Hiding in My Cave

The weekend before the big Fourth of July holiday week, also the time for the mass migration of city people to the mountains… Lol, the tourists are like, “where are all the fireworks booths”? Mountain people… there aren’t any, we kind of frown upon burning down the mountains for entertainment. My  town is on a major artery to the Continental Divide and there is now a steady stream of trucks pulling trailers with ATV vehicles aboard, camper trailers, RVs and cars by the thousands. As for me, I will not be participating in the festivities… not a fan of crowds and noise. I’m taking a break from summer and shooting, doing some cleaning, some chores and catching up on my computer work.

Stock photography is purchased ahead of time in preparation for the next season’s advertising campaigns so I am going through my fall and winter images to see what I may have missed uploading at the time I did the shoots. Earlier this year I finally upgraded to a modern version of Adobe Photoshop and I am exploring all the new capabilities. One particular tool I have fallen in love with is the Fx tool in Camera Raw. The dehaze tool has assisted me with cutting through the whiteness of snowfall and bringing out detail in the hazy mountains and trees of on a couple of shoots I did in snowstorms.

Frosty Aspen TreesI remember this particular image well… I was hoping that by snowshoeing to the top of Bald Mountain I would be able to climb above the snow and clouds in order to get some unique shots of Pikes Peak across the valley. However I was not able to get above the snow this day and the images with snow and fog in them were quite white with little detail. As you can see by the small patch of blue sky however, I was nearly successful in climbing above it… Maybe a couple hours later would have done it. Too long to hang out chillin’ on a frozen mountain top though, I had to shoot what I could and get back down! The screen on the camera appeared to show that I had had captured sufficient detail, but Photoshop was just too confused by the snowflakes and fog for me to be able to bring it out. However with the new Fx dehaze tool which operates on the linear digital data file, new detail is a piece of cake 🙂

So, there it is, the plan is to just hang out in my cave relaxing with the puppies and kitties while the city people ravage the high country with their four wheel drives and terrorize the wildlife with their explosives.

 

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

It is Finished

This year as Christians celebrate Easter, Jews are celebrating Passover. One of my friends posted the words “It is finished.”, a phrase that reminded me that the two holidays were never meant to be celebrated separately. As Christians celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus, Jews this year are celebrating and remembering their deliverance from Egypt during the time of Moses, documented in the book of Genesis and subject of the great cinema adventure with Charlton Heston.

4,000 years ago the Hebrews were saved from the death that killed all the first born of the Egyptians by the blood of a lamb painted on their door posts. So it is for Christians today, saved from spiritual death and Hell by the “Blood of the Lamb”. In the time of Moses no one person was more worthy of salvation that night than another. If the lambs blood was on the door posts, the occupants were spared. That would have also included Egyptians with the foresight to hide inside with the Hebrews.

That Passover 4,000 years ago pointed ahead to what we celebrate now as Easter and the parallels are astonishing and the subject of many deep studies which are easily found online with a google search of the words “It is finished”. I will focus only on that one phrase, “It is finished.”, the final words spoken by Jesus in human form on this earth.

According to the New Testament, Jesus and the Apostles were clearly celebrating Passover when Jesus was killed on the Cross. Each and every event documented in scripture leading to the Cross is significant and was provided as a reminder of just exactly what was going on at the time… The long awaited Messiah was being sacrificed. For example, Kind David foresaw the day in Psalm 22 “For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.”

2,000 years after these words were written by King David they came true as Jesus hung on the Cross with nails in His feet and hands while the Romans bargained for his clothes. At the same time Jesus was hanging on the cross, a lamb was being prepared by the high priest in the Hebrew temple for the Passover sacrifice. Finally the lamb was killed and the High Priest uttered the words, “It is finished.”. At that moment on the Cross, Jesus uttered His last words, “It is finished.”, and the final sacrifice was made. The Blood of the Lamb is now available to everyone who will accept it, no one more worthy to receive it than another, no religion with any greater claim to it than another.

This Easter, I urge all who read this and pray for those who don’t to accept the gift that was given to us 2,000 years ago on the Cross. I also pray for reconciliation between the religions for the event that was meant to unite, not divide. And I pray as well for people who are victims of false religions, false messiahs and those pursuing empty aspirations that lead nowhere, to accept the gift that we celebrate on Easter Sunday and for the dedication of lives to the only cause that can provide “Living Water” that can sustain life in this lifetime and the next.

Christmas Gifts

With the Christmas gift season at hand, I thought I would write a quick post about the ordering process for gifts and prints from my website. First of all, please do not be concerned that you are going to cause me to be overworked! Back in the day I tried to manage orders that people placed with me by myself and it was a lot of work! However I have wisely relegated that process to a trusted company that is well equipped to handle this process for me. Other than uploading a picture to the website there is no work for me. Once I upload the picture, my involvement is complete.

winter-buckI am also pleased to announce that coffee mugs have been added to the list of products available with a S. W. Krull Imaging picture. This list of products now includes Christmas cards,  coffee mugs, prints on glossy metal and acrylic sheets, canvas wrapped on wood, traditional framed prints, t-shirts, phone cases, shower curtains, handbags and beach towels. So to order a picture product, you just go to the S. W. Krull Imaging Fine Art website where you will see a collection of pictures which represent all the different categories of art I have displayed on my site.

From there just click on the image representing your favorite category, for example, Rocky Mountain Winter. The category will open and you will see a collection of winter images. Find one you like and click on the image, bringing up an enlargement of the image and an interactive list of products available for that image.The lab receives the order, creates the product and ships the order, all without any involvement on my part. Orders thus far have been fulfilled promptly with very high quality productions.

I do hope you will consider ordering your gifts this year from a small business rather than just going down to the local huge corporation and lining the pockets of a unknown faceless CEO somewhere. Small business is the backbone of America and it badly needs your support!

 

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 🙂 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 🙂 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

Happy New Year 2016

Looking ahead is always good, new plans and dreams require planning and optimism and you can’t go wrong with these traits and activities. However, sometimes there is much to be gained by looking back as well. There are lessons learned, failures to digest, victories to build upon, accomplishments to relish and seemingly insurmountable obstacles overcome.

frontcoverSo on this last day of 2015 I noticed that I had written a Happy New Year 2015 blog post and so I read it to find out what I might have been thinking last New Year’s Eve. I’m sure it was a rough one, although you would not know if from my brief post. Tricia was dying, there was no doubt in my mind that without the miracle of all time I was celebrating my last New Year’s Eve with her. From my blog post I remembered that my main camera had served me well for six years, but had finally snapped it’s last image. I wrote of the anticipation of a new camera in 2015 but I remember thinking how unlikely that would actually be.

My blog for 2015 looked pretty bleak, including only the one goal of going out to the Lost Creek Wilderness for pictures. And of course on the first of March in the middle of the night in a blizzard we took our final ambulance ride together to Memorial Hospital. There was nothing more the doctors could do and two days later she passed away at the Pikes Peak Hospice at Penrose Hospital. There was no time to mourn, there was too much to do and not enough time to do it. Much to my surprise though, with some help from church members I was pretty much moved out of our cottage before her memorial service near the end of March.

As a result of a true miracle from God, it wasn’t long before I had the new camera and was making plans for an eventful summer. I made it to two whitewater festivals on the Arkansas, Bison Peak in the Lost Creek Wilderness that I previously mentioned, photographed the Garden of the Gods 10 Mile Run, visited the wolves in Guffey with Facebook friends and wolf warriors Lisa and Jeanne, explored new trails on Pikes Peak and got a press pass to report on the Pikes Peak Ascent where I finally met my Facebook friend Jill in real life. Photographing the mountain goats and bighorn sheep on Mount Evans and climbing the two 14ers later in September were so far beyond my wildest expectations that I still have to pinch myself to believe it. With the help of Tracy Roach, we also finished an Examiner article about her climbing adventures that we had started months ago!

But I think that by far the most important lessons from 2015 involve lessons learned about grieving and also of building personal relationships. It was my plan to just become a mountain hermit, do my photography and writing, and live here on my mountain in solitude. But it was not meant to be so. I should have known when old friends Doug from Control Data Corporation and Frank and Michelle came out for Tricia’s memorial. My brother Jim and his girlfriend Robin came to visit later and much to my surprise, Jim and I climbed the Manitou Incline, something I had been wanting to do for years. In surprising and unexpected fulfillment of a deathbed promise to Tricia, I met met my Facebook friend Apryl in real life as well. Through her I made some more new friends and even re-connected with my old friend David from our old neighborhood in Parker at the Manitou Coffin Races  on our racing team that she organized.

However summer’s end and the associated short days and long hours of darkness came with terrible sadness when Apryl had to move back to Northern Colorado for an awesome new job opportunity and I once again began to entertain the idea of life as a mountain hermit. I think this is when I learned the most important concept of the entire year. I received a message from one Facebook friend one evening asking me if I had heard recently from another Facebook friend. I was kind of feeling sorry for myself and a bit lonely too at the time and really didn’t feel like talking to anyone, but I started thinking that I had not heard from her in quite a while. So I checked and indeed, she had not posted anything or messaged me in a long time.

I started trying to track her down and find out what was going on and that is when I was hit by a startling revelation. The isolation I was contemplating is selfish and self destructive. I realized that while I was sitting around feeling sorry for myself others were fighting terrible battles in their lives as well and as a mature long time believer, God was expecting me to get involved, to continue where He left off when Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised”.

The major lesson learned here is that so often, the thing we need the most is the very thing we are supposed to be giving away. As I began to take action on this knowledge I also discovered that many times a gesture that seems small to me can make a huge difference in the life of someone else. I think not because I have any unusual ability or strength, but because a task that is small for me might be an impossible burden for someone else, just as my own battles sometimes appear insurmountable to me and minuscule to someone else. Each and every one of us has talents and tools that someone else is needing and it is selfishness to conceal them in solitude, even if all we might have to offer is an encouraging word or a hug at an opportune time.