Steam Vents. Paoha Island, Mono Lake. 2006 (from our Mono Lake Workshop) Canon 1DsII

Stephen Johnson Photography News, Events & Info October 2006


Welcome to the October 2006 edition of the Stephen Johnson Photography Newsletter. As always, we hope you enjoy this edition.

Our new book Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography is getting some good online press, some great quotes, and starting to be adopted as required reading by college and universities.

Don't miss the Fine-Art Digital Printing Hands-On class on Oct. 19-22. The
Professional Image Editing Workshop December 2-5, was added to our program by request and has been rescheduled for a Saturday through Tuesday run.


...Book Now Shipping!
...New Product: GrayCaps
...Special Edition Announced
New! Lab Rental
Featured Print Offer
...Grasses and Brush, Mono Basin
Workshop News
...Hands-On Fine Art Digital Printing
...Professional Image Editing
...Death Valley in Winter
...Ireland’s Spectacular West Coast

Upcoming Events
...Monthly Critiques
...PhotoPlus New York
The View From Here
The Loss of a Dear Friend
Photographic Services
...Stephen Johnson Editions
Visit Us
Newsletter Administration


Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography

Signed Copies Now Shipping!

Special Edition Announced
Limited Edition Slip-cased edition with original print

New Product
GrayCapsTM Digital gray card you will always have with you
Gallery Events.....

Monthly Critiques

State of the Art Digital Lab

Now Available As Classroom or Individual Workstation Rental

October 2006

Grasses and Brush, Mono Basin 2006
11x14 Pigment Print on Rag paper
We had an enchanted walk into Rattlesnake Gulch on our Mono Lake workshop last weekend. The light was soft, the fall color everywhere, and the texure of these grasses and brush seemed as impressionistic as real. We hope you enjoy the print.

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


The Loss of a Dear Friend

My good friend and mentor Ralph Putzker passed away last week. Ralph was 85, lived a long, strong, creative and energetic life. As those of us who loved him mourn his passing, we can take solace in the fact that he lived life with inspirational vigor.

I first met Ralph and his co-instructor Al Weber in about 1975, on a Lee Vining Canyon/Mono Lake workshop run through the University of California Santa Cruz Extension. They were radically different teachers, both communicating a level of dedication and craft that I truly found inspiring. They both became life-long friends of mine. I discovered Mono Lake that long weekend, and started a permanent love affair with the high desert.

I also witnessed a kind of enthusiasm for art I had never seen before. Ralph was an energy well, that he freely shared and grew stronger when his audience felt it. He made teaching and sharing as high a craft as his artwork, and imbued both with delight and wonder in the world.

When I met him, Ralph was also chairman of the Art Dept. at San Francisco State University where I was about to transfer. He made that move almost effortless and made me feel personally welcome in a daunting new environment.

We spent some good time together over the years. I assisted him on workshops in Mendocino, Canada and Yosemite. He was often a regular at the Ansel Adams Yosemite workshops. Ralph wrote countless letters on my behalf, for scholarships, credentials, grants and anything else we dreamed up.

Under the GI Bill he studied Art and Anthropology at the University of California Berkeley earning his BA and later an MA in Art and Art History. He went back to school for his doctorate in 1968 and made good use of the PhD for credibility when needed on paper, but wouldn't be caught dead calling himself Dr. Ralph. The doctoral program led to a thesis on the creative process. For Ralph, it was another adventure, and took him to Central America and Guatemala many times, influencing not only his thinking, but his painting as well. He came to speak Spanish fluently, and later a little Navajo.

At his "Grass Roots Ranch" south of Half Moon Bay, Ralph grew Christmas trees, which made him a farmer I suppose. He loved the idea of working the earth, but even more so, witnessing its splendor. He served as a cartographer in WWII with many flights over Japan, and later became a pilot enraptured by the view. He even built a plane in his garage in Half Moon Bay and co-piloted a trip across Alaska with his good friend Jordon Coonrad.

Ralph was an accomplished painter, photographer and filmmaker. As a young painter in 1936, he worked on the murals at Golden Gate Park's Beach Chalet. He painted all through his adult life.

Some of his work has survived and is currently in storage. Some is scattered among his many admirers. A permanent home and exhibitions will be sought.

Although I thanked him many times for all that he gave to me, this column is yet another. Thank you Ralph, for all that you gave, and for all that you helped us dream.

Ralph's Webpage

The New Book, For Your Consideration

We'd like you to consider buying our new book. We think it is something special, reflective of Steve's teaching and his passion. It has the reach of a book on the state of the art of photography today, not just tech talk, not just history, not just photographs. It is designed to be an overall look at where we are, from the perspective of someone who has helped get us there. We think it is honest, telling and hopefully inspirational.

* Upcoming Workshops
We hope 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.

* Fine-Art Digital Printing Hands-On
October 19-22, 2006
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.

* Professional Image Editing
Dec 2-5, 2006
Stephen Johnson Studios & Gallery
Pacifica, California.

Four days exploring the tools really needed by photographers for fundamental image control and finishing. Camera RAW acquisition, Color Correction, Sharpening, careful tonal control, and preserving options into archive versions of your files will be our primary concerns. Software concentration will be mainly on Adobe Photoshop, but will look at other tools as well. A number of images with various challenges will be worked through to satisfaction during the course of the day. This seminar is not about compositing or faking photographs, nor is it for beginners, as basic familiarity with Photoshop is required.

* Death Valley in Winter
January 13-16, 2007

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 - 2007
June 20-30, 2007
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

Monthly Critiques
next: Thursday evening October 26, 2006

Feedback on our work has proven critical to many of us involved in the arts. In this emerging age of digital photography, it is hard to find people knowledgeable in the technology and with a background and experience in the fine arts.

After many requests, we are initiating monthly critiquing sessions at our studio in Pacifica, California. The session will be conducted from 7 until 10pm (if needed), and refreshments will be available. Attendance will be limited to 10 students wishing to show work, others may attend to listen and learn. Prints or digital files are acceptable forms of presentation. Projection will be available. Registration requires the pre-submission of sample work.

PhotoPlus New York
November 2-4, 2006

*High End Digital Workflow:  From RAW to Stunning Print
Thursday Nov 2- -3:45-5:45PM

*Large Format Fine Art Printing
Friday Nov 3--1:00-3:00PM


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


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 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


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 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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Photographs and Text Copyright ©2006, Stephen Johnson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.