Stephen Johnson Photography News, Events & Info January 2008


Welcome to the January 2008 Edition of the Stephen Johnson Photography Newsletter. As always, we hope you enjoy this edition and have a happy holiday season.

The winter and spring schedule is online, including Yosemite in Winter in early February, Highway One in March, San Francisco in April, Mendocino in May, and Ireland in June.

A new section of Fine Art Digital Printing Hands-on Workshop has been added for February.

Due to great interest, we've added a new Death Valley in Winter section for January 24-27, 2008. We hope that these new dates can work for some of you, particularly those on the original waiting list.

There is still some room for the Basic Digital Camera Use lecture on January 10, and for the Fundamentals of Digital Photography workshop February 12-13.

We are also starting a 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?

King Penguins and Elephant Seals.
Gold Harbor. South Georgia Island. 2007.
Antarctica Winter Workshop.


Featured Print Offer
...Cloud Stacks
The View From Here
...On to 2008
Workshop News
...Fine Art Digital Printing

...Death Valley in Winter

...Professional Image Editing
...Yosemite in Winter
...Mendocino and the North Coast
...San Francisco Digitally
...Highway One to Pt. Lobos
The Book
...Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography

Upcoming Events
...Canon Lectures
Recent Publicity
...book reviews
Recommended Reading
...Al Weber Book
For Sale
...Epson Printers I'm no longer using
Photographic Services
...Stephen Johnson Editions
Visit Us
Newsletter Administration
...Newsletter Subscription
...Newsletter Archive


Gallery Events

Basic Digital Camera Use lecture
Thursday January 10, 2008 from 7-10pm

Critique Session
January 31, 2008, 7-10pm

Free Photo Film Night: January 30, 2008, 7-9pm
Lennart Nilsson
The Odyssey of Life:
The Photographer's Secrets: Nova

World-renowned Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson takes us behind the scenes of his work, revealing the state-of-the-art techniques that gave us films such as The Miracle of Life. How does he capture the exact moment of conception inside a human uterus? Or turn a beetle into a menacing dinosaur without special effects? For decades, this unparalleled photographer has astonished the world with the images he's captured.

call 650 355-7507 or email info@sjphoto.com to reserve a spot

Featured Products

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

January 2008
Cloud Stacks
Cloud Stacks, Pacific Ocean. 2007
11x14 Pigment Print on Rag paper

$195 each

On the edge of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, on the last sunset of 2007, a line of fascinating clouds drew me up to the ridgeline. The wind was howling, the sun dropping, the clouds ever more exotic. It was a good cap to 2007.

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


On To 2008

As many of you, no doubt, I've been thinking a bit about how I want 2008 to unfold, what I can do to make my dreams more real, how to hitch-hike adventure on top of necessity.

For me the ideas run from very specific tasks to long-term goals. The mix of both seems to make the view more rounded.

Getting a handle on my 2005 and 2007 photographs from Antarctica is high on my list of photographic priorities. Forcing myself to mount a show usually does the trick, and that is actively being considered.

With the advent of many beautiful gelatin rag inkjet papers, I am very anxious to do much more black and white printing. I want to do more contemporary re-interpretations of older work. The printing is simply better, sharper, richer, with more tonal control and precise image balance. I've also got a lot of pent-up digital original black and white desires that I've just barely begun to explore.

The old, worn out New Year's resolution of "get more organized" keeps coming up. But photography as a vocation is a business, and there are so many business details I could be far better at. Some days, if I take on the business tasks first, and use my art as reward, the day can achieve a kind of karmic balance. From cataloging, timely legal tasks, following up on a few more of the many overtures people make, to accepting that most days are a mix of art and business at best, all of these can help create greater balance.

When you decide to make your avocation your vocation, you cross a line of your work becoming a source of joy in your life. Many around you will never understand that connection. They will always think of work as something disconnected from the soul, something you do because you have to, not because you want to. But those of us working our passion know different. The fusion is liberating, confining, all encompassing and touches the depths of our notions of the meaning of life. But you also jump into many risks, not the least of which in the arts is the tedium of business grinding down the inspiration.

I know I need to do more writing. Fortunately this column and other ongoing projects keep some words coming. I want to more deeply explore what we do and why, sorting out the ongoing confusions and opportunities of the digital photo revolution, speaking up about respect for the earth, its life, and our visual heritage. I also want to spend more time on writing associated with music, and give a little more time to the piano, not just guitar. The spirit-building of words, sound and melody are an entirely different refuge and catharsis than the visual arts. All have proven indispensable to me since I was a teenager.

I want 2008 to be a year of falling in love.....both with new earthscapes, and hopefully, a woman of my dreams. I've always planned to make planetary exploration a part of my life. I even thought that exploration might lead to other worlds. That now seems very unlikely. Over the last twenty years, with my wife, I made a home and family. As many things we build, it turned out to be prematurely impermanent. At 52, I didn't think I would be starting over on finding a life's companion. I will pour passion into 2008, on these desires, and knowing me, many, many more. Dreams evolve, dreams reshape.
Photo by Michelle Perazzo

In the make myself a better person category, there is an ever greater imperative to let the people I love know it, to make sure they get big hugs, and whatever encouragement I can help with to make their own dreams more real. Two close friends passed away in late 2006, and although I am positive both knew I loved them, their loss has haunted 2007. Neither Ralph nor Bruce would be pleased to hear that. They would more likely suggest a good kick in the butt.

We often promise ourselves to worry less, and enjoy life more. I'll join that call once again, but I have to say, that some of the paths toward that state are back to the nitty-gritty business stuff so many of us run away from. Less worry inevitably comes from a sounder base, and life seems to allow for more easy joy by removing the worrisome conditions. Moving out of the stress-filled world of making a living in the arts might be a way. I prefer to think that doing it better and staying focused on the inspiration can also lead to at least a mild step toward a kind of liberation of the mind and freeing of the spirit. There may also be some acceptance of self-delusion there. But if some confidence and play can emerge from trying to be smart about work, coupled with only mild self-delusion, maybe that's OK too.

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.

Fundamentals of Digital Photography
The Basics and Much, Much More
January 12-13, 2007
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.

Death Valley in Winter
January 19-22, 2008 (two spots just opened up). info@sjphoto.com
(second session Jan. 24-27 added)

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

Yosemite in Winter
February 7-10, 2008

Winter in Yosemite Valley is a transformed world. Trees are wet and dark, the oaks are bare. The cliffs are blanketed with snow. Weather moves through in waves of clouds and mist. Ponds and river edges are frozen. There is usually snow on the valley floor. Visitors are dramatically fewer in number.

Our four days together will likely be cold, but we will no doubt be warmed by the special beauty that winter brings to this grand valley. Although we will drive to basic locations, I hope our basic mode of transportation through the valley will be our feet. There is really no other way to come to know a place.

Fine-Art Digital Printing Hands-On
February 23-26, 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 judgements and interactive honing in on the best print possible.

Highway One and the San Mateo Coast
March 15-16, 2008

Optional extra day at Pt. Lobos March 17

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.

Professional Image Editing
March 27-30, 2008 (date changed by popular demand)
Stephen Johnson Studios & Gallery
Pacifica, California.

This is a great chance to explore digital photographic editing with Steve. 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

San Francisco Digitally
April 5-6, 2008
plus Friday evening pre-meeting and
post workshop Critique
Optional extra day at Alcatraz

A two day digital photography workshop exploring some of San Francisco's most visually interesting areas. We'll spend time in the Presidio with its old forts and forests, downtown skyscraper cityscapes, the Palace of Fine Arts World's Fair remnants, Fort Point with its spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, (and possibly the Marin Headlands) and the urban eden of Golden Gate Park. We will also take in the restored Cliff House and its historic Camera Obscura. Much time will be spent walking and looking, knowing we will be in the area for awhile, giving you the freedom to explore, but also keeping help nearby.

Mendocino and the North Coast
May 3-4, 2008

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 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.

Trails, town streets, dunes and beaches will all be more rewarding because we will take the time to see them slowly, on our own two feet. Walking will be our main mode of transportation during the weekend.

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.

Personal Workshops

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 Penninsula, 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

The Digital Landscape: Santa Fe Workshops
April 21-25, 2008

Canon's Explorer of Light Photographer - Stephen Johnson
Photoshop Users Group, San Jose
January 8, 2008 6:30 - 9:00 pm. Park Conference Room

Adobe Systems, Inc.
321 Park Avenue
San Jose, CA


Book Reviews
Book Comments online


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, measuring 6"x4", it will easily slip into your pack, purse, or pocket.


Printers I'm no longer using. Make 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 1/7/08. Mail comments to: info@sjphoto.com
Photographs and Text Copyright ©2008, Stephen Johnson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.