Bighorn Break

Caught a break today… my fall photography hasn’t been going too well thus far, a fierce wind is blowing the leaves off the trees and unfortunately there is a huge fire burning out of control near Salida. Between the smoke and the wind and the heat it really isn’t turning out to be much of an autumn.

Autumn and the Bighorn Sheep

Today’s big break was the bighorn sheep sighting… I was on my way home from buying supplies for my Rocky Mountain National Park camping trip tomorrow when an approaching car flashed it’s brights at me, a sure sign that there were either sheep or state patrol in my future. As I rounded the bend I saw the telltale gathering of people with cameras looking intently at the mountainside and sure enough, there were the sheep standing by the road.

I found a place to park and jumped out with the camera and my 400mm lens. The closest ones were on the rock and dirt hillside which is OK, but I hoped they would move further up into the changing aspen leaves. As I gazed intently into the leaves I discovered that there were a few of the nimble creatures up higher with the leaves in the background. A little bit too far for my 400 so I went back

Autumn and the Bighorn Sheep

to the truck for the 1.4x which turned out to be just about perfect, 560mm not including crop factor.

Patience was rewarded as all the animals eventually got tired of gleaning the salt out of the rocks and made their way up the mountainside into the more colorful foliage of autumn. The little herd was made up of ewes and lambs, the big boys continue to evade me on this side of summer 😦

I don’t leave for Rocky until tomorrow but I already have the pre-game jitters. I imagine I won’t sleep much tonight and the butterflies won’t leave until the first pitch is thrown, baseball analogy 🙂 I know we will see some big bull elk and some awesome scenery in the park… hoping to round out the trip with bear and moose too!

Autumn and the Bighorn Sheep

Sunrise Stag Club

Sunrise Stag Club

Encountered a small herd of bucks this morning who were gracious enough to pose for me 🙂 My first shots were not the best as the deer were backlit at best and standing at shade at worst with the bright blue Colorado sky in the background. So I snapped a few hoping that they might be salvageable before passing by so that I could quietly circle around the mountain and shoot with the advantage of some sunlight on their faces.

When I came around the mountain I wound up a slightly different place so I had to do a little searching which scared off one of the big guys despite my best efforts to be stealthy. I wasn’t too happy to have made one of them run, but I looked around to see if I could find the rest of the herd. Much to my surprise I was

Sunrise Stag Club

standing almost face to face with the other two! I stood motionless so as not to scare them and to see if I could read their intentions.  They seemed relatively unconcerned about the photographer that they see so regularly so I quietly put down my trekking pole and raised my camera to my eye.

I did manage to get off a more shots before the handsome fellows began to get nervous. Eventually they walked off in the direction of their other buddy and I just called it a day and wandered down the mountain.

I put the best portraits of the bucks on my website for purchase as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional framing and matting. Cool gift items and apparel are also available with my artwork!

Sunrise Stag Club

Eleven Mile Autumn

Autumn on the South Platte River

It was a magnificent autumn morning in Eleven Mile Canyon this morning with the leaves changing all along the banks of the South Platte River. I wanted to get some pictures that were a bit different than the usual trees and mountains without having to drive halfway across the state today and the headwaters of the Platte were just the ticket!

I knew from previous visits that some of the most beautiful scenery is along the banks of

Autumn on the South Platte River

the river in the first couple of miles so I just pulled off at the first spot possible and hiked the river trail. As I made my way along the trail I looked for rocks I could climb on to get the best views of the whitewater cascading down the canyon.

My reward was a lot of nice pictures and wet feet! Unfortunately I was not always able to find my footing on the top side of the rocks 😦

Autumn on the South Platte River

As always the best images from every shoot are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy acrylic and metal sheets, stretched canvas and traditional framing and matting. Many gift, tech and household items are also available with a S.W. Krull Image!

 

 

Autumn Wildlife

Buck Mule Deer Autumn

You can really feel fall in the air on these Rocky Mountain mornings the last few days… and the leaves are starting to change as well. I could not resist an early morning trek and it appears that the wildlife were enjoying it as much as I was! I imagine there is a bit of apprehension as well in the animal world as the long harsh high country winter will not be far behind.

I almost didn’t notice these three buck mule deer that were almost invisible in the dry

Buck Mule Deer Autumn

mountain grass of autumn. Fortunately I did spot them before I stumbled into their midst and frightened them away! I stopped moving and crouched down behind the tall grass while I set up my gear, hoping all the while that they wouldn’t move before I was ready. My efforts were rewarded with a bit of curiosity on their part rather than fear and I was able to get off quite a few shots of different combinations before they began to meander into the dense forest.

Buck Mule Deer Autumn

As I continued along the trail I felt eyes upon me and as it turns out the little stag club had not gone far and were peering out from the trees at me to see what I was up to. Unfortunately by this time though they had moved between me and the morning sun spoiling the excellent lighting that I had been enjoying. I snapped a few more with the deep blue morning sky in the background but I’m not too sure whether I’m going to be able to use those exposures. I’ll bring those up in Photoshop another time.

As always these pictures and more plus my recent bear and cub pictures are available on my website for purchase as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional framing and matting. Many cool gift, household and tech items are also available with a beautiful picture of the Colorado Rocky Mountains by S.W. Krull Imaging!

Bear and Bighorn

Bighorn Sheep Cooling in the Platte River

My mountain bike trek into the back country was way late yesterday, well beyond the early morning hours best for spotting wildlife… of course I brought my camera anyway, you never know! About three miles in I spotted a small herd of bighorn sheep ewe with a few lambs sunning themselves on a rocky knoll across from the Platte River. I parked my bike and got out the camera hoping for a few nice pictures to mark the day.

On my way back to my bike after a few shots of the ladies and their babies I spotted something moving in the water on the other side of the stream. OMG, it was the bear that I have long been seeking, this one a cinnamon colored black bear taking a break from the heat of the day in the cool Rocky Mountain water. I placed the camera on the monopod and snapped a few pictures from my vantage point on the opposite side of the river from the bear. Soon I

Colorado Black Bear

decided to go back to my pack for the 1.4x lens extension for some closer views.

By the time I returned though, the beautiful bear had completed her swim and was back on the riverbank nearly out of sight in the dense foliage lining the river. It was at that moment that I spotted more movement in the leaves and upon closer inspection with my long lens I discovered not one but two little cubs clamoring to keep pace with their mommy! They were making their way west in search of berries in the trees along the bank so I hopped back on my bike to follow.

Colorado Black Bear Family

The trio meandered along the shoreline of the pristine river, the little ones occasionally stopping to play while mom searched for the food she would need to survive the long Rocky Mountain winter. At one point the little ones got spooked by something and ran back downstream to search for a convenient place to climb to safety. Mom patiently walked back downstream to retrieve the youngsters and the journey upstream continued. Finally I captured my favorite shot of the day as the little ones frolicked, mom and one of the babies together! I had hoped to catch all three but the little ones proved to be much to busy to stop and pose for me 🙂 I believe I’ll return the week after next with

Colorado Black Bear Family

the hope that I will see them again before they crawl into their cave in the rugged cliffs for the winter.

Eventually the little family arrived at a particularly rugged and steep section of cliff and rock where mom led the little ones up a precarious crevice behind the rocks where there appeared to be a good source of food. I could no longer see the bears, only the trees shaking as the cinnamon bear bent the branches down for her babies, so I climbed on my bike and made my way back to the trailhead.

Wow… what a privilege it was to see these amazing animals up close… and to get to photograph them, amazing. A few others had gathered to take in the amazing scene but the bears paid no mind to the people on the other side of the river. I would like to see the little family make the river their permanent home, living out their lives in peace in the safety of the rugged cliffs of the canyon along with the growing herd of bighorn sheep.

As always, these pictures and more are available on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional framing and matting. Also available are many household products, tech items and stationary, all with a beautiful #swkrullimaging photograph!

The Three Amigos

Majestic buck mule deer

An amazing morning on top of the mountain greeted me today… As I cleared the ridge I noticed something new out in the meadow. At first I thought maybe it was a bush I hadn’t noticed before but I was curious enough to take a look through the long lens just to be sure. As it turns out it was a buck mule deer with his head turned away from me so that he just looked like a round blob in the distance!

I made my way over the summit and down towards the right in hopes that I could get a Three Buck mule deerlittle closer without disturbing him when I discovered a second buck lying down in the grass. Then the third big guy came out from behind a tree to take a look at me and I recognized the magnificent trio as my favorite Three Amigos, three buck mule deer that have been hanging together all summer 🙂 These are the closest and clearest shots that I have ever been able to capture of this little stag club!

Three Bucks on a Ridge

They weren’t too worried about me at the distance I chose to set up my gear but eventually they did began to amble off towards the wilderness on top of the ridge.

As usual, these images and more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas or traditional framing and matting. Also many unique gift and household items are available with a picture including apparel, bedding, tech items such as battery chargers and phone cases and more! Just click on the link to my website to explore all the possibilities!

Furtive Little Deer Herd

Pair of doe mule deer

Today’s payoff was this cute little herd of very active deer. They were kind of running in circles while they figured out where to go next making it very difficult to get their pictures! Every time I pointed my camera at the one that was looking my direction they would look away! The ones looking right into the camera are my favorite but that just wasn’t going to happen today! And with the moving all around it was difficult to get a decent composition! But it was still fun to see them and I hope you enjoy the best of what I was able to capture this morning 🙂

Pair of doe mule deer and a buck