November 2015



Anne and I recently returned from our annual trip to the Eastern Sierra. We had a great time teaching our Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra: Exploring Autumn Light workshop with Charlie Cramer. This is the sixth offering of this extremely popular workshop and we once again had a great group of participants. Our timing for the fall colors was perfect. We will be offering this workshop again next year. See below for more information about the 2016-2017 workshop schedule.

Following the workshop Anne and I spent about ten days exploring the beautiful east side of the Sierra – most of that time in the Mono Basin. We both love returning to favorite locations, and that's what we did during our photographic travels this year. It's amazing how the same location can be a completely different experience one day from another. We had beautiful fall foliage contrasted with still green aspen leaves (yes fall color can be exciting in black and white!). We found snow at the high elevations, some rain and, unfortunately toward the end of the trip, some high winds. We "escaped" from the Mono Basin over Tioga Pass a few hours before it closed – likely for the rest of the winter.

We returned home to a very welcome heavy rainstorm. As many of you know, California is in a severe multi-year drought, and we are hopeful that the forecasted El Nino will help replenish stressed aquifers and rejuvenate the flora and fauna with abundant rainfall this winter. We are keeping our fingers and tripod legs crossed.

I hope you enjoy this edition of my periodic newsletter. In addition to announcing the workshop schedule for next year I am pleased to introduce a brand new Limited Edition print at special reduced price. At the same time I have decided to retire another of my "vintage" negatives, and prints from this last printing run are available at a discounted price.

Like so many others, Anne and I were shocked by the tragic events in Paris last Friday evening. A number of our friends were in Paris at that time attending the large international art fair, Paris Photo. Thankfully all of our friends are safe. Anne and I join countless others in offering condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims of the attacks, as well as sending our best thoughts to those that were injured - both physically and emotionally - by the barbaric actions. Let us all hope for a world where humane beings can share love and peace.

Wishing you the best for coming Holiday season,


Paris Peace




As readers of this newsletter know, recently I have decided to retire a number of negatives in order to allow more time to work on new negatives, such as the new Limited Edition print announced below. Such is the case with my image Boulders and Tree, Merced River. This is a rare opportunity to purchase one of my well-known images from its final silver gelatin printing session.

From now until the end of the year I am offering this 11x14" print for $800 - a 20% discount from the retail price. Once I have fulfilled all of the orders for this special print offer the negative will be retired, and will never be printed in any size as a silver gelatin print in the future. On January 1, 2016 the retail price for any remaining prints will increase to $2,000. The print is only being made in 11x14" size.

To place a secure online order for this print, follow this link:


Two Chairs by John Sexotn

Boulders and Tree, Merced River
Yosemite National Park, California
©1983 John Sexton. All rights reserved.

This image was made at one of my favorite Yosemite locations – a quiet stretch of the Merced River a short distance downstream from Yosemite Valley proper. This section of the Merced, known to locals as Steamboat Bay, is a place I have always found interesting and inspiring in the many years I have been exploring and photographing Yosemite. This photograph was made following the conclusion of an annual week-long Yosemite photography workshop I co-instructed for many years with Bruce Barnbaum and Ray McSavaney. Every time I visit Yosemite I try to stop at this location to see how things have changed. I find revisiting areas, and truly getting to know them, often yields successful photographs. Such was the case the evening I made this image.

Like many of my photographs, Boulders and Tree, Merced River, was made late in the day after the sun had dropped below the steep cliffs of the Merced River gorge. The soft, delicate light seemed to reveal an elegant sculptural quality to these massive granite boulders. I found an interesting contrast between the boulders and the small tree, which was adorned with fresh green leaves of spring. I used my 360mm Nikkor telephoto lens on my Linhof 4x5 for the one-minute exposure. A #11 green filter was used to lighten the single tree (which is a very large tree today!) from the dark oaks surrounding it.

This silver gelatin, selenium toned, print is approximately 13-1/4 x 10", personally printed by me (as are all my prints), processed to current archival standards, signed, mounted, and matted to 16x20" on 100 percent rag museum board.

Prints will begin shipping on December 7. If you would like to receive your print in time for the Holidays, please be sure to let us know at the time of the order. It would probably be a good idea to follow up with an email. We will make every effort to ship prints out in time for Holiday gift giving to those who need them. All of the prints ordered will be shipped no later than February 29, 2016.

All prints are carefully prepared and packaged in specially designed protective shipping boxes, and shipped fully insured via UPS ground. If you have any questions about the prints, please feel free to contact Anne at 831-659-3130, or email: Our office hours are Monday through Thursday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, Pacific Time.




I am thrilled to introduce a brand new image as a Limited Edition print offer as part of my ongoing Special Collector's Edition print series. As many of you know, most of my prints are issued as non-numbered "open editions," but over the years I have offered a small number of Limited Edition prints. I am pleased to say that nearly all of these previous Limited Edition prints sold out very quickly which, as you might imagine, has been very flattering. My new Limited Edition print of Untitled, Salinas,California is now available for order online.

This 11x14" print is offered in a Limited Edition of 100 signed and numbered silver gelatin prints, plus 10 Artist's Proofs. When the edition is sold out no further prints will be made for sale in any size. Though my open edition 11x14" prints have a retail price in galleries of $1,000, the introductory price of this Limited Edition print is $800 - a 20% discount. After December 31, 2015 the retail price for any remaining prints will increase to $1,500.

To place a secure online order for this print, follow this link:


Untitled by Johnn Sexton

Untitled, Salinas, California
©2015 John Sexton. All rights reserved.

I made this image just a few weeks ago. I was not on a photography trip, but rather a utilitarian trip to have some work done on our Ford camper van in the nearby city of Salinas. On the way home I took a slightly different route than normal and noticed an interesting truck at a Salinas Valley farm. I decided to go over and explore the black truck, which had a white sticker on the passenger door. As I approached the truck I noticed an amazing pattern of cracks that had formed over the many years since this sticker must have been applied. I immediately wished I had my view camera with me, but unfortunately I did not. I did make a "happy snap" of the abstract pattern with my iPhone. When I got home and showed the image to Anne she was as excited about it as I was. I mentioned to Anne, "I should go back and make the photograph someday." Anne said to me, "You should go back and make the photograph tomorrow!"

Following Anne's admonition, I was back at the truck the next day with my 4x5 view camera. I truly enjoy working with my view camera. I find a sense of calm and quiet in the darkness under my focusing cloth where I am shrouded from the distractions of the external world, and can savor the upside down image on my ground glass. After carefully selecting the area I found most interesting, I focused the 200mm lens critically and compensated for the light loss due to the lens extension needed for such a close-up photograph, and exposed the negative. I developed the film the following day. I was very excited by the negative and my excitement intensified when I saw the 4x5" contact proof print. The very next day the negative was in the enlarger and I was printing it. I hope that you enjoy this "hot-off-the-press" image as much as I do.

Prints will begin shipping on December 7. If you would like to receive your print in time for the Holidays, please be sure to let us know at the time of the order. It would probably be a good idea to follow up with an email. We will make every effort to ship prints out in time for Holiday gift giving to those who need them. All of the prints ordered will be shipped no later than February 29, 2016.

All prints are carefully prepared and packaged in specially designed protective shipping boxes, and shipped fully insured via UPS ground. If you have any questions about the prints, please feel free to contact Anne at 831-659-3130, or email: Our office hours are Monday through Thursday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, Pacific Time.





I am pleased to announce my new workshop schedule for 2016 through early 2017. I continue to be amazed at the interest in the workshops that we offer. It is particularly rewarding to note the international interest in our traditional printmaking workshop, The Expressive Black and White Print, being offered in 2016 for the thirty-third consecutive year. By popular demand we are once again offering the Fine Tuning the Expressive Print workshop in April 2016. This workshop is open only to individuals who have previously taken one of my printing workshops.


John Sexton Photography Workshops


You can see the complete schedule, get detailed information about the workshops, and download an illustrated PDF of the new workshop brochure here:

We have indicated that past offerings of the Fine Tuning workshop could be the last such offering. However we continue to get workshop alumni specifically requesting the opportunity to take this workshop, so we are planning to offer it one more time again. Will it be the last offering? At this point we think so… but who knows what the future holds?

If you're interested in next October's Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra: Exploring Autumn Light workshop, be sure to apply early, as this workshop fills quickly. Charlie Cramer and I both personally review all applications and try and put together a workshop group that will create a stimulating environment for all who attend – both traditional and digital photographers are invited to apply for this synergistic field workshop experience.

I want to thank all of our workshop Corporate Partners and Associate Partners for their support of the program once again this year. It is amazing to realize it was more than forty years ago that I taught my first small workshop with my long-time friend John Charles Woods for a few fellow photography majors at Cypress College. We had a great time on that workshop, and I continue to learn so much from participants today. I always believe the instructor learns more than any individual student in a workshop experience. On our workshops we try and provide an environment that presents useful information, as well as inspiration, to encourage personal growth in your photography.

Again, to learn more about the workshops, or to apply, please visit my web site where you can download the complete workshop brochure as well as the application form.




Anne and I are honored to have our prints included at the Sun to Moon Gallery Holiday exhibition in Dallas, Texas, celebrating the Gallery’s fourteenth anniversary. We are pleased to be a part of the group exhibition, which also includes photographs by Annette Bottaro-Walklet, Dan Burkholder, Jeffery Connolly, Charles Cramer, Scott Miller, Alan Ross, Alison Shaw, Jill Skupien Burkholder, Keith S. Walklett, and R.P. Washburne. The exhibition opens November 19, 2015, and runs through January 9, 2016. There is an opening reception and open house on Saturday, November 21 from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. We wish we could be in attendance for the event, but unfortunately that is not possible. For more information, visit or call 214-745-1199.


Paper Form 1 by Anne Larsen

Paper Form No. 1, Copenhagen, Denmark
©1993 Anne Larsen. All rights reserved.





I have never used a tripod that I loved! One of the great disadvantages of working with large and medium format cameras is that they nearly always require the use of a tripod when making photographs. That being said, I truly have a fondness for the Gitzo carbon fiber tripods that I have been using for more than twenty years.

When I attended Ansel's Yosemite workshop in 1973 I had a 4x5 view camera and two lenses, which I borrowed from Cypress College. My light meter was a Minolta SRT-101 35mm camera, and the filters I used were for that camera, which I was able to hold in front of the view camera lenses even though they were not the correct size. I owned a tripod at the time, but it was not adequate to support the weight of a 4x5 view camera. I was fortunate my good friend Mark DeSoucy let me borrow his Tiltall tripod, not just for that workshop, but for many months. I believe, when I returned it to him, it was far worse for the wear, as I had immersed the tripod legs in salt water along the California coast a number of times – not realizing the damage this could do to the leg locking joints. That brings me to my current Tech Tip.

Over the years I have used a number of different tripod designs and brands. Based on Ansel's suggestion I purchased Quickset Husky aluminum as my first "professional" tripod. A few years later, based on Brett Weston's suggestion (and his generosity) I used a Reis wooden tripod. In 1983 I purchased my first Gitzo tripod. The latest carbon fiber Gitzo tripods are a far cry from the device I bought thirty-two years ago. Not only are they much stronger and lighter, but the design has evolved and improved in countless important ways.

Though today's Gitzo tripods have features that help protect them from foolish and exuberant tripod users like myself in salt water, sand, and silt, as well as quicksand (yes I've sunk myself and my Gitzo in quicksand in the Southwest!). Here is a suggestion based on what we have seen when teaching workshops that people seldom seem to think about.

Anne and I ALWAYS extend the bottom section of our tripod legs 4 to 6 inches to avoid putting the finely machined leg locking mechanism into an environment that could compromise their proper operation and longevity. We realize that extending this smaller diameter leg might compromise the stability of the tripod ever so slightly, but in our experience we have never found there to be any degradation in the stability of the tripod. If we are along the coast or in a lot of "muck" we extend the leg even further. If you have a wooden tripod you need not worry about this at all, and the type of tripods that have levers rather than screw-based locking mechanisms, probably don't require as much concern, but the more careful you are with your gear, the longer it will last.


Tripod Leg in Water

Lower tripd leg extended in water


If by chance you do end up immersing your screw-type locking mechanism into salt water, mud, sand, grit, etc., I would recommend cleaning and lubricating the mechanism at the earliest possibility. I use Super Lube synthetic grease for lubrication. I have used this product for many years and never regretted it. I recommend it over any type of silicone-based lubricant, which when it dries out can actually become abrasive and be harmful to precision-machined aluminum parts. Super Lube is essentially a very high quality synthetic petroleum jelly. I have never had this excellent lubricant cause any problems whatsoever.

It's worth mentioning here to save the center column (if you use one) for use only when it's needed to fine tune the camera height. Many times on workshops we encounter participants that have their legs barely extended, but the center column is fully extended. While this may be convenient and fast, it definitely will compromised the stability of the tripod, and it also makes it MUCH more likely for the camera to topple over if caught by a gust of wind. Never, never, never leave a camera unattended on a tripod for an extended period of time unless it is weighted or is somehow attached to a stable object. I have seen too many cameras go "flying" on workshops over the past four decades resulting in catastrophic consequences.

While tripods are no fun to haul around, I have found, in addition to providing a steady support for our cameras (we also use ours fully extended to support our LED camping lantern for campsite dining!), the legs can be useful to carry along a small supply of tape that comes in handy from time to time when making photographs. Anne and I each keep a few wraps of black "gaffers" tape, as well as 3M Scotch #235 Black Photographic Tape on a tripod leg.


.Tripod Leg with Tape

Tripod leg with gaffers' tape and 3M #235 Black Photographic Tape

The gaffers tape can be used to rig a piece of black plastic as an impromptu lens shade, as well as for covering up a hole in a wall (something we both did during our recent Photographic trip to the Eastern Sierra), and a multitude of other purposes. The 3M Black photographic tape is probably something most useful for view camera photographers, as it can be used for a field repair if the bellows of the camera is somehow punctured, and the light-tight integrity is compromised. Years ago I noticed a small pinhole inside my camera bellows while on a multi-day San Juan River rafting trip Fortunately I had some 3M Black Photographic Tape on my tripod leg and quickly did a field repair. I carefully trimmed and radiused the corners of the tape, which I applied on both the outside and inside of the bellows. The tape is still there after more than twenty years, and is still light tight. It has never been replaced!

Having some tape wrapped on your tripod legs does not add any appreciable weight or bulk, but it sure comes in handy just when you need it.





Bumper Sticker Wisdom...

"Don't believe everything you think."

Also the title of a book by Thomas Kida,
as well as a song by Lee Brice.




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John Sexton
Post Office Box 2338
Carmel Valley, CA 93924
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Copyright © 2015

John Sexton. All rights reserved.

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