with. Please email us. info@sjphoto.com

Additionally, other than through traditional book distributors, do you have contacts where the book might be carried and handled appropriately?

There are also huge opportunities associated with this project. New ways of seeing the parks, new ways of making photographs, art and technology intersecting at the leading edge of a new era of imaging technology. There are ultimately new photographic products that can come out of the project as well. Some already exist.

Parks Project Products

Let us know your thoughts.


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.

Fine-Art Digital Printing Hands-On
May 24-27, 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.

Digital Black and White Photography Hands-on: Scanning, Conversion and Printing
May 15-18, 2008

Stephen Johnson Studios & Gallery
Pacifica, California.

Explore black and white photography in the digital age from file creation to print with a classical landscape photographer who comes from the world of large-format black and white.

Steve has maintained his deep love of black and white photography while leading the transition into digital photography. His digital black and white work dates back through 1992 with the Kodak DCS 200, the Leaf DCB and later through the BetterLight, Kodak dedicated BW cameras and the Foveon BW mode.

Steve's use of custom Iris inks, gray inks for Epson printers and development work on the new HP Z3100s black and white modes shows a long-term interest in bringing BW into the mainstream digital world.

Ireland’s Spectacular West Coast
June 20-30, 2008

Join Stephen Johnson and Anthony Hobbs for an unforgettable journey along the rustic West Coast of Ireland. This workshop will include hotel stays in several towns along our route from County Clare towards Achill Island. Along the way, participants will explore western Ireland's landscape with its rugged coast, lush greens, rocky islands, lake-filled valleys and remote castles.

Irish culture and history will also be part of this trip as we visit key locations and provide natural and human history discussions along the way. Some Gaelic language lessons and Irish folk arts performances might also be picked up on our travels along with the warmth and friendliness of the Irish people.

From RAW to Print in One Week
Summer Digital Boot Camp
July 21-25, 2008


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. Some fieldwork and 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.


Included in the workshop is a copy of Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography, courtesy of O'Reilly Media.


Zion National Park
August 30-September 1, 2008

Join us on a three-day adventure through the visual wonderlands of southern Utah's Zion National Park. The trip is designed to be a complete immersion into landscape photography and its digital evolution with the pioneer in digital landscape photography. Extremes of brightness and shadow, distance, haze, perspective and form can make Zion a real challenge to photograph, but are at the heart of its beauty as well. Thoughtful seeing and good use of digital tools assist greatly in this process, and the workshop will emphasize those aspects of digital imaging and processing for which this location creates such a unique need.

We'll work on creating photographs which succeed in carrying some feel of what is special about this place with a visual integrity that speaks to you. The place was named "Zion" as a sanctuary by the early settlers, and was a holy place to the Native Americans before that. Zion is more than just a scenic national park; it is at once wild and unknown to most visitors, while at the same time managing to be comforting and intimate, becoming nature at its most intriguing. If you haven't been to Zion, imagine huge rocky outcrops, similar to Yosemite, but much closer together. There are towering red sandstone cliffs accented by pines and chartreuse cottonwood foliage; mossy seeps and creeks; sandstone in every color from mustard to raspberry, eroded into sensuous forms; petrified dunes with their layers, angles and striations; aspens, slot canyons, slickrock, sage; wide views and precious details.

Infusing your reactions to all this into your photographs will be the second focus of the workshop.

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. We'll spend four activity packed days in the valley, 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.

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

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, 2008

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

Stephen Johnson Talk
Adobe Technology Exchange of Southern California
Saturday, July 19, 2008. 9:00 AM to 12 noon
Location of event: Toyota USA's headquarters at the corner of 190th street and Gramercy Place in Torrance, California

New England Camera Club Conference
Friday through Sunday, July 11-13, 2008

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA



Book Reviews
Book Comments online


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.


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 lists@sjphoto.com.

To subscribe to the sjphoto-news mailing list
web: http://sjphoto.com/mailman/listinfo/sjphoto-news

To communicate with us regarding the list, email: sjphoto-news@sjphoto.com

Newsletter Archive

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

Last updated on 5/28/08. Mail comments to: info@sjphoto.com
Photographs and Text Copyright ©2008, Stephen Johnson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.