Summer Solstice 2021

The summer solstice arrived in Colorado last night at 9:32 p.m last night during a raging hailstorm in my little town in the mountains ushering in the first official day of summer today. 45 degrees with a dense wet fog seems a strange way to start the summer considering that we were suffering from record heat a couple of days ago.

Minolta x-700 with strap

Today was momentous for another reason as well… I purchased a beautiful new neoprene stretchy padded Optech camera strap for my Canon 90D. Now that’s not the occasion to which I am referring… the big event is my nearly four decade old Domke strap going home. I purchased my first real camera from Waxman’s Camera way back in 1984 and the strap that came with it was too short for my taste so I purchased this grey and black strap made by Domke. I really liked the strap and bought several identical ones through the years, but whenever I got a new camera it received the original version which had long since been removed from the Minolta, which hasn’t been used since the dawn of the digital age. Well today that strap is going back home, back onto the Minolta X-700. I thought the occasion worthy of some kind of recognition, hence the mention in this blog post 🙂

Canon 90D with Optech Strap

Until recently I haven’t needed a new strap, the original one is still in fine working order but the weight of my gear has increased substantially as of late. My X-700 weighed only pound or two even with a 75-300mm lens attached. I think now my 90D with battery grip, batteries, a 100-400L zoom lens and the 1.4x converter weighs in at a hefty 11 pounds. The other day at Englewood Camera I was looking at the new straps and decided the Optech Weight Management System sounded like a good idea, so I took the plunge and went for the upgrade. I have to admit, the new high tech stretch padding feels pretty good and does seem to distribute the weight nicely. Not sure it actually makes the camera feel lighter but for sure I notice a lot less neck pain when carrying the beast around.

As for the state of photography at the beginning of this new summer, my outlook is guarded at best. As a result of the pandemic and market saturation, stock image sales are way down with no sign of recovering. Editorial sales seem to be doing the best in a bad situation, perhaps because all events have been cancelled for so long there is a market for past public gatherings. As the world sputters back to life perhaps it would be worth it to capture some new event images, time will tell.

My YouTube Channel is growing at a brisk rate, but for all the wrong reasons and for an unwelcome audience. My newest creations are my best of course due to increased experience, but are attracting little attention. It appears most of my channel growth is due to one video, the elk rut in Estes Park from last fall. Thek audience for that is unfortunately almost exclusively male animal hunters 😦 As I try record the beauty and majesty of God’s Creation to convey the importance of preserving and enhancing the lives of these beautiful creatures, it appears I am attracting an audience of those who only want to destroy them. Plus the analytics show that only about one percent of the viewers of that video are subscribers with any interest in the rest of my library. Continuing that endeavor seems pointless at this time.

The enjoyment I receive from spending time in nature observing and photographing the animals ensures that I will continue to do so as much as possible, but to bolster my revenue I may have to do a little thinking outside the box. As a result I have been rethinking my Patreon Channel and big changes are coming to my presence on that platform so stay tuned, although I have to admit I will be appealing to an entirely different audience there.

Nonetheless, I am looking forward to a productive and enjoyable summer as the pandemic winds down and life begins anew! I hope you will all continue to enjoy my excursions into the rugged high country of the Colorado Rocky Mountains!

Please don’t forget to visit my YouTube channel , and if you wouldn’t mind I could use the thumbs up and a subscribe if you enjoy the content and want to help my channel!

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! I should mention at this time that this blog post is not sponsored by Canon or any other firm. All equipment used in the making of the blog and video have been purchased by me on my own volition.

Back in the Print Business

Well I did it… I went and bought a printer. Back in the day I always had a printer… I remember when I bought my first computer with the advent of Windows 95, along with a 15 inch monitor and a Canon 720×720 printer… That printer cost me $550 in 1995 dollars and if I remember right, after only a little while I had to send it in for repairs at the big box store where I bought it, now out of business and I can’t even remember the name. I never did get it back, it somehow went into the repairs black hole and was never seen again.

Canon Pixma iX6820

However, things were changing so fast in the PC world that by that time the dots per inch had doubled, inks and paper had improved and prices had dropped dramatically. So instead of fighting the losing battle against the system, I just bought a new one. From then on I was perpetually in a quest for the latest and greatest and for a time I even had an oddball dye sublimation model from some company that eventually went out of business, and consequently the ink became unavailable.

Eventually Canon came out with a model that could print 13×19 inch prints and the ink was good enough by then to actually be useful in a professional setting. It was then that I discovered Ilford Pearl paper and my prints were virtually indistinguishable from prints produced in a professional lab without the hassle of multiple trips through the city traffic to finally get a print done right.

Then came the 08 financial crash. I had no photo jobs, no money to buy ink… and eventually no home. Everything but the camera and my 70-200 F4L lens had to go. I held on to my printer for a couple more years but without frequent use it soon fell into disrepair. I considered selling it but I didn’t want to take the chance of someone having a problem with it, so my pride and joy eventually went off to Goodwill 😦

So for the better part of a decade I just didn’t print anything. All my photography was for stock and the only record of my images were ones and zeroes stored on magnetic media and at stock agencies in the ether. As my wife battled cancer I barely kept my photography going, occasionally venturing out on foot onto the trails of the nearby mountains in search of deer and elk. There was little need for printing in those days, there was nowhere to hang them if I did and uploads to the stock agencies were all I could handle anyway. With access to the internet only through the local library, even that was problematic.

However things have really turned around in the last few years following her passing, I have been capturing the best images of my life in the mountains surrounding my new home in Cripple Creek. I’ve been sending a few images off for metal prints and now some excellent bird images including hawks, osprey and bald eagles, have been just piling up on my hard drive. I’ve sent a few off for prints when I can get a good deal, but without any method of proofing the results have often been disappointing.

4x6 inch proof print of a coyoteI had heard that Canon had in recent years produced a printer worthy of the trademark professional red stripe so I went online to research it. I would love to have one but they aren’t cheap and with the limited printing I do I’m sure one wouldn’t be cost effective. So I began to look at other models and I soon found a 13×19 inch 9600×2400 dpi model for only $179 called the Pixma iX6820. For that price I had to have it :)

It was available for pickup at Best Buy yesterday so I made the journey down to the city for the printer and supplies. I still have a good supply of the Ilford Pearl in the 13×19 and 8.5×11 on hand so I just needed to pick up some 4×6 proofing paper and some 11×17 Pearl for my wide images of the hawks and eagles. Soon the inaugural proof was rolling off the printer… with incredibly splendid results 🙂

So with a great deal of joy, I’m back in the printing business and looking forward to seeing my best images proudly matted and framed on my walls for everyone to enjoy 🙂

Please don’t forget to visit my YouTube channel , and if you wouldn’t mind I could use the thumbs up and a subscribe if you enjoy the content and want to help my channel!

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! I should mention at this time that this blog post is not sponsored by Canon or any other firm. All equipment used in the making of the blog and video have been purchased by me on my own volition.

Jimmy the Bull, Star of the Rodeo

So I finally got the full 15 minute video of Jimmy the Bull fighting back uploaded! Watch from the start as he decides to go his own way and ends up exacting some serious punishment on his tormentors… In excruciating slow motion footage! The video also includes my favorite imagery of the day including bull fighting, calf roping, steer wrestling and more!

Highlights from Top of the World Rodeo

Just wanted to get a few of my favorite pictures of the day out before my eyes close! It was a great day in the high country, clear and warm but not too hot. Although I noticed quite a bit of awfully red skin… You have to be careful, at 9600 feet there is very little to stop the blazing Colorado sun and you will cook in a hurry without proper skin protection!

 

Six Seconds of Terror

Went to the Top of the World Rodeo in Cripple Creek today… not much of an effort as the event is about two blocks from my house…

I have hundreds of images to process and a fair amount of video, but I had to get this clip out right away! Jimmy the bull didn’t want to go back into the pen after his ride… When they finally got him back behind the gate he decided he didn’t want to stay… six seconds of terror ensued, watch to the end!

An Exciting Discovery

Today Kevin & I were determined to get to Manitou Lake early enough to photograph the osprey fishing, so we were at the gate at 6:00 a.m. as the park opened. A couple of great blue heron caught us by surprise on the shoreline and took off before we could get much shooting in.  Once we were sure there were no more heron in the water, we moved over to the east side of the lake to achieve the best lighting situation, took up a position and waited.

Great Blue Heron at Manitou Lake

Unfortunately, no osprey showed up and we had to occupy ourselves with shooting the heron as they flew back and forth. Eventually the fly by’s became less frequent and we decided to go investigating. We have been wondering where they have been going to and fro…

So we hiked along the lake and then upstream where the water passes under a road bridge, on the other side is a marsh where we were suspicious they might be nesting.  As we stood there watching a strange sound greeted us… It sounded like a cross between bird and machine… we aimed our long lenses at the source of the noise and much to our amazement was a large colony of blue heron, nesting in the tops of the tall pine trees.

I had no idea heron nested in trees… but there it was before us… the source of all the chatter. A large colony of heron can make quite a racket! So now we know the source of the heron flights. Perhaps some day that information will come in handy!

Great Blue Heron at Manitou Lake

Great Blue Heron at Manitou Lake

Major Change of Focus

Seems like forever since I have written a blog, other than making note of new videos I have created. Not that I haven’t been shooting… of course I’ve been blazing away as usual! It’s just that I have been concentrating on my Youtube Channel more than ever. I recently made a Facebook post and one of my longtime friends commented, “Where have you been all this time!”, and of course I’ve been happily posting away like there’s no tomorrow. The sad reality is that my main source of exposure has been a miserable failure. I have noticed that when I post I get a few likes from the same dozen or so people which could mean a couple of things… It could mean I have a dedicated core group of fans, or it could mean that Facebook has decided that this small group are the only individuals who are going to see my posts. The comment from my long time friend leads me to believe the latter.

Coyote Cold Stare

Hence the reason for my change of focus to my Youtube Channel. From my analytics data I can see a direct correlation between hard work and results. The more videos I create and the harder I work on creating quality content, the more views I get. Eventually views become income. I can see a return on investment. With my Facebook posting I am just beating my head against the wall, you know the old saying… Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

I have also begun work on a new social media platform, S.W. Krull Imaging is now up and running on Patreon, another platform that doesn’t actively squelch it’s own creators. I don’t really enjoy writing in great detail about the techniques and equipment that I employ in my photography and video but I do get a lot of questions about those details. I have decided to devote my Patreon posts to more detailed information for my customers that are truly interested in that and willing to commit to financially supporting my work. And the beauty of Patreon is their support of their own creators ability to reward followers. My followers there are rewarded with beautiful merchandise and monthly rewards for their support including digital and physical prints. Please visit my channel there and discover the details of this new exciting arrangement!

Of course my WordPress blog will continue to be my main hub of operations as well as home for the S.W. Krull Imaging domain! Visitors here will continue to have links to my newest and best creations including access to my main print and stock image portals. This beautiful coyote image is my latest creation and there is a whole story behind the creation of this image. I hope you will visit S.W. Krull Imaging on Patreon for this exclusive story!

Also learn how this juvenile bald eagle image was resurrected from the digital noise of a high ISO early morning shot!

Juvenile Bald Eagle

Blue Heron Catching Huge Trout

Watch my new video which includes a great blue heron catching a huge trout! What a great day of photography as I get to see pelicans, heron, baby geese and the bald eagle triplets!