Changing Moods

Monochrome on the Brain

I’ve had monochrome on my mind lately. Not really sure why, I suppose it’s like anything else that floats through your muse’s consciousness for consideration.

I’ll be honest and say that I did shoot this auto bracketed, imagining it might end up as a color HDR image. I shot a whole series this day to great success that way. But I was struggling with it, since I didn’t like the way the colors looked, the textures responded… it was kind of strange, actually. And annoying, since I couldn’t seem to get fresh eyes on the situation. I loved the image, just not where it was going.

Then, since I just posted yesterday about playing with monochrome, I decided to find my fresh eyes with a black and white conversion. I was completely surprised by the result! In particular, I loved what the light did.

TheHush
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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!!

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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Shoot While You Can!!

This image looks so calm and serene, doesn’t it? Well I shot it at Donner Lake, California, which is in the Sierra Nevada Mountains – and it WAS serene – at that moment. And that’s my very short and pithy point today… if you go out seeking sunset on a sketchy weather day, shoot while you can! Especially if you’re ever in the mountains or anywhere that weather conditions are in “quick change mode”.

Twice
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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.
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I’ll Take Mine Inspired, Thanks.

Creating Our World

I have a deep belief… certainty, even… that we create our worlds with the power of our belief, faith, knowledge, wisdom, discernment, actions. I’m not here to debate whether or not you think that is true… I’m simply going to show you two photos. One represents my world when I still had doubt about what I just said. The second: well, perhaps you’ll say it’s the view through my very own rose colored glass. My mom used to be accused of wearing rose-colored glasses… but she didn’t care, she just went about her business of creating her world just the way she wanted it. Like the soul artist she was. She also laughed a lot more than other people did.

Doubt

So. Here’s a representation of a world-with-doubt:

TheDistantMountain-RAW
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A Grand Gift

As many definitions as there are for the word “GRAND”… none of them adequately sum up Zion National Park. We got squeezed out of our visit to Zion this year on account of the government shutdown. Idiots. But we drove through it on our way home.

This was simply taken at a pull off, shortly after exiting the tunnel entrance to the park. Storm was coming in, so the sky and light were doing fun things. I was feeling bummed that we hadn’t been able to stay… but then this happened. It was like a smile from above and a gift for the asking. And I did ask! It was one of those moments that reminded me that to ask, relax and quit trying so hard is a gift unto itself. Sometimes the results are even better than I imagined!

Grand

All Lined Up For Awesomeness

“All Lined Up For Awesomeness” seems like a silly title… but that IS what I thought when I looked at this cool cloud formation at sunset – then saw these pelicans. Later, when I looked at it on the computer… the pellykins (as I fondly refer to them) were also lined up with that one bit of the arc in the clouds. I hadn’t seen that bit so clearly when I was just concentrating on getting the shot. I love juxtapositions!

SunsetFormation

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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 Daily Grind

I named this photo “Daily Grind.” Mostly because it ended up looking the way coffee smells to me. Which is odd I know, but there it is.

“Daily grind” also made me think about the artists, photographers and business folks I’ve talked to so far on “The Chat” and some consistent traits I’m already noticing. They kind of redefine the entire daily grind notion.

My last guest, “Red” HongYi has a daily “grind” of doing her art/work every single day, PLUS traveling between her two countries to do them. But she loves it, is always upbeat about everything when I talk to her and is always has a sense of childlike excitement about what’s coming next. I don’t mean “childish”… but the ever-magical “childlike”. Big difference.

DailyGrind

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Painted Skies of the Divine

New Episode of “The Chat” on Monday!

A brand new episode of “The Chat with Karen Hutton” goes live tomorrow!! And here’s your third and final clue to my stunning guest’s identity:

Hint #3: When she began, her materials were found, but now she plays with her food.  PLUS… her name is a color. Wink.

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Epiphanies & Sunsets

Maya Angelou once described an epiphany as “… the occurrence when the mind, the body and the soul focus together and see an old thing in a new way.” That struck me when I read it, because that’s also a pretty good description of how sunsets make me feel. I don’t think I’m alone in this.

GerberaSet Continue reading “Painted Skies of the Divine”

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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Bride on the Rocks

I love this photo. I also loved unexpected giggles. This moment happened in Hawaii, when I had a day to wander about looking for awesome vistas. I certainly found one here, amongst these dramatic rocks that still seemed molten, with the rough blue-blue water hammering against its edges. Oh yeahhh baby, I could see it now as a wall mural or some ginormous digital billboard. Hey, a girl’s gotta dream!

I set up my tripod, prepared my shot, bracing myself in the strong winds that howled and rain drops that spit that day. With that, a wedding photographer and his client bride/groom trotted out onto the rocks, smack in the middle of my shot and set up for some dramatic snaps. Hahahah!!
BrideRocks Continue reading “Bride on the Rocks”

Point Lobos After All These Years

I’ve wanted to visit Point Lobos, California ever since I was in my 20’s, studying photography and falling in love with Edward Weston and, to some extent, Ansel Adam’s black and white masterpieces of this area from the 1930’s. Their moody, monochromatic images from this oasis have teased my mind for many, many years. I don’t know what took me so long… but recently I made the trek. What a world full of wonder! And color! I had to laugh at that last part. Because I realized that in all the years I’d longed to visit, I’d only ever thought of it in black and white. Which made this photo all the more perception-altering and sublime.

AquaForYou

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The Thing About HDR Photography

Mention “HDR”… then Duck!

Mere mention of “HDR Photography” can be very polarizing amongst photographers. There are thems that love it – and thems that think HDR is the end of civilization as we know it. Or something along those apocalyptic lines. I like shooting HDR (High Dynamic Range). It’s fun. I like color – and I like the option the see allllll the variances of color and light in a photo. Where a typical photo can handle 6 or so f-stops (levels) of light, a human eye can take in 12 to 14 levels of light. HDR lets you create a photograph that’s more in line with what your eye sees. And I love doing that.

PeachSorbet

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The Tutoko River Bridge

On the way to Milford Sound, you pass over a bridge spanning the Tutoko River. The views both up and down the river here are amazing! It’s actually a bridge-over-a-bridge… you can see the white railing of the old one over to the right of this photo. What was funny about taking pictures from there was that you had to stand on the old bridge. And it moved. Every. Time. Someone. Walked on it. With 20 of us, it became this ballet of… “STOP! annnnnnd hold that position. Wait for it… click-click-click (etc.)… Ok now you can move!” Rinse and repeat. It was pretty funny. But we all got our shots in a most cooperative fashion – and I think it actually bonded our group even more. Just another magical New Zealand moment!

TutokoRiverBridge

The Mists of Lady Bowen

Early morning. Milford Sound, New Zealand. Tide’s out. We’re standing way out on the rocks. We have to move fast, because the tide is about to start coming in and it doesn’t mess around. It’s not violent or anything, but if you’re like me, you’d just rather not swim back into shore with your gear.

LadyBowenHadAGreatFall

It’s tricky being in a stunningly gorgeous AND iconic place for the first time. You want to hold your breath in wonder, soak it all in for awhile. But you have to maximize the minutes you have out there, try to snag  photos that’ll give you chills when you get home and not shriek “Do over!!” when you’re 6000 miles away. Continue reading “The Mists of Lady Bowen”

Silky Water and HDR

I love silky water, but as a rule I don’t use filters. I do own a Lee Big Stopper (10-stop neutral density)… but I only break it out once in awhile for variety.
I don’t have anything against filters. Alot of my friends create astounding images with them. But it boils down to personal preference. I just don’t like fussing about with gear. It makes me feel impatient and anxious, then just plain irritated. I DO like to set up quickly, go into falling leaf mode, take photographs, move about and be one with nature.

RushingHomeToYou

Consequently, HDR (high dynamic range) photography is a gift from god for me. Continue reading “Silky Water and HDR”

Photography: Got Signature?

I get asked about my photo processing alot. It’s a challenging question. For me, processing a photo starts before I even press the shutter.  I take a picture when it tells a story, moves me in some specific way, sings to me (really!) – all of which ends up as this fluttery feeling in my stomach that tells me “that’s the shot”.  I see it as all part of my personal point of view in life, or “signature”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked through the viewfinder and thought… that’s a lovely picture, but it’s not talking to me. Meh. And I skip it. Because I know that when I see it later on my computer screen, my soul will heave a big sigh and say “Really? REALLY? That’s the best you could do?” And I’ll feel bad that I disappointed it. I hate disappointing my soul and do my best to avoid that at all times.

LikeWakingUp

So, I could tell you about my adjustment layers, my blending modes, my sliders and which plugins I used, yada yada. But  I still wouldn’t have answered your question. Which REALLY is… Continue reading “Photography: Got Signature?”