Karen Hutton is a professional light bender and storyteller. That’s shorthand for her style of fine art landscape & travel photography, and the fact that she’s also a voiceover artist, online show host, writer, speaker and teacher. She’s been photographing for over 35 years, has over 2 million followers on social media; with over 9 billion views of her photographic work. Karen and her photography has been featured at Google and on Stuck in Customs, TWiP, Macphun Software, Forbes.com, The Grid, Rick Sammon’s DPE Podcast. She lives in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California.
Karen believes that “living your life as if it were your art” is the highest calling. That when you let it, light, artistry and passion flood everywhere, pouring through life’s nooks and crannies, uplifting everyone in their path. She aims to create works that offer her collectors and clients a full-body jolt of inspiration… and make them feel transported. Because after all, “Life is Light.”
“The artist vocation is to send light into the human heart.” – Robert Schumann
You can find her at Karenhutton.com.
BASED IN: California, USA
KNOWN FOR: Landscape and cityscape shots with distinctive lighting
SHOOTS WITH: FUJIFILM GFX 50S Camera, FUJINON GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR Lens, GF120mmF4 R LM OIS WR Macro Lens
Karen Hutton is FUJIFILM X-Photographer based in California, USA. Her images are defined by a strong emphasis on powerful lighting. In this Showcase blog post, Karen talks us through a series of images she shot with FUJIFILM’s ultra-powerful GFX System around Lake Tahoe in the winter.
This building is, as the sign says, the original fire house. It’s located in Tahoe City, California, behind the Gatekeeper’s Museum. I have lived in the area for years and never really paid attention to this photogenic building. When I was on this photowalk I was trudging through ten feet of snow which prompted me to slow down and appreciate what a sweet little landmark it is. One of the great things about photography is that it really encourages you to look at the world around you in a whole new way.
This place is named Stump Squared and it is located in Truckee, California. It was shot in the weeks before the first snowfall. During this time, we are all waiting for the rich colors of the landscape to be blanketed in snow, transforming it completely. After the snow melts it feels like the landscape is resculpted into something stronger, refreshed and more beautiful somehow.
I call this image ‘Softly on a Tahoe Morning’. It was shot from the banks of Lake Tahoe in Nevada. Lake Tahoe is known year-round for its breathtaking palette of blues. In winter, those colors are contrasted with the pure white on the snow. You even get points of white in the water where the snow has settled on rocks. It is one of my all-time favorite color combinations. It feels like nourishment for the soul.
This is a shot I called ‘Mirrors of My Mind’. I shot it in Truckee, California. It was like approaching Santa’s grotto. The water reflected the snow, beautiful textures, and contrasts. The light was gorgeous and I stared at this scene for a good long while.
At that moment I felt completely and utterly blessed to live in such a special place. I was also grateful to have the perfect paintbrush to capture it all with, right in my frosty little hands.
I call this image ‘Winter’s Breath’. It was shot in Truckee, California after a night in which the recorded snowfall in the area was equal to my own height! The world looked completely different the next morning. I love snowshoeing into a place I’ve been a million times before, to discover that the landscape has been completely altered and looks nothing like your recollection of it. It is rare to find a landscape that changes as dramatically and as suddenly as this one does.
This image was also shot in Truckee, California and is called ‘Stark Reach’. One of my favorite things to do in a forest is look up. It is fun to pick out patterns where the trees lace together overhead. I like to imagine what they must be going through their Ent-like minds as they look down at me, a wee human.
This day was particularly breathtaking, with snow weighing heavily on the treetops, making them lean in strange and unusual ways. Two days later, a huge number of them came crashing to the ground and I was grateful that I was not under them at the time.
I call this image ‘Cloaked in the Morning’. It was shot after 7.6m of snow fell in Truckee, California, over the course of a week and a half. As soon as the weather finally broke, I went outside to shoot. Thanks to the thick, pristine snow and the incredible morning light, everywhere I looked was like a page out of a storybook. The GFX gave the landscape an epic look, which captured the feeling of being there in a world that had utterly transformed.
The winter of 2016–17 in the Lake Tahoe area was a record breaker in terms of snowfall. The snow was so deep at times that it was tough to get around, park, or hike anywhere – even with snowshoes. However, an epic winter can result in incredible photo opportunities.
The trees in the foreground of this photo mark a sharp drop to lake level. Normally a decline like that would be no big deal, but on this particular day I plunged down to my waist in the snow, even though I was wearing snowshoes! I dug myself out and moved back to shoot through the trees instead, using them to frame the red building. Even back there, I was still knee-deep in snow!
I call this image ‘Branchcicles by the Shore’. This one was also shot in Truckee, California, where some icicles had formed on the trees along the bank, giving them a strange, otherworldly, appearance. The branches and icicles in the shot seem to shoot out in every direction at once, giving the scene an awkwardly glorious look.
Find out more
To see more of Karen’s photography, or to learn about the gear she used to get these great shots, click on one of the links below.