Small Men in Armor

The Armory at the Castle

The Castello di Amorosa armory – like the rest of the Castle – feels completely authentic. I always stare at medieval armor – even in Europe – because I can simply never believe that those fierce, iron-clad warriors of the middle ages were so small! Seriously… I have yet to see a suit of armor that looks like it would fit a typical 20th century man. I mean, they had such skinny legs!

How did they ride horses? Swing those broadswords? Go to the bathroom?

More importantly… how did it smell in there? :O

Yes, these are just a few of my musings whenever I visit an armory… it’s a world so foreign from my own.
It was no different the day we had the chance to photograph in this one at The Castle.

KnightLight
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Shooting in the Cellar

Castello di Amorosa, Redux

I had an opportunity to revisit Castello di Amorosa in the Napa Valley recently. WooHoo! This time I got to bring my husband Joe along. He’d heard all the stories from my previous visits, watched the episodes of The Chat with Dario Sattui (who created and owns The Castle), photographer Annette Biggers and actress Jennifer Freeman… seen all the photos… and his curiosity was right and duly peaked.

This time, though, we got to visit some new areas I’d never seen before!

BarrelingDownUnder
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Using a Gradient Fill Layer To Alter Color, Tone or Mood

The Courtyard at Castello di Amorosa

You can use them boldly or subtly, but the using a Gradient Fill Layer in Photoshop (I use CC) is a great tool for finishing touches on a photo. I’ll give you an example of subtle use from a photo I processed recently.

We visited Castello di Amorosa last fall for a photo shoot. A bunch of great images and 3 episodes of The Chat (owner Dario Sattui, photographer Annette Biggers, model Jennifer Freeman) came from that fabulous 2 day visit. I’m still smiling!

As our final evening was winding down, after a lovely glass of wine and noshes (The Castle is a fabulous winery), we wandering back toward our cars. The evening light was gorgeous… and the lights of the castle were on. Of COURSE, we had to shoot just a little bit more! This was a fun one of the courtyard… which I took with everyone tapping their toes, eager to drive down the valley for dinner. I could’ve stayed all night!


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The Chat with Karen Hutton: Jennifer Freeman

This week’s guest is the lovely Jennifer Freeman.

I only met her for the first time when we all converged upon Castello di Amorosa with my pal Annette Biggers for a photo shoot. Jennifer and her daughter Bella were the focus of the weekend; they had a story to tell and they did it beautifully.

Jennifer started her acting career at 9 years of age. She starred in My Wife and Kids with Damon Wayans… and growing up, appeared in feature films like You Got Served Johnson Family Vacation and Mercy Street as well as guest appearances on TV shows like 7th Heaven, Switched, One on One and The OC.

But now, Jennifer has begun a new chapter of her life and career as a single mom, calling the shots in her acting career and being a voice for young women who also have big dreams and aspirations. She’s so young herself; but she knows what she wants her life and work to stand for, both for herself and her daughter.

BTW, we almost didn’t have this Chat! Through Annette, Jennifer communicated the fact that “Interviews make me so nervous!” I completely understood – and was game if she wanted to do it, but totally fine if she opted out. I’m so grateful she dove in, because we had a great time. And now YOU get to hear how she keeps her mind right amidst all the chaos of Hollywood, her belief in the importance of empowering girls and young women to follow their dreams, the shift she’s experienced since stepping back into the acting world after a break to discover more of life – and see some beautiful images from the photo shoot.

I’m delighted for the opportunity to present Jennifer Freeman…

The Incomparable Annette Biggers

My recent Chat with Annette Biggers was so much fun – and so enlightening too! Lots of good stuff to think about and feel into to start the new year.

Here’s a quick snippet with just one of them. It’s where Annette talks about why she’s passionate about her fairy tale photo shoots – and why she thinks she’s seen so much transformation happen as a result of them:

In the beginning of the full episode she shares one of her favorite quotes; “It’s more tragic to be alive and not know why – than to be dead and not know life.” I love that Annette truly walks her talk… and lives life fully with her heart wide open. It’s amazing to be around people like that! They just lift you up.

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THE CHAT with Karen Hutton: Annette Biggers!

Photographer, artist and humanitarian and my friend Annette Biggers is my guest on this fabulous episode.
Annette was my #1 choice for a holiday episode, because I can think of no more inspiring person to share with you as we wrap up one year and envision our next, sparkling new one!

Annette and I met up on a 2-day fairy tale photo shoot at Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, California and sat down in the Great Hall for our Chat. There could be no better place to talk about the transformational power behind her famed fairy tale photo shoots, the power of prophetic words and how they saved a nation, the role she believes artists play in culture, how she sees her work as prophetic art, her orphanage in Uganda and the importance of believing in yourself.

Every time I talk to Annette I walk away inspired like crazy! This was no exception… except that this time I get to share it with you.
We’d actually been trying to do this episode for MONTHS! Originally, I’d planned on doing The Chat as a Google+ OnAir Hangout series. But once I got a taste of having them on-location it was so awesome, there was no looking back!

Annette was part of my original group of scheduled guests… but every single time we’d try to connect via Hangout to do our episode, there’d be some problem. Computer, connection, internet, you name it – something always glitched and hamstrung our attempts. Looking back, think it was because if we were going to talk about such royally inspiring and uplifting things, THIS Chat just HAD to be done in a castle! Hahaha!! It was entirely worth the wait!

Big, huge mega-thanks to Dave Bell for his help with cameras and audio. We did 3 Chats that day and it took two sets of brains and hands. Dave was – as always – totally awesome!


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New Zealand and The Chat

New Image: Milford Sound

Today I’m in the mood to share a couple of things: first, a brand new photo. It’s from my trip to New Zealand earlier this year for Trey Racliff’s New Zealand Adventure in which I co-taught. We visited Milford Sound, of course… got rained out one night, but woke up to a properly mystical morning!

MilfordStrand

The Chat with Annette Biggers: Sneak Peak!

Then… this coming Monday is an all new episode of The Chat! They just keep getting better and better… and more and more fun. This one was no exception… but add “inspiring as all get-out” to the mix. heh. My guest is photographer Annette Biggers… who is also an artist, humanitarian and Deep Thinker About Life.

In this clip, she talks about her belief that “artists are the creators or life in culture”… and explains what she means by that. You might find yourself agreeing with her! It was certainly true in the Renaissance… and I think its as true now as it ever was then! As artists, I personally think we need to consider carefully what we’re putting out there.

Tune in on Monday for the full episode!!

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 CHAT with Karen Hutton: Dario Sattui!

Meeting Dario

I literally only met him minutes before this Chat… but Dario Sattui may well be the most inspiring person I’ve met all year!

Dario is the great-grandson of Vittori Sattui, founder of V. Sattui Vineyards in the Napa Valley. He may have learned the vintner business from family… but his love of Medieval architecture is all his own!

Castello di Amorosa is the culmination of these two great loves…
One part 13th century Tuscan castle, one part world class winery.
ALL parts passion and holding to your vision!

Photography brought me to Castello di Amorosa… I was there with my friend Annette Biggers for one of her fantastic fairy tale photo shoots. We spent 2 days at the castle. The entire time, I was amazed by the love, the attention to detail, the extreme vision that went into this place. It made me so curious to know the person behind it all! I hadn’t even finished setting up for my Chats with Annette and Jennifer (MUCH more than a model!)… when in walked Dario. I scrambled to get set up enough to record him, because I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity!

Dario is an artist, a dreamer, a vintner, a visionary… but he believes in living those dreams and fulfilling them as big and boldly as you possibly can. The Castle is visual proof that this is possible… my Chat with Dario makes it perfectly clear why he was able to pull it of.

He’s is easily one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met. The story of the 30+ years that it took to build the Castle is the thing legends are made of.

And yes, I’d  only met him minutes before this interview… but I just knew he had Important Things to share with us from his amazing life journey.

And boy, was I right!!! 😀

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Castello Di Amorosa & THE CHAT

The Castle

I visited Castello di Amorosa in the Napa Valley for the first time recently. I went to hang with my great friend Annette Biggers – and to help out on one of her fantastic fairy tale shoots. She’s done them at the castle before, so I’d heard a lot about the place. I couldn’t wait to see it! And yet… nothing prepared me for what I saw! My jaw about hit the floor when I walked in. This is basically the first thing you see when drive up. Y’know, just a basic Napa Valley winery. NOT!
Castle in gold. Its best color of all.
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