Stephen Johnson Photography News

October 2019

Mist, Bridalveil Falls. Yosemite. 2019. Canon EOS 5DSr.

Mist, Bridalveil Falls. Yosemite. 2019. Canon EOS 5DSr.

Welcome to the October 2019 Edition of the Stephen Johnson Photography Newsletter.

A quick trip to Yosemite and Mono Lake highlighted my photography this month. I am often amazed at how many varied visual experiences can be taken in even in only a short few days.

This month's View From Here column explores recent trips, political demonstrations and an important movie. We hope you find the column interesting and will consider sending us some comments.

Check out the workshops we’ve added, including our popular Masterful Fine-Art Printing class coming right up, the Joshua Tree workshop and Black and White Printing workshops in November.


Milky Way over Highway 395 at Mono Lake.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II EF16-35mm f/2.8L USM Lens

9.5x14 Pigment Inkjet Print $195 each

I went to the high Sierra in late September for many reasons, seeing a star-filled sky was primary. The sky was filled with stars, compared to my near San Francisco sky, it seemed an entirely different cosmos. Initially I waited for cars to pass on Highway 395, but also tried some where their lights became an integral part of the mystery. Although Milky Way photography is not my specialty, I delight in what I can record.

We're offering a 9.5x14 inch print of the photograph for $195, matted to 16x20 inch board. This print at this price is offered through October 31. We'll be taking orders until then, and shipping them out by November 15, 2019.


We’ve just scheduled a Fine Art Printing lecture at Glazer’s Camera in Seattle for October 26 from 2 to 5pm.

We are really looking forward to our Joshua Tree Workshop with the LA Center for Photography coming up in November. It is such a strange and beautiful place.

Now that school has started, we are scheduling class visits to the Space Exhibit. We encourage teachers and parents to be in touch.

2019 and 2020 Workshop Schedule continues to form with great courses coming up. See what a great experience students have had on Steve's Workshops by exploring Workshop Testimonials.   

Other Worldly is currently showing in our galleries joining the new Space Exhibit with the Life Form Exhibition. On display now at Stephen Johnson Photography.

Joshua Tree. 2018.

Joshua Tree. 2018.

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

Black and White Printing Workshop February 2019. Canon EOS 1Dx.


Meadow Grasses. Tuolumne Meadows. Yosemite National Park. 2019

Canon EOS 5DSr. EF24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens

Afternoon light layering this little meadow break in the trees was a delight to run across on our walk along the Tuolumne River for a riverside picnic. Part of my soul grew up near this place and still lingers. My first backpacking trips started here, memories of showing it to my mom, a new romance holding hands so long ago, some of my friend Bruce Fraser’s ashes nearby, the place is so rich in my heart. It had been too long since I had strolled this space.

Giant Sequoia. Mariposa Grove. Yosemite. 2019. Canon EOS 5DSr. EF70-200mm f/4L IS II USM lens

Giant Sequoia. Mariposa Grove. Yosemite. 2019. Canon EOS 5DSr. EF70-200mm f/4L IS II USM lens

by Stephen Johnson

This last month was a typical mixture of the routine of running the studios and galleries here, and a few short journeys that keep me spiritually nourished.

A quick trip to Yosemite and Mono Lake was the photographic highlight of the month for me. I was driven to see the starry night from high altitude and was not dissappoiinted.


Yosemite’s high country is the Yosemite I think of first. Despite the spectacular nature of Yosemite Valley with its magnificent granite domes, it is Highway 120, the Tioga Pass Road, that long go captured my heart.

The choice of heading for the high country meant Mono Lake was an easy reach on the east side. Since my romance with Mono Lake goes way back, as does my work there, it was always part of the destination plans.

Even though I tend to stay away from Yosemite Valley still so close in time to summer, we did do a spin through. We were immediately captured by mist blowing back over the crest of Bridalveil Falls. We marveled at the mist forming and re-forming, creating and recreating wondrous abstractions, organic and just plain wild. I could have spent hours and thousands of frames recording the variations.

One challenge with the falls and mist was the intense sunlight coming off the crest of the falls and the beautiful detail on the shadowed granite cliffs. I kept reducing the exposure to hold the highlights, then finally decided to risk bracketed exposures for HDR integration later. I doubted the HDR could be aligned with the rapidly moving mist, but I wanted that shadow detail. Surprisingly some did work out and gave me the dynamic range I needed.

Giant Old Souls

The ancient Giant Sequoia of Yosemite’s Mariposa Grove are always humbling to see, sense their spirit and try to comprehend their age. Some are 3500 years old. They are also hard to photograph, being almost impossible to depict their size. I was able to leisurely stroll with no responsibility to teach, and slowly take the ancient forest in my short walk Above is an attempt to record these tree’s grace with their fellow ancient species Equisetum.

Lodgepole chipmunk. Olmsted Point. Yosemite. 2019.

Mist. Bridalveil Falls. Yosemite National Park.

Mist. Bridalveil Falls. Yosemite National Park.

internatural 1. A dance/vocal perfromance at South Tufa, Mono Lake California. Performance produced by Forest Island Project.   Canon EOS 5DSr. EF24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

internatural 1. A dance/vocal perfromance at South Tufa, Mono Lake California. Performance produced by Forest Island Project.

Canon EOS 5DSr. EF24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

Mono Lake

Visiting Mono Lake brought an additional surprise, a dance and sound performance at the South Shore Tufa Grove. It was a surreal experience, particularly in the strange environs at Mono Lake amid the tufa towers. It is also a place I know well. I have been going there for 40 years, fought for its survival and participated in many deep discussions about the perils of helping to make it famous in order to help save it.

Stephen Johnson doing the ritual eat across Abbey Road. Photos by Anthony Hobbs. 2000. Kodak DCS 460c

Stephen Johnson doing the ritual eat across Abbey Road. Photos by Anthony Hobbs. 2000. Kodak DCS 460c

Roadsign. Greater London. 2000. Kodak DCS 460c

Roadsign. Greater London. 2000. Kodak DCS 460c

Abbey Road Anniversary

The Beatles Abbey Road, their final record, was released in America 50 years ago October 1. From the moment I heard the album, I thought it was the best work they had ever done. Music has deeply shaped my life. There have been many artists and albums that have touched me, some have influenced me greatly, some politically/socially, some sensually, some just plain grab the gut. But none like this, it was all encompassing. We didn't know it at the time, but here they were working so well together after so much conflict. It is always the first music I play on any new system. Many us make the pilgrimage to Abbey Road. Here was mine in 2000 with my friend Anthony Hobbs snapping the photos.

20190920_climate-change-march-SF_0222 (1).JPG

The Climate March: San Francisco

I was very pleased to be able to join the September 27 Climate March in San Francisco. The vision of thousands of young people was absolutely inspirational, These young folks were standing up and claiming their rights to a healthy earth future. I was inspired.



Anthropocene: The Human Epoch

And on a extended note down the same path as the Climate Change March…

Just went to see the film "Anthropocene: The Human Epoch" by Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. It is a very disturbing and very important look at the epoch of human impact on the earth. The visuals are stunning and powerful. Presented by the The Long Now Foundation. Arrange to see it if you can.


Recently at Stephen Johnson Photography

Come Visit the Exhibitions

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.

The  50 Years of Space Photography Gallery  with the five extra Apollo 11 prints.

The 50 Years of Space Photography Gallery with the five extra Apollo 11 prints.

In front of the Apollo 14 Panoramic, 3rd. Graders from Ocean Shore School in Pacifica visiting the Space Exhibit. 2019. Photo by Sheila Gamble.

In front of the Apollo 14 Panoramic, 3rd. Graders from Ocean Shore School in Pacifica visiting the Space Exhibit. 2019. Photo by Sheila Gamble.

Class Visits

We welcome schools to bring their classes by, kids and college students. The kid’s reactions have been inspiring to me, both for the space exhibition and Life Form.

Workshops Coming Up

The upcoming Back and White Printing and Joshua Tree workshops in November are open for enrollment now. Enroll while there is time and space!.

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.

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 Exhibition

Life Form opened in the Main Gallery at Stephen Johnson Photography in July 2018. The show has been extended through through 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.

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 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.

Workshop Testimonials

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.

Equipment for Sale

Canon 1.4x Tele-extender for sale. $150


New Space Photography Products

Apollo 11 Collectors Portfolio

A suite of photographs from Apollo 11. 12 pigment inkjet prints on letter-sized paper selected, edited and printed by photographer Stephen Johnson, in a portfolio box. The set includes a Mission Summary book, original US Postal Stamp commemorating the Mission, the Mission patch and a schematic of the Lunar Module. $250

Apollo 11 Collectors Portfolio examples.

Apollo 11 Collectors Portfolio examples.

50 Years of Space Photography Exhibition Catalog

The Exhibtion catalog featuring photograhs from Planetary probes, the Hublle Space Telescope, Lunar explorations, the Apollo program and Space Shuttle/Space Station images. Includes an exploration of the imaging technologies emplyed by the spacecraft.

68 pages, 8.5x11 inches

Other Worldly Exhibition Catalog.

Other Worldly Exhibition Catalog.

Apollo 11 Photography Book

A 96 page 8.5x11 inch collection of Apollo 11 photographs from launch to recovery including contact sheets for every surface Hasselblad photograph.

It’s the collection I wish I could have bought, so I made it.

-96 pages

-7 sections, Lunar Photo Equipment, Preparation, On the Way, Lunar Orbit, Tranquility Base, Heading Home, Relics

-Film Magazine proofs

Life Form Folio


The Life Form Folio

When we premiered 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

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

  • $40

New Pacifica Book

Page 27

Page 27

Page 7

Page 7

A collection of photographs in and around Pacifica California. Include a trail map.

  • 74 pages

  • 11x17 wire-bound book

  • Pacifica Trail Map

  • 32 years in Pacifica

  • 10 years of calendars

  • $50

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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