Hi there! I’m Karen Hutton. Photographer, Voice, Purveyor of Awesomeness. I’ve been photographing my entire life.
I’d always planned on being a professional photographer and went to school with that goal in mind back in the ’70’s.
Darkroom chemicals made me super sick though, which altered the plan a bit. I was forced to move down the “Before I’m too old, I want to…” list earlier than expected, but went on to excel in sports and the performing arts.
I photographed everything along the way, just couldn’t develop the film myself – which was a bit like losing an arm.
After moving to the Sierra Nevada mountains of Lake Tahoe, digital finally came of age and I was back in the game. It was like getting a piece of my soul back.
Along the way, I became known for the landscape work I did in “my mountains”, as I lovingly call them.
I also love travel and above all, storytelling. I’m blessed and eternally grateful that my path has taken me to amazing places in the world, both for my own photography and for teaching people how to find their artistic voice.
In 2015, when my camera bag got so heavy I was toppling over, I switched to mirrorless. I tried every system I could get my hands on, until found Fujifilm. I never looked back. Along the way, I became a Fujifilm Ambassador, but I have to say that I’d use the gear no matter what. I’m a huge fan.
Related: Fujiflm X Series Cameras: Demystified!
The cameras I use tend to change, but at the moment I use a Fujifilm X-T3 and the X-H1. They’re both great. I sometimes work with the medium format GFX-50S too, which is absolutely amazing.
I really like how easy it is to switch from one camera to the next without feeling like you’re having to learn a new system. Fujifilm really does a fabulous job of making sure the layouts are both similar and intuitive.
I love seeing the world through different perspectives and am always challenging myself to see even the must usual stuff in new ways. Doing so keeps me fresh – and kicks me out of artistic ruts.
It’s kind of funny that I’m talking about gear, since I’m known for purposefully NOT talking about it. I think way too much focus is placed on “what gear is best”, in lieu of making an effort to understand what you actually want it to do for you.
That was why I began my “The Artist’s Voice” teachings and workshops/retreats… to help people learn a different process for making photographs that matter. Seeing photographically, telling stories, knowing what you want to say… all of these things determine what kind of gear is going to help.
As for me… I chose Fujifilm, because of the particular ways it helps me fulfills my vision. I call it my “creative paintbrush”, because of how it’s helped me raise the bar on artistic possibilities.
Part of that is the ergonomics and the customizable button system on the body – (I hate menu-diving). The image quality is another biggie; the colors, dynamic range, tones and micro-contrasts made me gasp when I first saw them. They were what I’d been searching for!
Beyond that – I have to use weather-sealed equipment, because in my fine art landscape and travel photography, I definitely get out in the elements.
You’ll see that I’ve got both telephoto and prime lenses in my kit. I use them each in different ways (depending upon the situation), to either expand or confine my vision, as I constantly seek new and unusual ways to “see different.” I’m always trying to stay fresh and break my own patterns.
In the photo, you’ll see the current cadre that helps me in that quest. They are:
Fujifilm XF16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR
Fujifilm XF 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR
Fujifilm XF10-24mm f/4 R OIS
Fujifilm XF50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR
Fujifilm XF80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro
Fujifilm XF50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR
Fujifilm XF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR
Fujifilm XF 55-200mm f3.5-f4.8 R LM OIS
Fujifilm XF 23mm f1.4 R
Fujifilm XF 50mm f2 R WR
Really Right Stuff is my absolutely fave when it comes to tripods and camera support. It’s a bit of an investment… but I swear, it’s the only tripod I’ll ever need. I’ve used mine for years and they’ve proven their worth a hundred times over in a thousand ways.
What I Carry It In
I carry my camera gear in Peak Design bags. Love them. I use the Everyday Backpack 20L for day hikes and short travel and the Travel Backpack 45L for road trips and longer travel.
Related: Peak Design Everyday Backpack Review | Peak Design Travel Backpack Review
I’ve gone through SO many totes, bags and packs looking for the right system, I swear I could open a store! But for my needs – Peak Design nailed it. Winning!
The Filters I See Through
I’m also a huge fan of LucrOit Filters and holders. The filters themselves are gorgeous and the holders are the easiest, simplest ones to use I’ve ever found.
I resisted using filters for the longest time, because I hate messing about with gear – it’s distracting and ruins my creative mojo! But LucrOit’s system is so quick and easy, I can stay in the zone while I make those gorgeous long exposures. That shifted the game for me and I never looked back.
I keep all my filters in MindShift filter holders.
Computers ’n such
I’m an Apple girl: iMac, MacBook Pro 2017, MacBook Air, iPad Pro.
Don’t Forget To Backup!
I use Seagate Backup Plus Slim external hard drives both at home and when I travel. Multiple backups are always key!
Seeing In the Dark
When I need a headlamp – it’s Petzl.
Thanks for stopping by! I hope this sheds some light on the gear quest – or was at least was a diverting read. Good luck in YOUR quest for finding just the right camera set up that sets your heart free!
Above all, have fun and stay awesome. ;)