Your world View... is your world's Voice.
The Thing About Sax"Excuse me for horning in, but I..." he started to say. "You big blow hard!!" she interrupted. Ooo, she was mad. "Okayyy, but I just wanted to note..." "Can't you REED??" she blurted, pointing furiously at the page on the stand. He tried using his most calming voice, hoping it would help. "I think you meant to say "read". And yes I can." "Don't patronize me you, you... gooseneck!!" He paused. Gooseneck? No one had called him that in years. He kind of liked it. "Name calling now, are we... Licorice Stick?" He purred her old stage name so quietly he wondered of she heard it. But apparently she did. "You remembered." she whispered. "How could I forget, Clar?" "Oh Sax!" In that moment, "Canon in D" became "their" song. You can hear this one if you'd like: http://www.karenhutton.com/2011/432/
10. Take My HandHe stood transfixed. Staring. He had thought she was a mannequin. She was so... still. Waxy. Not living. Not breathing. No warmth. In one gesture, his world turned over. Along with his stomach. "Take my hand" she whispered. Like dust. Like static. The sound of her voice made his ears itch. He couldn't take his eyes off her hand, extended so gracefully. So invitingly. So lifelessly. Every hair on his body stood up and screamed... "RUN". But he couldn't take his eyes off her hand. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Curious for a listen? I'm glad you are! Check out http://www.karenhutton.com/2011/take-my-hand/ to hear this story.
The Moment After She LeftOn the platform she waited for the train that was coming. Her demeanor was calm. Inside was a whirlwind. Would it work, this plan she dreamed of last night? Would they come? Could they hear? Would it fly? The unknown was always a gamble. She took a deep breath as the air pressure changed. It was time and her train was approaching. It would be her last ride on this route she had known. Her last wait at this particular station. She'd miss it in ways, with it all so familiar... But her heart wouldn't let her sit still. The train glides up to the platform. She smiles. Steps onto the ride of her life. As the train disappears, the station grows quiet. Less oxygen now. Her light has moved on.
Dramatic. GlamorousSometimes nature is so very dramatic and glamorous. She’ll just go for it. Break out her finery and sweep into that sky like the MEGA star that she is. I love it when she does that. I caught her this day in her explosionary finale of an intricately choreographed dance that took about an hour or so to create. She was deliberate. Detailed. Left no swish unswirled, yet no one could say the effect was overdone. No, it was… perfect. When the grand finale finally burst into living technicolor oranges and reds with just a touch of peachy goodness, I swore I could hear the final strains of Ravel’s Bolero. Oh my. It was dramatic. And most definitely glamorous.
Convict LakeMy first visit there. I love that feeling of the first time... your heart quickens, your eyes get all sharp and darty at the new sights, even my stomach jumps around a little at the excitement of NEW. I'm big on the story too - and I love hearing them about the places I visit. Convict Lake was named after an incident in 1871, where a group 'o thugs, er, 'convicts' escaped from prison in Carson City. That's 200 miles away. So a buncha lawmen, er, a 'posse' chased those buggers all the way down here, where they had a shootout. The sheriff was killed, as was his Indian guide. They named the lake after the convicts, the mountain (Mt. Morrison) after the sheriff. Nobody named anything after the Indian guide, which strikes me as just pure ungrateful. It was a moody, weathery day... kinda fitin' with the story that goes with it. But I just went with the vibe and took this picture to share with y'all.
She Looked AwayI caught her gaze for just a moment. It was unexpected. Startling, even. She looked into my eyes without flinching, without even a flicker of self consciousness. Her luminous beauty, her subtle yet undeniable strength, her utter equanimity at being both a fleeting visitor and an immutable force in the world sat lightly with her. She was transcendent. In that sudden and unexpected moment, I knew what it meant to be alive. Really. Truly. Before I had a chance to smile and nod, she looked away.
Dr. Who's Time Travelin' Time Lord BarSo, isn't this a nutty shot? I decided it's Dr. Who's traveling bar. Cause I think Dr. Who must need a snort every now and then to unwind after a long day on the Time Lord time clock. And he sure wouldn't want to run the risk of being stuck in some godforsaken dimension of No Fun At All, seeking said snortage. Hence the need for a time travelin' Time Lord Bar. See, it's time-tethered to the Tardis, thus always available. Genius. I managed to snap this just as it was taking off, about to wink out of this particular time-space continuum. Who says digital cameras aren't fast? Ha. And, um... welcome to Mental Movies by Karen. This is what a long day of recording incredibly dry narrations will do to a girl. Yep. Tall, cool one, anyone?
Tree of ThriveThis is one of several photographs I was asked to shoot as potentials for a book cover. Crazy, huh? It's a book about Thriving. I think this one has become personal icon for Thrive. Every time I look at it, I'm reminded to follow my muse... the light... that 'spark of divine inspiration'- that guides my life to its inspired happiest, funnest, most fulfilled ... most THRIVING version of itself. Whatever that brings. Don't think... just leap.
Daggers and Fingers in Clouds... Oh My!Glenshire Pond, August, 2010. The clouds were just breaking up from an afternoon thunderstorm. It seemed like everyone who lives at the Pond had set up camp on their decks or in their yards for this light show. People driving by were even stopping their cars and getting out to watch. Yeah, it was that amazing. I heard cheers, gasps, laughter, "Oh my god"s and "Did you see that?"s… and for the first time, actual applause for a sunset. I guess mother nature really is the best show on earth. I kinda feel like her staff photographer.
SkyBirdThe little bird stood on the railing, thinking. His name was Skybird on account he lived at Skybar in Los Angeles California. "That french fry on that lady's plate looks awfully good," he thought. "Cor blimey. I bet I could drop in, nick the one top and be up in the rafters before that cow could blink an eye." The other birds lined up on the rafters to see what Skybird would do. He had quite a reputation, y'see. Not only was he blessed with gorgeous plumage… but his french fry nick rate was the envy of all the birds. He was fearless he was. So as ya see here, his concentration was unbelievable. And In the very next moment, he dropped from railing, nicked that french fry and was up in the rafters before that cow could blink an eye. They don't call 'im SkyBird for nuthin.
Red House On The Roaring RiverWinter 2010-11 kicked our butts. I know we weren’t alone, but up here in the Sierra Nevadas, we had match-point record snowfall. At 50-60 feet depending on where you were standing, it didn’t actually break all the records… but it was jawdropping all the same. And interminable. I mean, people tunneled down into their homes, okaayyy? I mention this because when you have record snowfall, it means record snowmelt too. This was the Yuba River near Big Bend on July 4th. Water level higher even than it was 2 weeks before… and so dangerous even the gnarliest kayakers were benched. This house had the best view… although I think if you lived there, you’d have gone deaf from the constant roar. Man, nature amazes me.
Behind the Green DoorI love crazy old doors. What's behind them? Who passes through them? How long have they been there? Now clearly, there's alot going on with this one right here. It's a storybook door. And judging by the individual frames on this door, the age old push me, pull me, hit me, hang me, shake me, beg me, dress me, undress me, implore me, bestow up on me, gimmegimmegimme lifestyle has been going on for quite some time now. But what is the whole story here? Who was the original artist? Who commissioned him? And why? I have no answer. This kinda bugs me. Do you know?
The Louvre Courtyard, MidnightParis. The Louvre. Midnight. We had the best adventure EVER that day - that will forever define our first visit to paris. It included walking 8 miles through the streets of Paris at night, experiencing the wonder of the Louvre at midnight - with the place to ourselves and magic all around, missing the last subway at 1am, consoling ourselves with wine, cheese and the most delicious chocolate ever made at 2am on the Champs Elysees. The stuff dreams are made of, baby.
InSeine SunsetMy first time in France, first gaze upon the Seine river - and first full view of this gorgeous city so full of art, history and promise. It even had proper lighting, which I thought was very considerate. Just heavenly! So I made it look the way it felt. I couldn't believe this sunset. People said it was unusual, but it was my first time in Paris, so how would I know? The thought did cross my mind; "Gee, it's just like the Glenshire Pond!". Then realized I'd probably committed some kind of mental crime de comparison. The bridge is the Pont des Arts. It was a tit bit nippily in December when we were there. Snapping this shot in all my layers and full length down coat I could hardly imagine it - but during the summer it becomes a "studio en plein air" - a spot for painters, photographers, and other artists, and a picnic grounds for locals. Hey - let's go there then! Wanna?
Canvas - 24x16
Princess DahliaFor a snippet of time, she lived on her family's estate in Butchart Gardens, Victoria, B.C. In the bloom of her youth, Princess Dahlia was the envy of all who happened by. She favored the front and center position, greeting visitors who arrived in bermuda shorts from the land of "Oooo and Aaahhh", who regularly expressed their delight at her extraordinary beauty and countenance. She loved it when they expressed their delight. The snippet of time passed by quickly however, as snippets of time are wont to do. The breathtakingness that was Princess Dahlia waned and faded, and eventually passed completely. Yet she did live on... in an online photo gallery owned by one of the visitors from the land of "Oooo and Aaahhhh". Who, although she didn't wear bermuda shorts, Oooh'd and Aaahhh'd with the best of them as she captured the frames that lead to the digital magic that meant Princess Dahlia would live forever.
Sunrise and the Guest Room WindowIf you come for a visit, have a gander out the guest room window. It faces east. If you're up early and conditions are right, you might see a pretty groovy sunrise. I feel kinda guilty though. Because instead of trekking in Africa, ice climbing in Lower Slubovia, hiking for 5 hours in the wee hours of the morning to arrive at a remote 10,000 foot summit location JUST in time for that award-winning sunrise-on-the-peak moment like so many travel/adventure/landscape photographers whom I deeply admire do... I sometimes just shoot out a window. Thing is, I do voiceovers. And chances are I'd get to that 10,000 foot summit location and someone would need a spot done. NOW. So I focus on the world around me. It's not the Amazon, Iceland or the Great Wall... but I call it home. For this HDR shot, I wedged myself into the window frame (my tripod wouldn't fit and well, I was frankly too lazy to move the dresser), held my breath so I wouldn't move, squeezed off a few shots, prayed it would work, then went downstairs for coffee. Most of the time I do go outside though.
Stairway To DragonflyIn Truckee, CA there's this stairway that leads to a restaurant called "Dragonfly". This is how it looks in my mind's eye every time I see it. Kind of Escher-like, with the leading in/leading out, stairway to heaven deal going on. Thank god for a sport like photography where you can actually get that stuff out of your head and onto pixels and dots where they belong! Hehheh.
I Bled For This PictureI love oak trees. I usually like shooting them from underneath or 'inside' them, but a friend asked me to do this. It was for a book cover... the theme was "Thrive". They ended up going all graphics, no photos at all... but I ended up with this, which to me the real win! It's different from what I've done before, so my creative ceiling was raised. Luvit. For this photo, we had to hike across a large field filled with thigh-high start thistle in 100 degree heat. I can honestly say that I bled for this shot! But I giggled as I did, because I kept remembering a good friend's advice to "Embrace the Horror." The simple theory goes... when the going gets tough - enjoy it! Because that's where your story is that you'll tell later. Not in the easy going... "Oh it was point and shoot, no big." yawn. But in the "I bled for this shot" story you tell later. So the next time things start going south for ya, no more whining! Pay attention. Take notes. And imagine how FANTASTIC that story is going be over a long, cool one at the end of the day. Embrace the horror, baby! Hehheh.
Cross Your HeartI love black and white photography. It's how I started shooting, back in school. Did my own developing in the darkroom, which was like Christmas every day. Figured on being a pro... until the darkroom chemicals gave me headaches and I had to move on to other options. Fast forward to now. I love black and white photography. No darkroom chemicals. Heaven.
The Blond in the MiddleWhen my husband went bass shopping - he visited a dealer with about 50 basses in one large room. You could walk up and down the aisles, trying anything from a brand new one from China to a 50 year old from Romania... and a bunch in between. They each had their own sound, voice and vibe. It was marvelous! The blond in the middle had a $25k price tag. Not cheap, not easy - and who could fault her for that? But my, she was gorrrrrgeous.
Iceplants on MauiI don't know why I was surprised to see iceplants on Maui. I guess because I grew up thinking of them as those annoying, prickly, beat up looking junk plants the neighbors had in their yard when I was growing up in California. They always looked thirsty and irritated. Funny how you don't even realize you have a lasting impression of something - until a new and improved version of that something crosses your path and surprises you into a whole new impression.
Before the CrackleThis dry leaf was quiet. Humble. A whisper in the wind. Had I crushed it (accidentally or otherwise), it would have crackled into a thousand pieces and blown away without a word. But then I would have missed what it had to say. Y'know, that thing about how life is a treasure, about how an infinitely masterful design exists everywhere, in everything, at all times... and how death changes none of that. The Blueprint is all right there in plain sight.
I Hear the Train ComingDepending on where you hike in the Sierras, you may at some point cross the Central Pacific Railway, built in the 1860's. Every time I do, I think about the amazing Chinese laborers who built this section through the Sierras. They were paid just about $28 per month to do the incredibly dangerous blasting and tie-laying work nobody else wanted to do. Imagine, if you will, laying tracks over terrain that rises 7,000 feet in 100 miles. Using techniques they used in China for similar situations, they were lowered by ropes from the top of cliffs in baskets, and while suspended, chipped away at the granite and planted explosives that blasted the tunnels. They had to house themselves, cook for themselves and oh, by the way - did a fantastic job. You can imagine how many died in the process. I think of them - and thank them - every time I step over these tracks in the mountains I love so much. Railroads to me means travel, adventures, explorations, new horizons. Where is your road taking you next?
River of a DreamA bit of imagination often spins a tale when I get in my photo "zone". It sure took over as I stood in this spot. When I let my eyes soften and gaze down, it was like some kind of giant primordial sea, er, mountain stream turtle was lurking about. In fact... I was standing on its back! We went on quite a ride for this shot. It was AWEsome!
High Noon at Bell RockI'd been in lovely Sedona for a gathering. It was June and it rained pretty much the whole time. Of course, the sun came out as I was leaving for the airport to come home. Bell Rock at noon. Who shoots at noon, I thought? But it was my only chance, so I pulled over with only a few moments to find that shot that would speak of my experience there. There was no romantic, mysterious early morning/late afternoon glow... just the stark overheadness of high noon to work with. This was the result. Proving to myself once again, that sometimes we just have too many expectations about "special"... when it might be just sitting there staring at us under the high noon sun.
Red Door #72It waited. And watched. People streamed by on the Paris street it called home. Some lost in thought, some late for work. One munching a croissant, another walking a mini dog on her morning constitution. Still it waited. And watched. One of these people would not be a passerby. One would have The Key. Which would fit perfectly. Slipped into the keyhole, it would slide the latch and unlock #72. Only then would the door swing open, just enough to let this one pass. Into a different light, a different sound, a different world. The door creaked in anticipation. Until then, It waited. And watched.
The Gothic Study, Hearst CastleWilliam Randolph Hearst met with his advisors in this room. It's one of the 'small' libraries, petite by comparison with the main library. Every square inch is covered with some amazing bit of artwork; as is the entire place. Hearst and his architect Julia Morgan worked on Hearst Castle for 28 years - and still didn't finish it. Amazing.
Jennie Butchart's DreamIf you find yourself stuck with an abandoned limestone quarry pit you just don't know what to do with, you could always follow Jennie Butchart's example. After her husband finished using the quarry to make cement for building much of British Columbia back in the 1930's, Jennie was stuck with the 5-acre pit. Nice. So she did what any sensible woman would do... made a world-famous garden. Everyone and their mother (sister/brother/dog) takes this shot. But I had to make my own tribute. Thank you, Jennie Butchart.
Then and NowThe Louvre, Paris. Closing time. The security guard was very kind and waited patiently - then closed the gates behind us. The Louvre was originally a moated castle with towers commissioned by King Philip Augustus, aka Philip II. He was alive and kicking from 1165-1223. So you get the idea on age. This is what you see if you stand in the oldest part of today's Louvre - the Cour Caree - and look into the main courtyard where the newest part sits. It's like the entire history of the place suddenly folds into one moment of simultaneity. A single wrinkle in time. Ya gotta love a good juxtaposition.
The Shot I Fell Off The Bridge ForIt had snowed. Alot. Like about 5 feet in 3 days. When that happens, it changes where the edges of things appear to be. I saw this scene taking shape and snowshoed out to greet it. Set up my tripod on the little bridge over the creek that feeds the lake. With the sunset about to peak, I looked up, took a step back... and fell off the bridge right onto my back in the creek. Someone let out schoolgirl shriek. Certainly that was not me. And yet... I was alone. sigh. Lying there in the slush, I looked up again - and saw my camera and tripod dangling by a mere participle above me. Luckily, it wasn't heavy enough the break through and join my little creek party jam. I had to scramble out on my hands and knees, because my snowshoes wouldn't grab in the voluminous, drifty snow. This gorgeous painting of a moment graciously hovered until I got my shot. And in the end, that's all that really counts.
Hotel de Quai VoltaireIt's a hotel now - though was an abby at one time. It's only two stars on the rating scale, believe it or not. But history and location are on its side, having housed luminaries of the artistic world like Oscar Wilde, the poet Budelaire, composer Richard Wagner, painter Camille Pissaro. It stares right at Palais de Louvre across the street. Nice spot.
Creperie on the Rue de RoquetteThe black and white stripes of the crosswalk reminded me of the cover of the Beatles' Abby Road album. Remember that? Then there was the cobblestones reflecting the lights, the lady on her cell phone, the folks inside getting their crepes. Just one of those moments in time that's here for a second... and then gone. But now... here. You get my drift.
National Academy of Music and Dance, aka The Paris Opera HouseOur first trip to Paris was a quick one. I had to go for voiceover work, I was lucky enough to bring my best travel companion husband along. He's a musician... I was once a dancer. So it was only fitting that we capture this spot as a fanciful nod to us both. BTW, this is the same opera house from which The Phantom of the Opera story was created - that was also rebuilt by Napoleon III. Reason for the remodel; one evening, upon arriving with his wife for the premiere of a new singer, the royal procession was bombed by a group of dissenters. (some things never change) Over eighty people were killed, prompting Napoleon III to ask for an opera house with a covered side entrance where royalty could enter with discretion. The birth of Security Protocol 101.
She Laughed in That Way She Does"I dunno, think it's too much?" she asked, turning her head this way and that as she inspected her new hair color in the mirror. "Well, it's bold... but if anyone can rock it, you sure can!", I answered truthfully. She always wanted my opinion, even though sometimes my choices were a bit, um, stronger than hers. "Y'know..." she tilted her head one more time - and just then the light caught her exactly right. Suddenly it she appeared to shimmer - and I could imagine her high upon a enormous stage, glowing beneath a single spotlight, her rapt audience suspended in a single collective intake of breath. "I think you may be right." Then she looked at me, waited a beat - and laughed in that way that she does.
Power. Who's got it? Who wants it? What does it look like? Who's giving theirs up? Who's stealing it? Who shares? Would you know it if it smacked you up side the head? What does it sound like? What does it smell like? Who's in theirs?
Just a few of the questions that floated through my mind as I shot this thunder roller boiling up fast out of the east in Reno, NV,
Cour Napoleon, Louvre MuseumParis in December. I was sent there for voiceover work. They even sent my husband along so I wouldn't have to go alone. Lovely! Def a quick turnaround, not much sightseeing time. And I had a bee in my bonnet about shooting at night. Nevermind that it snowed every day (and night) that we were there... heck, you'll stay warm if you just keep moving! Which we did. Covered 8 miles this night. At the Louvre, it seems that if it's near freezing and close to midnight, you have the place to yourselves. I was focusing on a close up something or other, when my husband tapped me on the should and said "Look". I turned around and gasped. And shot. And later... well, I highly recommend Le Deauville on the Champs Elysees for chocolate and cognac at 2 a.m.
Finally SummerIt was really, truly, FINALLY summer in the Sierras. Aaaaahhhhh. It took awhile. A winter of 62 feet of snow made summer a no-show until, oh, July or so. This is a section of the Yuba River... near Big Bend, CA. There are a couple of spots right here where you can literally park your car, walk a hundred yards with your picnic lunch, sprawl out on the humungous rocks and just become one with It All. Sublime.
Tahoe SparklesI do voiceovers for a living, which means I'm in my studio alot. Which means I mostly grab quick forays to go out to shoot. Luckily I live in the Sierras, so when I DO get out, there are some nice shootin' options. This particular day I actually had time to cruise over to Lake Tahoe. Exciting! Gladys (doggie gal pal extraordinaire) and I had time for a short hike 'n hang by the lake before dark. I always like stark juxtapositions... which is why I noticed this tree. Then I saw the sparkles on the side of it. It looked like some kind of lens filter, only look Ma, no lens! I set up and shot, not knowing if they'd show up. Sparkles make me happy.
Bikes For RentIt's called Velib... and it's Paris' genius rent-a-bike program, brainchild of the mayor. For a few coins, you hop on a bike, ride it to wherever you need to be - and park that puppy in the undoubtedly nearby docking station. Miss the last subway train at 1am? Rent a bike! Late night of clubbing, no taxis handy? Use the Velib! Don't want to have your own bike ripped off or worry about where to park it? Voila! A lovely rental bike is just waiting to roll to your destination. How much does revenue does it pull in? I just read an article from 2007 that claimed $28 million for that year. I love smart ideas.
Julia Morgan's Drafting Room, Hearst CastleBorn in 1872, Julia Morgan was the architect for over 700 buildings in California during her lifetime. Including Hearst Castle. This was her workspace at the latter location... although in 1904, she had her own office in San Francisco. In 1919, Hearst chose her as his principle architect for La Cuesta Encantada (aka: Hearst Castle). She handled designs for dozens of other Hearst buildings too, including the "Bavarian village" of four villas on 50,000 acres in Wyntoon, CA... and the studio and site work for the uncompleted Babicora, Hearst's 1,625,000-acre estate in Mexico. Not to mention Mills College in Oakland CA, the Asilomar Conference Center in Monterey, CA... and YWCA's Utah, Arizona, and Hawaii - and 5 YWCA's in California which includes the 1926 Hollywood Studio Club. She was the first woman graduate with a degree in architecture from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. And this was her drafting table. The coolest takeaway: this was all done by a woman in the early 1900's. I love that.