Surreal Day

Stopped by the Garden on my way back from giving a friend a ride to the cancer Pavilion at Penrose to see if I could find the bighorn sheep. No luck there, but the view of Pikes Peak was kind of pretty. Well worth stopping at the visitor’s center for a few shots anyway.

Garden of the Gods Spring with snow capped Pikes PeakBeen about two years since Tricia passed, I guess the trip alone back from the cancer center reminded me of how much nothing has changed in those two years. Kind of feels like I am in that old “Groundhog Day” movie, the one  with Bill Murray. Only I am in the same routine with different people, waiting at the doctor’s office for cell count reports… snapping pictures on the commutes back and forth when I can, grabbing free coffee every chance I get.  I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing… I was going to hit the road the instant Tricia passed and start a new life somewhere else, but as I was cleaning up the remnants of the old life with her I became more and more entangled in a new life here. Almost exactly like the old life but with new people. This old beast of a camper trailer that was going to provide my deliverance from this place now feels like a shipwreck on some island I can’t get off of. Maybe that’s alright though, considering the beauty of this place, it’s hard to imagine where I would go that would be better.

Who knows, maybe like Phil in the movie I am doomed to repeat this scenario until I learn some profound lesson in life. Or maybe this is the place I am destined to spend my days in, brought here by God for some purpose which has not yet been realized. Long before I moved here I had begun receiving dreams and signs that this would be the place… Perhaps it is true what is spoken in the Bible, God is the one who sets our boundaries:

Acts 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

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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Real Health Insurance

Going down to the post office today to pick up my health insurance. Not the kind of insurance you usually think of though, this is cheap insurance and a very small price to pay for real health insurance at that. The health insurance I am talking about is colloidal silver. Comes from a company called Silver Wings and you can get it online or at some health food stores, including Whole Foods. Why do I call it health insurance? Because I have been taking it sparingly for ten years now and have not had to go to a doctor for an illness in that entire time.

My wife and I were tipped off to the benefits of this miracle mineral supplement by our naturopathic doctor in which we had a long history of trust and success. So we went to Whole Foods and purchased a bottle of the 500 ppm substance for future use. Not quite knowing what to do with it or why we would want to take it, we just tucked it away in the medicine cabinet.

In my first year of self employment as a photographer I had not yet managed to acquire health insurance. And as luck would have it, that was a year in which a particularly virulent bronchial infection was being spread around. Unfortunately I finally caught the mess and began hacking and coughing with the rest of the people in Parker. The virus or infection or whatever it was refused to let go and soon developed into a sinus problem which even spread to my eyes causing me to look like I had pink eye in both eyes! Then the fever started and finally reached about 103 degrees. I was one miserable puppy… just lying in bed expecting to die… or maybe hoping to die. It was pretty bad.

Well when I was about at my worst my wife brought in some tea and said here drink this. So I did… About 20 minutes later the fever broke and I was suddenly feeling much better. So I wandered downstairs and told her. She said, “wow, I didn’t expect it to work that fast!”. I said, “what?”. That’s when she told me she had slipped a few drops of colloidal silver into the tea. So I started reading a bit more about it online and over the course of the next week or two I was gargling with it to try to ease the throat infection, and even putting it in my eyes to cure the eye infection. And it worked, it cured everything. And I haven’t been to the doctor for an illness in the entire decade since then.

The way the silver works is it disrupts the breathing ability of one cell beasties only, which is just what bacteria and virus cells happen to be. The silver does not affect more complex cells, which our body and immune system is comprised of. Many people haven’t heard of colloidal silver, and many more have heard hysterical tales of all the terrible things it will do to you, including turning skin blue. And of course all these tall tales are false, and probably started by the pharmaceutical companies who hate silver because they can’t patent it and make billions from a simple supplement.

In fact Big Pharma has quietly begun lacing their failing products with colloidal silver because of it’s obvious benefits. The British Army uses silver in military issue socks to fight infection. Silver has been used for millennia to safely fight infection and cure disease and is a prudent addition to any medicine cabinet.

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 Darkness and the Light

Interesting day… Sitting at the Donut Mill collecting my thoughts as I realized that it was this exact day that my wife went in to hospice down in Colorado Springs two years ago. The cancer had spread everywhere it seemed and there was no more hope. On March 5, 2015 she passed, ending six long years of her battle against cancer, and beginning my long dark battle to rebuild my life.

Light falls on the north face of Pikes Peak for the first time this year.I was being paid by the state through a medical home care company to provide care for her, income that allowed us to rent a nice cabin in town. However, on the day she died it was a triple blow… in one day I lost my wife, my job and my home and to top it off, my main camera had recently died as well. I don’t think I have ever been more unprepared in my entire life for something I knew was coming. My first task, in order to get out of the cabin before another month’s rent was owed,  was to get rid of almost everything we owned … from the cabin and storage. Donated most everything rom the cabin to Storehouse Ministry and took the rest up to an auction house in Denver, quite an adventure in its own right! Didn’t take long, and I was able to get a new camera, my  Canon 70D.

Driving down the pass still contemplating those dark years, I noticed that for the first time this year the sun has gotten close enough to the Vernal Equinox to shine some light on the north face of Pikes Peak. I couldn’t help but appreciate the dichotomy, the joy of light returning to the mountain on the day of my darkest memory.

Speaking of light… it has been over 9,000 times that the light of some scene that I deemed worthy to capture has fallen on the 20 megapixel sensor of the camera I selected for the continuation of my stock photo business two years ago. Since then I have captured a collection of new memories, new friends, new experiences and new aspirations. I have experienced never before seen, by me anyway, valleys and mountaintops, wildlife, rivers, lakes, cities, events and people. The dark memories of this day two years ago seem like a lifetime ago, or maybe even someone else’s life.

I thought it very appropriate for the Almighty to remind me on this day that the darkness is only for a while. If we can hold on He will lead us through every valley and back onto another mountaintop.  As King David promises in the book of the Psalms “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”.

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

Milestone

Well I finally did it. 3000 images on iStock by Getty Images. This has been my goal for a couple of years now, but one problem after another built a wall of resistance that I just could not climb. I uploaded my first image on July 31, 2006 after an article was published in a new magazine I was receiving called Digital Photographer Magazine discussing a new method of selling photographs that was catching fire at that time. I had been with a traditional agency for a year at that time without much success and was looking for something new. So I took the plunge and not much later images began to sell. Royalties were pretty skimpy back then, but having some images showing in the sold column was very encouraging.

2007 was probably my most prolific year at iStock and a fun year for Tricia and me as a couple. We had an antiques booth at a mall in Arvada and I would run up to Boulder and Golden while she was stocking and pricing and shoot everything I could find. I think I had over 1000 images accepted that year, which was pretty good since image inspections were pretty rough back then. I think in those days it wasn’t unusual to have 30% rejected. 2007 was also the year I wisely abandoned my EOS-1D and began to use the inferior 10D. It wasn’t nearly the camera that the 1D was, but it produced a large image while the 1D only had the chip for a medium, which at the time resulted in significantly less revenue than sales of a large could bring.

In 2008 I purchased my 40D and a better lens. I would have uploaded more to iStock, but I was getting a bit disillusioned by the miniscule royalties and infrequent payouts so I cancelled my exclusive contract with iStock to start uploading to Alamy. I still remember the day I gave up my exclusive crown… I regretted it the second I hit the cancel button. I called them and begged them to reinstate me, but they said it would take 30 or 90 days or something like that. Anyway, I figured I might as well give Alamy a try as long as I was already committed. So that year I ended up sending about 1000 images to Alamy. Unfortunately 2008 was the year the economy blew up so that effort was for naught.

2010 brought big changes to iStock when Getty Images bought it and began to sweeten the exclusive pot for exclusive artists. So I began the long journey back to exclusive by removing all royalty free images from all the places they had been sent. Eventually I got my exclusive crown back and began to upload in earnest. Unfortunately it wasn’t long before Tricia’s illness took precedence over everything and I was about 500 images shy of meeting my next self set milestone at iStock of 3000 approved images.

Stone Quarry

Finally this spring, with my new hiking opportunities and all my running around to Colorado Springs to take care of business, I have been piling up some images again. And today was the big day… my 3000th approval. Yesterday’s hike up the Red Rock Canyon Trail put me over the top. It isn’t showing yet since the data base indexing doesn’t run everyday, but I know I have made it. I’m sure no one else really cares and there won’t be any awards or fanfare for it, but I know. That’s good enough for me 🙂

Live like you are dying

Got the radio going in the truck the other day and the first song that the station searcher came to was the country song Live Like You are Dying. The writer of that song has obviously not been spending much time in the oncology ward at the hospital. As a caregiver for someone with cancer I have some knowledge about living like you are dying and I can say it isn’t a party. The pasty gray faces streaming through the infusion center show no interest in riding a “bull named Fumanchu or sky diving”. For some, just walking into the place is tantamount to running a marathon.

Living like you are dying is real for cancer victims and it becomes an entire lifestyle. In addition to endless visits to the hospital, every aspect of life is affected. Medicine and supplements to keep a person alive are expensive. Finances are drained, jobs lost, businesses shut down, homes mortgaged and even homes lost. Entire families can be destroyed as the wreckage extends beyond the sick person to others who have to take up the slack. Unlike the writer of the song, I don’t wish it upon anyone to have to live like they are dying.

The movie Bucket List might be a more accurate example of living like you are dying, assuming you run across a billionaire who can finance a short spending spree. On the lighter side, I have been wanting to try some Chock Full of Nuts coffee ever since I first watched the movie. My can of Family Dollar coffee is running low, so yesterday as I stood facing the selection of coffee at the grocery store I noticed that City Market has stocked Chock Full of Nuts and I am now looking forward to my first cup of that beverage in the near future. But that is a subject for another blog.

So if you know a person who is forced to live like they are dying, don’t just pay them a visit. Visits are nice for people who are healthy. Their houses are tidy and well stocked with food and drink to offer visitors and taking time out for a chat can be a nice break. There are no breaks for the cancer victim. Maybe a better gesture would be a tank full of gas to help get to cancer treatments, or an oil change to maintain a car that has been overworked with no funds to maintain it. Sick people and the ones taking care of them may not have the strength to keep up with the laundry, so picking up a load of clothes to wash might be nice, or a lawn mowed, snow scooped or leaves raked. And don’t ask the sick person if they need it done, they already feel like they can’t pull their own load anymore. If it is obvious that it needs done just show up and do it. Small things to a healthy person can be huge for a family with a dying person, so it may not take much to make life a little better for someone forced to live like they are dying.