5 Lessons Learned From The Grace of Landscapes

Landscape photography at its finest is like being rocked gently in the cradle of creation. It’s spiritual for me. Some of my biggest, deepest, most defining moments have happened out there. I feel the best when I’m out there, resonating with eternal songs.

So I thought I’d share my top 5 of “lessons from landscapes”. Five is the number of Grace, which is at the end of the day, is what I experience every time I’m out there.

1. Radiate From The Center of Your Being 

Find your core truth, the one that lights you up on the inside. Discover the source of All That Is and where it lives inside of you. Open your inner ears and listen to it. Focus on it. Then radiate its light into your world. It’s how we were designed to operate.

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Soaking in a Sunset – with VIDA

I met with VIDA yesterday. It was A-MAZ-ING!!! (I shared what I’m working on with them in this recent post.)

I’ll have photos and video soon… cause OF COURSE I want to keep y’all in the loop. I got to see sample pieces with my images on them… they’re gorrrrrgeous! Plus I got to visit with Umaimah Mendhro, who is like a sister-of-the-heart in her approach to art and life. I really believe in what she’s doing and the good that can be done in the world.  I walked away excited, humbled, inspired and completely stoked for all that’s coming next!

“VIDA” is such a wonderful name for a vibrant company that makes beautiful things and has a global consciousness.  In Spanish, vida means “life”; in Persian, it means “a rare find”; in Hebrew, it means “beloved”; and in Sanskrit, it means “wisdom.” All of these – and more – are at play and about to unfold in touchable, wearable, purchasable form in the KHutt world. It’s a new beginning… and a continuation of a life journey!

I though a moment by the water with a beautiful sunset might be a way to soak it all in…

TikiSunsetOverThePier

Flash Cards & Art

That Oh-So Wearable Feeling

Y’know that moment where you finally get a glimpse of something you’ve been after, and it kinda makes you gasp from the power of its revelation? Maybe it’s the answer to a deep question that has plagued you since you were 12, or blessed clarity that suddenly appears in answer to “What should I be DOING with my life?”… or maybe it’s just something stupid simple like “What shoes should I wear with this outfit that don’t hurt my feet?” Hey, it can be anything! But I’m talking about that second when the fog just starts to lift and what’s behind Door #1 shows itself for the first time, giving you just a taste of awesomeness yet to come. When I walked about the corner and saw this mountain framed with a flaming blaze of glory… I gasped like that. And of course, had to photograph it. Then I wanted to wear it – forever! GlimpseOfGlory Continue reading “Flash Cards & Art”

The Landscape of Life

Me Loves Options

Sometimes I don’t know if I love black and white or color better. Or… big, open space epic photographs or macro. Or… chocolate or really ripe raspberries.
Then I retrieve my senses and remember that I don’t have to choose! In this lifetime, on this planet – we get options and choices. I treasure that to my very core.

(SIDEBAR: I created this one in Macphun Software’s Tonality Pro. I love how fast it is – and how you can bring back color selectively like here, or split tone in the blink of an eye. Should I tell you that all of Macphun’s software is 40% off until Nov. 29? I think it’s fair… cause maybe you love a discount as much as I do and want the option to git one!)

BlueBoatWhiteSand

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Summer, Clouds & New Collections!

But First, A Question…

Where DID the term “banner year” come from, anyway?
We all know what it means, the dictionary defines it as if it has always been… but anybody know where it actually came from? I was just wondering. But I digress (and I haven’t even started!)

It’s been one (a banner year, that is) for skies and sunsets this summer up in my neck of the woods. Lots of thunderstorms – which means lots of awesome sunsets and amazing colors/designs in the sky. I never get tired of looking at them!

Coming This Fall
(sneak peak, only for us guys right now)

This ties in nicely to one of my projects for my new website under construction… cloud packs. “The Heavenly Cloud Collection” to be exact. I’m making packs of cloud images for use as background, sky replacement in composite or design work, which will sell on my site. When I first started working in composites and textures, I looked high and low for good skies. They were not to be found, the little scamps – so I decided to make my own!

Now I’ve got over 3000 images! Some are compositional variations, but even at that there’s a lot. And this year being what it’s been, the collection is growing! So I decided to pack them up and make them available in what will be my new store! I’m just now culling, gathering, prepping (cleanup, sizing – but no processing.) and generally making the groups. Then I’ll do some videos to share ideas on how to use them. Fun! That’ll be coming in November, shortly after the site launches.

That’s just a little sneak peak I’m only sharing on my blog right now… and is one of many projects I’m working on as we speak! So much more to come. 😀

In the meantime… enjoy an evening from a couple of weeks ago. I sure did!

You'reHotAndCold

The Lay of The Land

What’s Been Going On Behind the Curtain?

I’ve been nose to the grindstone. Behind closed doors. Below the radar. “Leave a message at the beep” now for weeks. I might even say for months!
So, I thought perhaps I’d take a moment to have a gander of the lay of the land looking forward… and share it with you. Because fun stuff is coming up!

An ALL NEW Episode of  The Chat This Week!!

FIRST up this week is my first completed episode of “The Chat” in about 2 months!! Yes, on Wednesday it will be released to the world. Woot!
The pace of said past few months has been so intense I haven’t had time to edit a single episode, which has pained me to no end. Well, truthfully I had to finally let GO of the pain, because it wasn’t doing me – or you – any good. But it’s unintended hiatus will be over on Wednesday with a brand new episode. Chris MacAskill, President of SmugMug will be my guest. And LORDY what an amazing life he’s had! In fact, we shot the main episode AND 2 shorter segments as “extras”, which I’ll show as exclusives right here. It’s all fantastic!

But wait, there’s more! Like who my upcoming guests on The Chat are, a new website on the way, TWiP Pro, Photo+ Expo, a big NYC photo walk, new works coming up and more!
First, however… a word from our Mother Nature in New Zealand:

Continue reading “The Lay of The Land”

Lake Crescent Shorelight

Leaving Washington

The day we left the Olympic Peninsula was bittersweet. While my pal Laurie Rubin and I had had a magnificent week and were so grateful for the experience – we were also loathe to leave!

Driving by Lake Crescent for the 2nd time, we were treated to some really fun conditions. The first time by was on our way out to the coast. We spent a night at Lake Crescent Lodge. Now, THAT’S something I highly recommend, if you ever get the chance! Then, it was sunny and warm. This time… rain was due later that day and the skies were covered in clouds. They were beautiful though… and shafts of light would spear through now and again, lighting up the new springtime growth in a verdant green glow. I wanted to stop every time that happened!

As it was, it was the perfect combination of a fabulous farewell… and a pinkie promise to visit again!

At Lake Crescent, Washington... the light likes to play amongst the treetops. So do I... :D
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Portrait of a Lady… er, Lake

Whenever I post a photo of Lake Tahoe on one my social streams, there’s this one fella who always pipes up, “You sure like to photograph that lake!”
Now I ask you… wouldn’t you, if this were 30 minutes from your home? I mean, seriously!

I consider myself blessed. When I’m home, I actually DO go lots of other places around Tahoe area to shoot… but there’s just something so otherworldly and awesome about catching Lady Tahoe herself bejeweled in her aquamarine finest.

Aquamarine
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Take a Detour

Ruts… Bleh!

Ever been stuck in a rut? I sure have! They often feel safe, known, comfortable… and you don’t always feel “stuck” in them! Sometimes it can be just smooth ‘n nice, which ain’t all bad sometimes.

I always know I’m hovering near rut-dom when I feel a little bored by my own self. In photography, it might feel like I can’t find anything original in anything I see, maybe I’m a little bored with my photo processing, maybe it’s just the itch to see and do something different(ly).

Rut-B-Gone!

In any case – I HAD a case of “the ruts” recently. When it happens, sometimes I’ll just step awaaaaayyy from the camera. Go out and enjoy life a little, without feeling like I have to find ART in every moment. Other times, I have an itch to photograph – but I just don’t want to look at another tree, ocean, beautiful sunset. Funny, huh? It doesn’t usually last too long AS LONG AS I take a detour from the norm to cleanse my palette.

Here are 4 things I do to banish The Rut:

 

GildedPast
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The Age of Panoramas

It’s So Simple On a Mobile Phone Nowadays

Panoramas photos are becoming all the rage now. On many mobile devices, you just hold up the phone and follow its direction to create them. They’re getting better all the time! However, at 72 ppi – it’ll look great on your computer monitor – but you won’t be printing a big one for your entryway anytime soon. For a mondo printable panorama, you really need to use a big-girl/boy camera.

A Little Trickier With a DSLR

With a DSLR, it’s not quite as simple as with your camera phone. You have to take impeccably framed multiple image, then “stitch” them together later in Photoshop using Photo Merge (or some software that specializes in panoramas), then clean up any aberrations, balance any lighting variations – and process the photo (if you so choose). It’s quite a process! You’re talking hours. Many photographers do them with 10, 20 or even more images – some of those guys are at it for days.  I tried doing couple of panoramas a few years back… they didn’t turn out well at all. They actually stunk quite badly. But this day I was in the mood to give it a shot. Well, four shots. That was about all I was willing to commit to, just in case it blew. Keep it simple!

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Like Peppers in a Pod

I’ll Take Mine With a Splash, Please!

I always love a scene that is essentially monochromatic with a splash of color. The day in Queenstown, New Zealand was all that and more! It had been raining a ton – with more due that day. New Zealand is already shades of blue… so this day it was shades of slate blue. Except for the boats on the shore, which made me think of my two favorite kinds of peppers. Hello, free association!

I loved that they could just leave them chained up to a tree and know they were safe. Unlike here in the states, where you’d have to take them home and store them in a locked, secure building with a security code and a guard to have any hope at all of seeing them the next day. I exaggerate. A little. Sigh.

In any case… that pop of color just made it for me!

Peppers in a PodQueenstown, New ZealandIn a tasty splash of color - just like my two favorite kinds of peppers.

One Night in Death Valley

My Recent Adventure

I just returned from an awesome flying adventure with the equally awesome Jessica Ambats. Naturally, it was a blast. But also a revelation! I’m going to do a major post about the trip… but wanted to share this simple image from an evening just a few nights ago in Death Valley. I loved the color block effect and the crisp lines of the moon that night.

DesertPeace
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The Starlight Express: A Year to The Day

The Starlight Express

As it prepared for its final leap toward home, a few loose star patterns spilled to the ground.
Come spring, the townspeople would marvel at the new growth there; so lush, so vibrant in just this one spot.

The train began to rev; in a few short moments it would vanish, as if into thin air. So it goes when powered by starlight.

And so the story goes.
This image took a year to create. Most of that time it hung out in the background as a nagging feeling that I could never quite forget.

TheStarlightExpress
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The Ice Tunnel

She stopped at the entrance and grimaced. Ice. Her least favorite element. She took a deep breath and prepared to kick her way in. Wouldn’t be the first time.

No matter what the townsfolk blathered on about, she knew for a fact that she wasn’t a queen, an ancient kingdom did not await, the ice would not magically part to let her through – and elves, bells and everything nice were all just a fairy tale.

Now if she could only explain why she’d been hearing faint laughter and tinkling for the past half hour… and why the ice that was solid to the ground moments before was now inexplicably knee-high. And rising.

IceTunnel

I couldn’t resist. heehee.

Perfectionism, Art and Life

Perfectionism and Rejection

Wow, I just named this post in a way loftier manner than perhaps this photo warrants. Then again, it helps make my point. Which is…

“Perfectionism” is a slippery slope when it comes to both Art… and Life.
Dictionary dot come defines perfectionism this way: “a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.”

My perfectionism rejected this photo for about 6 months.
It’s also rejected any number of impulses, ideas, experiences, personal self worth more times than I can count.
Good thing I’ve got longevity in my family! I’m quite determined to outlive and give the ultimate boot to the demon Perfectionism!

SunsetOverYonder
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Making Post-Processing Decisions

Decisions, Decisions

I love post-processing photos. Since my approach to photography means creating my own vision or “take” on what I see, I have no problem processing a photo in dramatic directions and find it all incredibly satisfying. I was raised in an artistic family, so I guess that just got baked into me. By the same token, I was trained classically in photography, revere Nature and have learned that sometimes Nature does all the work for you. When that happens, you really shouldn’t mess with perfection.

Such was the case on this day:

Nature is such a drama queen sometimes.
Continue reading “Making Post-Processing Decisions”

Leave the Light On

Envisioning a New Year

I’m excited about 2014.
I also think words, numbers, the vision we hold, the thoughts we think, the attitude and stance we choose to take are ALL factors in the reality selection we experience. It’s certainly proven to be true for me.

So, this is interesting to think about as I look ahead. Let’s take couple of numbers. First, 2013. The significance of 13: Rebellion, Disintegration. Mmm-hmmm. Fits.

Then, 14. How ’bout some Deliverance or Salvation? Works for me! This is from a particular system of numbers I’ve found verrrrry interesting and useful over the years. And since I get to choose… I’ll take me some deliverance and salvation any day! I’ve officially woven this whole notion into “Karen’s Vision for the Coming Year” tapestry, BTW.
Just thought I’d share.

Now, this rather simple photo is like a snapshot for the Hero’s Story, along these very lines. You’ve got you Light Above All… your dragon chained to the wall, some cool implacable walls, the vastness of the sky and world outside, beckoning invitingly. It’s vertical, so the journey is tall and strong. The colors feel really clear and pure, like the best qualities of Our Hero.

But the main feature: The Light. Always The Light.

Just a little flash card for how I’m going to prioritize my world in the coming year. Just a little life interpretation, KHutt-style.

Grin.

The Bonsai Rock Mission

Avoiding Bonsai Rock: “all that” or merely insecure?

Bonsai Rock on Lake Tahoe, Nevada side is an icon. An endless stream of photographers has been to this spot to shoot this very rock it seems; its wee stunted pine trees doing their mightiest to grow out of a crack in the granite. Just do a Google image search for “Bonsai Rock Lake Tahoe” and watch an endless scroll of photos populate the page.

I have a strong streak of rebellion that resists shooting places like this that EVERYBODY seems to need to photograph.
Or perhaps it’s insecurity masquerading as a mock blasé attitude so I can pretend it doesn’t really matter.
I mean it DOESN’T really matter in the grand scheme of things… right?

Taking the Leap

And yet… when my good friend and über fabulous photographer and teacher Matt Kloskowski came out to teach a Lightroom workshop in Sacramento, he made an extra day to shoot at Tahoe. He called me up and said he wanted to do Bonsai Rock – and of course, I said “I’ve never shot it either!” Like it just sorta happened that I never shot that stupid rock… or had just been SOOOOO busy (and don’t forget ‘important’) that I never had time to make it out there. Nevermind that in almost 20 years of living in, I only just figured out where it is this year! Granted, I wasn’t actively doing the kind of photography I am now most of that time, so that’s my official excuse… but still.

Personally, I think Bonsai Rock is a better sunset spot than sunrise. So we hit it shortly before sundown.

Even granite boulders have families, right?I'm going to imagine it just that way.
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Sunset Day

Sunsets always make me think of a simple thing my mother used to say ALOT: “My cup runneth over.” She was blessed in life and she knew it. Perhaps you have to live through enough in life to really appreciate the depth of that sentiment. Apparently I’ve crossed that invisible line, because every day now, I truly do feel like my cup runneth right the heck over!

It seems sunsets resonate with a deeply sublime place in lots of other people too, because The Weather Channel is actually dedicating September 19th as “Sunset Day”! More about that in a sec (and the Hangout On Air I that went with it)… but first, just breathe with me:

CupRunnethOver Continue reading “Sunset Day”

The Power of Blue Hour

Blue Hour = Blue!

Blue hour is blue. Not kidding. Blue. Blue. Blue. Hence the name. If you haven’t even gotten out to photograph that special time of evening from shortly after the sun goes down till it’s actually dark – you should! It’s so interesting to see how your camera sees it too, which will probably be rather different than your eyeballs. My Canon 5DIII sees in that low light MUCH better than I do… so it makes it a fun surprise every time.

ThePowerOfBlueHour
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Joe's Peacock, Teamwork and the Gift of Mosquitos – Part 2

Welcome back! Yesterday I started the processing tale of this bird’s tail (hehheh)… if you haven’t seen that and want to catch up, it’s here.

So far, I liked the direction, but it still needed a bit more work. So I turned to onOne Software’s Focal Point 2 to show Joe a twist on the basic vignette. He already knew about the judicious use of vignetting… but hadn’t tried Focal Point. I figured this was a good time to introduce him to a new tool that he had in his arsenal. After showing him how the focus bug worked and all the adjustments you can make, we both decided that we liked how Big Bird was beginning to stand out from his surroundings without even cropping, just kind of emerging from the shadows. It’s a subtle change from the last photo… this one mostly just deepened the transition into darkness at the outer edges of the feathers. It made the break from the background softer and clearer at the same time.

Joe'sPeacock-FocalPoint Continue reading “Joe's Peacock, Teamwork and the Gift of Mosquitos – Part 2”