Lost Sheep

I’ve been pondering a new theory as of late, and after last night it has jelled in my mind and I think it is high time to put it down on the old electronic paper. I call this one the Lost Sheep theory, which could also probably be called the separated sheep theory but lost sounds better.

Ephesians 6:12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Whether we like it or not, there is a war raging in another dimension, the spiritual dimension. The war is real and it is vicious and sometimes that war spills over into the physical as well. Here in the physical world there are three kinds of people, wolves, sheep and shepherds, the wolves know who they are. I think there are very few shepherds though, and we don’t always even know who we are. Which is why I’m writing this letter to the shepherds and the sheep both. To the shepherds so they will understand their role, and to the sheep so they will know to stay inside the protective circle of their shepherds.

I can’t count the number of times I have gone to work or gone shopping or hiking or on a photo trip that I have received a phone call, “You gotta get back here right away!“, plug in latest crisis… I also can’t count the number of times I have heard, “Every time you leave, all hell breaks loose!”, which is what got me to pondering this whole theory.

In the natural world predators like to look for a weak member of the herd, perhaps even one that has become separated from the rest. They seek an easy prey that they can quickly kill and drag away before the main herd or the shepherd notices. So it is in the spiritual world as well. There is a real enemy in the spiritual realm who is always looking for someone to destroy.

1 Peter: 8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. “

In many cases the sheep are your children, perhaps one might like to play alone or a teen might align with the wrong friends. In this case it also might be the father who is assigned the role of shepherd and if he isn’t vigilant his sheep will become the target for destruction by the enemy. Maybe it will be work, or television, or the internet that distracts the shepherd and allows his sheep to become separated.

In some cases though, certain people have been assigned the role of shepherd, these are pastors, youth leaders and sometimes even coaches and teachers, etc. Occasionally some shepherds are just regular people mingling with friends, neighbors, and co-workers. And these must constantly be watching to see if there is a soul who is being isolated and targeted.

The hard part in those cases is for the shepherds to figure out who they are… that’s how I got started on this idea… the “all hell breaks loose” part of it. I noticed that for certain people in my sphere of influence, if they stay in my sphere there is peace. If they become separated trouble starts. When I come back, the predators slink back into their corners of darkness to wait for a more opportune moment.

I/m sure this has nothing to do with the physical prowess of the shepherd person, but more to do with spiritual prowess and availability. Now of course to walk in that kind of power the shepherds have to be believers who are paying attention and who are not afraid to get in the fight and get a little bloody sometimes. Some may be shepherds, but if they refuse to leave their football games on television, or their video games and chat rooms on the computer or happy hour or whatever, their sheep will be left defenseless.

There have been no greater tests of my theory than what I have seen in the last few days… First came the physical attacks from a loved one on one of my co-workers, then a car wreck and the shock from that. Then last night at work, an almost indescribable nightmare… as certain wolves at work took advantage of a very rough night to close in and try destroy her completely. I saw what was going on and took steps to make sure my sheep wasn’t seen as separated, and the battle went on all night. In the end it appears the forces of good were victorious and she won the admiration of the entire team, save the jealous predators who found themselves on the wrong side of the battle line. In the spiritual realm, the enemy could see that this sheep had a shepherd watching, this sheep was no longer separated and easy prey, that there was a shepherd who was not giving up a sheep without a fight.

Fortunately for all of us, the forces of good are more powerful than the forces of darkness. But the forces of good need to be vigilant and courageous. We can’t become distracted with our own endeavors or allow fear to stop us from speaking up, or to keep us from doing our God given jobs of providing mercy and comfort to the broken hearted. As a side note, keep in mind that the predators are not easily identifiable, they can be important people in the workplace, church and neighborhoods. They can come in the form of religious people as well, self righteous and self seeking individuals who profess the words of the bible, but do not do them.

To the shepherds I say, remain vigilant. The war never ends, the enemy never rests. I just got done with a major spiritual battle earlier in the summer and I prayed… “Lord, let this be the last one, let me rest now.’. But the prayer was sin and I know God didn’t listen to it. So last night I changed my prayer to “Lord don’t ever leave me out of the fight. May You never find me away my battle station when the war in the heavens spills over into my world.”.

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Wedding Photography

kim-grandpaWoke up this morning totally bummed out… It has only been a little more than a week since my Walmart payday and I’m already broke again. So I’m thinking… this is just not right! Earlier this year I had the foresight to create a dedicated wedding Facebook page for my photography business and today is the day I have decided to do something about it!

heidi-softHaven’t done a wedding in a while due to all the uncertainty that goes along with caring for a wife dying of cancer… but I’m over a year out from her passing now and confident that I can carry on the business even without my intrepid assistant… She was the outgoing one of the two of us and did all the marketing and schmoozing with wedding coordinators and brides. But I think I learned a lot from her about how to do that and will just have to get used to operating out of my comfort zone!

Fortunately for me she had the vision to create both printed and digital wedding portfolios with the best of the scores of weddings that we photographed, so I’m not starting from ground zero! However, it is possible that all my contracts and releases have been lost over the years to various computer malfunctions… but I think I can recreate those a lot easier than I could have created a portfolio!

western-sunsetSo my business plan will be to shoot a wedding for $995 with a $195 advance to hold the date. Something I have now that I didn’t have before is a reliable supplier that newlyweds can use to create prints and other products for their permanent record. Back in the day when film was king, it was very time consuming and difficult to get quality prints. Now with photoshop and online labs those items can be created in a snap.

So please! If you know anyone in the Colorado Springs area who is getting married, spread the word! S. W. Krull Imaging is back in the wedding business 🙂

 

Steve Krull is a prolific sports and nature photographer selling prints and stock images online as S.W. Krull Imaging at various sites and agencies. Click this link to view all the products and services offered by Steve Krull and S. W. Krull Imaging. Additional services include, wedding photography, portraiture and model portfolios, and event photography.

Photographic Journey

winter-doeToday I’m continuing my photographic journey through the last few years looking for the best images to upload to the Adobe Stock Photo library… Funny, I forget a lot of things from the past, but when I see these images I can pretty much remember the exact moment of each capture. If it weren’t for the dates in the digital file I could never tell you the day, or probably even the year, but I remember each moment like it was yesterday.

I remember well this old doe too, I saw her almost every day for two years in the little wildlife park we had near our house. It wasn’t much but the deer liked it there and when it snowed it was transformed into a real winter wonderland! I’ll never forget this big buck either! He was huge and could be a bit surely at times 🙂 I know whenever he got to looking at me and wandering towards me, I hightailed it out of there! Didn’t want to wait around to see what he wanted!

winter-buckToday finds me back in 2009 remembering a very snowy winter. I got some of my best deer pictures ever that year, and now that I am not an exclusive artist anywhere these are eligible to be uploaded to my new port on Adobe Stock. Just checked and over the last few days I have managed to index 284 mostly fall and winter captures. I’m doing those first since those seasons are rapidly approaching.

2009 was also the year that we opened our little antiques boutique in Franktown. What an adventure that was! Tricia decorated it so well, everyone who came in commented on how quaint it was 🙂 However as it turns out, Franktown was apparently not the best place for a nice boutique and we were struggling to make a go of it.

Autumn Pikes Peak

Then in early summer about the time our first lease was up and we were trying to decide whether or not we should continue, we got the fateful news of Tricia’s cancer diagnosis. Of course then we quickly abandoned the store to concentrate on trying to beat the cancer.

One thing led to another and we wound up here in Woodland Park where I have been able to take in some magnificent views of America’s Mountain, otherwise known as Pikes Peak. This one was taken from the beach area on Crystal Reservoir back in 2013. I’m hoping to make it up there again this year for some more shots of the golden colored aspen trees of autumn.

 

Steve Krull is a prolific sports and nature photographer selling prints and stock images online as S.W. Krull Imaging at various sites and agencies. Click this link to view all the products and services offered by Steve Krull and S. W. Krull Imaging. Additional services include, wedding photography, portraiture and model portfolios, and event photography.

The Good, the Bad and the New

I remember reading with dread a couple years ago that Adobe was entering the stock image business with it’s own collection that would be accessible directly from Lightroom. Dang I thought, that is really going to take a bite out of iStock’s business. At the time I was an exclusive artist there with no possibility of getting any images into Adobe’s collection. In retrospect, I should have dropped exclusivity then and moved on… but I didn’t and now is now and I’m no longer exclusive at iStock / Getty. I have expanded my collections at Alamy and Pixels but those agencies are not really in the same market so I they are not a replacement for the struggling iStock collection.

Mountain Goats

In the meantime I have been reading the stock forums to stay on top of the business and try to find out what if anything is going on at iStock, when I read a comment by a trusted contributor saying the Adobe collection is doing well. That’s all it took for me to sign up and submit some images! So far I have only done 20 and they have not yet been reviewed, but it is a start, a new start I hope. I don’t think I’ll go way back and submit all 4,500 images that are at iStock to Adobe, maybe just back to when I got my Canon 70D, plus a few favorites from my 40D. Don’t think I’ll bother with many of the 4.5 megapixel images I submitted with my 1D so many years ago.

In the meantime, I am totally bummed… I noticed that some of my images have been turning out blurry these days so I did some testing yesterday. Sure enough, my favorite and best lens, my Canon F4L 70-200 is broken. Shooting blurry and I can hear something rattling around inside 😦 Oh well, it has served me well for almost a decade and isn’t really the right lens for the subjects I want to photograph now. I got it for photographing sporting events, which I’m now sick of. Now my interest is mainly wildlife which I’m finding are frequently too distant for a 200mm lens. And ever since I bought the F4L I was a bit bummed that I didn’t hold out for a 300 or a 400mm.

So yesterday I was at Remax asking about buying a property to get out of this tin can before winter and they told me I need to get a credit card and buy something and make some payments… Apparently I have no credit rating at all, I’m a ghost 🙂 The reason being of course, I despise credit cards… but I need a lens and I need a place to live, so perhaps I’ll get a card and journey down to Mike’s and take a look at some Tamron and Sigma 400mm lenses… Don’t think I’ll be able to swing a 400mm Canon L series, although that’s what I would like 😦

I probably don’t need to do a whole lot of shooting this fall anyway, with money on the table at Adobe Stock my time will probably be better spent uploading the thousands of images I have already captured. I have already started the process with 20 autumn images from Crystal Reservoir and a few from the summit of Mount Yale which I hiked last year. The golden tundra of the alpine peak and the shimmering water of Crystal Reservoir on Pikes Peak should make for a good start 🙂

The really good news is that sweet little Kitsune has been found and we will be going to retrieve her from dog jail. I hope the fine isn’t too much… Payday isn’t until tomorrow!

End of Summer 2016

The annual mass migration out of the mountains on Labor Day is in full swing… Thousands of cars, RV’s, and camper trailers streaming out of the mountains on their journey back to the cities. Can’t say I’m sorry to see them go. I know they are supposed to be good for business in the state but not many stop here in Woodland Park. They mostly just pass through and clog up the only route through town and it will be nice to have our quiet little laid back mountain town back again as the cool of autumn settles in and the aspen leaves begin their transformation into autumn gold, which by the way is my favorite time of year for picture taking.

_MG_0966-Team

Bill, Ralph & Steve on Mt. Massive

The summer is now but a blur and I can’t believe how fast it went by. I had planned to climb several 14ers this summer and collect tons of wildlife pictures… I guess it was not meant to be but I’m thankful for the wonderful memories of the two climbs we did accomplish, Colorado 14er mountains Massive and Harvard, which by accident turned out to be the number two and three highest peaks in the state, so when I include our winter climb of Mount Elbert last January I have knocked out the three highest peaks in one year 🙂

Summer started slowly enough with a new job, some new friends and a very laid back 4th of July celebration at Woodland Park’s Symphony Above the Clouds. Also got to climb the Crags for the first time in my life with my friend Debbie and hike the Dome Rock Wildlife area, both items to check off my to do list that I have been  wanting to accomplish  for many years!

Debbie Crags

Debbie & Steve at the Crags

The two climbs and the hikes were in July which now seems like a lifetime ago for some reason. Maybe it’s age, time is a funny thing when youth is behind you, days are slow, weeks are fast, and months are like a vapor… The physical demands of my new job ground me down to the point that the job was all I could do, and I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to do that… However after shedding 12 pounds and a lot of perseverance my strength seemed to bottom out around the end of August and about when I was thinking I was going to get fired for being too old and slow, I was offered full time, which may be just the blessing I need to get into some decent digs for the winter.

When I think back on the blur of chaos that was the summer of 2016 I see so many things undone, so many things lost in a harrowing outpouring of jealousy and evil that I would not have believed possible in America prior to this year. A family that I cared about was destroyed, a neighborhood ruined and several six year friendships thrown away in what was clearly a spiritual conflict that can be comprehended only by the strongest of believers. Also lost, thanks to my vindictive evil neighbors is sweet Kitsune, the little red terrier I was no longer allowed to leave in the safety of my air conditioned camper trailer while I was gone to work… Sonny the big guy came back, but little Kit is still lost. Even after three days we are still fervently hoping for someone to find her and reunite her with a very sad and lonely Sonny 😦 Perhaps I will write of all that sometime but I need to let it all bake for a bit while my mind tries to process it. Unrelated to all of that I am also saddened that my close friend Apryl is leaving Colorado on a one way journey to the east coast to start a new yet old life with a new job close to her family roots.

Biker-Chicks

New Friends 🙂

So I can look back at the summer of 2016 at what was lost or I can choose to celebrate what was not lost. I still have a solid employment situation, my health and my ability to scale the tall mountain peaks. I have not lost my place in the magnificent Colorado Rockies and I still have my climbing buddies. Most importantly of all, I have a new friend to hang with, laugh with and while away the hours of days when there isn’t much to do besides enjoy the rare company of a person that doesn’t mind the hours that are about nothing much, just time spent together.

Summer 2016 had two additional high points, my sister Alyson and nephew Brady whom I haven’t seen in about a decade made the journey to Colorado to see me in the early summer and my Cousin LeAnn and Danny came out as well. The years

Alyson & Steve Manitou Incline

Alyson & Steve at the Incline

LeAnn & Steve.jpg

LeAnn & Steve

since the ’08 crash have not been kind and reconnecting with family the last couple of years has been an amazing experience! Will also get to see my parents again this fall after the lost decade so I’m pretty happy about that too 🙂

Goat-PeekingAnd I am also looking forward to my favorite two months in Colorado, when the storms of August are over and the mountain air dries and cools. The aspen trees and the high mountain tundra turn to gold as the foliage and wildlife prepare for the long Rocky Mountain winter. The pleasant weather and beautiful colors make for the best hiking, climbing and photo opportunities of the year. And with the summer hordes back in their home states I also look forward to some much needed solitude high above the treeline with the marmots and the mountain goats 🙂

 

Steve Krull is a prolific sports and nature photographer selling prints and stock images online as S.W. Krull Imaging at various sites and agencies. Click this link to view all the products and services offered by Steve Krull and S. W. Krull Imaging. Additional services include, wedding photography, portraiture and model portfolios, and event photography.