10,000 Captures

Today was a milestone of sorts… I hadn’t noticed until I transferred the images to my laptop, but today my camera rolled over 10,000 images and started over at 00001. And as fate would have it, #10,000 was my favorite one of the day. I was at the library in the reading room checking out the new issue of Outdoor Photographer when I saw the storm roll in over the peak. So I grabbed my camera and went out onto the deck for the show.

Thunder on the MountainSo today reminds me of the day two years ago that I purchased this camera, a Canon 70D, down at Mike’s in the Springs. It also reminds me of an online discussion I was reading one time about what exactly is a professional photographer. Some argued that it meant you made a full time living from it, others said you were a professional if you were paid at all for your pictures, others said you were professional if you acted professionally while performing your art. One guy said you were definitely not a professional if the first thing you do in difficult financial times is sell your equipment for cash.

Well that last one is certainly not me! Two years ago Tricia and my 40D passed at about the same time, along with my living as a caregiver to her while she was dying of cancer. So a few people sent me cash to help out with the death expenses and when I received my final check from the medical company that I worked for I put it all together and spent everything I had to acquire this camera. I could not imagine being without a camera… I felt like an incomplete person without one!

Since then, this camera has been to countless sporting events, festivals, hikes, on top of seven of Colorado’s 14ers… and more I’m sure! Well anyway, here’s to number 10,000 and here’s to a joyful and prosperous future!

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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A Break in the Storm

Awoke to a beautiful clear mountain morning and a day off of work. But by the time I got done getting ready for the day the temperature was dropping and clouds had already begun to move in over the mountain, followed by a few flakes of snow to make it an official Colorado Memorial Weekend. So I abandoned any ideas I had for replenishing my cache of images to work on and just got ready for an errand in the Springs with a possible detour to REI for some equipment I’ve been needing. Almost left my camera home, but something told me to just throw it in, not going to hurt anything to have it along.

Mystical Garden of the GodsWell, REI on a holiday weekend turned out to  be a fiasco… dozens of cars circling the rather small parking lot looking for spaces. Too claustrophobic for my taste so I decided to just head for home. It was raining hard and it looked like the day was going to be a total dud. The water spray on the freeway and traffic jam on Highway 24 down in Old Colorado City due to the Territory Days festival going on there made Garden of the Gods road the most sensible route, so I took the exit. As I neared the Garden I noticed that the rain had mostly stopped, but I sure didn’t expect the amazing vista that appeared before me when the massive red sandstone spires came into view, it was breathtaking!

Deer LoveSo what was looking like a total bust turned into a full fledged photo shoot 🙂 Beautiful storm clouds were swirling around the peak and a fog bank had moved into the Garden behind the big front rock formations. I stopped in front of the visitor’s center for a few shots, but the Kissing Camels formation was blocking the show. I leaped back into the truck and headed for the top of the ridge for a better look. Quite a few people had gathered there already and it was hard to find a parking spot, but there was one still available in a big deep water puddle. No matter, I had my Gor-Tex Asolo hikers on so I took the spot and sloshed through the water to a good vantage point. This shot with my beloved 70-200 turned out to be my favorite, but I definitely needed the wide angle to drink it all in! Those are nice also and will soon be available as prints and commercial stock on my website.

Eventually I felt confident that I had adequately captured the scene and the black clouds up the pass convinced me to put some hustle in my step! However, on the way out of the park I received another unexpected gift… a beautiful herd of cute young mule deer feeding in a clearing. So I drove a bit ahead so as not to disturb them too soon and put the 70-200 back on. I moved as stealthily and slowly as I could, hoping they would not bolt. Fortunately it looks like they were somewhat used to people photographing them and stayed put while I  grabbed a few shots in the beautiful light of the springtime sun shining through a thin layer of  clouds and fog.

By the time I finally made it up the pass it was raining again, I was hungry and didn’t feel like going home just yet. A brat and a beer at my favorite micro brew in Woodland seemed like a good idea though! I hoped there weren’t too many holiday travelers packed into the place though, I can’t stand sitting at the big table in the middle with strangers. Luckily there weren’t too many people there, quite a few seats at the big table and two smaller tables in the back which suited me just fine. I ordered my beer and brat and was just getting ready to enjoy lunch when the kid running the place came and asked me if I wouldn’t mind moving to the big table, a group of people obviously more important than me were arriving and needed seats. But I thought, “what the hell, let them sit at the big table!”…  and told the kid I really didn’t want to move. But he wouldn’t leave me alone and by then I was already too annoyed to want to stay so I just took my food outside and wolfed it down, payed my bill and left. I know… I’m an asshole for not happily giving my seat to strangers. But just the same, I’m still pissed off that some snot nosed 20 year old kid kicked me off my table that I was enjoying.

Probably just as well though, gave me the opportunity to come home and work on these pictures. Won’t be able to do it tomorrow and if I hadn’t gotten it done today it would be next week before getting them up for sale. Anyway, the good part is that I had a pretty successful day when the Almighty parted the storm for a few minutes to reveal the magnificence of His Creation 🙂

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

Gold Rush Days

I have been trying to go to some new places and do some new things, so this morning I headed off to Victor for Gold Rush Days. A quick jaunt down Highway 67 with a jog to the left as you near the turn towards Cripple Creek for the once a year festival commemorating the old west gold mining days.

However as I neared Victor I started to notice that the area looked familiar. Then a road sign, Historic Goldfield, Colorado. Then it all came back to me. Some twenty years and change ago Tricia and I had both gotten new cameras. Auto Focus SLR’s were taking hold and I went for the Minolta 700 si (superior intelligence) I think was the deal. She didn’t want to mess with lenses, so we got her the Pentax zoom 105 or something like that. Still have it somewhere. The project was autumn gold and we were trying to get a picture on the cover of some phone book or directory or something so we took the trip down to Cripple Creek trying for nice gold mine pictures. I didn’t realize it was the same place though because we had taken a dirt road over from Cripple Creek back then and this time I just went on the county paved road.

Well anyway, I saw the place and was remembering the day and waited for the sadness to set in that so often accompanies a memorable moment from the past. The sadness didn’t come however and as I drove past the gold mining area I was enjoying the fond memories from our photography projects that we used to do. I thought I might stop by for a few shots on my way home as I continued on for the next mile to Victor.

Damsel

Damsel in distress

Much to my surprise I ran into a number of Woodland Park friends at the festival that also had the same idea. It wasn’t a huge event that far out in the boondocks, but it was a good time. There were mining activity contests like stake pounding and ore shoveling as well as live music and old west skits on main street. I had not intended to stay long, but I was a bit enamored by the costumed story telling lady who was introducing the old west skits. I thought she looked awfully cute in her old west bonnet, either that or I was just born 200 years too late 🙂

After a couple of breakfast beers and some great BBQ I decided to head for the gold mining fields of Goldfield for some reminiscing and a few shots for the story I am going to write for the Examiner. Much has changed in the two decades since I was there last. When we originally found the place there was nothing there but the old mines and a deer trail winding through the acres of old mining claims. Oh that and a sign that said Extreme Danger or some silly warning like that. Actually I was a bit worried about cave ins and buildings collapsing but Tricia wanted to climb right up in and look around. I still remember saying, “Are you nuts, this place is going to fall down!”. She said “Oh it is not.” and eventually talked me into coming in and looking around. Now there are groomed paths, and fences everywhere. There are also little stations with signs giving historical information on all the mines and some nice benches to sit on. So I wandered the acreage repeating the long lost photographs from our film photography days so long ago. My first few shots weren’t turning out to well and upon inspection I noticed that my lens was all messed up. I know I checked it before I left and it was clear. Perhaps I fogged it up taking the pictures of the story telling lady in the bonnet 🙂

Gold Mine

Gold Mine

As it turns out, the story gets more interesting… About the time we did this project the internet was in the early stages of actually becoming useful and I was toying with putting our photography on a primitive website. These were some of the first images that I scanned and posted. It wasn’t long and I received an email from a guy in Norway who recognized the area from pictures that his grandfather had sent back in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. The guy was excited to find out where the mines were and so we were able to help him discover part of the journey his grandfather had taken trying to make his fortune mining for gold in America.

4th of July

The 4th of July, the pinnacle of summer, the day we celebrate the birth of our nation. The day is upon us and I can already hear the preparations for festivities in the City Above the Clouds. There are sirens, megaphones and the roar of motors as people gather in the center of town for the fun.

I have a friend who contends that after the 4th, summer is over. Perhaps here, high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado she is right. Summers are short at 9000 feet. We look forward to the respite from the alpine cold for months and when the snows finally stop in May it seems like the 4th is upon is in no time. Before you know it, the kids are getting ready to head back to school.

But I can’t worry about that today. There are celebrations going on all over town and there is much for a Recreation Examiner to examine. According to the town web site, Memorial Park will be hosting the biggest event of the year for Woodland Park and today it is within walking distance for me. So stay tuned to my Examiner account, I hope to have a good article and a lot of fun photographs to share from the day.

Have a great and safe holiday!