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 mixerย  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

Advertisements

Ebb and Flow

Totally resisting going out into the world this morning. Monday on theย  job getting harder and harder to face… After three days off from my unfortunate necessary supplemental job, the old body feels mostly like I haven’t been run over by aย  truck and I am not looking forward to the return of the pain.

Snowy RockiesSo while still basking in the good feelings I have from yesterday’s Donkey Derby in Cripple, I am working on these winter pictures from last year that I was not able to process at the time, hoping that if I stall long enough there will be some miracle and I won’t have to go to work. As far as the images, the camera got them right but my old version of Photoshop mostly turned them white and I was not able to pull the details out and make a decent image from the raw captures. However I now have the most recent version of the Photoshop Cloud with some new tools available and I am enjoying making something of these images that I took while snowshoeing in a snowstorm in the Pike National Forest high on a ridge north of Ute Pass Colorado.

The tool that has made the difference is in the special effects section of Camera Raw. The reduce haze tool is able to bring out the details from behind the falling snow and make some pretty cool looking art! Also, in the ebb and flow of the stock photography business, iStock / Getty seems to have turned the corner and is starting to make a comeback. I had sort of given up on them and turned my attention to Adobe, but despite having the worst commissions anywhere, iStock / Getty continues to be my biggest income earner and is showing signs of a significant pickup in sales. So just in time for uploading some fall and winter images to my agencies, it is a stroke of good fortune that I have been able to resurrect these snowy images.

They are also making a nice addition to my own website where I sell my collection of prints and gift items. I have put the winter images in the Rocky Mountain Winter gallery, so if you want to see the new ones, just click on the gallery links to open the contents.

Finally, my photography tip of the day… if the zipper on your camera bag is getting a bit sticky just pull the Chapstick out of your pocket and run it over the teeth. Chapstick is based on paraffin which is better than using a petroleum based product like Vaseline. Slide the zipper back and forth a few times, and it should be good as new!

 

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

Another Sunday

Survived another Sunday… Not my best day in the eyes of the Almighty though I am sure! The day was going pretty well, managed to get showered shaved and off to church ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s where things began to falter though. Managed to say “shit” in church, right in front ofย  the pastor while spilling coffee all over the snack table. Fortunately I was not struck by lightning and God refrained from the “Smite” clause yet again. Surely I am getting close to my 70 times 7 limit though ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Lone DoePicked up my friend for some house hunting out on Teller 1 and then proceeded on into Cripple to see if another house I was wanting is still up for sale. For sale sign is still out front, so that was gratifying. As long as we were there with some spare change it seemed like a good idea to try a few spins at the casino, which turned out to be a good idea as we had some fun, drank a free beer and managed to escape with enough to pay for the gas and our meals for the day ๐Ÿ™‚ Once again I am happy to report that I was not “Smote… Smitten?” on the spot for a few additional infractions on the Lord’s Day!

Was a bit disappointed that I didn’t see one example of wildlife on the entire trip. One time I saw a whole herd of elk along Teller 1, but of course I didn’t have my camera. Word got out I was coming back with my camera so all the elk have hidden themselves deeper in the wilderness and I am sure I will not see them until such time as I forget to bring my camera.

I was fortunate the other day to get some nice deer pictures at dusk which I am slowly working on, and I am definitely appreciating my new version of Photoshop CC. I hadn’t upgraded in a long time, in fact not since Photoshop CS2 so I am just now discovering wonderful new tools that perform in one step things that used to require “actions” to accomplish. CC is an online download so it didn’t come with a bound book to read, just the online documentation. Online docs are OK but I really like to have a book in my hand that I can read cover to cover. So this time I am just kind of poking around randomly, catching up at a snails pace. My latest discovery is the “haze” tool in the special effects slider on “Bridge” It is an amazing tool for bringing density back into a capture obscured by fog or smoke haze. It also works well for lessening the effects of low light at dusk. At any rate, the tool is making my dusk picture of these deer a snap!

So… starting off the new week on a good foot. We found a house that might be a good possibility, a bit small but surrounded by solitude and beauty. I think we could make it work! Looking forward to spring and the extra light provided by Daylight Savings that will give me another hour to grab a few dusk pictures before each day’s end ๐Ÿ™‚

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

 

Getty Images / iStock Unification Project

This is something that has been a long time coming… iStock, although still a separate entity has now been migrated to Getty servers and management. A couple of years ago a project to place iStock exclusive editorial content on Getty was announced, implemented and promptly withdrawn. In the meantime I was tormented by the fact that Adobe Stock was gaining a strong foot hold in the stock photography arena and as an iStock exclusive photographer I was prohibited from participating.

Deer-TrioFor a year I waited in vain for the implementation of the editorial photography promise from Getty. Finally I gave up on the idea and rescinded my exclusive crown and began uploading to Adobe. The Adobe approach to making stock imagery available directly from Photoshop and other products was just too tempting to pass by. I now have a good nucleus portfolio on Adobe, minus all the editorial content I had enthusiastically uploaded to iStock in preparation for the editorial migration to Getty. Dire reports of ridiculous commissions in the new unified Getty / iStock world were enough to cause me to take a pause in uploading there while I built up my Adobe portfolio.

Finally, the unification project is mostly complete. Statistics on image sales on the Getty servers are now available so that an informed decision can be made regarding my future there. Much to my surprise, iStock remains my biggest stock income producer. Careful analysis of individual commissions reveals that subscription sales are not all that much smaller than that of similar licenses on Adobe. My swkrullimaging port on iStock is by far my largest and way too many man hours of effort spanning an entire decade is too much to contemplate throwing away because I am unhappy with the commission rate. As always before, the bottom line outweighs any emotional distress resulting from an industry low commission percentage and poor communication and contributor relations. Consequently, I have begun uploading again and expect to surpass the 5,000 image mark this year.

A summary of additional portfolios, including swkrullimaging on Alamy and Pixels.com is simple, sales at those two places are dismal. Alamy is the most difficult of any agency I am participating in for getting images accepted and it is increasingly difficult to justify the time required on each image for a successful upload. Pixels.com is the easiest and a portfolio there comes with additional benefits, such as a comprehensive print capability on every image in my swkrullimaging portfolio. Many fine products including metal, acrylic, canvas and traditional framed prints plus apparel, household items and a plethora of gift items are available there for both my own images, and for portrait and wedding customers as well.

It is my hope that the long night following the economic crash of 2008 is finally over. Reports of improvement in the business climate are encouraging and give me hope that the long downturn in photographic sales is at the bottom with nowhere to go but up. Lol… I could be delusional, but I have begun to upload daily stock imagery to both iStock and Adobe while I reserve the very best for my Pixels.com stock port. For the first time in a long time I believe there is hope and reason for optimism for stock photographers.

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.ย  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 ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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

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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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!