Stephen Johnson Photography News, Events & Info September 2006


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

My new book Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography is now in stock, shipping and doing well.

Don't miss the Fundamentals of Digital Photography class on Sept. 16-17. We have a few spaces left in the class and so we've decided to add my new book to the mix of what you get, right up front. The
Mono Lake Workshop October 5-8, 2006 features not only fall color, but a full moon as well.

Zion National Park. 2006
BetterLight Scanning Camera


...Book Now Shipping!
...New Product: GrayCaps
New! Lab Rental
Featured Print Offer
...Space Shuttle Columbia
Workshop News
...Fundamentals of Digital
...Hands-On Fine Art Digital Printing
Mono Lake
...Professional Image Editing

Upcoming Events
...Monthly Critiques
...PhotoPlus New York
...SFDIG Talk in San Francisco
The View From Here
Light, Beauty and Exploration
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
New! Lab Rental

Website Additions....

Online Galleries Guide Added

September 2006

STS-75 and Columbia. 1996
11x14 Pigment Print on Rag paper
As I approached Pad39B, I felt like a 12 year old kid again in some sort of Star Trek heaven. I could scarcely believe that once again my photography had taken me to such a remarkable place. This time it was the launch pad of the Space Shuttle and I had all afternoon and into the evening on the pad.

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


Light, Beauty and Exploration

Despite the fact that the world of photography may seem to exist in a world of perpetual sunrises and sunsets, the earth is far more complex and nuanced. There is an intricacy and intimacy even in the most ordinary and difficult light, just waiting for us to see and notice.

I've often heard people discuss waiting for the good light, or the golden photographic time of day. I must say, that although it is sometimes difficult to capture, light is beautiful on the planet earth, in all its variations. Even the challenges of harsh sunlight can result in stunning photographs. Personally, I love soft, somewhat overcast light, where color seems most luminous and shadows almost sourceless. But in the same day, with changing light and weather, a scene can have varied characteristics, all of which have their own intrinsic beauty. As so many have said before me, our preconceptions of what we might find and photograph are usually far less interesting than what we discover. But we have to be open to such experiences.

Clichés often arise from those preconceptions. We keep trying to remake the photographs we've seen before. This adds little to the visual richness of our photographic world and your own sensitivities are not called upon. Making your own visual discoveries is what counts.

Clichés quicky slip into image editing as well. The saturation tool is not a beauty slider. In many ways, you could think of digital saturation tools as volume controls on a sound system, the louder you turn it up, the greater the emotional purge perhaps, but differentiation and nuance become lost, as hiss tends to dominate.

I was in Antarctica last year, and have found the photographs difficult to process. The color was so strange, intense warm and cold side by side, the relationships unusual, the emotional impact different than an expected photographic result. I saw some folks on the trip react to the place with heavy contrast and saturation of a tradtional film look, others were puzzled as I was. It has been a real challenge to work with the images. I continue to try, making prints slowly, trying understand the photographic meaning of what I saw.

We are inevitably present in our photographs in some manner, my own photographs work best when they reveal my fascinations, rather than my opinions. As my friend Douglas Holleley said at a recent lecture at the Maine Photo Workshops, it is about reading the stories from the earth rather than us telling our stories.

The big stories in the landscape are often in the purview of geologists and just seem cramped and vague in most photographs. We often seek such evidence instinc
tively, the massive cut of Half Dome, the symmetry of Horsehoe Point in the upper Grand Canyon. The big story does seem to work well visually from earth orbit, where design again becomes comprehensible, rather than evidence leading to reasoned conclusion. As a currently earth-bound photographer, it is often those small stories of line pushing against line, or form seamlessly melding into another form that seem to resonate with me.

The earth, wind and water leave marks on each other, and us. Our great visual opportunity is to decipher at least some of those marks and understand this world we are made of just a little better.

The Book Plug

Consider buying our new book. We have worked hard to make it very good, and believe it will be worth your while to give it a read. Better yet, not only buy it, tell others to as well.

Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography

Complete Table of Contents as pdf
On-Press in Italy with the new book

Some Quotes

Order Now for a signed copy!

First 100 copies can also select a free poster! (shipping extra)

* Upcoming Workshops

Fundamentals of Digital Photography
The Basics and Way Beyond
September 16-17, 2006
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 fundamentals 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.

... it was really apparent that Steve was designing the workshop for the participants needs, thinking about what they would like to learn and how could they best learn...I really liked watching him taking an image through from RAW, and that he talked about WHY you might want to use a particular tool, and what it was about the photo that told him the tool was needed. -S. Beveridge

Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra
October 5-8, 2006

The stark and beautiful scenery of this legendary lake is unlike any other landscape in the world. Its alkaline water, desert vistas, volcanoes and unusual tufa towers make it a remarkable place. These four days 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, while we explore this high desert lake and its strange environs. A full moon will cap the second day of the 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
Nov. 30-Dec 3, 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.

* 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 September 16, 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

San Francisco Digital Imaging Group Hosts Stephen Johnson Talk on Tuesday October 3

Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography
On Tuesday October 3, SFDIG is very pleased to be hosting an evening with pioneering digital photographer, Stephen Johnson.  The term “digital pioneer” is over-used, but it truly applies to Steve, who makes his living with a camera and last used film in 1994.  Steve’s latest effort is not a book of beautiful of landscape photographs but rather a practical introduction to digital photography entitled Stephen Johnson On Digital Photography (O’Reilly Media).  Here’s a review from www.photoshopsupport.com:

No doubt about it — the allure of the digital camera seduced us all. Yet many photography enthusiasts and professionals still don't know how to tap into the power and range of today's digital tools to create compelling photos. That is, until now. In the joyful and long-anticipated Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography, a master teacher shares how to use digital technology to develop and refine one's artistic expression. 

Using his new book with O'Reilly Media as his organizational structure for the talk, topics will include: making art, empowerment, ethics in the digital age, and some aspects of the digital darkroom.  This talk will include high quality digital image examples with which he can hone in on ‘uniquely digital’ techniques and fundamental breakthroughs in photography that digital improvements have provided but which many have yet to realize. 
This talk will also include a history of electronic imaging and details the transformation of the darkroom to the computer, taking us all way up to the future trends in digital photography.  This lecture is firmly based in his core belief that photography is fundamentally a light capture medium, rather than a pixel manipulation party.

This meeting is sponsored by the O’Reilly Media, publishers of Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography.Book and posters will be available. Lecture may be video-taped.

The meeting with be held at Blue Sky Rental Studios (2325 3rd St, Suite # 434, see www.blueskysf.com for directions) in San Francisco.


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 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 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.

sjphoto-news mailing list

Newsletter Archive

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

Last updated on 9/9/06. Mail comments to: info@sjphoto.com
Photographs and Text Copyright ©2006, Stephen Johnson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.