Stephen Johnson Photography News

August 2018

Life Form  at the Pacifica Center for the Arts. 2018. Canon EOS 5DSr.

Life Form at the Pacifica Center for the Arts. 2018. Canon EOS 5DSr.

Welcome to the August 2018 Edition of the Stephen Johnson Photography Newsletter.

It's been hard to get newsletters out lately. The Life Form exhibition prep and opening, along with a series of workshops have kept my hands very full. It is a pleasure to be back in touch. I hope you will consider coming by the gallery to see the new show and joining us on some of our upcoming workshops.

— Steve

This month's View From Here column features the opening of the Life Form exhibition at the Pacifica Center for the Arts and other recent happenings and photographs. We hope you find the column interesting and will consider sending us some comments.

Palms. Coachella Preserve. Thousand Palms, CA. 2018. Canon EOS 5DSr.

Palms. Coachella Preserve. Thousand Palms, CA. 2018.
Canon EOS 5DSr.

Palm Coachella Springs Reserve. 2018.
Canon EOS 5DSr.

9.5x14 Pigment Inkjet Print on Cotton paper
$195 each.


We're offering a 9.5x14 inch print of the photograph, matted to 20 inch wide board and ready to frame for $195, framed in silver for an additional $100, wood for $250. This print at this price is offered through August 31. We'll be taking orders until then, and shipping them out by September 15.


Life Form Exhibition Opening. Stephen Johnson Photography, Pacifica, CA. July 21, 2018.

Pacifica Magazine Feature. August 2018.

Printing Lecture in New York. October 27, 2018.

2018 Workshop Schedule is building with these and other great courses coming up. See what a great experience students have had on Steve's Workshops by exploring Workshop Testimonials.

Upcoming Events & Workshops

Custom Workshop Scheduling: We have set up polls for recently requested workshops to see who might be interested and able to make some dates:

Image Editing
Fine Art Printing
Photography Critique Session

Fine Art Printing Workshop July 2018.

Fine Art Printing Workshop July 2018.

The Studio, Scholarships and Mentoring

As part of our ongoing commitment to photographic education, there is one student scholarship spot in many of our classes. Please pass the word along.

For discounted time studying with Steve, keep in mind our Mentoring Program.

With all of our busy schedules and limited budgets, destination workshops or classes become a challenge, but many of you still have questions you need answered, or feedback on some new work. We want to remind you of our Virtual Online Consulting Program. This service allows all of you out there around the globe to consult online live with Steve on technical, aesthetic and workflow issues using Skype and your webcam.

Our Essays and Tutorials from the past couple of years can now be found on our Newsletter Archive and some on Google Blogger.

We hope you can come by the gallery and see the original prints in the National Parks Gallery, and the Exquisite Earth exhibition with its accompanying very special Exquisite Earth Portfolio 1. We invite you to join us on a workshop, rent lab space, or just say hello and let us know what you are up to photographically and what you might like to see us offer. We value your input.

Workshop Testimonials



Blue Steeple at Sunset. Pacifica, CA 2018. Canon EOS 5DSr.

Originally from the Canary Islands off Africa, echium pininana (aka Blue Steeple or giant viper's-bugloss), can grow 13 feet tall and is crowned with conical blue-purple flowering spires. This wild flower is cultivated in Great Britain and can be found along the San Mateo and Mendocino coasts in California. Considered an invasive species in many areas, it is endangered in its native land due to habitat loss. A modern quandary. This highly sought after ornamental plant is a favorite of bees, butterflies and humming birds; drought tolerant; deer resistant; and easy to grow. They remind me a little of the boojum tree in Baja California crossed with a Lewis Carroll fantasy.

by Stephen Johnson

Life Form Opens in the Main Gallery at Stephen Johnson Photography

We opened the Life Form Exhibition on the weekend of July 21 with lots of appreciation and encouragement. Thanks to all of the people who helped build the show and all those who came by our weekend events.

Twenty-two 40 inch prints are included, the largest showing of this work to date. Even in the 1000 sq. foot gallery, there was insufficient wall space for the show, so 8 prints are suspended from the ceiling hanging back to back along the centerline of the gallery. Although I was concerned about how challenging the suspended prints might be to install, I feel it turned out rather well and am pleased with the appearance. Thanks go to Alex Dziesinski for hanging help, we got the 14 wall prints up in a day. It took another day to get the cables up and the suspended prints hanging. Thanks again is extended to Nancy Davis of Shelldance Orchid Gardens for having such a wonderful place for making so many of these photographs.

Opening Lecture. Pacifica. July 21, 2018.

Life Form Opening. Pacifica Center for the Arts.. 2018.
Canon EOS 5DSr.

Many old friends showed up at  the opening, many whose friendship dates back as much a four decades. It is always nice to see familiar faces and to have people turn out to show support. The prints that we sold were also quite appreciated.

Sandy, my 14 year old sweetheart. Our gallery mascot.

Sandy, my 14 year old sweetheart. Our gallery mascot.

Friday night July 20, was an invitation only opening for collectors, supporters and friends. The public opening on Saturday afternoon featured an afternoon lecture which is posted above.

Any opening is a celebration and a relief. It was good for a long arc of prep to be over. It is also true that most shows reveal many little things to make it even better. I spent some weeks tuning the lighting so the aging quartz-halogen 4700k bulbs (now about 4200k) could be mixed with bluer 5000k and 6500k LEDs. I may yet change all of the lighting to LED, which gives me the opportunity to cool the color temperature and preserve the track-light transformers which draw much less power with the LED.

Life Form Opening. Pacifica Center for the Arts.. 2018..
Canon EOS 5DSr.

Split Gallery with Hanging Prints. Life Form Opening. Pacifica Center for the Arts.. 2018.
Canon EOS 5DSr.

Life Form Portfolio Now Available

We premiered the Life Form Portfolio with the show opening and are pleased that is now available for purchase. I am very proud of the selection and the beautiful box custom made by Portfolio Box of Rhode Island. The long searched for cloth was worth the selection process which did take many months.

Showing the  Life Form Portfolio  during public Opening. Pacifica Center for the Arts.. 2018. Canon EOS 5DSr.

Showing the Life Form Portfolio during public Opening. Pacifica Center for the Arts.. 2018.
Canon EOS 5DSr.

Life Form Portfolio.

Heathers.  Filoli Gardens . Woodside, CA. 2018. Canon EOS 5DSr.

Heathers. Filoli Gardens. Woodside, CA. 2018.
Canon EOS 5DSr.

Please come see the show. We'll be open on Saturday's in August. Pass the word.


Seeking Good Venues for Life Form

We are seeking good venues to show this work. The Life Form Series is now available for museum and gallery exhibition.


Around Pacifica

The Whales are back! A cup of coffee and whale blow from my deck this morning, five whales at sunset from the Pacifica cliffs. Happy to be on this planet.

So far, only a few humpbacks have been around, but I feel so grateful any time spent near them. The cliffs at Mussel Rock offered the perspective above.

Lunging Humpback Whale. Pacifica, CA. 2018.
Canon EOS 5DSr.

Pacifica Magazine. August 2018. Photograph by Kyle Ludowitz.

Pacifica Magazine. August 2018. Photograph by Kyle Ludowitz.

Pacifica Magazine Cover Story

The new issue of our local Pacifica Magazine also featured a cover story about my new work. The article author, Vanitha Sankaran wrote a nice article. The magazine's new photographer Kyle Ludowitz worked hard get the cover and some nice feature images.

"It's about embracing the more  natural form," he muses, "with imperfection being more perfect, and  impermanence being a greater reflection of what the real world is."  The notion appeals to him, "that there is inherent beauty in those  natural parts of the form. That decay, as we traditionally think about  it, is as beautiful as bursting young life."


Photographs are everywhere! I pulled up to my studio, took my beautiful Golden Retriever Sandy out for a walk, flowers and grasses bordering San Pedro Creek were making a  lovely scene right in front of me.

Flowers and Grasses. San Pedro Creek. Pacifica,  CA. 2018. 
Canon EOS 5DSr.

Arroyo Trail. Pedro Point Headlands. Pacifica, CA. 2018. 
Canon EOS 5DSr.

A recent walk on our Pacifica Land Trust project site Pedro Point Headlands, yielded some nice photographs. The light was both soft and dappled, allowing for a range of detail often impossible in bright sunlight. Sometimes light is so flat in overcast that a glow is hard to convey. It was a good walk.

Dove Tail Taking Flight

I was drinking coffee on my front deck one morning in early June, watching the ocean for whales and enjoying the singing birds, when one of our local doves jumped into the sky. Its tail feathers were beautifully lit by the morning light, so I got my camera (Canon 5DSr) and 100-400mm Canon lens, then waited for him to fly past again. This take off photograph came from the experience. Small miracles…

Dove Tail Taking Flight. Pacifica, CA. 2018

Launching Redtail Hawk. Pacifica Center for the Arts.. 2018.
Canon EOS 5DSr.

Photos from everywhere...just walking to my car outside my studio I was surprised by a very large red-tail hawk flying over the parking area which landed on a pine to the west. I grabbed a camera, with a medium lens on and walked toward the tree. I soon realized he was staying put and I was under-lensed.

Just as I got out the Canon 400mm he flew over me again, leading to a bunch a blurry images trying to stay up with him. He landed again, this time in a tree to the east, and stayed just long enough to get the camera and me oriented, then took off again allowing this photograph to be made.

Hotel Tioga. Merced, CA. 2018.
Canon EOS 5DSr.

Coming back up the San Joaquin Valley from my Palm Springs Desert Landscape workshop, I stopped in on some old haunts. Across from a nice breakfast place was the biggest building I remember from my childhood, the now declining Hotel Tioga. I made a very high res six-stitch file and ended up liking a black and white version of this 1928 classic hotel.

As it was also Mother's Day, it allowed me to visit my dear mother's grave-site and fill my head with so many memories of an amazing woman. The journey up the great valley was a wander home back to the bay area, up through the heart of California, my old homeland.

At Stephen Johnson Photography

I've been working on a little side project. When I think about some of the best of what we are as a nation, the space program always comes to mind. I've been collecting space photographs for years, from PR prints at NASA headquarters in Washington DC, the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and internet downloads. It also reminds me of a lecture I gave at JPL in Pasadena which led to a fascinating experience with the Saturn Cassini team.

Above are NASA photographs of the Moon from LRO 2013 and Apollo 12's Pete Conrad with Surveyor 3 on Nov. 20, 1969. Prints on Canon IPF4000. Many prints coming...

NASA Links:…/astronauts-pay-a-visit-to-surveyor-3

Scientific Visualization Studio. NASA Goddard Spaceflight Studio.

This visualization attempts to capture the mood of Claude Debussy's best-known composition, Clair de Lune (moonlight in French). The piece was published in 1905 as the third of four movements in the composer's Suite Bergamasque, and unlike the other parts of this work, Clair is quiet, contemplative, and slightly melancholy, evoking the feeling of a solitary walk through a moonlit garden.

The visualization uses a digital 3D model of the Moon built from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter global elevation maps and image mosaics. The lighting is derived from actual Sun angles during lunar days in 2018.

Free Stuff

Last summer, we replaced the Epson 2400s in our lab with their new P600s and consequently have some printers to seed to photographers in need. We were also given some Epson Canvas to share. These are available for pick-up to those of you on my mailing list. Let me know of your interest. I do want to spread them out among a few people.

Epson Canvas rolls 17 inch

Epson Canvas rolls 17 inch

1 Epson 2400 printer left.

1 Epson 2400 printer left.


Don't forget to Check out our next workshops

Next Studio Workshop


Next Field Workshop


Featured Products

New Life Form Folio


The Life Form Folio

As we are premiering the Life Form Exhibition, I wanted to have a collectible item and record of the show prior to the full book I plan. So, now available is the 36 page 11x17 wire bound book, 5 years of work from 2013 to 2018 exploring these magnificent lives. 

  • Photographs from 2013-2018
  • 36 pages 
  • 11x17 wire-bound book
  • $40

New Exquisite Earth Exhibition Catalog

Page 41

Page 41

page 13

page 13

The Exquisite Earth Exhibition Catalog

As I've been on a roll on fixing bodies of work into POD books, I decided before the Exquisite Earth show could come down for new upcoming show, I wanted to create a printed record. So, now available is the 56 page 11x17 wire bound book, 5 years of work from 2005 to 2010 traveling this wondrous planet.

  • Photographs from 2005-2010
  • 56 pages 
  • 11x17 wire-bound book
  • $50

New Pacifica Book

Page 27

Page 27

Page 7

Page 7

  • 74 pages 
  • 11x17 wire-bound book
  • Pacifica Trail Map 
  • 32 years in Pacifica 
  • 10 years of calendars
  • $75

Pacifica Trail Map by Pease Maps special to the Pacifica Land Trust.

11" x 17" folded
$10 (free shipping) proceeds go the Pacifica Land Trust a non-profit 501c3.

Gift Certificates for Prints and Workshops!

Emailed or shipped with beautiful gift note card.

Life Form Note cards

5x7 inches (sold-out, on backorder)


12 image Note card set with envelopes featuring photographs from Steve's new Life Form work.

Printed by Steve in his studio in very limited numbers on a color laser digital press


National Park Note cards

National Park Color Note Card Set

Stephen Johnson
12 cards/envelopes $20 set

From "With a New Eye" Beautiful 300 line screen offset reproductions with envelopes in clear box. A great gift.


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