Last Photo Shoot of 2017

My last outing of the year… Tomorrow is supposed to be cold and miserable and I’ll be too tired anyway. It was beautiful out this morning and the sunrise was amazing so Big Dog and I quick loaded up and headed for the trail.

Today my diligence was rewarded with the amazing spectacle of a giant lake of fog between Grouse Mountain and the Sangre De Cristo. I hoped it would remain until we could get to the high spot for the best view of the rugged canyon and the high peaks of the Sangres. Fortunately it did and we got the shots πŸ™‚

It was a long trek this morning and both me and my four legged bud are worn out. But what a way to wind up a great year! I have a few more of these to process, but a couple are up for sale as wall art and cool stuff from coffee mugs to yoga mats! Click the menu buttons for products and pricing!

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Further Exploration

The day started out in a tizzy when Photoshop informed I had one day to log into the Creative Cloud or my subscription was going to be closed. I had no idea, I am used to Photoshop managing the subscription and updates automatically. So I checked and sure enough, no updates have been applied and I had to go in to help, manage subscriptions and was prompted to log in and download the updates. Mental note to continue checking for updates.

Once past that crisis, a nice breakfast at Broncos killed enough time for the sun to come out and make a trek into the woods tempting. Been meaning to get a bit further down the trail towards Little Grouse Mountain and this was looking like just the right day for it. 

It was pretty windy at the trailhead but Big Dog didn’t seem to care so we forged ahead. Not far around the first bend the mountains began to block the wind and it turned into an amazing beautiful Colorado winter morning!

So onward we went, through the beautiful historic countryside of the Cripple Creek Victor mining district past the many failed dreams of the area’s earliest pioneers. I imagine we made it well past where there have been any people recently as the trail was getting pretty rugged. 

Finally we emerged one valley from what I believe to be Grouse Mountain and the view was amazing! It looks like the trail will take me to the base and hopefully right on up the mountain. I’ll have to pack some more supplies for that journey though, including some water for the dog. 

In the picture you can see the rugged valley, the mountain and the magnificent Sangre De Cristo range in the background. Please be sure to click the links in the menu to bring up my image galleries where you can purchase wall art and many cool household items with my mountain art!

Upping the Game

Always looking for ways to up my game to gain an edge on my competition. I’ve been noticing a lot of my competitors publishing pictures with extra amazing and not necessarily realistic color and detail.


I like my art to represent as closely as loss the scene as my eyes witnessed it, but I do have to stay competitive so I did some research on creating High Definition in Photoshop. Much to my surprise, there is a nice tool already in the software to do just that!

So here I have done the same picture both ways… One with my old methods and one with the HDR tool. I could have used a lot more effect, but thought I could see some distortion setting in. Wondering which rendition my customers like better?

Please click the links in the menu to view product options and pricing for these images and more!

Black and White

I wasn’t quite satisfied with yesterday’s image, it didn’t convey the coldness that I intended. This morning I decided to bring it back up and use a Photoshop technique I invented some time back for black and white renditions of deer in snow. One time I was working on one of those blizzard images and the color in the trees and brush was so faint it only detracted from the image.

Mule Deer in Heavy SnowI converted it to black and white and as I looked at it I felt like the monochrome option on the channel mixerΒ  had only served to make the deer invisible. Accurate painting of color into a black and white is so time consuming and tedious that I really didn’t want to go to that much effort for a stock image. So I thought, well, the background is almost black and white anyway, what if I just had a hint of color to the deer? If I go slightly outside the lines onto the nearly black and white background it won’t show, so I can do this quickly without a lot of tedious work around the hairy edges of the deer and it might be really cool!

I created a new layer from the background layer and converted the layer to black and white using the monochrome option on the channel mixer. Then I brought up the eraser tool with an opacity of about 10% and painted over the deer. The technique brings out a hint of color on the subject helping it to stand out while leaving the cold stark background in black and white. The color on the deer is almost imperceptible so it doesn’t detract from the coldness of the image while at the same time providing some life to the subject.

 

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

Giving Thanks for Cyber Monday

I know, Thanksgiving would have been a much more appropriate time for a blog message… but I was working on Thanksgiving Day and was kind of bummed about that and didn’t really feel very thankful about it. Looking back though, it wasn’t so bad… way better than last year, which was the worst Thanksgiving of my life. Last year was my first Thanksgiving alone in almost 30 years and the first one since the passing of my wife. She loved Thanksgiving and always set up an amazing holiday, no matter what our circumstances at the time. So anyway, we all had to be at work to prepare for Black Friday, which was actually starting at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday evening. So the nice personnel lady fixed all kinds of food for us and we just celebrated in the break room. Most of the people I know are the people I work with, so it was actually a very nice holiday dinner. By about 4:00 p.m. we had all the merchandise ready for sale and on pallets wrapped in plastic and waiting for the 6:00 start.

Peak StormOur job then was to wander the store watching the pallets to make sure none of the merchandise got up and left before it went live on the computer at 6. We had a good crowd, by the end of the day, but people up here are pretty civilized so I spent the last half hour or so just chatting with the people crowding around the bed sheets pallet. Lol… had no idea bed sheets could cost so much! $25 or so for a set of the things, and I was thinking even the Black Friday sale was about twice what I would want to pay for those items! My bachelor solution was to spend $8 for a sleeping bag at Walmart and pretend I am camping πŸ™‚ Oh wait, I am camping… every day of my life! Well anyway 6 p.m. came and I was ready with my trusty box knife to cut the plastic and allow the festivities to begin. Fortunately it all went down in a fairly orderly fashion, with some people actually helping other people to find and grab stuff. Cleaning up the plastic ended my involvement with the big day and I was headed for home.

I had no Black Friday shopping to do… Last week I was in need of a new laptop, but wisely decided to take care of that ahead of time to make sure I actually got one without having to get into a fight over it! Cyber Monday finds me up and running on my Lenovo with my new version of Photoshop CC for Photographers. Haven’t gotten a new version of Photoshop since CS2, so the new interface was a bit bewildering at first, but since I have pretty much figured out all the things I need to do, written my action scripts and forged ahead. I’ve pretty much learned all the ins and outs of the new Raw interface, but haven’t even begun to try to figure out what Lightroom might do for me.

Today I’m thankful that I have the job that took me away from normal Thanksgiving activities… I’m thankful for good health for myself and my family scattered all over the country and for another year of living the dream in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. But I’m also thankful that the big sales killing holiday is all over with… and this is my opportunity for a shameless Cyber Monday plug for my S. W. Krull Imaging website on pixels.com that I use to sell prints and gift items, some of which would make great Christmas gifts πŸ™‚ My lab sells traditional prints on museum quality paper, shiny metal and acrylic sheets, and stretched canvas. Also available are Christmas cards, T-Shirts, phone cases for iPhone and Samsung devices, and many other handy items suitable for displaying a photograph.

I’m also thankful that the shortest day of the year is almost upon us. In just a little over three weeks the sun will reverse it’s journey southward and the days will start to get longer. That’s always a big day in my life… When my thoughts can begin to contemplate the end of the long Rocky Mountain winter with it’s cold dark nights and way too early sunsets behind the ridges. I also would like to take time out this morning before the hustle and bustle of the new week begins to pray for some friends who will be facing the possibility of some life changing and terrifying news this morning. I also pray for the homeless and for those who aren’t blessed with big families to celebrate Christmas with, and for the troops overseas who will not be able to make it back for this special time of year.

 

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

Creative Cloud

Just bought a new laptop, kind of a low end Lenovo but it’s pretty fast, easy to set up and runs Photoshop very well.Β  Was too lazy to look for my old Photoshop CS2 disk and have been meaning to try out Lightroom and Photoshop CC for Photographers so I decided this was as good a time as any. I downloaded the trial version and was a bit disappointed that it was only a 7 day trial. I really could have used a month but it didn’t take long to see the advantage of the upgrade. The whites, blacks, clarity and vibrance sliders in the Bridge corrections are worth the $9.99 per month investment alone. The clarity and vibrance sliders do in easy steps what I have previously had to do manually or with clumsy action scripts to create a colorful image that really pops. It has been a bit of a challenge to find everything on a UI that has been changing for ten years without my notice, but I am very pleased with the new functionality and will be licensing a copy in the next couple of days. Fiddled a bit with Lightroom… I like the obvious capability that it presents, but it is going to take some time to get proficient enough to comment on it and seven days is just not enough. Right now I will content to use the new controls available in Bridge, particularly some interesting chromatic aberration correction tools.

Hiking buddies on Mount Massive ColoradoMeanwhile I haven’t been doing a lot of shooting.. I have recently added Adobe Stock to my list of agencies that I sell from and have been very encouraged with the results. So much so that I decided to go back through my backup disks and upload the best of my old RF stuff. I started with my oldest images, the ones taken with my original Canon EOS 1D, and worked forward. Today I just uploaded the last of 2016… at least the ones that I had already prepared for other agencies. When I get my new Photoshop subscription, I may choose to go back and process additional images, along with shooting new ones.

By next week though, I should be starting to shoot anew… with a good seed of probably about a thousand images in my Adobe Stock port once they are all inspected. Not a day goes by that I regret turning in my Exclusive Crown at iStock… There is just way too much enjoyment to be had by having the freedom to submit content elsewhere and especially to be able to make phone posts to my Facebook without having to worry about whether I am violating a contract. The future is looking great again πŸ™‚

 

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