Karen Hutton is an International Landscape and Travel Photographer, Artist, Speaker, Author, Educator, and Voice. Through stunning imagery, humor, thought-provoking ideas and a genuinely positive outlook, she inspires people to discover their artistic voice in photography — while making it all feel like an unforgettable and eye-opening adventure. Photography has been a part of her life from inception. She’s widely followed in social media and her voice has been heard around the world in commercials, narrations, apps, trains, tutorials and television.
As well as being a Professional Fujifilm X-Photographer, Karen creates online courses and leads photography workshops/retreats in the U.S. and Europe focused upon Storytelling, Seeing Photographically, Finding Your Artistic Voice and the Power of Awe and creates online courses for Kelbyone. Her articles have been translated into multiple languages and she speaks all over the country about photography and inspiration. She is also featured in a short documentary film about her approach to photography, created by Smugmug. Her adoring fans + customers have called her “Pure JOY, LIGHT & absolute FUN!”, “An inspirational gem” and “Incredibly artistic. Captivatingly genius. World class!” Karen believes deeply that finding your truest voice and “living life as if it were your art” is of the highest calling. That when you let it in, light, artistry and creativity flood everywhere, pouring through life’s nooks and Guilty pleasures? When she’s not traveling the world, you can find her watching epic movie trailers, crunching popcorn at the latest superhero blockbuster and sipping Bulletproof coffee.
“The artist vocation is to send light into the human heart.” – Robert Schumann
Karen Hutton hits the road with XF30mmF2.8 R LM WR Macro – a modern reimagining of the supremely versatile lenses of decades gone by
It seems an impossible task to contain the limitless beauty of nature to a single point of view. What’s a moth to a mountain range? The two cannot be compared, yet both demand to be seen in a scale worthy of their magnificence. While boundless potential can be taken from virtually any lens in the hands of the right creator, some things have simply been off limits by design. Until now, that is.
The new FUJINON XF30mmF2.8 R LM WR Macro has been serving as Karen Hutton’s latest travel companion, drifting through the rugged west of the US – from Montana to Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and beyond. Already, she’s found plenty of varied photographic delights.
“I’m not purely a macro photographer, so I’m always excited to explore all the capabilities of X Series macro lenses, within the niche and beyond,” Karen explains. “This time, we’re looking at an equivalent focal length just shy of 50mm. So, it opens up possibilities that you don’t normally have.
“Especially up in Glacier, I found it to be an exceptional landscape lens, because of the breadth and depth of the subject matter there. With those wide vistas, the length of coverage really works. It also revealed the gorgeous level of detail it resolves – which is on full display whether you’re using the lens in a macro capacity or not.
“Certain kinds of foliage are very difficult to render when it’s a smaller detail within the frame, but not with XF30mmF2.8. I didn’t find as many bugs as I do at home, but I discovered one that looked incredible. That close – and boy can you get close – you can see so much expression in his face,” Karen continues. “I believe Fujifilm has always had the best glass out there, but even over X Series’ own high standards, it’s an improvement. This lens defines details in ways I’ve never seen. And it isn’t just sharpness – there are so many microscopic elements that go into creating detail. With FUJIFILM X-T5, it’s an incredible combination.”
In nature photography, and many other genres, careful control over depth-of-field is one constant essential. A rich street scene requires enough depth to freeze its many subjects in perfect clarity. An intimate portrait may warrant shallow focus and plenty of gorgeous bokeh. X Series’ shortest macro lens has offered Karen both – gratefully applied to her choice of subject matter.
“With epic scenes, like Glacier and Snake River, you often have to stop down to F22 to get the required depth, because some of those landscapes stretch for miles. There’s a lot of distance between mountains on the horizon and trees in the foreground. In this case, images created as low as F14 held everything in focus. That’s great, because middling apertures always offer slightly better optical quality than the extremes.
“Some may imagine they’d need faster apertures than F2.8 at the macro end, but depth-of-field is much shallower in a macro lens, compared to a non-macro optic of the same focal length and aperture,” Karen notes. “I haven’t found myself craving greater speeds. To me, the trick with macro is to get just enough in focus for the scene to make sense without having to stack multiple images.
“Of course, XF30mmF2.8 can also be applied nicely to more intimate landscapes, at mid-range or closer. These little vignettes of a bigger scene are just beautiful. Ultimately, not having to change lenses when moving all the way from the greatest distances to tiny macro is phenomenal,” Karen beams.
Such versatile performance has placed this photographer in a nostalgic mood. Undoubtedly, the imaging tools of today are leagues ahead of their decades-old counterparts, but to suggest there’s nothing contemporary products can’t learn from days gone by would be an oversight. In some senses, modern demands for astounding optical quality have limited functional performance. With XF30mmF2.8, glass has entered another era – one which combines the very best of all that’s come before.
“I had a 70-200mm macro lens in the days of film. It worked within a standard focusing range, but had a switch that allowed it to photograph in macro scale,” Karen recalls. “It was a cool concept, because it extended the capability so nicely. That awesome level of function went away as optical quality increased, but I wonder if Fujifilm was thinking about that point in image making history when they crafted this lens. It does these two distinct things, and does them both exceptionally well.
“What else can I say,” Karen muses, “beyond, it’s simple perfection? If somebody wants a prime for all manner of subjects, and have it double for macro, then this is it. It’s mind-bending, the scope of what you can do with this one little lens.”
Karen’s thoughts close on one of many joyous photographic memories from her trip.
“Just the other day, I was creating these wide landscapes, then I wandered into a tight canyon. Immediately, I was so interested to discover how XF30mmF2.8 would see the change in scene. When I did, I was totally amazed – and I’d already been using it for weeks!” she laughs.