Karen retreat

Trip Overview:

This photo workshop-adventure simply cannot fit into a typical tour category. It’s a combination event; one part artistic self-discovery, one part photographic adventure as you explore both the hidden gems of Venice and the awe-inducing Dolomite mountains. You’ll indulge your senses and awaken your passion for art while photographing the world’s most iconic city and the crown jewel of the European Alps- the Dolomites.

VENICE: June 12-15, 2019

First, we do Venice. As one does…
Luigi Barzini, writing in The New York Times, describes Venice as “undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man.” Photographer Randy Jay Braun calls Venice a “city of layers and textures and reflections”.

On this fabulous 4-day/3-night kickoff of our tour, you’ll have an opportunity to get lost in the beauty and magic of this unique place. You’ll be free to see, yet never feel lost… 
with  our local guides knowing exactly where you are the entire time.

Venice is divided into six sestieri, or neighborhoods, each with its own personality and its own delightful stories. We’ll visit several of them;  from Cannaregio, home to the largest population in the city – 
to San Polo,  the oldest section.

Then on to San Marco, the most famous sestiere; known for St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace, Santa Croce, Dorsoduro, and Castello. Oh yes, we’ll capture the iconic spots… but then we’ll deep dive for hidden gems within the city, photographing “secret spots” – the tasty ones that step awaaay from tourist masses.

We’ll visit islands, wander quiet streets, reflect upon the colors, textures and waters of this magical city!
In so doing, we’ll experience the true Venetian lifestyle like a local.

THE  DOLOMITES: June 15th-21st

After 4 breathtaking days in Venice, we’ll switch gears and transfer to the Alta Badia region of the Dolomite Mountains for a whole new experience and perspective.

Daily excursions include walks through charming mountain villages and hikes on trails to a few of the most spectacular vistas on Earth. Swoon! No need to feel rushed either, since you will be among other photographers who understand that a great image, spoken in a soul’s language, takes some time to capture.

Then, in a series of short (completely optional), after-hours classes you’ll have an opportunity to share images, receive feedback  (one of the most requested activities!), learn an approach to post-processing aimed at carrying your vision all the way through to finished product.

All levels of photographers are welcome.

NOTE: basic operating knowledge of your DSLR camera – or whatever camera you use (including your phone camera) – and of your laptop or tablet is required. As a participant, you must be prepared to hike on trails while carrying your own camera gear, an extra layer of clothing, and water.

That said, it’s not boot camp! You’ll have options to hike or ride chair lifts much of the time,
so don’t worry about being forced to hike like a mountain goat every day!

Trip Highlights:


  • Wend your way through hidden canals and passageways like a true explorer, mesmerized by the Venetian colors and their reflections as they dance upon the water during your private sunset boat tour 
  • Marvel at the iconic and fabulous Saint Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace and prisons; then seek out the myriad of visual treasures tucked away in the hidden aspects of this city of water that most tourists don’t even know exist.
  • Experience private walking and boat tours through the narrow alleyways and canals of Venice 
  • Expand your vision as you explore the majestic Italian Dolomites – camera in hand – traveling with like-minded photographers and instructors. On this adventure, you’ll have plenty of time to pause, breathe the fresh mountain air, feeling full of awe and wonder. What’s more, you’ll capture images in a way that tells YOUR story, expressing the kaleidoscope of emotion this region brings.
  • Discover the Dolomite’s hidden valleys where the architecture, cuisine, and language reflects a delightful blend of Italian and Austrian and Ladin cultures that make this region so unique.
  • Capture the beauty – or just sit back and enjoy – the sunsets and sunrises from Corvara Village,  with marvelous views of the Pelmo Massif.
  • Have a “non-photographer” spouse or partner who is hankering to experience the Dolomite Alps? Bring them along! There are so many activities are available in the Alta Badia region to enjoy, even if you never take a single photograph.

Karen Hutton

Photographer, Voice, Purveyor of Awesomeness

Karen Hutton is a Professional Fujifilm X Photographer, International Landscape and Travel Photographer, 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.

She has been featured internationally by Fujifilm, presented at Photographer Talks at Google, created popular online courses for Kelbyone, has been translated into multiple languages and speaks all over the country about photography and inspiration.

Her adoring fans + customers have called her “Pure JOY, LIGHT & absolute FUN!”, “An inspirational gem” and “Incredibly artistic. Captivatingly genius. World class!”

 Guilty pleasures? When she’s not traveling the world, you can find her watching epic movie trailers, crunching popcorn at the latest Marvel Comics blockbuster and sipping Bulletproof coffee, wondering if anyone realizes she’s basically drinking butter.

 Discover the soul-vibrancy of your photographic artistic voice at www.karenhutton.com and The Artists Voice Adventures.


Trip itinerary may vary based on weather conditions, fitness levels and abilities of participants, and/or the recommendations of your guide. Please note that all suggested locations/activities could be changed.
Ample free time will be provided throughout each day for self exploration, personal assignments, photo processing on your own – or just a snack. 😉

Day 1- June 12th, 2019: VENICE
LODGING: Hotel Casa Verardo, Venice

Arrival and check-in hotel Casa Verardo. After lunch, we’ll take a vaporetto to San Giorgio Maggiore Island – then a 2nd Vaporetto to Giardini La Biennale and Arsenale. These two beautiful areas are a part of Sestiere Castello, a true “locals” neighborhood of Venice.  After dinner; night shooting at Piazza San Marco!

Day 2- June 13th, 2019
Breakfast included… Hotel Casa Verardo

Early next morning, we’re off to the fish market of Rialto – then to Piazza San Marco (Basilica di San Marco).
We’ll make stops along the way at La Fenice Theatre, La Accademia,  Santa Maria della Salute, Campo Santa Margherita, Santa Maria dei Frari, Santa Lucia and the Ghetto – Fondamenta Nove, then  back to the hotel.

Our main focus this day will those little hidden corners of the city; where there are endless stories just waiting to be told, away from the teeming hordes of tourists.

Day 3 – June 14th, 2019
Murano, Burano, Torcello and the other Islands
Breakfast included….Hotel Casa Verardo

Today we enjoy a lovely day visiting three  charming islands of the Veniatian “lagoon”; Murano, Burano and Torcello. We’ll take a public boat, or “vaporetto” to the island of Murano, the most famous of the Venetian Islands. It’s home to the world renowned “Murano Glass”, which is produced right there.

A bit of history: the  people of Venice have been making crystal and glass since the 10th Century, when the Venetian merchants brought back the secrets of production from the East.

During your time on Murano, we’ll visit the Murano Glass Museum;  
each piece exemplifying the legendary glass produced here.

From Murano, we’ll hop on the “vaporetto” to the Island of Burano, famous for its lace-making industry. This delightful fishing village is one of the most picturesque spots on the Venetian lagoon, with its charming, brightly-colored houses of all hues lining every street and canal. 

Our next vaporetto whisks us to the island of Torcello. Spectacular Byzantine mosaics secreted away in the seventh century Cathedral of Santa Maria dell’Assunta make Torcello a special place indeed.
What’s more, much of the island is a nature preserve, accessible only by walking paths.

Afternoon return to Venice by vaporetto.

Day 4- June 15th, 2019

Free morning to explore on your own in Venice.

We will check out of our hotel and have lunch together before we board the van to
transfer to the Alta Badia Region of the Dolomites.
Driving time is estimated at 2.5 hours.
We should arrive in the quaint town of San Cassiano by approximately 4PM.

Welcome to the Dolomites! 
Dinner included at the family-run Hotel Conturines in San Cassiano, Alta Badia

Located in a large valley surrounded by the gorgeous Alta Badia and San Cassiano mountain peaks, this is truly the “heart of the Dolomites.” Nestled in the South Tyrol (Südtirol) region,  this area was part of Austria prior to World War I. We’ll explore unique mountain scenery during our stay here, visit historic villages, each one rich in natural beauty and ancient traditions, experience the simple, everyday life of the local people (the “Ladini”), as well as the Ladin people’s customs, traditions and ancient culture.

You’ll notice street signs written in three languages – first in Ladino (a neo- Latin language), then in German, and lastly, Italian. You’ll see how the mixed culture is not only marked in the language,
but also in the architecture and cuisine.

Each day, we’ll enjoy the yummy, hearty meals that are representative of the incredible diversity of this region! 

Day 5- June 16th, 2019 ~ Pralongia
Breakfast/Dinner included at the family-run Hotel Conturines in San Cassiano, Alta Badia

In the morning , we reach the Pralongia High Plateau. It’s possible to ascend/descend the Pralongia Plateau either on foot, or by cable car.  We love options! We’ll discuss which one is right for you  the evening prior.

This entire area is surrounded by mountains, including the Marmolada (3,343m / 10,964′); the Queen of the Dolomites and the highest peak; also home to its largest remaining glacier. Once on the Plateau, there are plenty of rifugios (mountain inns) from which you can photograph the panorama and enjoy a typical lunch of the area.

(1-3 hours of hiking, depending on how long you wish to go)

Day 6 – June 17th, 2019 ~ Fanes
Breakfast/Dinner included at the family-run Hotel Conturines in San Cassiano, Alta Badia

In the morning, we’ll take our private transfer to Capanna Alpina (1,726m / 5,663′), a restaurant built at the edge of a Natural Park; such a gorgeous spot!
From there, we’ll begin a gentle hike up on trail n.11 for about 1 hour.
At the top is the breathtaking Col de Locia (2,069m / 6,788′). 
The awe-inspiring beauty of Alta Badia spreads out before your eyes and you can’t help but pinch yourself! 
Col de Locia marks the entrance of a veritable fairy tale valley in the midst of the mountains,
lush with green pastures.

The route continues through a beautiful high meadow and karst formations, heading upwards to the Forcella del Lago; a narrow and dramatic gap in the mountain with a trail descent through steep talus on the south side.
At the base of the slope is Lago Lagacio’ a beautiful lake whose green waters are framed by pines  against a stunning backdrop of the sheer walls of the Cima del Lago and the Cima Scotoni.
From the lake, you can take our private transfer – or hike back.

(~4 hours hiking 7-8km 4 miles, 755m / 2477′ ascent, 492m / 1615′ descent – other options will be available)

Day 7- June 18th, 2018 ~ Kostner
Breakfast/Dinner included at the family-run Hotel Conturines in San Cassiano, Alta Badia

Within the enormous fortress-shaped Sella Massif is an excellent network of paths. While its sheer flanks are reserved for mountaineers and via ferrata experts, the paths are much more sensible and will be our way up. The 3,152-meter (10,341′) pyramidal peak, Piz Boè, can be seen from any of the four passes that bound the Sella Massif. You have to see it to believe it! 

We’ll hike up to Rifugio Franz Kostner, perched atop a natural rock balcony at 2,536 meters (8,320′). From there, photograph the incomparable views of some of the most famous Dolomites peaks, including Marmolada (2,950m / 9,678′) and Antelao (3,264m / 10,709′), the two highest in the Dolomites.

We take a private transfer to Passo Campolongo to begin this beautiful hike, then return to Corvara on the same path, or take the Vallon chair lift and the Boè Cable car down to Corvara.
There is also an option to take the chair lift up to this location.

(4-5 hours hiking 7km / 4,35 miles, 660m / 2,165’ ascent and descent.)
Option to ascend via the Boè cable car and Vallon chair lift.

Day 8 –June 19th, 2019 ~ WW1 tunnels – Mount Lagazuoi – Rifugio overnight experience (guided)
Breakfast and Dinner… Rifugio Lagazoi

In the morning, we’ll take a private transfer to Passo Valparola (2,168m / 7,113′). From here, we’ll have a wonderful guide taking us to  the Cengia Martini “Sentiero Kaiserjäger” on a well-equipped path.  This brings us to the peak of Lagazuoi Piccolo (2,778m /9,114’) in a couple of hours of morning hiking
(1.7km / 1.1 miles, 522m / 1,714′ ascent).

Up here, the sacrifice of the Alpini (Italian Mountain Troopers) and the Kaiserjäger (Austrian Alpine Troopers) will forever be a part of this area’s local history. In their honor, the original via ferrata was rebuilt into a walkable trail, which we’ll follow. 

The path begins from the Vonbank front line near our Rifugio and leads to the ruins of Austrian battle positions nestled against a large rock near the road. The rifle-pits were also restored and made accessible. We’ll experience the strategic value of this battle position, which towers over the Falzarego Pass.
Superb panoramas of the Dolomite Mountains, as far as the Austrian Alps, stretch out before us from the vantage point; offering a multitude of fabulous photo opportunities. 

Then it’s on to lunch at Rifugio Lagazuoi, one of the highest huts in the Dolomites, and in the afternoon discover the WW1 Tunnels,  an easy 200m / 656’ descent on a “sentiero attrezzato.” This very particular remnant of the First World War is both sobering and stunning. Now equipped with cables for safety, our path will  lead us through the famous winding tunnel created by the Italian soldiers. Starting from Cengia Martini they dug through the Piccolo Lagazuoi to attack the Austrian soldiers occupying the summit.

Its dark and damp environment is only rarely broken by a few spectacular windows cut out of the rock, before it opens out below at Cengia Martini and the military remnants. You’ll gain an all new appreciation for the enormous hardship and suffering endured by the troops fighting on both sides of the Great War in the Dolomites.

This night we’ll stay at Rifugio Lagazuoi, one of the highest rifugios in the Dolomites. It’s a glorious point to photograph both sunset and the sunrise.

Day 9 –June 20th, 2019 ~ Ladin Cultural Day

Breakfast/Dinner included at the family-run Hotel Conturines in San Cassiano, Alta Badia

After breakfast, we take the gondola to Passo Falzarego, then by private transfer travel to La Villa.
Shifting from a landscape focus, we’ll broaden our visual horizons to take in the cooking, landscape, and animals of a traditional Ladino working farm; Maso Runch. From La Villa (1,433m/4,701′) we’ll “forest bathe” amongst the beautiful trees there. We’ll see the deer-park, Lake Sompunt and then continue on to the Maso Runch (1,474m / 4,836′), photographing all along the way. 

This dairy farm is situated at the foot of the Fanes-Senes-Braies Natural Park – and is surrounded by meadows and woods above the village of Badia. We’ll explore the farm and its facilities, including the farmstead, the mill, the stable and the hayloft; learning first-hand about daily life at the farmstead. The whole time, you’ll photograph the parts that make your heart sing, capturing utterly unique images of this way of life. 

At noon: a typical Ladino lunch in one of the historic houses at Maso Runch.
After our delicious lunch, we hop on our private transfer back to San Cassiano.

(2.5 hours hiking 5,4km / 3.4 miles, 310m / 1,017′ ascent, 370m/1,214′ descent.)

Presentations and photo workshop wrap-up for those departing on June 21st, 2018

Day 10 – June 21st, 2019 ~ Departure Day
Breakfast/Dinner included at the family-run Hotel Conturines in San Cassiano, Alta Badia

Departure Day Breakfast and private group transfer to the Venice Airport.

Your accommodations:


Castello, 4765-1030122 Venezia
+39 041 05286127
Boutique Hotel Casa Verardo is a hotel de charme housed in Venice in an elegant, historical XVI century Venetian Palazzo, just a few steps from San Marco Square. Casa Verardo enjoys a privileged location in Venice: it is indeed set in downtown, very close to Campo SS. Filippo e Giacomo, moments from San Marco Square and in the path to Rialto Bridge. Close to Casa Verardo you will find San Marco square, the museum of Palazzo Grimani, the picture gallery of Querini Stampalia, the renovation thereof was curated by the famous architect Carlo Scarpa in the 60s, UNESCO Office, Rialto bridge, the Arsenale and all the venues of La Biennale.


Despite the very central position, so convenient to reach all the major points of attraction in Venice, Casa Verardo is nestled in such a silent corner facing the little and quite canal named Rio Drio La Chiesa.
HOTEL CONTURINES (3-STAR Superior) Via Micurà de Rü, 59 39030 San Cassiano (BZ) +39 0471 849464 www.conturines.it

The third-generation family-run Hotel Conturines Posta is ideally located in the heart of the San Cassiano, in a quiet location walking distance to ski lifts. The hotel features spectacular views of the mountains from the terrace and guest rooms, and most rooms have balconies. The dining room offers various culinary delights, with a focus on fresh and regional ingredients. There is also a recently renovated wellness area and a fitness room.


Cortina d’Ampezzo Elevation 2,752 meters / 9,029 feet +39 0436 867303 +39 340 7195306 mobile

Perched near the summit of Mount Lagazuoi, Rifugio Lagazuoi is one of the highest rifugio in the Dolomites. On its patios you feel as though you’re sitting at the edge of the world – with 360° views of the surrounding mountains, including the two highest peaks of the Dolomites. From here you can explore restored galleries, trenches, and emplacements from WWI. Set just above the Lagazuoi gondola, it is also the perfect lodging for skiing.​​​​​​​

Dates: June 12th – 21st, 2019         Venice and Dolomite combo

June 12th – June 15th , 2019           Venice, Italy (Transfer day is June 15th, afternoon)

June 15th – June 21st, 2019            Dolomite Mountains, Alta Badia Region, Italy


10 Day Tour, 9 nights “Venice/Dolomite Combo  $6800.00

Italian Dolomites-only  Option – $5250 (which includes transfer from Venice)

Spouse or Partner “non-photographer” add on $3800.00

Venice Only Option – 4 day, 3 night tour $2900.00

Spouse or Partner “non-photographer” add on $1500.00

The Artist Voice Photography Retreats are all about expression, creative energy and making amazing images. That is why we have a conversation with each attendee before signing up. It  helps sets the stage for an awesome creative environment by seeing that everyone is on the page and ready to inspire one another to the next level. Please hit the inquire button and Karen will contact you directly. After our conversation and you are ready to sign up, we will send you the deposit payment link.  $1500 Deposit to Reserve your spot with full payment due 90 days prior to Departure. Final payment will be calculated based on program selected including partner add-on.

Cost includes (for Venice/Dolomite Combo)

  • Trip briefing
  • Logistic and map of the area
  • 3 night accommodation at Casa Verardo in Venice
  • Boat transfer in Venice as per itinerary
  • 5 night accommodation at Hotel Conturines in San Cassiano, Alta Badia (Superior room)
  • 1 night accommodation in rifugio  *shared dorms
  • Local English speaking UIAGM/IFMGA Mountain guide for 1 day on Day 8
  • Helmet rental ON DAY 8
  • All breakfasts
  • 4  course dinners beginning on Day 4 thru Day 9 or 10 (Bonus day)
  • Private transfers as per itinerary
  • Duffel bag transfer to rifugio
  • Lift ticket pass for 3 days
  • Tourist tax
  • 22% Italian VAT

Cost does not include

  • Air fare
  • Airport transfers (on request)- from Marco Polo to Venice
  • Lunches
  • Lift ticket on day 8
  • Extra charges due to changes in itinerary
  • Items not on set dinner menu
  • Beverages except what is served at breakfast
  • Bottled water
  • Insurance
  • Trip cancellation coverage
  • Items of personal nature (phone calls, laundry, excess baggage charge, etc.)
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Anything not mentioned in “cost includes”


If you are unable or choose to no longer attend “The Artist’s Voice” Venice/Dolomites Retreat , the following refund schedule will apply.

* 120 or more days prior to the beginning of the retreat: Full refund (if full payment was made), minus non-refundable deposit.

* 90-120 days prior to the retreat: Full refund (if full payment was made), minus non-refundable deposit and a $750 fee.

* Less than 90 days prior to the retreat: No refund. Notification by phone or email is acceptable and must be followed with a written notice.

* Leaving a workshop or retreat in progress, for any reason, will not result in a refund.

* We reserve the right to cancel a trip because of inadequate number of participants making the workshop economically infeasible to operate. In the event that a workshop is cancelled prior to departure, you will receive full refund of the cost of the workshop.


For your protection, travel insurance is strongly recommended. Medical coverage is required.