Photography Is In My Blood

I ended last year and started this one thinking about how much photography is embedded in who I am. It doesn’t define me, but it’s definitely woven deeply in my soul. It’s how I see and relate to everything; from the most poignant & breathtaking moments, to awe-inspiring, mind-expanding flashes. Photos are like flash cards to the past that have recorded life-changing milli-seconds that I want to last forever. Continue reading “Photography Is In My Blood”

Free Stuff, Oh How I Love Thee!

This summer, I feel like the 4x Prize & Giveaway Queen. Hehheh. And because hosting, supporting, being part of awesome giveaways is a HECK of alot of fun, I decided I needed a superhero name.

Maybe… Hope Summers? Light Lass? Longshot? Juggernaut? I usually make up my own superhero names, but found these on this page, which claims to a “List of all superheroes and villains”… but I know that’s not true, because two of my faves from the X-Men series; Rogue and Storm are missing. Annnnd I digress. Per usual 😉

Be that as it may, today I’m laying all 4 chances to win a slice ‘o awesomeness at your feet. I was going to call each one of these out in separate post… but then I started to lose track, so decided to go big or go home and post ’em all today! Here we go… Continue reading “Free Stuff, Oh How I Love Thee!”

The Sony Mirrorless Chapter… For Now!

Where Angels Fear to Tread

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!KarenOnTheRocks

Continue reading “The Sony Mirrorless Chapter… For Now!”

The Sony Marriage Is Off

The (Not Switching to) Sony Update

Well then. When last we spoke, I was doing it. Moving from Canon. Going to Sony. Had it all figured out.

Now: I don’t have it all figured out at all – and I’m NOT switching to Sony. Dealing with the surprise of my own conclusion, after a test run with the A7ii, 24-70 and 70-200.
Instead, I’m digging in. Debunking mis-information. Embarking on a mission to find out what’s REALLY going to float my boat. Trying Fuji and Panasonic. Learning some science.

This is going to be a VERRRRRY interesting journey. I’m planning to blog about the whole thing as I work my way through this. Because if I find this whole camera selection challenging – there must be a few of you who do too! And I don’t think some of the right questions are being asked.

So here we go. Canon to mirrorless, but how? Who? Why? Which? What? That’s what I’m going to work out, starting now. Are you in? I am!

In the meantime, enjoy some iPhone 6+ photos.
I took these the other day when I was boycotting cameras. I was SO over this whole thing. I was bummed, disappointed, annoyed… and just wanted to take pictures.

So I took my mobile phone out and frankly, had a blast.
(Santa Cruz, California)

Stay tuned… 😉

Petalicious

Continue reading “The Sony Marriage Is Off”

Trading Fire, Trading Cameras

Trading One Kind of Fire (and Camera) For Another

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…

Trading the radiance of one sort of firefor the warm glow of another...

 

Continue reading “Trading Fire, Trading Cameras”

Canon to Sony – Here Goes!

Canon to Sony- It Begins

I’ve been a Canon shooter for the past several years. But in November 2013, I went to Nashville along with a bunch of other bloggers, photographers and journalists to try the brand new, unreleased (at that time) Sony A7r, A7 and RX10. In fact, I wrote a blog piece for Stuck in Customs about the whole thing. I knew then I would go mirrorless… and if Sony kept on breaking ground, that would be the camera for me.

I also knew I needed to wait for lenses. They didn’t have the ideal landscape lenses for E-mount cameras… and the adapters were a bit clunky and slow then.

Cut to now. I’m still a Canon shooter… and faller. My pack is heavy. Also big. When it and gravity collude, the thing has a mind of its own. Periodically, it takes me down. As in… BAM!!… to the ground. It’s like practicing martial arts with a really good opponent. Mostly I win… but occasionally when I’m not on my game I’m thrown to the mat.

As a landscape photographer, I venture out onto questionable footing – often. And with a big weight on my back, my balance is sometimes sketchy. While I have really good balance and agility (I WAS an athlete a good part of my life – but never with a pack on my back!) I’m getting tired of being on the teeter end of the totter. Know what I’m sayin’?

Ah, Then The Lenses…

Sony’s lens selections – and adapters – have gotten better.
So have my ouchies from the LAST time I bit the dust.
I’m going Sony. I’ve started with an A7ii. Will go for an A7r or whatever’s next in that line. Now to figure out lenses.

Here’s one from the other night, handheld and taken with my old Sony 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 lens:

You truly are the light at my back,Protecting me from what I can't see,Illuminating the way ahead.
Continue reading “Canon to Sony – Here Goes!”

Behind-the-Scenes with Gordon Laing and The Chat

My recent episode of The Chat with Gordon Laing was such fun! If you haven’t seen it, check it out here.

The Three Muskateers

Like I said in the video, it took place in Nashville, TN during a Sony media event. We were there to experience the new mirrorless cameras – pre-production. A big honor! We were put up at the Hermitage Hotel, an totally awesome place with the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept not nearly long enough in! Yeahhh, it was a week of 3-4 hours per night and NOT because of partying! Long, travel-filled days and early starts, whew!

Gordon, Frederick Van Johnson and me were like the three musketeers:

FKG
Continue reading “Behind-the-Scenes with Gordon Laing and The Chat”

THE CHAT with Karen Hutton: Gordon Laing

CameraLabs.com & Extended Holidays

My good friend Gordon Laing can tell you a thing or a several thousand about cameras! His hugely popular website CameraLabs.com serves up a few million pages of thoroughly researched, highly detailed camera reviews and videos each day. His YouTube channel has experienced over 27 million views alone, due in no small part to Gordon’s thoroughly engaging personality and passion for cameras and photography.

I love hanging out with Gordon – and this was no exception! He and his family recently returned to England after an 18 month “extended holiday” abroad. It started as a short vacation, but when the time came to go home the Laings said, “Why?” and just kept on going! Haven’t YOU ever wanted to do that? Gordon’s business and the family’s love of travel and seeing other cultures made it all possible, but what’s it really like trying to work over the internet, travel and raise a family simultaneously?


Continue reading “THE CHAT with Karen Hutton: Gordon Laing”

THE CHAT: Frederick Van Johnson and Gordon Laing talk Sony!

Last week, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a big Sony DI event in Nashville, Tennessee. Amidst a group of other ‘influencers’ as they called our conglomerate group of about 40 photographers, press, bloggers and journalists, we tested the new line of mirrorless cameras and video gear. I focused on the A7, A7r and RX10 for my purposes, that of writing a featured blog post for Trey Ratcliff’s famed travel/photography blog Stuck in Customs.

The other Big Thing I wanted to do was an episode of THE CHAT with the ever-awesome Frederick Van Johnson and Gordon Laing. My original vision: a rapid-fire round table, Chat-style conversation about OUR first impressions of these impressive Sony cameras, shot on one of the new cameras. It would be tight, informative and fun.

What I didn’t count on what NO time to prepare and almost no time to shoot! Nor that the only place to shoot would be an incredible echoey (albeit lovely) room, that the air sound from the big storm outside would factor into every bit of audio we recorded, with or without lavalier mics and that it wouldn’t work out to use one of the new cameras (thus, shot this on Fred’s NEX-5r). But I knew I was dealing with pros (I call them my Wingmen 😀 ), so I knew if we just sat down and started, something fun would happen. And it did! Sometimes you just have to let go and jump…

Oh and ummm… outtakes at the very end. Silly, silly outtakes.

Sony A7, A7r, RX10 First Impressions

Recently, I was invited by Sony to go to Nashville as part of a group of journalists, photographers, press and bloggers to try their brand new gear. The ones I was most interested in were the mirrorless cameras: the A7, A7r and RX10. I wrote a full “First Impressions” blog that is posted on Trey Ratcliff’s Stuck in Customs, along with about a dozen photos from all three cameras and several different lenses. Exciting – because it’s rare that he has ever asked anyone to guest blog on SIC. I’m honored!

I’d never been to Nashville before. It is AWESOME!! I want to come back, because the whirlwind array of places Sony took us to shoot and experience only whetted my appetite for more. We visited the amazing Clearview Horse Farm hiked Lookout Mountain, learned the history and tasted the wares of the Jack Daniels distillery, visited the famed Ryman Auditorium – home of the original Grand Old Opry – where we shot backstage and during a special concert by the awesome Ben Folds, drove off-road jeeps, hang glided, dressed up for Halloween and a bunch of other activities that left me inspired, breathless and remarkably short of sleep! This photo was taken on the A7r mirrorless at Rock City… a veritable magic kingdom, carved out of rock:

I'd never been to Rock City Before. Fall colors: sublime.Dose of magic: perfectionDesire to visit again: absolute.

I’m hoping to have the opportunity to further test these cameras… they are truly a taste of the future.