My Author Copies Arrived

Elk Herd on a Beautiful Rocky Mountain Evening

Big day yesterday, the author copies of my newest book “Wildlife Photography in the Colorado Rockies” finally arrived! I was a bit nervous about it as there have been a lot of changes in my office configuration since my previous book was published! Since then I have upgraded my computer to Windows 11, put in a new high performance graphics card, and downloaded new drivers. It didn’t change my colors much, but I did notice that my monitor does match my printer much more accurately now. Wasn’t sure how that would affect my publishing experience at the big publishers!

Well, the good news is my copies came from Lulu Publishing perfectly and I made a nice Youtube video to show it to you! In the video you will see the cover and the content as I thumb through the book and describe it, so if you are interested, please just click the link and enjoy!

In the meantime, the book has been accepted at Barnes and Noble and I have learned how to go to their home page and request that they stock some copies in the retail stores. I don’t know how that will go yet, but I have hopes that they will at least put a few  copies into the “Local Interest” sections at our Colorado Front Range Stores! The book is of course available at my Amazon storefront.

Once again, please feel free to view my Youtube video about the book and visit one of my published material storefronts at Amazon and Lulu Publishing if you would like to purchase the book or peruse my other publications! My books are also available in eBook form if that is your preferred method of reading!

I’m a Publisher

Ghostly Figures in Foggy Mine Country

Well I did it, I’m officially a publisher. I wanted to publish a paperback version of my latest creation called “Two Decades of Digital Photography”. I have ebooks uploaded to Kindle and Lulu which is easy because they don’t require an ISBN. However print versions do require an ISBN and if you get one the easy way through Amazon or Lulu you aren’t the publisher, they are. And that means they have exclusive use of your publication.

The path to becoming your own publisher goes through Bowker.com where you can create a publisher account and get your own ISBN numbers. Today I did just that and ordered one ISBN, unfortunately getting just one is the most expensive way to go, you can get a block of 10 for much less per number. But I’m still in experimental mode so I just started with one.

The number showed up on my account waiting for me to assign a book to it, which I managed to do. So… what does it all mean? The paperback version of Two Decades of Digital Photography is now available for sale on Kindle and pending on Lulu while I wait on the mail for a proof copy for final review and approval!

New Year New Direction

I’ve been so busy the last few weeks that I haven’t had time to sit down and assess my state of existence. The holidays are a great annoyance to me so I spent the entire two weeks avoiding everything and everyone. With all the bad news about the new Covid variant I decided I’d better get caught up with my health care details so I scheduled my first annual checkup in three years. Fortunately I passed all my blood tests and have been given a clean bill of health for the coming year. Now the first two weeks of the new year are already almost gone and my head is finally clearing enough to assess the previous year and make some plans for this year.

Snowy Hayden Pass

I finally got out this morning for a trek in the high country and a little fresh air this morning, only to discover that I’ve seriously lost the edge off my physical conditioning over the dreaded holidays. If I’m going to climb a 14er this year that situation is definitely going to have to be remedied! I did make it up Hell Hill and back down around the mountain so I’m not starting at zero but my legs are definitely feeling the burn 😦 It was very gloomy this morning which is fine with me, that means I’m going to get the mountain to myself, but it also means that picture taking is going to suffer. But happily when I got to the summit there was a patch of sun shining on Hayden Pass in the Sangres, at least I believe it to be Hayden Pass according to the nifty little peak finding device they installed there!

For years I had kicked around the idea of writing a photography book but never got past the printing and distribution obstacles. Writing a book or creating a calendar is one thing, but actually having enough of them printed up to make money with it is an entirely different matter! But then along comes self publishing and Print on Demand. Now writing a book has become feasible, one needs just to be able to write and to figure out the process, that’s partly why the holidays blew by without my notice…  I was busy learning how to write a Kindle Book and navigate my way through the process. The free ebook writing software made that pretty easy but when I got to the point of trying to turn one of my better efforts into a paperback I discovered that I was still going to need some better publishing software, so I added InDesign to my library of Adobe products that I subscribe to. The good news is that the review process on that one is complete and my first paperback book is now on sale! It’s called “Seasons of the Raptor” and it can be purchased on a Amazon.

I think it also might be a good time to take an honest look at my other photography projects including my YouTube channel, my blog, my art website and my longest running project… my stock photo business.  I put a solid year into my YouTube channel, achieving my goal of 100 videos. My honest assessment of that revenue stream is that it is never going to amount to anything. I am so far from monetizing the channel that I’m not even going to bother to try. If I find something worth filming I’ll shoot and post it but I’m certainly not going to waste large amounts of my time creating videos that nobody is going to watch. Victor on Ice is one example of a worthy project, a lot of people worked really hard on the show and my video of it made a bunch of people that I like very happy 🙂

I’ll keep writing in my blog because I just like to, but after years of effort it is obvious that it will never be a significant revenue stream. Facebook and Twitter are a complete waste of time but I still have hope for my Patreon Channel if only because I have a ton of new lighting equipment and I really enjoy working with models and creating a beautiful lighting set using flash. It’s just fun!

And finally the stock photography business is a great disappointment. When I started years ago it was possible to make some money as a stock photographer but image prices are now so beaten down by over saturation that it really isn’t worth the expense of going anywhere to acquire the images. I’ll continue to upload what I do capture on an incidental basis as I go about my life. If I happen to get some appropriate shots while I’m out running errands or hiking or something I’ll still put them up. I can still at least make enough to buy some new gear once in a while.

Well that’s about it for today, I’m going to get started on my next book… I think it is going to be “My Favorite Pictures”, “and How I Made Them”. I’ve been shooting digital for 20 years now and over that time I’ve captured quite a few that I’d like to highlight before moving on to the next 20 years! I’ll keep you all posted on my progress!

 

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

Roadblocks and Breakthroughs

Well it’s been a busy 2022 already, one of my resolutions… well maybe my only resolution was to actually do something with all the thousands of images I’ve captured over the last few years. Maybe more than a few years, I got my first digital camera in 2002 and I’ve been blazing away ever since!  My original plan was digital stock photography but the returns on that medium are now so low that it is barely worth doing.

Red-tailed Hawk

So I decided to try my hand at book writing starting with an ebook on Kindle thinking that the file I created with the free software would easily translate into a paperback book. That turned out not to be the case though so I thought I was going to be limited to the ebook route.  But I really want to be able to create a paperback so I didn’t give up. It occurred to me that Adobe has a good utility for doing just that called InDesign. What the heck, I thought… so I downloaded a seven day trial version to see if I could learn yet a new software package. Fortunately It is enough similar to Photoshop that I was able to pick up the essentials in a day and I’m about halfway through re-creating the ebook I had written on the raptors into the Adobe software. Besides, I figured if I was going to be serious about this there’s no way to avoid using serious professional software anyway.

But after sitting in front of the computer for a couple of days I’m still going to have to get out with the animals for a few hours, maybe tomorrow!

 

 

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

One Year With the Raptors

Bald Eagles in Eleven Mile Canyon

I just published another Kindle book called “Seasons of the Raptor” about my first big year of raptor photography. Prior to 2020 my wildlife photography always concentrated on the large American mammals, including bears, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, deer, etc. That was of course before I became acquainted with the eagles nest at Eleven Mile Canyon. Since then I’ve upgraded my equipment to be able to actually shoot a clear photograph of birds and actively gone looking for them! I’ve had to upgrade my software to support images shot in low light and difficult conditions and perfect my skills on fast moving small subjects!

The year included  watching the bald eagles hatch three new eaglets, the osprey pair raise two new young ones, some great times with the blue heron, tons of red-tailed hawks, rough-legged hawks, sharp-shinned hawks, a couple Swainson’s, the peregrine falcons at the mouth of Eleven Mile and probably a bunch I already don’t even remember!

Anyway, the book is my best one yet, around 50 pages of my best raptor pictures including the story behind the images. I reveal my strategy and camera settings, how I approached the feathered critters, where and when to find them plus links to supporting video on my YouTube channel!

So if you are on Amazon or a Kindle fan I hope you will consider giving it a look!

Also notice that I have added a link to all my Kindle books on the main menu!

Ten tips for a successful snowshoe hike in the Colorado high country

Little experiment here… I wrote all this good stuff for an online news agency called the Examiner a few years ago and suddenly without warning they went out of business and all my articles just disappeared 😦 Luckily I wrote most of them in open office and saved them. Today fresh snow and Facebook reminded me of a memory, namely the publishing of this article!

So today I’m working on transferring them to my phone where I can publish them on WordPress! Here’s one, what do you think?

Ten Snowshoe Tips

1. Choose your snowshoes
Step number one for an enjoyable outing in the cold Colorado Rocky Mountain winter is the correct choice of equipment. Different types of snowshoes are available for the variety of conditions that are encountered in mountain back country. If you are going to be hitting the remote rugged trails found high on the rocky ridges you will need a good set of back country snowshoes with both heel and toe claws. The snow has likely been melting and re-freezing for some time and there will be a lot of ice. The back claws are crucial to keeping your footing on the slippery slopes. If you are going to be encountering deep powder, larger snowshoes are better to limit the amount of sinking. Running snowshoes are available for endurance training if the trail is going to be well traveled and packed. Racing snowshoes are light and equipped with only a front claw.

2. Layer up
Conditions can change rapidly in the mountains and proper attire is paramount. An early morning start is going to be cold and until the heart is pumping warm windproof clothing is worth it's weight in gold. As the day wears on and the sun begins to shine some layers may need to come off to avoid overheating. Start with a close fitting hi-tech moisture wicking thermal layer, including socks and glove liners and a hat. Various weights are available to suit the outdoor temperatures you may encounter. Follow with windproof and waterproof pants and a wool sweater. Wool is better than cotton because it continues to provide warmth when wet. Choose a good pair of waterproof boots. Gortex light hikers are good for running and felt lined snow boots may be needed for sub-zero temperatures in the higher elevations.

3. Jacket with hood
Be sure to choose a jacket with a large hood that extends several inches away from the face. Winds in the high country can be fierce and the hood will protect your face. Snow is likely at any time in the high country so make sure your jacket is waterproof. Staying dry is the best way to avoid hypothermia. Lastly, don't forget warm waterproof gloves. Frostbitten fingers are the quickest path to misery on a snowshoe hike

4. Sunscreen and lip balm
The sun and wind in the high country can be brutal so be sure to wear a good SPF30 sunscreen and UV resistant lip balm. Chapped lips and a severe sunburn can ruin your day just as easily as frostbite.

5. Wear a backpack
A good water resistant backpack can be a life saver. Carry extra clothing, food, matches, flashlights, liquids and cell phones. Professional backpacks found at the mountaineering stores are equipped with extra waist and chest straps to reduce bouncing and distribute weight for greater comfort. Packs are also handy for toting the clothing that you will be removing as your body heat increases during the day.

6. Don't use external water holders
Don't use the external bottle holders if your backpack comes equipped with them. Water and ERG will freeze out there, so put the water bottles inside against your body. Body heat will keep them from freezing. Use the bottle holders for socks or something else you need to keep handy.

7. Fog proof your sunglasses
Sunglasses are essential in the high country. With little atmosphere to filter the sun, serious eye damage can occur from the bright sunlight reflecting from the snow. During a hard workout sunglasses will be sure to fog up so visit your nearest mountaineering store and purchase an anti fogging spray or liquid that will keep your vision clear all day. If you have plastic lenses make sure the substance does not contain ammonia.

8. Cooking spray on your boots and snowshoes
Nothing is worse while snowshoeing than a big ball of ice stuck in your claw and on the heel of your boot. Spray your boots with a cooking spray like Pam before you get started and keep some in your pack. The slick spray will keep the ice balls from forming.

9. Use cross country ski poles
Ski poles can be a lifesaver in the high country. They can help you keep your balance on treacherous ice covered trails and take some of the strain off of your legs on steep climbs.

10. Bring tire chains
The weather in the high country is unpredictable. What can start out as a beautiful sunny day can turn into a serious winter storm without warning. Tire chains can make the difference between an enjoyable day trip and a life threatening overnight camping ordeal.

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

The Dilemma

Just when I thought I had found the superhighway to the high peaks of the Ute Pass northern ridge, I find myself thwarted by a gate and a no trespassing sign 😦  I finally got an early enough start in the cool of the day to really take a run at that trail with the doggies. We were making good progress when all of a sudden I saw a fence… then a closed and locked gate followed by the totally rude sign 😦 I had no idea that someone owned that section of the Pike National Forest… How can you own a national forest anyway?

Storm clouds and snow on Pikes Peak Colorado

Storm clouds and snow on Pikes Peak Colorado

Well, back down we went… It was getting hot by the time we reached the bottom anyway. I did notice on the way down however, there is another trail leading southeast. I’m pretty sure it is the one that connects to some other trails that go all over the mountain, including up to Bald Mountain. But, that exploration will have to wait for another day.

Had a nice lunch with my friend while closely watching the temperature and the clouds. Landlord won’t let me leave the doggies at home, not that they would appreciate being home without me anyway.  Be that as it may… if it gets too hot I can’t leave them in the truck camper while I work. Even though it is well ventilated it still heats up in the sun when the temperature is over 79. Kind of amazing… 79 is borderline, but 80 or 81 is too hot. Well anyway, the dilemma… work too much and I get too tired to enjoy life and lose money at my photography and writing, work too little and I don’t have enough money to enjoy life or do my photography and writing. So whatta ya do…

Anyway, today it suddenly jumped to 89, a real rarity for the mountains and I can really feel the heat beating down on the roof and south window… Fortunately I had the foresight one summer to install a window air conditioner and I have it and the fan going full blast! And as a sign that the Almighty is watching down on me, I just noticed yesterday that I had made a good print sale to make up for today’s lost wages, a nice winter scene on Pikes Peak 🙂 Reminds me of the Bible verse, “My God shall supply on my needs according to His riches in Glory.”.

 

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

God Wouldn’t

Every once in a while when I’m out hiking on the mountain the answer to some perplexing question will come to me and I feel compelled to write it down. Here’s something I’ve come across lately… the God Wouldn’t people. Was trying to put a finger on something I’ve been encountering lately. I was called upon to help someone through a tough time and some people I know aren’t too happy about it. God wouldn’t put you at risk they say. God wouldn’t ask you to do something that might cost you.

This doctrine is of course based on the idea of “God wouldn’t allow more than you can bear.”, a patently false statement that is found nowhere in the Bible. There is a verse that is similar, the one that this idea comes from. It is 1 Corinthians 10:13:

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

So the verse pertains to sin and has nothing to do with what sort of challenges or suffering God will allow in our lives. Therefore I believe there are two kinds of people, the God Wouldn’t People and the God Would People. The God Wouldn’t people have a form of belief that looks good. They go to church on Sunday, proclaim their faith, sing hymns and generally put on a pretty good show.

But the God Would people understand that God would ask us to risk our possessions, our money, and for some even their lives. And the truth of it is, the higher up you are on the faith chain, the more likely it is that you will be thrown into the hard fights.

Psalm 34:19 : “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all”  

After all, would the commander of an army platoon send his weakest guy in to accomplish some life or death task that the whole platoon was depending on? Of course not. But the God Would people also understand true faith… the God who asks us to do the hard things will bring us through the hard things. If we have lost much in the battle He is well able to cover the loss. He might not, but He is able if it is His will.

Someday God might be up in Heaven looking down thinking about some battle he needs fought, some person who needs help or rescuing, thinking I wonder who I have who I can count on… who won’t run from the hard things, who is strong enough to win this fight? One of the God Wouldn’t People might get tapped to go, but they will say to themselves, “This is too hard, God wouldn’t ask me to do this.”. And then finally, one of the God Would people will have to step up to fight the battle. Somebody has to do the hard things.

 

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.

No Unfriendlies at 14,000 feet

I think I’ve discovered an axiom, there are no unfriendly people at 14,000 feet of elevation. I’ve never encountered one anyway! Perhaps it is because life’s problems can’t survive the thin air there, they melt away when the summit comes into view.

Summit-HikersWell anyway, I have summit fever again this week and am preparing for the next adventure. Ralph and I will be attempting to summit Mount Harvard this weekend. This one might be a bit tougher than last week’s Mount Massive hike, with four more miles to cover on the round trip. I think Massive was Class I all the way, but 14ers.com is showing Harvard as Class II part of the way. I assume that means there will be a boulder field to tackle near the summit and that could slow us down a bit.

So today is payday and I don’t have to work until 5 p.m. this evening. A good day to get out and purchase supplies for the journey. I also saw some leather gloves with mesh backs in the sporting goods section that have my name on them. Tired of bashing up my fingers on the rocks at the summit. These should do nicely!

Stay tuned… as always the camera will be making the trip with me!