Major Break

My stock photography business caught a major break in May. Most of my stock images get uploaded to iStockphoto, with a few going up to the parent company, the Getty Images Agency. Getty Images is the largest picture agency in the world, and for a photographer it is certainly the major league of the stock photo business. I recently learned that management at Getty Images has recognized the importance of the editorial (also known as unreleased) image collection and the talent of the photographers shooting those images at iStockphoto and will adding these images to their editorial collection.

Contestants

Contestants preparing for Paddlefest 2015

The new development will involve porting exclusive editorial content at iStockphoto to a special editorial collection at Getty Images. What that means to me is that I can rapidly grow my collection of images at the Getty Agency while doing the type of photography I enjoy the most and find myself to be the most suited for, such as this whitewater festival called Paddlefest in Buena Vista, Colorado. It also means that the hundreds of images that I have already captured from sporting events, hiking trails, mountain climbing cliffs and lakes and rivers of Colorado will all be displayed for sale there as well as on the iStock web site.

I am now looking forward to the summer’s events with renewed excitement and combing the event calendars for some new ones that I haven’t been aware of in the past. Stay tuned to my Examiner news feed for the stories and pictures of this summer’s outdoor events in Colorado!

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What God HAS done, not what He Hasn’t

Inspirational words from my friend Rachel:

Radical Road

http://klockephotography.com/ http://klockephotography.com/

I’m always encouraged when I look at how far I’ve come physically from my medical issues, and I’m discouraged when I look at how far I have to go. What I’m referring to is the debilitating illness I’ve faced for almost 3 years. I have Lyme disease, a Brain Injury, and something called P.O.T.S. (Postural, Orthostatic, Tachycardia, Syndrome).  All of these have worked against each other and put me into a wheelchair. I live my life in bed since I have difficulty even sitting up. All of us are facing our own trials. Yours may be different than mine. But regardless of what we’re facing, it’s important to focus on what God HAS done in our lives, instead of what He Hasn’t.

I notice that when I look at how far I’ve come and the progress I’ve made, it brings a smile to my heart. It encourages me and…

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Paddlefest

Today turned out to be a pretty big day, the furthest from home I’ve been in a long time. After years of hoping to photograph the Paddlefest whitewater festival in Buena Vista, I finally made it today. I awoke at 5:00 a.m. and it was foggy and cold so I was tempted to just give it up and go back to bed, but I thought it was now or never and just headed out the door. My gear was all packed from the night before because I knew it would be a tough thing to do in the dark in the morning.

Collegiate Peaks

Collegiate Peaks

Fog and rain greeted most of my drive across the high plateau from Lake George to Hartsel, but a glorious view greeted me as 285 began to descend down into the Arkansas Valley. The massive Collegiate Peaks range came into view and was well worth the pull over at at the scenic overlook for some shots. The deep snow on the high peaks was literally glowing in the early morning light. I lingered and shot several angles and different peaks from various vantage points before continuing down the mountain to the turnoff to Buena Vista

As I pulled into town I spotted just the thing I was looking for at the moment. My early departure didn’t leave me time to drink my usual morning wake up beverage, so when I saw the Brown Dog Coffee Shop I knew it would be a good place to hang out and wait for the whitewater events to start. Love the place and it will now be my favorite coffee shop west of the Continental Divide!

Soon I decided to head on down to the river to find a parking place and scope out the event vantage points. Rain was falling so I was glad that I had brought along my Aquatech rain cover for the camera and a rain poncho. Down by the river tents were being set up with the necessary music and PA gear. I inquired and they told me the main festival was up the trail. Checked that out and decided to head back to the car to wait out the rain and kill the time before the events.

Paddle-Boarders

Paddle-Boarders

9:00 a.m. finally rolled around so I put the rain cover on the camera and headed back down to the river for the first kayak events at the eddy near the tents. As I was shooting the kayakers, I noticed some mountain bikers on the opposite side of the river high on the ridge, so after the first set I found the bridge and crossed over. According to the maps it looked like the Whipple Trail would afford me a good view of the high peaks to the west. True enough, if it weren’t for so many clouds it would have been awesome. On my way back across the bridge I received my good fortune for the day as a group of paddle boarders were headed down a very scenic segment of the river, all lined up in a very cool row! That will be my money shot for the day I am sure!

When I got back to the river I got the opportunity to photograph some rafters and the group of paddle boarders were getting ready to tackle some whitewater. A few more captures and I was ready for the drive home, which turned out to be an adventure in itself. It was snowing on the high plains, which is way more excitement than I need when I am driving my summer car. Fortunately I drove out from under the storm and it turned into rain in the lower elevations.

Finished up the day with some awesome Japanese Teriyaki chicken and am looking forward to processing almost 300 images and writing an article about the festival for the Examiner. The festival was great and I love Buena Vista and the Collegiate Peaks. I seriously need to think about moving over to that side of the Divide!

Therapeutic

Today is a cold dreary rainy snowy day and sitting at home was just too depressing so I thought the coffee shop in downtown Woodland Park would be nice. There is a table there that I consider mine, the one right by the south window where I can sit and look at Pikes Peak. Today my table was available and as I sat there looking out at the snow I was reminded of the very first time I went there. We were still moving to the mountains and there was one day when the weather was bad and we decided to just take a break from moving and stop in there for breakfast.

I also remembered a time when I had stopped in there when Tricia had gone to Kansas to visit her family and we were kind of thinking it was going to be to say goodbye. I didn’t actually expect her to come back. I remember sitting there talking to God and trying to come up with some sort of plan for my life without her. As I sat there today I realized I couldn’t remember what year that was, or what came before it or after it. My memory of the course of events has already begun to fade and it was bugging me because I’m not ready to let it go yet.

So I resolved to come home and write down the chronology of our years together so that I would not lose it. As I wrote, I remembered the fuzzy time period around then as well as many other important times from our 26 years together. Turns out that I had forgotten that we had signed a second year lease on our first place in Woodland Park that I forgot about and it made me feel like I was missing a year. I was also starting to forget some names of people that have played an important part in our lives over the years. Now it is all on paper, so to speak, and I find that I have suddenly been able to quit thinking about it. It’s like it can be sealed and put away. I know it won’t be forgotten because if I want to I can get it out and look at it to refresh my mind. But for now it is behind me and that is a good thing.

Animals in Heaven

This is a question that comes up often for animal loving believers. Having read the Bible from front to back more than a dozen times I can say with certainty… it doesn’t say one way or the other. But of course, the absence of a definitive answer from scripture that doesn’t mean that it isn’t so. The Bible was written for people to read, and of course with the God given ability for higher thinking comes the responsibility about making a decision about God. The Bible is the reference book for humans to make that decision. Animals have no decision to make. Not having the knowledge of good and evil they are exempt from any decisions and are in no need of divine instruction, ergo there are no instructions in the Bible regarding the salvation of animals.

So as with anything, in the absence of hard evidence circumstantial evidence can be examined. First of all, what do we imagine Heaven is like? Revelation Chapter 21 describes a walled city with streets of “pure gold as it were transparent glass”. In the city there are pearls and jewels of every kind and there shall be no need for light because the Lamb of God is the Light. The twelve gates to the city are never closed because there is no night and no darkness. And in Chapter 22 there is mention of a pure river of the water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and the Lamb. A river lined with the tree of life and all manner of fruits and leaves for the “healing of the nations”.

We don’t know what is outside the gates, only that no unclean thing may enter the gates. My guess (and my theory on the matter) is that outside the gates lies a beautiful expanse of mountains, wilderness and gardens. Perhaps like the Garden of Eden, a magnificent place filled with abundant fruits and trees and plants. And of course there were animals in the garden, animals that Adam was supposed to name and care for.

Before sin entered the world there was no death and no need of death. The animals could not provide meat without dying so they must have been placed in the garden for some other reason besides consumption. Perhaps God just likes animals? How could He not enjoy the chirping of birds, the beautiful colors and patterns on their fur and the joyful play of the furry youngsters. A garden without birds or mountains, without the chatter of pika, deer grazing and bear cubs romping would be a sterile and boring place indeed. Heaven wouldn’t be Heaven at all without such joyful abundance of life. We are also assured that God is concerned with the return of animals to their Garden of Eden state in Isaiah 11:6 where it is said that during the millennial reign of the Messiah, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”. I don’t believe God would have created animals and put so much thought into them if He didn’t want them in His final Kingdom.

1937114_1183946444851_6660632_nMy wife Tricia, God rest her soul, was one of the most spiritually attuned people I have ever met and also a person who believed that there would be animals in Heaven and that our pets would be there too. This belief was cemented by the life and death of our first dog that we raised together. I have a long story about how we came about bringing him home, but that is a tale for another blog post. Anyway, this amazing story began in our back yard when I brought the dog home. At the time we only had a little two seat S10 Chevy pickup truck with an open bed. There was no way we were going to drive our new pet 20 miles through the nightmare that is Denver traffic in the back of an open pickup and he was too big to ride in a lap, so I went to get him alone. When I brought him home Tricia was inside so I just led Bear around back to his new backyard. After I had closed the gate and unhooked the leash Bear ran out into the middle of the yard and whirled around several times before racing back to greet me. It was a moment I will never forget as long as I live. As I mentioned, Tricia wasn’t there, she was busy and I was busy and I forgot to tell her about his joy at being rescued.

Years later after being as much a part of our family as any child would be, Bear crossed Rainbow Bridge and we were of course devastated. As we prepared to bury him Tricia was petting him and praying for God to give him back to us. All of a sudden she stopped and jumped up saying, I just had a vision of Bear playing in green grass, twirling in circles and jumping for joy! I said, “that is exactly what he did when I first brought him home”. She said, “He is happy in Heaven and will be waiting for us!”. I believe that he is and that she and him are both running through green grass even as we speak, joyfully and patiently awaiting my arrival 🙂

Writer’s Block

I have heard of Writer’s Block… a situation where a writer cannot seem to write anymore for some unknown reason. I have had some Writer’s Block lately, but I know the reason. I know what I am supposed to write, I just don’t want to do it. So I guess if I’m going to get past here I’m going to have to write it. The last couple of trips to Denver have been very depressing. There is a particular intersection that Tricia and I encountered hundreds of times, usually on our way back from a day of errands or projects. Santa Fe is a main artery out of the city and parts further north and is where we would make the turn to the east for the home stretch on the highway. My last couple of trips to Denver brought me to that place and for some reason as I sat there waiting for the light I was overwhelmed by a tidal wave of memories. Memories of our twenty years together in that place. Memories of return trips from the antique malls up north, of holiday shopping in Littleton and of the Christmas store on Santa Fe. Memories of DJ gigs in that part of town, of trips to Southwest Plaza, Chatfield and Waterton Canyon. Memories of trips to the thrift stores to hunt for treasures in the piles of rubble dumped on the shelves. Romano’s was our favorite restaurant in the whole world, a little place just off of Littleton Blvd. and how I have missed it since we moved away. And of course there are good feelings of the financial security and good health we enjoyed while we were there. We had friends and co-workers, there were company parties, church functions and a sense of belonging. There were also calls from work, people with questions, problems to solve, and a feeling of being needed. I had other things I wanted to do this week while I was in the Denver, but the pain I felt sitting at that intersection was too unbearable. So I just headed straight down Santa Fe past C-470 where it becomes Highway 85 and a great way to miss all the traffic on the way back to Colorado Springs. I sped away as quickly as I could but the depression remained for days, same thing with this weeks road trip. So I was praying to have the depression lifted and for a way through the impenetrable wall of pain. As usual, the answer came from the Word of God. One word, Egypt, one of the earliest stories in the Old Testament. Of course it is the story of the Ten Commandments. The Hebrews were at first overjoyed as they left 400 years of hard bondage and slavery behind, but soon the heat and desolation of the desert had soured their mood toward the journey to an unknown place. Food and water were in short supply, the days of walking long and hard. They started to murmur, “At least we had food in Egypt.”. They said to Moses, “Have you led us into the desert to kill us?”. They had quickly forgotten the pain and merciless toil of life as a slave. And it occurred to me that five years away from there has dulled the memory of the hardship there. I had forgotten the torture it was to sit in a cubicle for eight, nine, ten and even more hours of mind numbing tedium. Forgotten were the one hour commutes morning and night in heavy traffic, driving to work in the dark in the morning and coming back in the dark at night. Forgotten were car accidents caused by too many trips and too many cars on the roads. And of course there were the ever present problems with the old house which we not so affectionately called the Money Pit after the Tom Hanks and Shelly Long movie. I had also forgotten the rage and hatred I fostered towards a nit picking homeowner’s association manned by busy bodies with nothing better to do than spend their days trying to find ways to torment people. Forgotten was the dismay when we discovered that the landing pattern for DIA was right over our house. Forgotten was the road past the lake that turned our street into a thoroughfare for delivery trucks on their way to other towns, turning our quiet little street into a roaring truck route where deer and dogs and cats were routinely run down by careless mentally challenged delivery drivers. I had forgotten the heartbreak we experienced when they cut down the forest where we loved to go snowshoeing in order to clear the way for the mansions they wanted to build. Forgotten were the anger I felt when the bosses would make the announcement that profits were too low for raises this time, and the next time and the next. It was then that I remembered how much we hated the place and how we had tried for so long to find a way out. Our hatred for the city is what drove us to try all the businesses, to find something that could sustain us somewhere else so that we would have the confidence to make the break. And we did finally make the break to our new start here in the mountains. Of course life in the mountains comes with it’s own set of hardships, but they are just problems to solve not the insidious spirit crushing stress of city life that has no beginning, end or identifiable solution. Sometimes we need to take a step back and recognize that God knows to take care of His own. He had been telling us for a long time to get out but instead of obeying immediately we tried to work every detail. When this is done or that is done, or this amount of money comes in, then we will go. Perhaps if we had gone sooner Tricia wouldn’t have gotten the cancer. In any case, the place is my Egypt and I am certain that the flood of memories I experience the next time I’m there will only serve to remind me that I don’t miss that life at all, and of how happy I am to be living in the mountains. There is a saying up here, “If you are lucky enough to live in the mountains, you are lucky enough.”. I agree and I hope that this writing helps anyone out there reading this who is missing their “Egypt”.