Big Meadows. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. 1994.

Stephen Johnson Photography News, Events & Info October 2005


Welcome to the October 2005 edition of the Stephen Johnson Photography Newsletter. As always, we hope you enjoy this edition. Thanks to those of you that ordered last month's Featured Print, as it allowed us to donate funds to Katrina Relief.

Don't miss the the Yosemite in Autumn workshop October 14-16.


...Major Book Agreement Announced
...Online Galleries Added
...New: Critique Sessions
Featured Print Offer
...Desert Slopes, Maui. Haleakala National Park
Workshop News
...Yosemite in Autumn
...Highway One: San Mateo Coast
...Photoshop Illustration with Bert Monroy

Upcoming Events
...PhotoPlus New York
The View from Here
...48 bit Color
Photographic Services
...Stephen Johnson Editions Announced
...Portraits by The Studios of Stephen Johnson Photography
Please Visit Us
Newsletter Administration


Major Book Agreement Announced
O'Reilly Media announces a collaboration with Stephen Johnson to publish his next two books, Stephen Johnson On Digital Photography and the long-awaited With a New Eye; The Digital National Parks Project.

Online Galleries Webpage Added

New Gallery Event.....
Photography Critique Session
Thursday evening, October 29, 2005, 7-10pm
$45 per session for showing work
$25 per session to attend

October 2005

Desert Slopes, Maui, Haleakala National Park, Hawaii. 1996.
11x14 Pigment Print on Rag paper

I was circumnavigating Maui with my friend Bill Schwegler after a few days up on the volcano of Haleakala. The desert side of the island facing Hawaii provided a real change of scenery, high winds, dry rocky expanses and an almost surreal solitude.

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 October 31. We'll be taking orders until then, and shipping them out by November 15th.

Featured Print Web page

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.

* Upcoming Workshops

Yosemite Valley in Autumn
October 14-16, 2005

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 three 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.

The Landscape of the California Coast
Highway One San Mateo: A Digital Photography Field Workshop
November 12-13, 2005.

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 days 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. Enrollment limited to 10 people.

Photoshop Illustration with Bert Monroy
Friday November 18, 2005. 9am to 5pm. $250
Register by Credit Card
for questions email:

You are offered a chance to attend an intimate small workshop with photo realist master Bert Monroy. In this one-day workshop Bert will lead you on a journey taking the blank screen and, with the power of Photoshop, turning it into a work of art. You will learn the techniques he's developed over the years to create realistic images that boggle the imagination.

It's the perfect seminar for Photoshop users, photographers and illustrators alike! You will master features overlooked by most people, yet powerful enough to make any imagined effect a reality. Bert will inspire you to look at Photoshop in ways you never thought possible.

* Death Valley in Winter
January 14-17, 2006
with the Magical Digital Bus

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.

Ireland’s Spectacular West Coast - 2006
June 24 – July 4, 2006
Seats limited to 12 students

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 Connemara and Achill Island. Along the way, participants will explore western Ireland's landscape with its lush greens, rocky islands and remote castles. 

If you are interested in joining the reservation list for this workshop, please email us at  We are limiting this workshop to 12 students. Photography instruction, transportation, lodging and some meals included. Airfare to and from Shannon will be participant's responsibility. A $500 deposit will reserve your place in the class for 30 days. Please see Irish Workshop link above for details.

* 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

PhotoPlus, October 20-22, 2005. Javitts Center, New York City

Large Format Digital Printing
9am-12 noon. Thursday, October 20, 2005

Ask the Experts: The Latest Developments in Digital Printers, Inks and Media
Henry Wilhelm, Stephen Johnson, Joseph Meehan
1pm-3:45pm. Thursday, October 20, 2005

Digital Camera Fundamentals: An Overview
9am-12 noon. Saturday October 22, 2005


48 bit Color: Stephen Johnson and Bruce Fraser

High bit depth color (16 bits or more per channel) is an important step forward in the evolution of digital photography. Original assumptions of an 8-bit gray-scale being sufficient to render scanned film and prints have not proved sufficient, and as digital imaging moves forward with both sensors and A/D converters becoming more capable, their ability to deliver good high-bit-depth data makes them ever more able to scan existing images better and record the real world more accurately than film.

From Film
Film scans present many challenges. The hardest films to scan for detail are transparencies with critical low-end shadow detail. These photographs are often scanned right at the edge of a scanner’s dynamic range, with a desire to edit shadow detail in order to make it more visible. Providing more distinct levels of gray so that nuances of detail (brightness differences) can be assigned during the scanning process, allows image editing software to keep those differences intact during editing without truncating values into little or no tonal differences.

For Editing
Major editing of a digital 8 bit image file creates the distinct possibility that as a result of moving data around to achieve a desired edited appearance, large gaps in the histogram can be created. These gaps are good graphic indicators of likely posterization in the final image. Such posterization may not show on the monitor, but may well show on final, often expensive, output. Higher bit depth editing simply gives more values for the edited file to assign and hold the transformed data. This is a benefit even if the file is eventually going to be assigned only 8 bit values. Using 48-bit color significantly increases the ability to do a series of edits with far less damaging consequences.

For Digital Cameras and the Real World
The real world has a much more continuous gradation of tonality than 8-bit data can record and render. As digital cameras become ever more capable, their ability to deliver good digital data at 10, 12, 14 and even 16 bit precision is increasing. Currently there are cameras on the market that deliver a good 12 and 14 bit data, and scanners delivering up to 16 bit data.

Additionally, as more digital original images are created, the challenges of only 8 bit color become particularly visible in photographs of smooth tonal gradations like a sky transitioning from horizon to zenith, or colored product backdrops where tones have to transition smoothly in the final photograph. A smooth tonal transition requires having enough data values to render an illusion of continuous tone. Higher bit depth files with capable camera systems are simply more capable of achieving this goal.

For CMYK Separations
The conversion from RGB to offset CMYK constitutes something of an assault on the image quality of the RGB file. We know that most CMYK offset press conversions involve transforming the data into a much smaller color gamut. This loss can be minimized by converting 16 bit RGB data to 16 bit CMYK, with some of the resulting data loss prevented. Additionally, the 16 CMYK space further minimizes color loss by simply having more precise values that can be assigned to the converted data, reducing errors that can cause banding (posterization). Some companies are already offering imagesetters than can image 16 bit files.

Dynamic Range
As many digital devices increase in their ability to see deep into shadows and highlights simultaneously, there naturally results a need for greater precision in the recording and transformation of that data. 48 bit color is also crucial in this context.

RAW Files and HDR
With the advent of RAW files and the preservation of orignial sensor-A/D bit depth, all of these issues become even more universal as options and clear as solutions. Adobe's new HDR feature in Photoshop moves the bar higher still with floating point data encording and the first steps toward ernomous dynamic range...

from "Stephen Johnson On Digital Photography"
available from O'Reilly Media, Feburary 2006


Digital Portraits by
The Studios of Stephen Johnson Photography

  • Instant Feedback
  • Special prices
  • Satisfaction or no fees

Stephen Johnson Editions Announced


  • Artwork Copying
  • Custom Printing
  • Custom Profiles


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 or call us.

We're located at:

Stephen Johnson Photography at the Sanchez Art Center
1220-C Linda Mar Boulevard, Creekside Suites, 5-7
Pacifica, CA 94044
(650) 355-7507

The Sanchez Art Center 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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