You Want It HOW Big??

FLASHBACK: 2012. Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA.

One February day, I join Trey Ratcliff for a large photowalk. (NOTE: he did it again this year, it was just as awesome in the way it connected like minds and hearts. Check it out here.)

I do not have high hopes of capturing amazing amidst 200 other people trying to capture amazing… especially when everyone’s trying to capture the SAME amazing.

Still… I brought my tripod, I think to myself. I’m gonna use it, dammit!

So I do my best. Set up my sticks at that cool dusky time, when there’s still enough ambient light to see everything… where you don’t have to do TOO long of an exposure, nor use too high an ISO. Just a long enough exposure to smooth the water, but not so much that the lapping tide drags one leg of your tripod slowwwwllyyy into the sand, creating a blurry schmear of the whole scene. heh.

I pull one off with no people in it. I’m amazed. I post it on social, but not on my website. I think “It’s too usual. Too much like every other image of Santa Monica out there”.

Note to self: Purchase a jumbo can of “Doubt-B-Gone”, ASAP! Apply liberally.

Continue reading “You Want It HOW Big??”

Photography Fitness 101: First, You Have To Tie Your Shoes

I almost didn’t write this post. I mean, I’m no fitness guru… nor am I one to shake my finger at you if you’re starting to waddle and shun trekking more than the length of your house on your own two feet. Heck in the past couple of years I sprouted some new curves I hadn’t seen in YEARS… if ever!

Then I thought “Screw it. This story is knocking on my head to get out”… so here you go, small tale… be free!

Once I Was Strong and Invincible. And Then…

For the first half of my life, I was strong. Riding and training horses, figure skating, dance, running, teaching aerobics, working out… it was just part of my life. I didn’t have to think twice about being fit… LIFE made me fit.

Karen-Warlock Continue reading “Photography Fitness 101: First, You Have To Tie Your Shoes”

New Seasons, New Works

Changing Seasons, New Ideas

There’s something about a change of seasons that makes you re-evaluate. Shake it out. Refocus. At least that’s what happens to me.
Fall’s a hard one to miss… Mother Nature showing off her flashy colors kind of slaps you face and says “WAKE UP!!!”. I love it when she does that.

And since my new website is coming around the final corner – and with it, new works – I’m tuned reaaaalllly finely to “New”. So highly tuned, I could sing an aria right now! Soprano. Which I’m not, normally.

This is one of my new works… which I’m sharing here first. It’s not going on social until the site launches. But I do love letting you guys in on stuff before it’s really, truly public!

This was from our recent foray down the Eastern Sierras. Man, what a necessary brain break! There’s just something about aspens in all their finery. Photographers in Colorado and Utah get these kinds of shots all the time – with the strong, vertical white lines of aspen trunks against the brilliant warm hues. But it’s not as common in California aspen for some reason. Except certain places in the Eastern Sierras. I think this might have been Bishop Creek. Or Hope Valley. I forget – so lost do I become in the swirling glory of color!


I love an impressionistic turn too.. something I haven’t shared a lot. But I do have a set of works I call “The KHutt Collection” (with a chuckle, of course!) that’ll be on the new site. This is one of them. They’re all a bit different… but WAY more on the “artified” side of things than the realistic. They’re fun, something I’ve done for awhile… so I thought it was time to start showing them.

The 5Day Deal is still going… for 4 more days!

OH! And let’s not forget… that if YOU’RE a photographer looking for tools to learn new things, try new ideas and blow your own artistic mind for a new season of awesomeness…

REMEMBER the 5Day Deal!!    $2000 worth of training tools for photographers for only $89.
It sounds so car salesman, I know… but this one is for real.
I was stunned by how huge this sale was last time – and some people missed the deadline (it only goes for 5 days… this one ends October 20th at 9am PT!).
But this bundle is even bigger. So now I guess I’m double-stunned!

I thought I’d share some of the cool stuff from friends of mine,  renowned photographers one and all…

My gal pal Nicole Young’s got a landscape tutorial, Lightroom presets AND a book in the sale:

Nicole S Young - Landcape Photography

Good friend Trey Ratcliff’s entire “Midnight in Paris” 7 hr series is part of the bundle too:

Trey Ratcliff - Midnigh in Paris

The always fabulous Jaime Ibarra will have you compositing like a boss: (and clearly, saving money like one too!)

Jaime Ibarra - Compositing Bundle

Fellow Arcanum Master Scott Wyden Kivowitz is in there too:

Scott Wyden Kivowitz - Absorbing Light

I swear, this bundle will keep you going all fall, winter… maybe even all year! I’ve got my eye on some things I want to learn too… because you can just never, EVER stop learning.

So if new seasons make you want to expand your photography mind and world too… click any of those images to learn more (and yes, if you end up buying… that link will credit me. Just being clear – and appreciative!)

Or click the ginormous…

5 -Day-Deal-find-out-more button. Heh.


No matter what… I hope you rejoice in the season – whatever yours brings!


Vic Gundotra & Google+: My Story

Get Ready For My Windiest Post Ever!

Amanda Blain started it. I blame her. She wrote this blog post, as well as posting on Google+. She made her point… then said “tell us your story.” Well, I’ve got a good one!

This all started because Google Senior Vice President of Social Vic Gundotra announced his departure from Google last week. This is huge. Vic and his team created Google+ – a platform that has forever changed my life.  If you’re wondering who Vic Gundotra is, I’m re-posting this episode of The Chat I did with him awhile back. It’s my first re-run (!), but in honor of him and the lives he’s transformed through his work, I felt it was only fitting.

Continue reading “Vic Gundotra & Google+: My Story”

The Arcanum Has Begun! (in Beta) Part 2

In Part 1 of this mystical journey, I told you about being part of the The Arcanum’s launch. Of course, typical of me – there is also the inner journey!

What The Heck IS a Master, Anyway?

In the beginning,  I wondered what being a Master really meant. Community is huge in The Arcanum – and the idea of a Master’s role not to “teach” in the same sense as my 35 years of experience would dictate. Our job here in the beginning is to step back, let the community develop, carefully watch the conversations – and let folks discover their rhythm and their answers. At first, I wondered how a group of peers could grow together and not simply be “the blind leading the blind?” It was a question I grappled with for awhile.

Continue reading “The Arcanum Has Begun! (in Beta) Part 2”

The Arcanum Has Begun! (in Beta) Part 1

The Arcanum

You may have heard Trey Ratcliff talking about it. Noticed some buzz around it. Wondered what the heck it was and how it worked.
I’m one of the beta team of Masters in The Arcanum – and even I had a ton of questions! I had waited. Contributed ideas when needed as it developed. Got updates along the way. Watched it begin to unfold, evolve.

Then last week, I had my final pre-launch meeting with Trey, Curtis Simmons and Peter Giordano. They are the mighty trinity implementing Trey’s The Arcanum, Magical Academy of Artistic Mastery. By the end of that meeting, I’d invited my first 3 Apprentices!

My startled thought: “Gulp! Uhhh… I guess I’m starting now!”
And so, my awesome first Cohort began.

Continue reading “The Arcanum Has Begun! (in Beta) Part 1”

Where The Heavens, Art and The Imagination Meet

The Splendid Sunset

It was a magnificent evening in Queenstown, New Zealand high atop Deer Park Heights. DPH is no longer open to the public, but the intrepid Trey Ratcliff had, of course, found a way to bring the entire group of us up there for a sunset shoot. It was a photo adventure workshop, so we were traveling in a pack.

The awesome thing about New Zealand sunsets is that they go on… and on… and on! Here in California you have to be all set up and ready for the bloom of the set, because BAM! it’s over and done with in about 5 minutes. Over there… we had upwards of an hour and a half of gorgeous light to enjoy, frame, reframe, hike over there, stand over here, check out that knoll – for several compositions in one splendid sunet. It was amazeballs!

Continue reading “Where The Heavens, Art and The Imagination Meet”

The Arcanum: Meet Karen Hutton

The Arcanum Prepares

I mentioned some time back that I’m part of “The Arcanum: Magical Academy of Artistic Mastery“. Sounds fun, huh? It’s a new kind of school for the arts being created by awesome photographer and friend Trey Ratcliff.  While it’s starting off with photography as the primary discipline, the vision is to branch out over time into other artistic channels. Here’s how he describes how it’ll work:

“A very old… ancient, in fact… way of learning and growing through a Master & Apprentice relationship, powered by a NEW kind of academy. Imagine a type of Hogwarts, online in Augmented Reality, where you always have a connection to your Master and your fellow Apprentices. Get your head around that, and you’ll see where this is going…”

I’m excited! I’m starting out as a Master under the discipline of Landscape Photography. We’re all choosing one to start with, then opening it up to other genres later if we want to. We’ve been asked to create 5 videos to go in the Grand Library, so that when doors finally open there’s some awesome content for apprentices to enjoy and learn from right away. One of the videos needed to be a “Hello, I’m _____” introduction.

Here’s mine, created just for The Arcanum:

Continue reading “The Arcanum: Meet Karen Hutton”

The Arcanum is Here!!

It All Started For Me 3 Years Ago…

Not in a galaxy far, far away… but in a Starbucks in Austin, TX.
I was out for SXSW and a big photo walk led by my friend Trey Ratcliff.
We sat down in Starbucks with his son Ethan for a warm and lovely mocha… and he told me his idea for a different kind of photography school.
He said photography education is broken (I agreed)… and he had an idea for a brand new approach.
It would be based upon the Master & Apprentice model of art education… but would utilize Google Glass (in its bare infancy) and a host of other high tech ways of connecting with each other as ways to be completely mobile and responsive. Did I want to be involved?

It sounded out there… part ancient education system, part video game, part Hogwarts, part I didn’t know what… but didn’t hesitate. YES! I was in.

And now… The Arcanum is here. The boat has left the shore… the journey has begun.

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.

Virtual Photo Walks: Google+ San Francisco with Trey Ratcliff & Thomas Hawk

On May 14, 2013… I joined up with Virtual Photo Walks  (click link to see the VPW event posting on G+) to broadcast the massive Google+ San Francisco Photo Walk with Trey Ratcliff and Thomas Hawk. (click the link to view Trey’s posted event on G+.) It was all part of kicking off Google I/O 2013, starting the very next day – and featuring he Google Glass Project. It was a freakin’ awesome experience!! I loved how we combined forces and made the live streaming broadcast (which was also recorded, as you see below) even bigger and more awesome! As some of you may remember, Virtual Photo Walks was featured on NBC Nightly News, which I talked about in an previous post.
This is the sweetly edited version of the G+ Photo Walk in San Francisco:

Continue reading “Virtual Photo Walks: Google+ San Francisco with Trey Ratcliff & Thomas Hawk”

The Big Red Horse and The Thistles

Anyone who knows me, knows that horses have occupied a LARGE part of my life, heart and soul. I was practically raised on a horse – and taught and trained horses for over 35 years. I don’t miss the industry one little but, but horses will always be a part of me. So, when I discovered that horses, cows, sheep and many other lovely animals dot the pastoral landscapes here in New Zealand… I knew some horse images were in my future!

This guy was an elder stallion, in a huge field with his mare and foal. He was content, nibbling the tops of thistles – a true delicacy. What a sweet fellow he was too! I couldn’t help but think of my special horse Warlocke… a most unusual, magical animal who graced my life for 27 years some time ago. I called him The Big Red Horse. He had a fat white blaze like this fellow here too – and well, how could I NOT bring this moment home with me? He was a true charmer. :))


Glacier Blue

I have learned that Lake Wakatipu is the longest lake in New Zealand. 50 miles in fact.


And when the light changes, so does the color, in quite dramatic ways. Even on a stormy, stormy day the glacier fed waters seem iridescent, which I found almost startling! This was a couple of days before “Trey’s New Zealand Photo Adventure” started, where Trey Ratcliff, Scott KublinCurtis Simmons and I drove around the countryside, doing reconnaisance on locations, taking photos and playing the “guess that 80’s song” game. Ha! Most entertaining.

It’s exciting to be here, thrilling to be part of this fantastic team… and I gotta say, this place feels like a piece of home. Strange how some places can be like that, isn’t it?  I’m finding lovely NZ is one of those spots for me.

The Heavenly Light on Lake Wakatipu

Our first couple of days in New Zealand have been rainy, rainy, rainy! Big winds, power outages, trees down – exciting! Trey Ratcliff, Curtis Simmons and Scott Kublin and felt intrepid and eager to get out and start photographing though… so with big smiles positive expectations we jumped in the truck and took to the road. We were not disappointed!


Like a sign from above, the sun shot some heavenly rays to light up The Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu like the biggest, baddest stage on earth right as we approached! It was SOOOOO windy and alot colder than I expected, so we whooped, hollered and shivered as we photographed this amazing moment – which was gone right after, vanishing as quickly as it had appeared. Pure magic!

Trey Ratcliff… Processing. Heh.

Trey Ratcliff is a thinker, adventurer, old world gentlemen, traveler, innovator, thinker. I’m seeing New Zealand for the first time… and am fortunate enough to see it Trey’s way. I’m part of the team presenting Trey’s New Zealand Photo Adventure… and it is going to be AWESOME!!

Know what else? I’m a fortunate girl and life is very, very good.

I love this shot of Trey from New Zealand. He’s known for his photo processing… and here is is. Processing. In a whole different way.


Karen Hutton Guests on Trey's Variety Hour #57

From Photo Fun to Facebook Woes… this is a fun one! I join Trey and Company for conversation about:
– Some complaints and thoughts about Facebook and promoted posts (Alex did an experiment where he paid $40)
– We all share new photos (Alex from a Russian dungeon costume party, Thomas from Decompression, Karen from a recent trip, and me from a car trip here in New Zealand last weekend)
– How we are surprised at feedback on photos
– The new Google Nexus phone and photo-sphere mode