Stephen Johnson Photography News, Events & Info June 2002

Photography Lecture Series
Featured Print Offers
Workshop News
Technical Issues:
Deep Bits: Photography's New Possibilities With 48 Bit Digital Color
The View From Here: A Digital Downside
Exhibits, Talks and Gallery Displays
The Peninsula Advertising Photographers Association
The Ansel Adams Symposium
Ansel Adams Exhibit at The Oakland Museum
Gallery Displays: Interior Services of Los Gatos
With A New Eye: The Latest News
Stuff I Like to Use
Fine art paper
Please Visit Us
Newsletter Administration


Welcome to the third edition of the Stephen Johnson Photography
Newsletter. This issue offers the third in our series of featured
prints, announces Stephen's next evening lecture, kicks off "The View
from Here", talks about some of the places that Stephen's getting
exposure, and recommends some of our favorite stuff.

We hope that you enjoy everything we have to share!


Stephen Johnson
The Photographer and the Landscape,
Making a Commitment to Conservation: A Personal History
July 1, 2002. 7- 8:30pm

The history of photography is rich in examples of photographs being
used as great persuaders for wilderness conservation. The best known
examples are Carleton Watkins' Yosemite photographs in 1864 and Ansel
Adams' photographs in Sequoia-Kings Canyon in the 1930's.

In this lecture, Stephen explores the evolution of his own
environmental ethics and commitments, and the photographic projects
that were inspired by this history, including "At Mono Lake," "The
Great Central Valley Project," "With a New Eye" and his most recent
work championing the addition of land to Bay Area national parks.

Seating limited to 20.

Admission: $5. RSVP is required as capacity is limited.
Call us at (650) 355-7507 or email michelle@sjphoto.com


- JUNE 2002

"Dune at Dusk, Mono Lake" from the 1980 exhibition "At Mono Lake"


This month's print, "Dune at Dusk, Mono Lake", was featured in the "At
Mono Lake" exhibition and its catalog. It is an excellent example of
the affection for pastel color that has been central to Stephen's
work for twenty years.

We're offering an 11x14 inch print, matted to 16x20 and ready to frame
for $195.00. This print at this price is offered through June 30.
We'll be taking orders until then, and shipping them out by July 15.
This photograph won't be available again at this price.

Copies of the cloth-bound limited edition of the "At Mono Lake"
exhibition catalog are available at:

- JULY 2002

"Cattle Grazing, Merced County" from "The Great Central Valley Project"


"Cattle Grazing, Merced County" is featured on the cover of "The
Great Central Valley: California's Heartland" and was a prominent
image in the exhibit. You can learn more about the Great Central
Valley project at:


"This photograph barely existed. I noticed the clouds and cattle
along Hwy 140 on the way back from Yosemite, stopped the van, and
spent the next half hour setting up the 4x5 on the roof platform and
making a few well composed but lifeless images. Just as I was
giving up and starting to put the camera away, the light burst out
and spot-lit the horizon. I quickly reassembled the camera and made
an exposure, and as I pulled the film holder to make a back-up the
magical light disappeared."

We're offering an 11x14 inch print, matted to 16x20 and ready to
frame for $195. This print at this price will be offered through
July 30. We'll take orders until then and ship the prints by August
15. This photograph won't be available again at this price.

"The Great Central Valley: California's Heartland" book is also
available on our web site and gallery. There are case-bound and
soft-cover editions, as well as a special boxed, linen-bound edition
that includes two original photographs. You'll find more
information at:


WORKSHOP NEWS *Including a Special Print Offer*

We have a couple of workshops coming up in the next few weeks, plus an
Intermediate in August and a Mono Lake Field workshop in October.
Please check out our workshop web page for more complete information:


* Free fine art print for workshop participants

As a bonus for enrolling in one of our summer workshops, we're
offering participants their choice of an original matted 8x10 print
from our selection of works spanning Stephen's career.

- Beginning Digital Photography Workshop (June 26-27)

This workshop will concentrate on digital photography's
possibilities as a fine-arts photography tool. If you're
interested, you'll find more information at:


June 26-27, 2002, 9-5 pm

- Digital Printing Workshop (July 9-10)

This workshop focuses exclusively on fine-art digital printing,
primarily using Epson inkjet printers. You can find all of the
details at:


July 9-10, 2002, 9-5 pm

DEEP BITS: Photography's Possibilities With 48 bit Digital Color

"I've been advocating high bit depth digital imaging since 1993 and
continue to believe in its usefulness. The original Leafscan 45 and
Leaf DCS camera back proved the value of high bit depth imagery to
me. Here's a bit from a 1997 text."

High bit depth digital photographs, with up to 16 bits per channel,
are an important step forward in the evolution of digital imagery.
Working with high bit depth files is a bit like working with a digital
Zone System, it gives you the freedom to impose and alter your vision
of the final image at any time, without sacrificing the original image
quality. For scanning, digital image capture, generating separations
and archiving, 16 bit grayscale/48 bit color has the real advantages
of expanding our options and preserving real information.

High bit depth data makes representing subtle tone distinctions, like
the smooth tonal gradation in the sky between the horizon and the
zenith, more likely to be smooth. It also makes it possible for a
scanner to capture and hold subtle detail in the shadows and/or
highlights of a contrasty image with a large dynamic range. From an
editing standpoint, anything other than minor edits benefit from
working in a 48 bit space, it provides a great deal more latitude in
imposing contrast and color balance changes on the image without
causing posterization. And finally, given the rapidly changing face
of the digital imaging world where repurposing is common, preserving
detail, data and options is the name of the game.

We'll post a longer piece by Stephen and Bruce Fraser on our website

THE VIEW FROM HERE: A Digital Downside

I recently completed a brochure for a local non-profit. Many of the
photographs for the piece were supplied by the client, and many were
event related and irreplaceable.

Here I am, a long-term advocate of digital photography, and I am stuck
with a bunch of problematic images that unfortunately were completely
necessary to the piece. They were way too contrasty, oversharpened
and full of JPEG artifacts. Any $10 disposable film camera would
likely have done better.

It's a shame that as digital cameras have proliferated, their image
quality and presets often screw things up so badly. Clearly, this
doesn't have to be the case, a slightly higher price tag and more
information about overriding the default settings (or better yet,
better default settings) would eliminate much of the problem.

I've been approached by a few organizations that are interested in
building digital camera tutorials that maximize the effectiveness of
these little cameras. Clearly a little information can help a lot, so
at the risk of speaking to the converted:

Basic digital camera settings for maximum image quality:

- Contrast set to Low
- Sharpen set to Low or Off
- use TIFF or RAW files (avoid JPEG compression, or at least use the
highest quality JPEG setting)
- Digital Zoom Off
- Lowest ISO setting
- only use the LCD monitor for quick review to extend battery life

WITH A NEW EYE: The Latest News

The 101 page preliminary book design in place for the last few months
has been miraculously transformed into 238 pages in a matter of a few
days. I guess the process was just gestating, waiting for me to spend
a few days amid the general workload of this rather complex profession
I've chosen.

Most all of the parks that I've visited are now represented in the
book, and additional maps and journal excerpts for the new chapters
are underway. Design challenges continue to present themselves, not
the least of which is fitting the sheer number of images available
into the space I've planned for, 256 pages. No book editing job has
even been easy.

It was a real pleasure to include the Golden Gate National Recreation
Area and pull in a Mori Point panoramic. Helping to create an
addition to a national park is one of the best rewards of all.

The right publisher has not yet been found. If you have the ear of
someone involved in book publishing or distribution, let us know.

More news as the project progresses.


- The Peninsula Advertising Photographers Association.

Stephen spent the evening of June 6th with PAPA, the Peninsula
Advertising Photographers Association, telling them about the
history, goals, and status of "With a New Eye" and discussing the
role that digital technologies have played in its inception and
execution. We had a great time and enjoyed the audience's
participation. More info on PAPA can be found at:


* If you know of a group that would enjoy spending time with
Stephen, we'd like to hear from you. His talks cover a
variety of topics that include digital photography, landscape
photography and aesthetics, and the "With a New Eye" project.
Please contact Michelle at (650) 355-7507 or email

- The Ansel Adams Symposium
Yosemite National Park - June 19-23, 2002.

Stephen will be taking part in a four day symposium, "Edges and
Intersections: The Evolution of Change", conducted by the Ansel
Adams Gallery. He will be participating in a round-table discussion
concerning the opportunities and challenges facing us in the digital


- Ansel Adams Exhibit At The Oakland Museum
June 29 - September 22, 2002.

Stephen's work will be part of the upcoming exhibit "Ansel Adams:
Inspiration and Influence" at the Oakland Museum, 1000 Oak Street,
Oakland 510-238-3005. A visit by their Art Guild to our gallery is
also scheduled as part of the exhibit related events.


- Stephen's Work On Display

If you can't make it to Pacifica to see Stephen's work in person, it's
on display at a number of locations. This month, we'd like to

ISLG (Interior Services of Los Gatos)
12 North Santa Cruz Avenue
Los Gatos, CA 95030
(408) 378-2075

or their Campbell, CA showroom at:

287 East Campbell Avenue
Campbell, CA 95008

For other locations, see:



- Software

Quantum Mechanic/PhotoMechanic

Dennis Walker's Camerabits software continues to impress me with its
versatility in instant capture digital camera image repair, file
organization and tone adjustments. My primary use of the software
has been on Kodak DCS 460 files, but I have found it useful for many
small cameras as well. The latest versions support new cameras from
Canon and Nikon.

- Hardware/supplies

Hahnemuhle German Etching and
Lyson Standard Fine Art inkjet papers


I've printed with these coated rag papers for years now and have
been very impressed with the image quality possible. The beauty of
the image merging with the paper fiber reminds me of what I've
always loved about printmaking with cyanotypes and platinum. To now
have the ability to print color images onto a rag paper is
wonderful. We don't seem to be getting any UV glow that would
indicate optical brighteners in the papers and tests indicate they
are among the best for archival stability.


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

We're happy to mail you a copy of our product catalog, just send a
note to michelle@sjphoto.com or call us at the number below.

We're located at:

580 Crespi Drive, Suite A2
Pacifica, CA 94044
(650) 355-7507

We're open Tuesday through Saturday, 10-3, or by appointment. To
easily find us, use our map online at



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Stephen Johnson Photography
580 Crespi Drive, Suite A2
Pacifica, CA 94044
(650) 355-7507

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Last updated on July 2, 2002. Mail comments to: sjphoto@aol.com
Photographs and Text Copyright ©2002, Stephen Johnson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.