Sheer Joy

I got my first camera over 30 years ago… it was a Minolta X-700 35mm camera, well before the advent of personal computers, camera phones, Photoshop… and even before auto focus. It was state of the art gear at the time though, with auto exposure, aperture priority and shutter priority modes and a sync socket for professional flash units. I didn’t buy the camera to make money, only to finally have a camera that didn’t disappoint me every time I got my film back from the lab. I wanted to have clear pictures of my kids and pets for me to look at and enjoy. I got the camera to experience the sheer joy of photography.

Red Fox Napping

Red Fox Napping

It never occurred to me that I could make money with a camera until I was going through a divorce… a guy at work admonished me to be sure to keep the camera, that I could make money with it! I didn’t really think too much about it at the time but I knew that I wanted the camera anyway, so it was the one thing that didn’t go out the door with the ex along with everything else I owned 😦 But… as it turns out, child support is expensive and so was photography at the time. Buying film was pretty low on the things to do list and the camera remained unused in the bag for years, except on special occasions like trips to visit the kids and my rare trip to Phoenix with my buddies for the first annual Phoenix Marathon.

In he early 90’s, the computer business was changing rapidly and I could see the writing on the wall… there wasn’t going to be much use for mainframe operating systems analysts much longer. I wondered what I was going to do for a living if my computer career went completely south. People kept telling me that the pictures I took were better than the ones they hired someone to shoot and I recalled the words of my friend about making money with my camera. So I thought what the heck… a little research about how to go into business and I put out my shingle. A decade of senior portraits and wedding photography later I purchased my first digital camera, the Canon EOS-1D. It was awesome and without the cost of film and processing to consider I could finally consider my dream of becoming a stock photographer. Those were great times, not many photographers had made the transition to digital, prices for images were good and the internet was exploding along with the need for quality imagery. The future looked bright!

But then the price of the cameras came down, image quality at all levels improved by leaps and bounds and it wasn’t long before everyone was getting in on the action. Not long after I started submitting images I had a large enough portfolio that I could count on receiving a check every week and I was making plans for a new career. But it wasn’t long before the industry was awash in imagery, prices were crashing as big players cashed in trying to corner the market with profits on volume and razor thin margins.

Now I’m lucky to get one minuscule check in an entire month. Photographers are treated like dirt by the agencies who profit from their work, some taking as much as 85% for themselves and their stock holders while often paying the photographer just pennies for an image. Stock photography has become barely worth the effort, in fact it has become little more than an insult to the artists.

So today I almost left my camera behind, what was the point in bringing it along? But as I strode along through the woods I was glad I had it with me. I love the feel of the cold steel in my hands, the sound of the lens jumping to attention in it’s effort to quickly focus and the clack of the mirror scrambling to get out of the way in less than a thousandth of a second to make way for the light to come pouring in through the lens and onto the sensor. Today I didn’t see much, the mountains were the same, the trees the same, the lighting the same… but I was still happy to be carrying the camera. Then I spotted the distant fox sunning himself in the prairie grass. The animal was way too far away to get a salable shot but I stopped to shoot anyway, I couldn’t resist. As I shot the images I thought back to the days of my clunky manual Minolta X-700 and the joy that it brought me to just create for the sake of creation. Not that long ago I would have passed the fox by knowing that he was not going to make me any money… but now I realize, I still love photography and I still love creating for the sake of creating.

Once again, it may be time for a change in philosophy, from a mind focused on business to simply a camera focused on the sheer joy of making pictures. Mr. Fox here could be the turning point, the first sign of a new life focused on joy instead of profit.

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Cripple Creek Ice Festival

Winter has definitely returned to Colorado with a vengeance this week! We had our coldest night of the entire winter season the other night with the mercury dropping to -4 overnight. Which really isn’t too bad considering two years ago the temp dropped to -24 in Woodland Park and -37 in Divide just a few miles north of here!

Cripple Creek Ice Festival

Part of the ice festival in Cripple Creek Colorado

But if we were going to have a cold week, this was the one to have it, the week of the annual Ice Festival celebration in Cripple Creek. Unfortunately I was working during the best part of the festival, but at least I got to see it. I was tempted to take the camera down and get some shots, but after fighting the crowds last year I decided against it. Not a fan of random crowd shots anyway.

However one benefit of the cold weather is that the ice sculptures have not yet melted. Today on my walk to work before first light I discovered that the street is still blocked off and the lights are still illuminating the sculptures. I didn’t have my good camera so these with my phone camera are not the best, but it was kind of magical to be there when there were no other people around 🙂 So I just walked up the street and snapped some shots as best as I could in the dark with my extremely unimpressive phone camera.

Cripple Creek Ice Festival

Ice sculptures and holiday lights on the casinos in Cripple Creek Colorado

These two were my favorites, my favorite one being the castle. Oh, the town keeps the holiday lights up until after the ice festival, so I got a two-fer for my efforts. Hope you enjoy the pictures and maybe you can make it down to Cripple Creek next year!

These shots are not of sufficient quality to put on my website, but please be sure to visit if you want to see more Cripple Creek, mountains, wildlife, sports and and nature photographic art!

 

Too Many Pictures

Recent comments from customers… “There are too many to choose from!”. Maybe true, S.W. Krull Imaging has now surpassed 1800 of my finest images in the collection on my website! And true enough, it  takes forever to get to some of the older ones if you are scrolling through them one at a time!

Three does in snow

Three deer peering out from the snow

Fortunately my website has some solutions for this problem. The first solution is called Galleries. Galleries are the categories that I have created to organize the pictures by topic. For example, all the wildlife images are in one place and all the sunset images are grouped together in one place. The main landing page of my website shows the galleries and if you click on them you will be shown the contents of that gallery. The next method of narrowing down the number of selections is the search tool. For example this morning I was looking for a particular image of three deer in snow that I posted a long time ago. By date of course this image was way back in the collection and I didn’t want to even scroll through all the wildlife images to find it, so I simply added snow to the search terms. That of course narrowed the selections down to only the pictures of wildlife that had been take in the snows of our Rocky Mountain winters.

Hopefully that will help with finding suitable images for your artwork needs. Please keep in mind that S. W. Krull Imaging doesn’t just sell wall art, although there is some very cool stuff to decorate your home in that area including the pictures on glossy acrylic and metal sheets. In addition to the wall art there is some very cool everyday items such as t-shirts and coffee mugs, blankets, shower curtains, portable battery chargers, exercise mats and more! In addition to photography products sold as art, S.W. Krull Imaging also provides commercial licensing for each of these images through the stock licensing portal of this website. The galleries and search options for stock are the same as the ones available for artwork.

I hope you will pay my website a visit and poke around a bit for your favorite image! In the meantime I still have a bunch of cool sunset images from last night’s photo shoot to process!

 

Cyber Monday

Seems like as good an excuse as any to make a plug for my online photo products! Available from S.W.Krull Imaging online are a wealth of cool items that would make beautiful Christmas gifts 🙂

Choose from beautiful wall art, prints, t-shirts, yoga mats, towels, phone cases, battery chargers, coffee mugs, pillow cases, shopping bags, portable batteries and more!

Choose from hundreds of beautiful photographic images created by Steve Krull to create wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, wrapped canvas, and traditional frames and matting. 

To create an order just go to the website, click on your favorite category, called a gallery and browse for your favorite picture. Click on the picture and the product list will become available! The software will then guide you through creation of your order. Your order will then be quickly manufactured and shipped to your front door.

This is also a great time to order your Christmas cards with a beautiful wintry Rocky Mountain scene from S.W. Krull Imaging!

Hoping for all my customers to have a wonderful and safe holiday season filled with love and warmth!

Turning Point

One of those memories from one year ago popped onto my Facebook today, it was a great memory of a great day, breakfast with my beloved cousin whom I hadn’t seen for too many years to even count. However the good part of that day was overshadowed by the memory of the rest of the day after I received a call from a friend who told me, “Steve, all hell has broken loose here.”, a terrible day in which several lives were irreparably altered, and not for the better. It was also the day that resulted in me having the two dogs that I wasn’t planning on or prepared for by any stretch of the imagination. However as you can imagine, these two beautiful doggies have worked their way into my heart and now they go with me everywhere. One riding shotgun in the passenger seat of my truck and the other standing on the console in the middle making sure there is nothing unusual lodged in my right ear or my mouth and nose 🙂

I had to take a part time job unloading trucks to make ends meet and it is a job that is physically difficult for people 40 years my younger. Unfortunately a few months ago I sustained a serious injury from which I have not been able to recover and is getting worse. Each day at work is a new lesson in pain and fatigue and I am sure I’m not going to be able to endure it much longer. And Son Boy is starting to look so sad when I have to work, like he knows. I hate leaving them behind, hate taking time away from writing and photography. And I have been praying “Please God, don’t make me go back there…”, pleading and begging the Almighty to have mercy on me and my little family of fur babies.

On the upside, the economy must be turning around, my stock photography sales have been picking up substantially. After years of terrible sales I have actually made more selling than I have working in the last few days… and I think that too is a sign that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Also I had a vivid dream the other night of a house in the country… one of those dreams that you just have a feeling is significant, a sign even perhaps. And after a long time of feeling repulsed by writing and out of inspiration for my photography, ideas are starting to come to me and the words are once again flowing onto the page… Every storm has to end and my storm that has washed away a home, a wife to cancer, a family, a career and all my savings and plans for retirement and almost everything but my faith, has lasted a decade.  It is a storm that I am hoping will soon be on the other side of the turning point.

“He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.” Psalm 107:29-30

Exciting New Products

New products are becoming available weekly at S. W. Krull Imaging! T-Shirts, coffee mugs, beach towels and more have been added to our repertoire of products and gift items in addition to the traditional photographic wall art products including metal, acrylic and canvas prints!

Stormy Pikes PeakIn conjunction with these products S. W. Krull Imaging has created images with interesting captions in an effort to add personality to these items. I have added a gallery to the website exclusively for these captioned items, which include catchy Colorado phrases, bible verses with messages of the peace that can be found in our beautiful high mountain country, and even pictures with the S. W. Krull Imaging brand. If you would like to see a caption on a different image than what is featured on the site, I would be happy to make it available if possible.

The image in this article was created with the S. W. Krull Imaging brand, another new idea recently added to the product list. These unique images can be purchased on t-shirts, coffee mugs, beach towels and more if you like them and want to help promote my brand!

Please take time to visit the new gallery and peruse some of my new ideas! Ordering from S. W. Krull imaging is easy and secure and the product will be delivered quickly and efficiently to your address. It is my sincere hope that you will make S. W. Krull Imaging your source for all your art inspired purchases this 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

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