Stephen Johnson Photography News
Welcome to the May 2019 Edition of the Stephen Johnson Photography Newsletter.
Approaching summer, like many of you, I'm feeling the pull of getting out and moving around the landscape. For me, that is likely the western US, which could be a long realm of possibility. Even in my homeland, there is so much to see and know.
FEATURED PRINT June 2019
Canon EOS 5DSr.
9.5x14 Pigment Inkjet Print $195 each
Walking out of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival last fall, these back lit plants got my attention. The color version gave way to a somewhat more abstract black and white.
We're offering a 9.5x14 inch print of the photograph for $195, matted to 16x20 inch board and ready to frame, framed in silver for an additional $100, wood for $250. This print at this price is offered through June 31. We'll be taking orders until then, and shipping them out by July 15, 2019.
2019 Workshop Schedule continues to form 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
Canon EOS 5DS R
Light and color surprised and delighted me as I walked around the Lighthouse.
THE VIEW FROM HERE
by Stephen Johnson
The Bay Area Lighthouse Workshop
Our San Francisco Bay Area Lighthouses Workshop took place last weekend. We did battle some rain, particularly at Pigeon Point down the San Mateo coast. But the rain did give us more incentive to consider the visual possibilities inside the Fog Horn Building with its First Order Fresnel lens. The lenes itself is amazing, and the way it fills the room with rainbows almost makes it a fantasy place.
Up in San Francisco and the Marin Headlands we were greeted with much better weather and some great clouds all day long. Point Bonita always offers such great views. And no trip up to that area would be complete for me without going up to Hawk Hill for the view back east toward San Francisco and out to Point Bonita itself. The clouds blessed the scene with real drama. The entire trip out could easily have been worth it for that single Hawk Hill view.
My thanks go to all of the participants for braving the rain and making the workshop possible.
The construction of these life-saving outposts is sturdy and very well worn. They are in constant need of maintenance and still frequently seem as though they are barely hanging on. The US Lighthouse Service took care of them with special attention until WWII when they were added to the US Coast Guard's already full palette.
The Fresnel lens at Pigeon Point is no longer on the tower because it needs major repair. As these structures have gained a romantic status in our culture, there is a fund-raising effort to add to the government funds available.
How does one approach a photographic cliché? The Golden Gate Bridge, stretching across the Golden Gate is almost tourism hyperbole. But it got that way because it is a spectacular structure in a very dramatic location. Like beautiful sunsets, we photograph the obvious and well-known, not only the unique. The photographs are then usually personal memory jogs rather than art. But we still make them. We can't resist. And there's no reason we shouldn't.
All possible photographs of the Golden Gate have not been made, nor have all possible ways of seeing it been tried.
It was a beautiful day, sky full of clouds, with clear air from the previous day's rains. Our second day was liberating as we were not battling the rain, but even more so because of huge vistas visible from the Marin Headlands.
Of course, the Lighthouses Workshop was always partly about the vistas.
Apollo 10. May 1969
50 years ago this week, Apollo 10 flew the last pre-landing mission to the moon. It was the first full rehearsal in orbit around the moon of all systems but landing. This view of the Command Module Charlie Brown photographed from the Snoopy Lunar Module on its way down to a mere 47,000 feet above the moon. A real challenge lay just ahead.
As Thomas Stafford and Eugene Cernan were completing their lunar module flight tests, they separated from the LM Descent Stage and then started tumbling in 3 axis in the Ascent Stage, 7 or 8 times in 10 seconds, creating real danger of losing control of the spacecraft. It turns out the both pilots, separately, had switched on/off a Command Module Acquisition Radar (Abort Guidance Control) that kept trying to lock onto the CM still too far away and could only find the moon. Stafford manged to get the spacecraft under control before they lost "gimbal lock" which would have left them without their location information for rendezvous with the CM. Some reports describe the event as near disaster as a crash into the lunar surface was likely if they had not quickly regained control.
Ironically, the event was similar to another near disaster the next mission commander, Neil Armstrong had experienced in March 1966 by Gemini 8 which started a rapid tumble after a docking exercise proving rendezvous capability needed for Apollo. Armstrong regained control of the Gemini just short of the astronaut's black-out speed and the mission was aborted for quick earth return.
The Color of the Moon
It may sound a little strange, but I've been giving the moon a fair amount of thought lately. Certainly this 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11's moon landing is partially why, as obviously my 50 Years of Space Photography exhibition. But it is more than that, as each mission anniversary comes, I go back and look at the mission photographs seeking a better understanding of the experience. As Apollo 10 was in May 1969, it's journey seemed to merit exploration this month. That fact, and some serendipity brought a few surprises.
The color of the moon became a question when building my 50 Years of Space Photography exhibit. I needed to edit the dark low contrast greenish high res scans I was able to find. The scans seemed untouched, but clearly had to be interpreted. From the famous Earthrise of Apollo 8 to the portrait of Buzz Aldrin standing on the lunar soil, the moon’s color seemed to vary greatly.
The color of the moon has since come up in many conversations, in my gallery, and at my visit to NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View last week. I’ve also been wanting to dig out my set of reel to reel tapes of Apollo 11. Today I retrieved them, and also found I had made audio tapes of Apollo 7, 8, 9, and 10 as well. I had to test the tapes, so since this week is the anniversary of Apollo 10, I loaded it up and fast forwarded into the tape a bit. I happened to stop and play during a TV transmission 50 years ago this week, as they were about 2000 miles out on their return home, going 6000 feet/second. Suddenly I hear Commander Tom Stafford start talking about the color of the moon. I was stunned at the coincidence, and immediately used my 2019 technology of the internet to dig out that TV transmission to find the same words. Although the color of the moon is still a complicated question, here is what the crew of Apollo 10 observed
On a related note, my visit to NASA last week connected me with Dennis Wingo, the man behind the Lunar Orbiter Image Restoration Project I've been so fascinated by and have described in previous Newsletters.
Dennis has already sent me a newly restored, unreleased 1.7 GB file, which I made into a 35 inch print. I hope to be of help to the project, perhaps with his planned book, perhaps helping the project get the recognition it so richly deserves. Who knows? Big, wide-open door…
Check out their Facebook page.
Check out my new 50 years of Space Photography Exhibition now joined with my Life Form Exhibition as Other Worldly for a mind-blowing journey from the living world close-up to the depths of space.
Come see the show when you can. Space and Awesome Life! A dive into cosmic extremes...
Please consider joining us on one of our upcoming workshops. Enrollment is the key to continuing to offer these classes and keep the studio running. We hope to hear from you.
At Stephen Johnson Photography
Around the Studio
My friend Alex found an almost pristine deceased Dragonfly on our porch last weekend. I couldn't resist trying a focus-stacked photo of it. The detail captured in the photograph allowed me to see this creature at an intimate level of detail revealing a complexity that truly became wonder.
Another Dead Whale
Another whale has washed up on our local beaches. It appears to be a Gray Whale, and is the tenth that has come ashore in the San Francisco Bay Area this year.
These are massive creatures, their cousins the Blue Whale are the largest animal to have ever lived on the earth. We are so privileged to be alive on this planet at the same time. They do not likely feel the same about humans. With the carnage of our recent behavior, I’m always amazed at how gently they seem to treat us. Perhaps they are blessed and don’t have the big picture, maybe they know, but can nonetheless discriminate between those that wish them no harm. After all, their brains and hearts are massively larger than ours.
It is so sad to see these bodies, very hard to want to photograph, but I feel like I have to help document these tragedies. I do not yet know the likely cause of death of this particular whale, but it looked like it was beat up drifting in the sea
It’s hard to keep in mind, that the few years we felt so lucky to have so many Humpbacks coming close to shore in Pacifica, was, in fact, a sign or stress and hunger that drove them into the shallows.
I’ve always been drawn to historical photographs and maps. I’ve been collecting 19th century books, engravings and now making scans of photos and maps. Printed on just the right paper and sheen, the reproductions are often vey special in their own right. So I’ve decided to make some of these prints available as I print them and discover more.
The first few are from the San Francisco Bay Area, local to my home in Pacifica, We’ll make them both available as 8x10 ($35-$45) and 11x14 ($75-$85) with larger sizes available for quote. The Gallery of current offerings where you can place orders can be found here.
Life Form opened in the Main Gallery at Stephen Johnson Photography on July 21, 2018. The show has been extended through August 2019. We have had many visitors come by the gallery since the opening. Many have then joined workshops and certainly helped build community. Please come see the show. 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 after August 2019.
Don't forget to Check out our next workshops
Next Studio Workshop
Next Field Workshop
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.
We hope you can come by the gallery and see the original prints in the new Life Form Gallery and its new Life Form Portfolio, 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.
Print Mentor Program
Many of my mentoring students have wanted help with their printing, often to make sure they can produce a specific print. Consequently, I am starting a Print Mentoring Program that sets up a 2 hour time slot and the production of a finished print, all with the tutorial video of how we did it together. Prints can be up to 16x20 and on either Hahnemühle Museum Etching or Photo Rag Pearl paper. Fee is $500. Email for more information and to set up times.
Free and For Sale
Free Stuff (a few items still left)
I have been printing out nice copies of the Constitution and Bill of Rights on rich cotton paper. You are welcome to a copy if you come by the gallery.
Additionally, I rescued a few Besleler Enlargers, a 23c and 4x5, hoping to find good homes for them. Make an offer.
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
11x17 wire-bound book
New Exquisite Earth Exhibition Catalog
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
11x17 wire-bound book
New Pacifica Book
A collection of photographs in and around Pacifica California. Include a trail map.
11x17 wire-bound book
Pacifica Trail Map
32 years in Pacifica
10 years of calendars
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
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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