Eclipse Party on Bald Mountain

Kind of forgot about this… until I downloaded the camera chip from yesterday’s shoot and discovered these images were still unprocessed! Well, better late than never ๐Ÿ™‚ Actually I almost missed the event completely. On the day of the eclipse I was just out making my usual rounds, going to the gym, getting supplies for later, etc. Then Iย  got to thinking about it and everyone was so excited about it I thought maybe I should give the eclipse some more attention! As I thought about it while looking at the peak and wondering what it was going to look like with a 90% eclipse it came to me that Bald Mountain would be the perfect spot for viewing. There is an unobstructed view of the peak from there and you can see all the way to The Sangre De Cristo,ย  Sawatch and Mosquito Range mountains from up there.

Pikes Peak Eclipse PartyA quick check of the internet on my phone and I discovered that I had just enough time to get up there to see the whole thing, from start to finish. Didn’t expect to see anyone else up there but there was already a small party going on by the time I arrived. Apparently Bald Mountain is a popular hiking destination for quite a few Crystola locals! Grabbed my camera and tripod and hoofed it up to the summit and took a seat in the soft grass. It wasn’t long before I heard someone exclaim that it had started ๐Ÿ™‚ Several people had those little dark squares of glass suitable for sun viewing so it was easy to get a minute by minute report of the progress ๐Ÿ™‚ I selected my wide angle and put the camera on the tripod and attached my remote shutter release so that I could video with my phone while snapping pictures of the peak.

Eclipse on the PeakThe change seemed to come in phases with a sudden cooling of the temperature. The summit of Bald Mountain is probably close to 10,000 feet so it was a bit chilly up there anyway, but as the sun became more and more obscured by the moon it got downright cold! Eventually about when I figured the effects were at their maximum, someone loaned me the glass to look through. Indeed it looked like the sun was about 90% obscured so I shot some video and then this image of the peak.ย  The dimming of the light was not all that noticeable, kind of like a fully overcast day only with a weird flat greenish looking color cast. I usually do some Photoshopping on my images but for this one I have left it alone in an effort to provide an accurate rendition of the conditions at the time. You can see that it was just kind of a dull light and there are no shadows on the peak.

Then as quickly as it had begun, it was all over with. It was a glorious clear day and the bright sun quickly warmed the summit and everyone was on their way. I’m sure those who went to the maximum effect areas of the country had a much more dramatic eclipse experience, but I met some new people, had some fun and participated in the event of the century… and that’s got to be a good day. Be sure to watch the Academy Award worthy video I shot below ๐Ÿ™‚

 

These pictures and more will be for sale on my website as wall art on glossy metal and acrylic sheets, canvas, framed and matted prints and also as novelty items including t-shirts and coffee mugs. Commercial editorial stock versions of the images is also available at the image licensing portal of my website.

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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The Clearing

Continued my exploration of the new trailhead and trail system that I have been working for the last couple of weeks. After encountering “the gate” I had to branch out in a new direction and the cool cloudy morning we are having seemed just the day to do that. So early this morning the puppies and me forged ahead further than before, hoping to find a route up to the top of the ridge and maybe yet another view of the majestic mountain across valley.

Sunset on Pikes Peak

Beautiful summer sunset on Pikes Peak Colorado

By then little old Kitsu looked like she was getting tired so I decided we would just keep going back to the beginning. Just as we were getting ready to head back up the switchbacks I noticed a car driving in the woods! I watched to see what it was going to do when I figured out where exactly we were, at another trailhead parking area that I have used before.ย  It is also the place I came down to the time I descended the back side of Bald Mountain, and swore I would never hike again, incredibly steep there! Well anyway, I know where I am there and from my new trailhead I am happy to discover that I can go anywhere on the entire ridge from there, from inside Woodland Park all the way to Rampart Reservoir if I wanted!

Black-Bears-4I wonder how many miles and how many hours I have spent hiking that trail system? I have hiked it in summer, winter, fall, rain, snow and near darkness. I have seen deer, elk, bear, coyote, bobcat and all kinds of birds including eagles and hawks. The trails and the forest on this little patch of the Pike National Forest have been an amazing source of peace for me for almost a decade now, I feel so fortunate to live so close to such solitude. Countless pictures I have taken along the way, many of which can be viewed in my Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak fine art imageย  gallery. The commercial stock version of those images can be found by clicking here. Many more can be found in my wildlife gallery.

Definitely looking forward to many more miles of trail, changing seasons and abundant wildlife on this ridge now made accessible by my new favorite trailhead ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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 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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆย  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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ 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.ย  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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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

Amazing Day

Amazing end to an amazing day, fascinating how things turn out sometimes… but I’ll get to that later. The day started out great when I decided to explore a new trailhead that the troll doesn’t know about and I found a magnificent parking lot, an open space park and a whole network of trails, including a route to Bald Mountain. The puppies got some great exercise and it set the stage for a good day. A good workout at the gym followed by another little hike with the dogs in the woods surrounding the club, topped off with a brat and a beer at my favorite micro brew pub, Bierwerks ๐Ÿ™‚Herd of Mule Deer

A flash of light and a massive crack of thunder brought my lazy lunch in the outdoor beer garden to a hasty end and I just decided to call it a day. Went home and took a long and badly needed nap. However when I woke up the silly dogs were restless again already and the cats were raising a ruckus for some food. Those cats are pigs! And I was craving ice cream so I decided we’d head out and see if we could photograph some deer before stopping for ice cream.

Sunset on Pikes PeakBut by the time I was halfway through town it was getting pretty dark and I knew it would be even darker where I was planning to look for the deer so I turned around and headed for the ice cream. On the way I caught a view of the peak and it looked like it was going to be a pretty sunset so I quick exited the highway and toodled up to my favorite peak viewing vantage point just as the clouds were starting to take on some color. It turned out to be a beautiful sunset on the peak and down the pass towards Colorado Springs too. Just as the colors were starting to fade over the peak the colors became even more vivid over Gold Hill and when that began to fade a herd of deer walked by. Lol… God was definitely smiling down on me today, a reward just when I was really starting to get discouraged about a recent spate of dull and uninteresting pictures! Today was a victory in the battle to get out and shoot when the voices say, “Don’t bother, it is just going to be a waste of time and gas.”.Sunset on Gold Hilll

Now I have almost 200 pictures to process, that is certainly going to take me awhile. I want to get a jump on it though so I will be up late tonight for sure. The pizza and ice cream I picked up on the way home will definitely lend a hand with that ๐Ÿ™‚ The images can be purchased as prints or as commercial stock by clicking on the links at the left of the screen. Wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets and canvas is available along with many cool gift items such as t-shirts, coffee mugs, shopping bags and greeting cards.

 

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

Rough Start

Wasn’t sure I was going to make it out this morning… I don’t know, maybe it’s the damp weather, or maybe just too many hours on the loading docks this week, but when I awoke this morning it felt like a bomb had exploded inside my body. Got up, turned on the coffee pot and just sat here hoping for the pain to subside. Three different times I have broken my coffee drinking hand and it was really slow to come around but finally I was able to hold the coffee mug. The hot ceramic felt good in the palm of my hand as I tried to decide whether I wanted to face the day…

Finally the dogs started to grumble and I knew there was no possibility of going back to bed. Thought about just taking a slow walk up through the forest gate and up the road, but definitely was not in the mood to try to get past the troll. As I started moving around trying to feed the cats and get dressed, the pain in the rest of my battered temple began to reside and I decided on a trailhead to Bald Mountain that the troll doesn’t know about and probably could not get to on her best day. Would love to see the old crank try to negotiate the barbed wire fence…

Bald Morning 3The doggies were so excited about the new trail and the new smells that it was worth it just to see how much fun they were having! The beauty of the unhindered view of Pikes Peak, the fresh air at 10,000 feet and the utter solitude of being in a place that few others are even aware of also aided my mood on such a wonderful day to not have to go to work. Sadly the wildflowers are once again a mess this week so I didn’t bother to shoot with my DSLR, but I did snap a few of the scenery with my smart phone.Bald Morning 2

A couple hours of fresh air and both me and the doggies were tired and ready to head home. Thought about stopping at Bierwerks for lunch, but as we drove by I noticed that the place was quite populated with families with their children and after a week of enduring the din of screaming kids at Walmart I just could not face it. Maybe it just me, but I wish there was still someplace for adults to go… Used to be coffee shops and bars were pretty reliable sanctuaries, but no more.

Picked up a few supplies, ate some lunch and now listening to the rumble of an approaching thunderstorm. Pretty quiet at home today save for the snoring of the cats and dogs. I think it is going to be a peaceful afternoon for a nap. Maybe I will get an idea for a real adventure tomorrow, more sleep tonight will get me on the road much earlier in the morning, in time to beat the traffic and catch the beauty of the morning light cascading onto the beautiful Colorado Rockies… somewhere.

 

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 Live Troll

Too much traffic to go anywhere and too hot and sunny for picture taking today, besides I couldn’t get past the troll anyway. Crazy as it is, I have a real live troll in my life… blond woman, fat ugly bleached blond chain smoking foul mouthed wretch of a human being about 50 years old with nothing better to do than try to make my life miserable. Only two roads lead to my trailhead which is just two blocks away and she lives right on the one where I have to walk out. There is no other way to walk and she sits and waits for me to come out so she can start cussing me and making threats. Just past her house is an acreage with nothing but forest where people walk their dogs, including her.ย  On the other side, the national forest and my trails including the one up to Bald Mountain. For a while she was turning me in to the landlord of the campground because my dogs were pooping in the empty woods, along with the deer, the coyotes and the bear and all the other people’s dogs. He also owns the house she lives in and of course does not give a hoot that my dogs and every other animal in the Pike National Forest poop in the woods.

So finally I got wise and no longer walk past her house, I load the doggies in the car and drive to the trailhead. Well one day she noticed that I was doing that and decided to start walking her dogs when I walk mine. So the other day after she started walking her dogs when she saw me get in the truck I took the 4 wheel drive road across so she couldn’t see me and figured she’d be gone when I finished my loop. Well I was wrong, she waited the whole hour so she could block my egress from the trail and pick a fight with me on my way out. I just went around her cross country and now I haven’t been back there since, it just doesn’t seem worth the fight. Noticed she was spying on me this morning when I loaded up for church so I made sure I didn’t go. I have found a new trail and I was sick of that old one anyway after 8 years of hiking it almost every day… but still, what the hell is wrong with people? This is exactly why I vowed never to buy a house or sign a lease again… I have decided that the minute the devil catches up with me I would like to just hit the road. Seriously thinking of just packing up and going boondocking… I mean really seriously, like before winter. But I am torn, because there are people here who need me ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Fly Fishing on the PlatteWell anyway, working on some pictures from earlier this summer today… whitewater rafting on the Arkansas and fly fishing on the Platte up at Deckers. I can shoot pictures by the hundreds, but only edit a few a day. Very close to my lifetime quota of tedium so I have to be careful with this computer work!ย  Thinking I might go out in the evening after it cools off… maybe to Edlowe Road and see if there are any deer venturing out when they are done hiding from this blazing Colorado sun! The new prints, including metal and acrylic glossies, wrapped canvas and traditional art along with a lot of cool gift items can be seen here, and the stock versions of those images can be seen hereย as well as by clicking on the links to the left of the article.

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

Black and White

I wasn’t quite satisfied with yesterday’s image, it didn’t convey the coldness that I intended. This morning I decided to bring it back up and use a Photoshop technique I invented some time back for black and white renditions of deer in snow. One time I was working on one of those blizzard images and the color in the trees and brush was so faint it only detracted from the image.

Mule Deer in Heavy SnowI converted it to black and white and as I looked at it I felt like the monochrome option on the channel mixerย  had only served to make the deer invisible. Accurate painting of color into a black and white is so time consuming and tedious that I really didn’t want to go to that much effort for a stock image. So I thought, well, the background is almost black and white anyway, what if I just had a hint of color to the deer? If I go slightly outside the lines onto the nearly black and white background it won’t show, so I can do this quickly without a lot of tedious work around the hairy edges of the deer and it might be really cool!

I created a new layer from the background layer and converted the layer to black and white using the monochrome option on the channel mixer. Then I brought up the eraser tool with an opacity of about 10% and painted over the deer. The technique brings out a hint of color on the subject helping it to stand out while leaving the cold stark background in black and white. The color on the deer is almost imperceptible so it doesn’t detract from the coldness of the image while at the same time providing some life to the subject.

 

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