Here’s a paradox for you: When I go out to photograph nature, landscape and this gorgeous world of ours – I luxuriate in the experience. Every blessed second of it. I feel like I’m standing in the heart of creation, where I can mostly clearly hear the voice of the Divine.
OK, I know you know where air and earth meet. But what I’m talking about is where aerial and terrestrial photography meet and have a common ground. Where they support each other. Serve one another. Yeah, I’m fancy that way. Continue reading “Where Air & Earth Meet”→
I thought I’d keep it simple today. Simplicity is goooood. Simple for me today is posting one of my new pieces, taken a couple of weeks ago as the waves of thunderstorms we’ve been having lately first began streaming through. They’re the ones that make for BOOMING sunsets… and they only happen in just this way once a year. It’s been a particularly awesome season so far (it’s been RAINING! Yay!)… some say it’s because of El Niño and that we’re in for a record-breaking winter. True or not true? I dunno. But it makes me want to start battening down the hatches NOW!
This moment happened at Donner Summit in Truckee, California. It sums up how much I love it here… the expansive, soaring, so-glorious-it-makes-your-heart-FULL feeling I get whenever I’m home in the mountains. A single frame just wasn’t going to scoop it all up… so I created a pano image with right around 8 frames of super boomin’ sunsetty goodness. Even at that, there alot was left over. Hey, I’m not that greedy! Hope you enjoy…
16-55 f/2.8 lens.
Yes! You can buy this print… just click on it to learn more.
I’m going to talk a little gear today. Those of you who know me know I usually avoid this topic. Gear conversations in other places online typically devolve into name calling with a giant gooey dollop of puffy false bravado and well… snore. We don’t do that here. Thank you for that!
I’ve been engaging is some gearspeak over the past couple of months, on account of my switch from DSLR to Fuji mirrorless. It’s been a really personal journey and your response to it has been awesome. 😀 Think of this as part of that mindstream.
As you may know, after Fuji-cizing in Paris, the next big question on my mind was whether these cameras would make my heart go pitter-patter in landscape. Well, maybe I’ve just got palpitations, but I gotta say… YES! My jaw is still dropping at these images! And can I just say… lightweight is goooooood. I haven’t been thrown down to the ground from the weight of my pack in weeks!! I almost miss it. KIDDING!!
Since being home, we’ve had the weather conditions that have had me out workin’ it… so my test results are pouring in. Here’s one… but believe me, more are coming!
Creative photo processing isn’t for sissies. Especially if you share images publicly. There’s always bound to be someone who says something like… “Oh Karen” (fill in your own name for full effect)… “you’re so beautiful, your photos are so beautiful, but you do too much. You should try to be more natural. Also, try cropping to the golden third, it would be better balanced” (fill in many other trivial, uninvited bits of advice here for full effect.) Whatever. You know.
This is alot like walking down the street in a big city, with your tough girl face on (I always think of it as “my neutral face”… but have been informed it’s actually kinda scary. Which is OK with me, when strolling in an unfamiliar big city with expensive camera gear in my hands)… and having some dude slow down and leeringly say “Hey sweetheart, why the big frown? C’mon, lemme see you smile. Hey baby… ” as they sort of lunge toward you.
In my superhero imagination, this doesn’t end well for the poor sod. A few cool, swishy sound effects, punches and grunts, action too quick to catch on-camera and the poor sod is lying there unconscious with little cartoon tweety birds chirping over his head. My inner superhero is striding down the street, dusting off her hands, smiling that she was able to save the day. Yet again.
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.
It’s been busy, brain-bendy and learning curvy lately and I still have more to do! It is, after all, a long and thrill-packed road we’re navigating. But here, it’s late afternoon on a Friday and I’m drifting toward a weekend state of mind.
I thought a new image from a peaceful sunrise morning at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley, California fit the mood perfectly. The air was chilly, but the colors were warm. The quiet: soothing to the bone. Though not typically a sunrise person… I actually got up at 3am to make the hour and half drive to be at this spot in time for the glorious rise of the sun. It was worth it.
It brought forth questions about how to tell a unique story of a monumental spot visited by many. Well, all I know how to do is shoot with my heart. With my soul. With all the light and thoughts and vision that moments such as this ignite in me. I close my eyes and let the grandness of it all fill me up. I don’t chase it. That never works. You have to use soft eyes. Sink in, let the moment wrap its arms around you until you nearly weep. Only then can you capture what you see… from what you feel.
So I say, go ahead; put on some music you love, raise a glass of your favorite refreshment… and let’s toast to our amazing journey on this incredible spinning little orb we call home.
Ansel Adams is a legend. His explorations, both in photography and in wilderness, as well as his environmental work have informed all who came after. Wouldn’t it be something to have that kind of impact over time? Of course, you probably wouldn’t know it – because you’d be gone, but that’s beside the point.
I know for sure he influenced how I see light, how I consider composition… the tones I aim for in my black and white work… and my love of photographing the outdoors.
Recently, I was searching for quotes to go with a project I’m working on. In the process, I kept running across these really great ones from Ansel Adams. They didn’t work for the project – but I saved them anyway. I thought I’d share a crop of my fave “thoughts du Ansel”. You’ll notice I put a photo with each one – NOT because I’m comparing myself to the Master, nor imagining that I’m “all that”.
It’s just that each of these are things that I do my my best to keep in mind, that actually inform my choices, that drive my own growth, that I have to remind myself of often, that make me smile or that I just think are cool. I imagine some variation of each of these in every image I create… and certainly did my best to do so in the ones I’m sharing here.
“Photography, as a powerful medium… offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution.” – Ansel Adams
I’m taking a deep breath. A really, really deep breath… because I’m going to talk about gear. Always dicey; it always incites such a ruckus, which is why I usually avoid it. Not to say I don’t have opinions! Mais non! I’m downright opinionATED, as anyone who knows me well can attest.
You may know I’m beginning a quest to find a light, mirrorless camera system that’ll lighten my gear load – but still allow me to create without compromise. I wrote a bit about it here and here. I knew this journey wouldn’t be easy – maybe not even possible! But I have to try. Today’s chapter: Sony & why it had to go back.
Carrying the weight of my gear is becoming an issue. My backpack full of my beloved Canon 6D’s and lenses has thrown me off-balance and taken me down a few times now. I don’t find that to be all that pleasant. Clambering over rocks, standing on ledges with 1000 ft drops and other landscape-y positions in which I find myself is becoming nerve-wracking. There are times I won’t even go for a shot I want simply because I’m scared that my pack with go all rogue and toss me over a cliff to an early death. That’s no good.
This was me, all clambered up in the giant granite boulders around Lake Tahoe. I had a smaller pack then and I had to be super careful… mine’s even heavier now!
I taught the hubs to photograph. It was a smart move. Really smart. Because not only do we get to go out and capture the world around us and marvel at how uniquely we each see the same moments… he also is really good at photographing people. At family and friends gatherings, Joe’s photos are always better than mine – and I mean by a long shot! What’s more, he took ALL the photos of me for this website. Very handy.
So one night in Santa Cruz, we headed out for some fresh air and a sunset on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific. This shot was taken with my Canon 6D as sunset was winding down, campfires on the beach were revving up and long exposures were fun because you didn’t need filters to stop down the camera anymore. I love juxtapositions like that…
If you’re here reading this, you’re doing it from our new hot bliggidy-blog home… on the website that’s taken about 9 months to create! (Yes, www.karenhutton.com) WooHOO!! New horizons, new light – and new place to play and create. Some cool new stuff is coming too, now that it has a home… we’re still building!
Let’s take a moment to breathe it all in… (OK, I’ll take a moment… because going live with this website has had me leaping around all crazy like a schoolgirl.) Ahhhhh…. (That’s me. Breathing.)
BTW… this is a brand new photo I’ve been saving for the new site to launch (it links to the newly revamped photo galleries). I love it. Every time I look at it, it just fills me with light, energy and wonder. That’s why I thought it would be the perfect one for the first post in our new world. 😀
New things are fun, aren’t they? New clothes, new ideas, new days… they make you feel reborn. Although it’s probably dorky to say that out loud. And yet… I just did.
Here’s a new photo. I took it last month, recently processed it. The light was just right to make this row of bright green pine trees look like a welcoming committee against their darker brethren scaling the mountain behind them. So I named this photo that: “Welcoming Committee”. ‘Cause that’s how I roll.
If you click on it, it’ll take you to yet ANOTHER new thing… my revamped photo site, which I’m still tweaking. This is so much fun… creating new stuff and sharing with you first!
When last we spoke, I sneak peeked VIDA. Still super stoked about that; should have more to report soon! But wait, there’s more…
I’ve got a few more projects brewing in various stages… but one of them IS ready to share with y’all. (I love telling you guys first!) This one’s just fun. Y’know, surprising. Delightful. It’s something I’ve been developing and using on my own photos. And I’m creating them with the awesome Tanya Wallis.
This “something” is in the textures/hues/overlays arena. Oh I know what you’re saying; jeez, there are TONS of those out there! Believe me, I know. Between Tanya and me, we’ve used quite a few of them. They’ve been cool, but more and more I’ve been craving something “extra” out of them. None were truly delivering the magic sauce just the way I wanted them to. It’s so subjective, I know. The thing was, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, yet I could see what I was after in my mind’s eye; which is like having an itch you can’t quite scratch. Maddening! So I decided to see if I could create my own. Enter Textures, Round One.
I asked Tanya her opinion on my first pass. She basically suggested (so kindly, yet in her typical pull-no-punches Aussie sort of way) that I take them further. Y’know, go more KHutt-style with ’em. Long story short, it was like being given the keys to the candy store! I went to town and painted it…well, a lot more colors than red! And y’know what? They started turning out some unexpected and pretty cool results.
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! Continue reading “Flash Cards & Art”→
Waterfalls always feel so cleansing, don’t they? The sound, the spray, the colors, the ions… all spell ‘reinvigorate’.
I always feel like art and photos can contain a ‘frequency’, just like sound does. Having worked with sound waves thousands of times over the years as a professional voice artist, I’ve thought a lot about this; the way feeling and emotion weave themselves indelibly & deeply into a wave form.
When I settle in with a favorite photo or other form of art, I can likewise feel the intent and purpose of the artist – hear their “voice” – just as clearly as if they’d spoken. Which they did! I love works with positive intent the most. The ones with intent to make you feel fuller, better, uplifted in some way. That’s the energy I want around me all the time. And now… more than ever… I believe it’s important to be purposeful in our lives about that.
Waterfalls feel cleansing. Soothing. Invigorating and peaceful all at the same time.
I love waterfalls, don’t you?
This one is Horsetail Falls in Oregaon. 2.5 second exposure. It felt REALLY good to be there… when I look at this, I can still feel it. Love that!
Earlier this autumn, the hubs and I took a week and bombed down to the Eastern Sierras. Mind you, we didn’t just randomly decide to pack up and go blasting off all willy-nilly, when it was convenient for us. My goodness no! Nature has the upper hand in this scenario. YOU wait for HER! You have to watch from afar… kind of like when you stalk something you REALLY want on eBay, then sign up for the “Watch list” so you know when it’s getting to be time to leap. But hey.. no bidding until the last second! God forbid you start a bidding war!
But I digress… how unusual. heh.
Your life is not your own during this time. You refresh websites like California Fall Color over ‘n over for news that the colors are ready to peak in the places you want to go. You research, snoop, wait, compare… and when conditions are juuuuuuust right.. BAM! You throw your gear in the car and bomb down U.S. Route 395 t’git summa that!
Moments like this one in McGee Canyon (and about a million other brilliantly colored ones) are the reward. It’s awwwwwesome.
Got anything you wait, plan, scheme and get super excited about? Tell me, tell me!
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!)
Not so long ago, the hubs and I stood here on the shore of Silver Lake in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains.
We took a week, got away from the hum of computers, emails and the madding crowd.
Went into nature.
Got up at 5am and beat the sun to the day. More than once.
Hoped for golds, pinks, purples and brilliance, but got mist. Magic, flirtatious mist though… so all was well.
Had breakfast at the oldest trout fishing retreat in the Eastern Sierras. Last seats, end of the counter. People watched.
Came home. (Reluctantly)
Y’know what I like about this photo? The colors. The light. The tree. The clouds (lerrrrrv the clouds!). The way it looks like the tree is dreaming those clouds out of its dreamy little noggin. That it’s vertical. Just some stuff I like about it. It’s not a million dollar print, but it’s a cool little photo, IMHO. It was taken in Croton-on-Hudson, New York (literally ON the Hudson!) a couple of weeks ago.
"Love your blog. I stop by for the photography, I linger for the philosophy."
Kelley Morgan, Portland OR
"A beautiful mind will produce beautiful results. And to say the least, yours is a beautiful mind! Thank you for your wisdom and your inner "speak," as they both produce true art from the heart …"
Joe Hudspeth, Prineville OR
"Thank you Karen. A wonderful story but only the tip of the iceberg, the bigger part below the water is all the thousands of photographers you have inspired to chart their own journey, I know as I am one of them."
"Karen, thank you for the wonderful two day post. Your insights are truly thought provoking. I have never been a teacher, nor will I ever be, but to see someone see the light is a wonderful moment. Thanks again."
"As usual, another terrific story. I’m glad I found you but I have to be honest. I didn’t find you on Google + but did on Scott Kelby’s “The Grid”. Thanks for the inspiration in both images and by the pen/keyboard."
"Gads-what a girl! Thanks for the story, it is beautiful."
"Awesome story Karen — I loved reading about your life transformed. Of course I loved the photography theme and the geek in me is forever curious about the power of tech and the power of social platforms. But … for me it is the arc of lives transformed that inspires. Thank you so much for sharing. See you on G+ and in the Arcanum!"