Leading Indicator of Better Times

Before 2008 when the stock and housing markets crashed, there were indicators of the choppy seas ahead. My wife and I were involved in three businesses, unfortunately all non-essential to daily life. She had two businesses, mobile disc jockeying in the wedding industry and the online and physical sales of collectibles at a store we rented. I of course was a contributor in the stock photo industry in addition to employment as a software engineer at a major defense contractor. At least as far back as 2006 these once thriving endeavors began to falter… Now, ten long miserable years later, two of those businesses and my wife are  gone. She of course lost her battle to cancer and I was forced to liquidate her two businesses, which by that time were completely worthless and a storage expense liability only. And right when I needed it the most, the demand for photography was near zero.

large-line-item-1384383.jpgThe much touted economic recovery, mostly in minimum or near minimum wage jobs during the last decade has not resulted in an improvement in the business climate. In fact, looking at my print sales, it has been over a year since I made a real actual print sale, other than my mom buying gift cards from me of course 🙂

However, times may again be “a changin‘”, this time for the better.  The new year has seen a definite uptick in photo sales. I have always heard the stock photo business is a “leading indicator” of the economy. In other words, sales show the direction of business. When there is optimism and opportunity, businesses advertise. When they advertise they buy pictures for those advertisements. Another indicator of better times is a recent uptick in print sales. Like this one of the now defunct Rocky Mountain Balloon Festival, a longstanding Denver event which also did not survive the lost decade. When people are feeling confident about their position in life they spend money on non-essential things, items purchased mainly for enjoyment.

It is just a glimmer of hope at the moment that could easily be snuffed out by any number of natural and man made disasters but it is a glimmer of hope, something I have not  experienced in a long time. Maybe the good times are not “Gone for Good“, to which today I offer a toast to a promising future: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

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. Additional products include fine art stock imagery, prints and gift items

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Goodbye to the Tunes

Said goodbye to the last of Tricia’s DJ business this morning. Not too sad about seeing it go though, I was kind of bothered about hanging on to a lot of that over sized obsolete equipment that I can hardly even lift anymore. Saying goodbye to the good times is a bit harder, but of course I still have the memories and the pictures…

Disc Jockey

Tricia at her DJ Mixer

That was some adventure starting that business. Wedding photography was so hard and unrewarding and the only part of the whole deal Tricia liked was the reception part. She thought it looked like the DJ’s were having a lot more fun than we were. I knew she liked to dance and knew a lot about dance music so I encouraged her to give it a try. So we went out shopping for some equipment and I had to learn all about sound mixers, speakers and amplifiers. I loved all the little blinking lights and she loved the music.

On my way home from dropping it off I was thinking of our best year. In 1999 every body wanted to party like it was 1999 🙂 We did the music for seventeen company Christmas parties in fourteen days in December that year, along with working full time in the computer business. Boy was I tired, but it was fun.

The biggest adventure of all was yet to come though. We were contracted for a wedding on New Year’s Day in downtown Denver at the Adams Mark, which I understand is now a Sheraton. Anyway, we were already worried about it with all the Y2K scare going on, but the sun came up on the first day of the year 2000, the power was on and the laptop booted with DJ software running just fine. So we got dressed and loaded up the van to fight the downtown crowds. Only that year there were no downtown crowds. Denver was like a ghost town, which was fine with me. We pulled in front of the hotel and started to unload. Soon the hotel manager came out and informed us we couldn’t bring our stuff through the lobby we would have to go to the loading dock. Well OK, where is the loading dock. Turns out the loading dock for the hotel was a block away, the wrong way. We did as we were told and went around the block and into the loading area beneath all the buildings on 14th Street, which I was surprised to actually find.

We pulled in and got out to assess the situation. The loading dock was huge cavernous room with dozens of unmarked doors. And of course since it was a holiday and Y2K to boot, there was no one there. We were the only vehicle and the only people in sight. By this time we were running short of time and panic began to set in. We just looked at each other and she said “What are we going to do?”. We ventured down a few hallways, but it quickly became obvious that we could spend all day going down hallways to every building in downtown Denver. Luckily we spotted a phone on the wall. No dial though, just a phone. I picked it up and thankfully there was a friendly voice on the other end. I explained our predicament and pretty soon one of the doors opened and the guy said come this way! We had a ton of stuff on carts so she pushed a light one and I had a big one in front of me and one behind me as we ran down the hallway, up an elevator, through the kitchen, past a bunch of ballrooms and finally to our room. We threw the stuff off the carts and I began hooking up all the wires and lights and doing the sound checks. She got dressed in her tux and located the Bride for final announcement and song updates.

The party went off without a hitch, except for one panic filled moment when the power on the floor went out and we all thought it was Y2K hitting late. They couldn’t get the breaker fixed, but fortunately MacGyver Krull had enough 100 foot extension cords to reach a room with an outlet on another circuit. What a day that was 🙂

We had a blast playing the music for quite a few years until iPods came out. Then people began to want to just do their own song lists and Dj’s were being replaced with Karaoke machines. Companies would just come in and set up the machine and people would play their own songs and sometimes of course, even perform their own. We didn’t think that would be much fun so we never got into it and it wasn’t long before we received the dreaded cancer diagnosis. I’ve been hanging on to this stuff all these years as technology has passed it all by. People don’t use CD players anymore, DJ’s don’t use 100 pound speakers and mixers fit into the palm of your hand instead of a sound equipment rack. But it sure was fun while it lasted.