If This Jacket Could Talk

If This Jacket Could Talk

As luck would have it, I got a really good deal on a new Gor-Tex jacket the other day. Later that day as I went to zip up my old one it didn’t feel right, looked down and the zipper was broken… zip all you want, but it isn’t going to close. The shell is starting to rip out in places too so it is looking like it might be time to retire this old garment. I’ve been looking for a replacement for it for about a year now, so I was a bit surprised to have found the replacement on the day that I needed it! Although I shouldn’t be, I can’t count the number of times Providence has filled my need at the exact instant it was required. The words of the Apostle Paul, “My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in Glory.”

Summit Elbert Steve.jpgWell anyway, that jacket has served me faithfully for many years. Not too long after we were married, probably springtime in the mid 90’s, Tricia and I were grocery shopping at the Whole Foods on Colorado Blvd. in Denver. There was an Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) right beside it back then and they were having and end of season sale that we could not resist. That is when we got a really good deal on matching Gor-Tex suits, the blue jackets and black pants. That would make my jacket over 20 years old this year if my memory is correct!

So if that jacket could talk, it would have some stories to tell! Countless snowshoe treks through the woods together with our dog Bear outside our home in Parker. Those were our best years together, enjoying prosperous life in the horse country south of the city. Since then the forest that we hiked in has been plowed under by a developer and is no longer accessible, a heart breaking story on it’s own of an unsuccessful bitter and protracted battle by residents to save pristine forest land.

The jacket kept me warm through countless training runs, snowshoe races in Breck, Dillon and the Eldora ski area, treks through Chautauqua Park and up Bear Mountain Fern Canyon, Mallory Cave and the Arch. The jacket has been on top of Pikes Peak, and 14ers Elbert, Yale, Massive, and Harvard. I can’t count the number of times it protected me from the snow on the Chicago Lakes Trail on Mount Evans and on countless treks to the summit of Bald Mountain in all kinds of weather. And of course it was my constant companion during the capturing of some 6,500 stock photo images, keeping me and camera safe and warm during photo shoots in snowstorms every year for the last two decades.

The jacket was with me in the hard times and the good times. I can’t count the number of times I had to wear it in winter bike rides up the pass, getting to work to try to save money to get the truck fixed. The jacket saw blizzards, hail storms, torrential rain, wind and every sort of mayhem that these mountains are capable of throwing at a person. I was wearing that jacket pretty much every time over the last few years during the funerals and burials of two dogs and three cats that made the journey to these mountains with me. I don’t remember for sure, but I can imagine the jacket was with me two Marchs’ ago as I waited for the outcome of our final trip to hospice. Tricia never got the chance to wear out her jacket… too many health problems to count kept her indoors way more that she would have liked.

I believe though, that this image shot by my buddy Ralph sums up the greatest moment in this jacket’s long history. The winter summit of Mount Elbert, Colorado’s highest peak. I’m not sure I can throw this coat away… think I might just hang it in the closet as a reminder, a trophy commemorating the best moments of two decades of adventure. For sure, my new jacket has a lot of living up to do to exceed the adventures of my first one, but I am ready for a run at it!

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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Pikes Peak or Bust

Pikes Peak or Bust, my motto lately, became one step closer to reality today. Under contract for a house in the old west mining town of Cripple Creek, Colorado. Sketchy start to the day however, as creepy stalker woman somehow managed to be out working in the yard in March at 7:00 a.m. so as to be sure to be able to make snide remarks as I passed by with the dogs on their morning walk. As of this morning I was not sure that the sellers were going to accept my offer, so the words of stalker lady were all the more unbearable. Prayed a long prayer when I got back home that the long dark valley I have traversed over the last decade might finally be over and that He would finally allow me to shake this town and all it’s harsh memories.

Independence gold mine in Victor ColoradoAs I sat once again contemplating life with coffee and a donut at the Donut Mill in Woodland, I got the call that I was waiting for! Go down to the bank and get the earnest money, the sellers are going to sign! So off I went to pick up my friend and take the check over to the real estate agent 🙂 Once that was done, we decided that today would be a good day  for a road trip to Cripple for another look at the house and maybe some shots of the historic abandoned gold mines that I have been planning for a while now.

Pikes Peak or Bust was of course originally the motto of the gold miners pouring into the Cripple Creek and Victor Colorado gold mine discovery district. The area has a rich old west history and has somehow managed to retain that old west small town feel, despite the invasion of Las Vegas Casinos that have largely taken over the old town area. According to the website and organization,  MiningHistoryAssociation.org, “The Cripple Creek mining district lies on the southwestern flank of 14,115 foot high Pikes Peak. Gold was discovered in 1890 by ranch hand-turned-prospector, Bob Womack. Relatively meager placers led to the discovery of rich vein deposits. The rush was on as thousands of would-be prospectors and miners again accepted the challenge of the 1859ers, “Pikes Peak or Bust.” By 1900, 500 mines had been discovered, the towns of Cripple Creek and Victor had been established, and rail service had linked the district to the outside world.”.

Independence Gold Mine in historic Victor ColoradoAfter a short visit to some colorful Cripple Creek establishments and a drive past the prospective new abode, we decided to head over to Victor to photograph a couple mines I have been eyeing for some time now. The afternoon lighting was just right, the weathered wooden ruins of the mines against the amazing Colorado high elevation blue sky. The old Dodge truck took us up the rough gravel road to the base of the mines for an amazing photo session to capture this important era of American history.

So once again, a day that started out a bit sketchy became a day of hope… Reminding me of the words of the Almighty, “I will give you beauty for ashes.” and “I will turn your mourning into dancing.”.

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

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

Another Sunday

Survived another Sunday… Not my best day in the eyes of the Almighty though I am sure! The day was going pretty well, managed to get showered shaved and off to church 🙂 That’s where things began to falter though. Managed to say “shit” in church, right in front of  the pastor while spilling coffee all over the snack table. Fortunately I was not struck by lightning and God refrained from the “Smite” clause yet again. Surely I am getting close to my 70 times 7 limit though 😦

Lone DoePicked up my friend for some house hunting out on Teller 1 and then proceeded on into Cripple to see if another house I was wanting is still up for sale. For sale sign is still out front, so that was gratifying. As long as we were there with some spare change it seemed like a good idea to try a few spins at the casino, which turned out to be a good idea as we had some fun, drank a free beer and managed to escape with enough to pay for the gas and our meals for the day 🙂 Once again I am happy to report that I was not “Smote… Smitten?” on the spot for a few additional infractions on the Lord’s Day!

Was a bit disappointed that I didn’t see one example of wildlife on the entire trip. One time I saw a whole herd of elk along Teller 1, but of course I didn’t have my camera. Word got out I was coming back with my camera so all the elk have hidden themselves deeper in the wilderness and I am sure I will not see them until such time as I forget to bring my camera.

I was fortunate the other day to get some nice deer pictures at dusk which I am slowly working on, and I am definitely appreciating my new version of Photoshop CC. I hadn’t upgraded in a long time, in fact not since Photoshop CS2 so I am just now discovering wonderful new tools that perform in one step things that used to require “actions” to accomplish. CC is an online download so it didn’t come with a bound book to read, just the online documentation. Online docs are OK but I really like to have a book in my hand that I can read cover to cover. So this time I am just kind of poking around randomly, catching up at a snails pace. My latest discovery is the “haze” tool in the special effects slider on “Bridge” It is an amazing tool for bringing density back into a capture obscured by fog or smoke haze. It also works well for lessening the effects of low light at dusk. At any rate, the tool is making my dusk picture of these deer a snap!

So… starting off the new week on a good foot. We found a house that might be a good possibility, a bit small but surrounded by solitude and beauty. I think we could make it work! Looking forward to spring and the extra light provided by Daylight Savings that will give me another hour to grab a few dusk pictures before each day’s end 🙂

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

 

Excellent End to a Bad Day

Not such a great day… didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, one of those nightmares where you are half awake trying to accomplish some task that you can’t figure out and it won’t end… Finally woke up enough to just get up and wake up all the way so I could go back to sleep.

Mule deer in the woodsWoke up tired and sore but feeling slightly better than the last couple of days. Unfortunately that was not to last… got an email from the real estate agent with a whole list of things the seller decided to add after agreeing to my offer. Of course I told them to stuff it and I am now back to the drawing board on finding a place. Feel like I’m running out of time on finding a place 😦

Went to the library to get caught up on the latest Outdoor Photographer Magazine issue and then decided to call it a day, but on the way home I decided that it might be a good idea to take a second hike with the doggies. Noticed that the crazy lady was out in her yard though… right along the path… the one who stares at me and gives me the evil stink eye every time she sees me. Like she is doing some kind of voodoo on me or something. So I decided to just drive around the long way and take the puppies to the trail head on wheels.

On our way up the mountain I heard this tremendous rumbling… almost like thunder. What the hell? Pretty soon I had to scramble off the road to get out of the way of a beat up pickup driven by some kind of “Hills Have Eyes” dude on the trail that isn’t even really a road. The truck really pissed Son Boy off, he’s not a big fan of red neck rigs as it is… He was so riled up we had to call off the trek and just go back to the truck. A fitting end to a complete and utter failure of a day it would seem.

Sunset on Pikes Peak ColoradoBut on the road back home I noticed a herd of deer getting ready for their nightly feeding only a couple blocks from home. Unable to think of any excuse at all not to photograph them, I put the dogs in the house and grabbed my camera. Got some nice shots of the deer, and as a bonus a few captures of a very nice sunset on the peak. Don’t know what the moral of this story is… I guess to keep going, you never know what you are going to encounter around the next bend!

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