5000 Images

Deer in Winter Wilderness

Saw this beautiful buck at the edge of the wilderness this morning. He was very cooperative in posing for a few captures πŸ™‚ Also noticed this morning that somewhere along the line lately I blew through the 5000 accepted images at iStock / Getty! Two years ago I was looking forward to surpassing that mark but got so discouraged with the company that I stopped uploading. But a few days ago, much to my surprise I logged by best month there in a long time, enough payout to rethink my decision to ignore that portfolio. iStock / Getty was where my stock photography career began and it is my oldest portfolio, dating all the way back to 2006. It’s also a pretty good pictorial history of an entire decade of my life on this earth!

Zombies

I was thinking of naming this post Zombie Portfolios, but just plain Zombies had a better ring to it. Well anyway, morning for me came well before sunrise today with a quick check of my email on my phone, which also doubles as the first light I can reach when I wake up. For the second month in a row, the much anticipated payment from my formerly most profitable agency has not arrived 😦 Hard to believe it has come to this but I should probably just close that zombie port, it’s just competing with my own website anyway.

Alpenglow sunrise on the Sangre de Cristo

Thought about just going back to sleep, but Big Dog was wide awake and ready to go so I grudgingly got up, got dressed and turned on the coffee pot. A quick jaunt out the front door with the two dogs for their morning duties and I figured I was good for a few minutes for a cup of coffee. Soon however, the allure of another beautiful alpenglow sunrise urged me out of my chair and onto the trail. As we made our way through the woods in the pre dawn darkness I could see the telltale red band working it’s way down the sky towards the horizon and, it looked like my timing was going to be perfect if I just kept walking at the current pace.

Just as I had hoped, the beautiful red band of alpenglow effect converged upon the Sangre de Cristo just as Big Dog and I arrived at the overlook. It was a nice sunrise with beautiful color and very even contrast for a change. Fifteen minutes later the show was over and we were on our way home. The morning light was shining on the mountainside to the north and I spotted a herd of mule deer traversing the summit, way too far away for a good picture. But the barren aspen trees near the top were kind of cool so I’ll be taking a look at those captures for use on my stock site. I’m a bit slow today getting these images posted today, but please be sure to check my image site for recent arrivals!

Ebb and Flow

Totally resisting going out into the world this morning. Monday on theΒ  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 aΒ  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

iStock Editorial

This whitewater shoot of the Numbers Rapids on the Arkansas River near Buena Vista, Colorado is apparently my first editorial shoot since the big iStock / Getty unification project. I’m sure everyone else has already figured out how to do it, but I was really tearing my hair out for a while there!

Kayaking the NumbersDeepMeta no longer has a check box for editorial so it was a bit difficult to figure out how to do it. Of course it would have been helpful to watch the tutorial for the new interface first, lol… but that’s not how I roll πŸ™‚ Well anyway I finally did watch it and discovered that the editorial submission process has been included at the batch level with the new batch concept implemented by Getty Images.

So for those who operate like I do, the answer lies in the creating ofΒ  the batch. There is a tab on the batch creation window for an editorial batch. Mine haven’t been accepted yet, but the documentation I found indicates that the old rigid caption requirement has been eliminated and that now you just enter the data into the description field. Supposedly the rigid requirements for a format have been relaxed. We will soon find out!

 

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.Β  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 πŸ™‚

 

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

A Time to Shoot

Unquestionably, the most enjoyable part of being a stock photographer is the shooting. For a photographer there is nothing quite like planning a shoot, looking at the maps, researching the wildlife and getting the equipment ready. Sometimes a special event will bring me out, like a bike race, music festival or a big storm in the mountains. But sometimes it is not the time to shoot and this is one of those times. This isn’t a very pretty time of year in the southern Colorado Rockies. There isn’t much snow on the high peaks, the leaves are all gone and the landscape kind of just looks like a lot of dirt.

stormy-peakThe election is over and the hopeless business climate caused by the previous administration will soon be history. Sales are finally starting to pick up again after the longΒ  dry spell and there is once again some reason for hope. By last winter the business climate for photography was so bad that it didn’t even seem worth uploading the pictures I was capturing. Getty Images was busy running the once vibrant iStock agency into the ground and I was off to my worst year of sales since I started this business many years ago.

Finally last spring I decided to give up my exclusive contract with iStock / Getty and branch out. A few months later, I am quite happy that I did that as iStock continues to flounder and new announcements of commission cuts and lower prices seem to be coming out every month. I am now hearing of subscription sales for non-exclusives with commissions as low as nine cents. It was just a couple of blog posts ago that I was starting to think that iStock was going to recover, but the new announcement coupled with a a previous announcement that uploads cannot be deleted from iStock without permission from the admins has made it very difficult to find a reason to continue uploading there. So for my clients who wish to find my new work, don’t bother looking on iStock. You will find my new stuff on my Pixels.com and Alamy agency portfolios.

deerWell anyway, back to what was saying. With business just picking up and funds low from years of a terrible business climate in this country, I find this is not the time to shoot. Instead I have been looking back through last winter and I was amazed to find this shoot of a mountain blizzard almost untouched. I had uploaded maybe two or three and then given up, considering the pointlessness of uploading to iStock at the time. So it would appear, now is the time for uploading like a madman… Pictures don’t put themselves up for sale! It is the hard part of the business, the editing, photoshopping and the uploading. It is the part of the business that is work. But, hopefully it is also the part of the business that pays the bills πŸ™‚

 

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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Facing the Fact

Summer is over and the crisp temperatures of fall are settling in all over the high country. I have uploaded a few of my best autumn color pictures to Alamy and Pixels.com but I have to face the fact. My style of imagery sells best on iStock. Despite it’s shortcomings and small commission rates, the bulk of my income comes from there. There isn’t really any other place where IΒ  can reliably place my sports editorial images and with my years of experience there, I have my rejection rate down to zero.

Hikers-1.jpgSo this morning I am finding myself looking over the summer’s images and noticing how many good ones I have yet to upload. Our Mount Massive summit hike is the shoot I am looking at right now. Wow… what a day that was, beautiful weather, good friends, a rugged hike and some of the most magnificent scenery and wildlife I have ever seen were the experience of that day.

Will also never forget the cute lady with the little Pomeranian doggy that was hiking with her. We first saw her coming up behind us and were determined that she was not going to pass us… but youth won out and she eventually caught up with us, so not wanting to let an opportunity for aΒ  photo op pass, I wondered if she would stop and pose for a picture. She graciously did and now I have the memory cast in pixels πŸ™‚Hiking-with-Dog.jpg

We didn’t see any wildlife on the way up and I was a bit disappointed about that, but on the way down we were graced by the presence of a small herd of mountain goats, including this cute baby. This of course was well worth the time taking a break in our hike to capture. I uploaded a small number of the very best ones to my Alamy port, but there are dozens more images from this day that belong on iStock, and that’s the plain truth of it.

Mountain-Goat.jpgThe new policy of no deletions without permission on iStock bothers me a little bit, but if I think about it… I never delete any anyway. I just put them up there for sale and forget about them. Money is short these days and there doesn’t seem to be much under my control that I can do, but I can surely upload these assets to iStock where I know the inspectors will put them up for sale. It’s what I’ve always done and now is not the time to falter πŸ™‚

 

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.

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 😦 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 πŸ™‚ 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 😦

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 πŸ™‚

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!

Nocturnal and First Snow

Two o’clock a.m. and I’m wide awake, too awake to sleep and too tired to do anything constructive. Starting to wonder if I’m becoming nocturnal! I hope not, hiking at night would be a real bummer! Guess I’ll write a blog. Nothing like throwing a bunch of random thoughts onto the virtual paper to bring it all together. LOL… not everything that comes together is good though! We’ll see how it turns out πŸ™‚

Pikes Peak

First Snow on Pikes Peak

Now that I mention things that aren’t good coming together… I recently saw a position available for a sports writer / photographer, which sounded perfect for me! Wasn’t too sure if my writing experience would be the right fit for a CSU Rams reporter, but I was especially excited about having access to the press box for game photography. I’ve always wanted to be one of those cool guys with the big white lenses running up and down the sidelines and hanging out in the press box πŸ™‚

Much to my surprise, within hours I was turning in my first article. The second article, however is proving to be more difficult. Don’t seem to have the attention span to analyze a pile of statistics and come up with a meaningful story out of it. I feel like I’m back in my cubicle in the dungeon at Raytheon, totally stressed out and beset with a completely blank mind. Just like it was at the last with Raytheon, all I can think of is running away from the desk, fleeing the dark caverns of the programmer basement and getting outside! I think today I’ll try to find another subject to write on. Perhaps today in the cold and the rain maybe I won’t be longing for the outdoors so much. Maybe there is a standout player who could use some ink. At any rate, looking forward to being in the press box on Halloween day when CSU takes on SDSU at home in sunny beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado.

There are some other statistics this fall that I find myself very interested in studying. A few months ago when this new chapter in my life began I was excited to set a goal of breaking the 3,000 approved image mark at my agency, iStock / Getty. It didn’t take me long to do that and now as I look at my account, the number 4,000 has come within striking distance. A few more sleepless nights and who knows, perhaps I will achieve 4,000 before year’s end.

Today the clouds parted for a bit and the big peak became visible and it is clearly sporting a new mantle of snow to remind me that this year is rapidly winding down. So right now, as long as I’m awake anyway, I’m going to load up the chip from yesterday’s trek up Bald Mountain so that I can mark the first day of significant snow on Pikes Peak with an image.