Rocky Mountain National Park Collection

This year’s photo adventure to the Rocky Mountain National Park was extraordinary, so much so that I’ve decided to add a new collection just for the park into my website. Included in this collection are my favorite landscape images of the lakes and mountains, including Trail Ridge Road, Sprague Lake, Bear Lake, moose, elk, Moraine Park and much more. Also included are sunsets, sunrises, weather, winter, summer and autumn. Check back often as I’m still adding images as quickly as I can from this trip where almost 3000 captures were added to my vast collection of images! The Rocky Mountain National Park Collection can be viewed by click the link!

 

 

Also don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon including my latest, “Wildlife Photography in the Colorado Rockies” and this year’s wildlife calendar “Colorado Wildlife 2023“!

Elk Herd on a Beautiful Rocky Mountain Evening

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!

Coyote on the Hunt
 

Expedition to Rocky Mountain National Park

Just got back from this year’s expedition to Rocky Mountain National Park yesterday. Every trip to the park is glorious but some are better than others, and this year was a great one! For starters I finally figured out how to navigate the timed reservation process so we got access to the entire park all day everyday, and even a campsite in Moraine Meadows Campground overlooking the meadow and the elk herds!

We arrived too late on the first day to get any shooting done, and had to sign in on the register at the ranger station close to the entrance to the grounds. We quickly located our site and put up the tent to the sound of many bulls bugling out their message to the herds and especially the other bulls! I couldn’t wait for morning light so we could get down the hill and have a look at the action!

ELk Herd

The first morning was crazy… There were bulls and cows running everywhere, galloping in circles and every which direction. I’m not sure why the bulls were in such a hurry to get the herd up into the trees that morning, but they were. It was difficult  to get good shots with so much motion but I did my best to watch carefully and shoot as much as possible! The shooting was over with as quickly as it started and we decided to drive over Trail Ridge Road to see the high elevation scenery and see if maybe there might be a moose to photograph on the west side of the park. Just for the heck of it I shot some phone video out the window as we ascended above tree line We had no luck with moose, but a trip over the high mountains is always a treat! The evening session with the elk was pretty good, we moved around quite a bit and took in some herds that we don’t always see, particularly the Beaver Meadows animals.

Elk Herd

It was the second morning that made the trip though! I was listening to the bugling while having my morning coffee and I could tell all the action was on the west end of Moraine Park, so just before first light we went directly over there and got a parking spot before the crowds arrived. We could hear animals in the distance so we packed up whatever gear we needed and hiked the Cub Lake Trail back into the meadow. I got some nice backlit shots there as the animals moved north toward the hills and the cover of pine trees. But they weren’t in as big a hurry as the day before and stopped to linger near the headwaters of the Big Thompson River. It was awesome, but bulls and the cows both made a few crossings, splashing and drinking the clear mountain water as we shot to our hearts content. By the end of the morning I had added another thousand captures to my haul for the trip!

Thursday was the Estes Park Farmers Market and we had good intel from the year before that the tamales are excellent, so we made it a point to hang around town for that. Indeed the Tamale Guy was there again with his tamale truck and we loaded up on chicken and pork tamales 🙂 With a full belly it seemed like an afternoon nap would be a good idea, and then it was time for another evening session with the elk! We had a couple of rain delays on Thursday evening, but still acquired a good number of captures. However it was obvious the weather was changing and a quick check of the weather revealed that Friday’s photography was going to be cut short as a major weather system moved in over the peaks.

Approaching Storm

We managed to get the tent packed just as the first raindrops started to fall, but decided to make one more lap through the park to see if there might be some shots through the rain out the car window. It sprinkled a bit here and there but the approaching storm over the high peaks of the park was amazing looking. I had to stop quite a few times for shots of the peaks as the clouds rolled in!

It seemed like a good omen and a fitting farewell to the park when a coyote took a break from hunting to pose for us and stare for a while! He was sneaking stealthily through the mountain grass and it didn’t seem we would be able to get a good shot of him, but just before he disappeared into the woods he raised up so we could see him and gave us the perfect opportunity!

Anyway, here’s a few more of my favorites from the trip, hope you enjoy them!

 

 

Also don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon including my latest, “Wildlife Photography in the Colorado Rockies” and this year’s wildlife calendar “Colorado Wildlife 2023“!

Elk Herd on a Beautiful Rocky Mountain Evening

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!

Coyote on the Hunt
 

Highlights from Steampunk

Highlights of the Steampunk Festival

We had our first Steampunk Festival sponsored by the Black Monarch in Victor over the weekend and it was a great success! The town was absolutely packed with steampunk styles and the festivities lasted well into the night all the way through Sunday! I’m not much of a Steampunker, but I did want to try out my Godox V1 outdoors and I have to say considering the brutal heat and direct sunlight it did pretty well, managing to even out the bright highlights and fill the dark shadows! However if I were actually being paid to shoot an outdoor session in bright light I’d probably consider using my AD200, or maybe even dual AD200’s in the dual head pack. I used the camera and flash both on manual and adjusted the output manually. Most of the day though I had to use the flash on full 1/1 power.

The festival featured street performers, live bands and vendors in tents lining the streets with merchandise such as jewelry, art and clothing. I happened to be there during the acrobatics show and am sad to say I couldn’t make the fashion show… but I hope you enjoy a few photographic highlights!

 

Pre-Trip Adrenalin

It’s almost time… our annual pilgrimage to Rocky Mountain National Park to see the elk rut. Actually it kicked in last night, that nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach that won’t let you sleep. I hate that feeling, the uncertainty, the wondering if everything is ready, if I have forgotten something. I finally managed to fall asleep but I was already awake again at 3:00 this morning 😦

Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park

I did catch a break though while I was drinking my coffee and watching wildlife videos on YouTube. I was kind of half asleep watching a video on setting up the Canon R7 for wildlife, one which I had already watched before, when I heard a tidbit that I had never noticed… The “Wild Alaska” guy said on the main AF settings he leaves “tracking set to off, that way you can turn it on and off with a button. If you set it to on it is always on.”. Now I had noticed that tracking wasn’t behaving properly, I programmed the exposure lock button to turn on and off tracking but it seemed tracking was always immediately coming right back on and disrupting my focus point selection. Well I did what he said and switched the main tracking setting to off and now my programmed button works the way I want it to. That’s an important setting for me because it is quite often that I need to have a very precise focus point to aim through branches or grass to grab right onto the animal. Also important when you set animal tracking to off, go ahead and leave animal eye focus turned on.

The second minor issue I got ironed out this morning while setting that up is that the lock button also locks in a focus point. I couldn’t get the joy stick to change the location of my points and finally determined that on my last photo outing I had used the lock button to lock down the exposure. I didn’t realize it also locked up the focus points, so that and the tracking issue were awesome things to get ironed out BEFORE the trip!

So it turned out that last year’s trip was a bit to early in the month and we missed peak rut season, but despite that I got some great video of the elk herd in action and one of my favorite elk pictures (above) of all time! Click here to see the full video on my YouTube channel!

Well anyway, I hope to be able to post some phone videos to my channel throughout the trip so stay tuned!

Happy Autumnal Equinox

Misty Mine Country

The sun has officially crossed the equator on it’s annual journey to the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere. The first day of autumn in the Colorado high country has greeted us with fog, rain and a morning of stunning beauty. The fog rolled in last night so I made sure to be up early before the sun would have a chance to burn off the fog in the Arkansas Valley, one of my favorite subjects to photograph! I caught glimpses of what I was about to see as I drove through town and around the first bend in the highway on my way to Victor, a sea of fog completely filling the low spots.

Small Herd of Mule Deer

As I proceeded toward my intended overlook I spotted a small herd of mule deer making their way through the deep mountain grass on their way to cover in the pine forest above, and as luck would have it I was also near a spot to pull the truck off the road. The deer weren’t too worried about my presence but they were also not about to take a break from their journey into the woods either! I quickly snapped off a few shots with my 100-400mm lens and then they were gone… out of sight.

I made several stops along the way wherever I could see the amazing weather phenomenon unfolding in the valley below and ended up with quite a few nice ones… if I do say so myself! I wasn’t sure how far up the pass the fog would reach so I decided to check on the mines and the south face of Pikes Peak at the summit of Victor Pass. The mines weren’t much to see today, the sky is dark and there really wasn’t any interesting fog there and I already have much better shots of the mines than anything I would have gotten today.

The Peak is showing signs of fall though, a good patch of aspen are already turning to gold! A few more days and they will be at peak gold. Hopefully I’ll get some really nice ones before my annual trip to Rocky Mountain National Park for the elk rut!

Anyway, have a happy Autumnal Equinox!

 

 

Also don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon including my latest, “Wildlife Photography in the Colorado Rockies” and this year’s wildlife calendar “Colorado Wildlife 2023“!

Elk Herd on a Beautiful Rocky Mountain Evening

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!

Coyote on the Hunt
 
 

Major Award

No, I didn’t get the coveted “Leg Lamp”… But I did get this plaque in the mail today. Making Who’s Who in America has been on my mind since I was young and discovered the publication in the school library, using it as a resource for writing reports and such. Much to my surprise I received an email a while ago from the Who’s Who in America organization stating that I had been nominated for inclusion in the biographical record. I actually thought it was probably a hoax at first, but after checking all domain names and email hosts in the correspondence I felt comfortable enough to answer the email and fill out the application. After that I was invited to participate in an interview and again, much to my surprise my application was accepted and it seems I am now a proud member of the Who’s Who in America list and a major bucket list item checked off 🙂

 

Who's Who in America

 

 

My record in the database isn’t complete yet though, it states that the branding team is working on a professional bio that won’t be completed for approximately 60 working days. I’m not sure when that will be but I’ll be checking the link from time to time to view the progress!

Well any way… back to work on my new website… It seems I’ll be coming out of retirement in the portrait business. Inflation is nipping at my heals and it appears full retirement is not going to be a good plan for now. If things continue the way they are, I’ll probably be photographing my own funeral 😦

Total Remake of my Site

Storm Clouds on the Sangre

The plans of mice and men… The plan was to travel about Colorado, climbing mountains and taking pictures of wildlife, publishing books, making videos, and writing this blog. But of course the minute I implement my grand plan, gas shoots up to $5 per gallon and the country goes into recession. Businesses quit advertising, people quit buying luxury items and my grand plan is in jeopardy.

So I am out of wedding, commercial and portrait retirement, with a whole new website! I’ve added pages for wedding photography, boutique portrait photography and commercial photography including commercial and fashion plus model portfolios. It’s been a while since I have shot a model portfolio but I’m sure I “still got it”!

Of course I had to add a few images to my media library and I updated my WordPress package to include the professional email system using the @swkrullimaging.com ID. So anyway, please feel free to give the new site a visit, and give me a share if you like my idea!

Video of Bull Moose

Hope you enjoy my newest video of a bull moose feeding in the beaver ponds at Jefferson Lake Colorado!

Also don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon including my latest, “Wildlife Photography in the Colorado Rockies” and this year’s wildlife calendar “Colorado Wildlife 2023“!

Elk Herd on a Beautiful Rocky Mountain Evening

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!

Coyote on the Hunt

The Trees are Silent

A week ago I saw an estimate that over one billion birds were in Colorado on the way to their winter shelters. The trees on top of my mountain were filled with bird song and I could see thousands of them of every variety, blue, yellow, gray and probably many others that my eye wasn’t fast enough to notice.

Mountain Bluebird

But yesterday the trees were silent. There were a few hardy winter birds preparing for the harsh Rocky Mountain Winter and a few mountain bluebirds hiding in the thick mountain grass. But for the most part the trees and the hills were quiet.

It won’t be long now and the leaves will be changing and snowflakes starting to fall on the peaks of the high country. I’m always sad to see summer go but in all honesty summer is the most difficult time for my photography. The mountains are constantly hidden by smoke and the animals are scattered over thousands of acres of wilderness. In the winter they gather in large numbers to the lower meadows and clearings where I can find and photograph them more easily. The deep Colorado snow extinguishes the fires and the bitter cold air can’t hold moisture like the heavy air of summer. The distant mountains are crystal clear and the sky is often filled with dramatic storm clouds drifting over the peaks. Winter is when I capture my best imagery.

But for today, it is the bluebirds that made themselves available to my lens. Hope you enjoy!

 

 

Also don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon including my latest, “Wildlife Photography in the Colorado Rockies” and this year’s wildlife calendar “Colorado Wildlife 2023“!

Elk Herd on a Beautiful Rocky Mountain Evening

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!

Coyote on the Hunt
 
 

Miracle in the Morning

Foggy Eleven Mile

There’s only one word I can think of to describe yesterday’s photo trip… and that is “Stunning!”. The journey was underway before the first rays of sun began to warm the mountainsides so my first goal was to just not hit an elk or deer with my truck before sunrise. As I pulled into the meeting place at Eleven Mile Canyon a few golden rays of sunshine revealed a layer of fog that had settled in over the cool early autumn morning. I was prepared for wildlife photography, but the beauty of the canyon in the morning forced me to dig into my camera bag for my 18-150mm landscape lens for a few shots of the scene unfolding before me!

Soon Kevin arrived and our trip was underway. The plan was to drive straight to Jefferson Lake about an hour’s ride to the north, to look for moose. Many times we have made the trip in vain, only once have we ever seen a moose. On a dreary rainy afternoon a couple years ago we saw one cow moose with her two calves under the darkness of the pine canopy, but we had never seen the great beasts feeding in the beauty of the shimmering beaver ponds in the soft golden glow of early morning light.

Foggy Elk Herd

The trip was barely underway however when I spotted movement in the dense fog. A closer look revealed a herd of elk in an open meadow. It looked to be three big bulls with around 20 cows. We were careful not to scare them into jumping the fence, something our Rocky Mountain elk don’t seem to be very adept at doing. The bulls knew better than to let the herd run out onto the highway, quickly rounding up the group and moving them east toward the safety of the forest and away from the threat of humans. Eventually the majestic animals settled down and we had the opportunity to shoot away for a while, until the scene was adequately captured

Bald Eagle

A few more miles down the road and a giant bird was spotted in a tree along Highway 77, otherwise known as Tarryall Road. The majestic bird didn’t quite look like the usual red-tailed hawks that usually line the roadway and closer inspection revealed an amazing bald eagle. We carefully exited the car, hoping to capture a few images before the great bird took flight. However as it turns out, the eagle had no interest in vacating his perch, especially not for a couple of photographers consigned to the other side of the barbed wire fence. So we photographed and waited, moved around and waited… until it became apparent that the big raptor was not going to fly. With the hope of moose still before us, the decision was made to abandon the position and head for the beaver ponds.

Pair of Moose

Soon we were rumbling down the rough dirt road leading to the beaver ponds just hoping for a miracle. As we drew near I spotted a huge black figure moving in the mist and the foliage… A moose, and a big bull at that! We found a  good place to pull over and prepared for a few fleeting moments with a bull moose, an amazing event indeed! Much to our surprise the great beast wasn’t too impressed with us and continued his morning feeding only a few yards in front of us. Eventually I was confident that I had some good captures but soon another huge bull came into view… Would it be possible to capture two bulls in the same image, the answer soon came as both animals stepped into the shimmering waters of the beaver ponds with beautiful autumn foliage behind them. The huge beasts slowly made their way across the pond, allowing every possible angle and lighting opportunity. Before it was over I had over 1,000 captures of the powerful and elusive animals logged onto my memory card! It was only 9:30 in the morning and we already achieved  more than we could have possibly dreamed for!

Red-tail Hawk

The only question then was, do we just call it a day or keep pressing for more? The light was still good enough for some hawk pictures so we went back a couple of miles down Tarryall Road again where we knew the red-tailed hawks would be lining the road from their vantage points high on power poles. I was hoping for a capture of a hawk with the beautiful peaks of the Mosquito Range behind them and it wasn’t long before I had accomplished that goal as well! Although it wasn’t until I had brought them up on the desktop computer at home that I was able to see the extent of that success! I didn’t know it out in the field but I had captured exactly the image I was hoping for!

From there it was onward to Antero and Eleven Mile Reservoirs where we were able to capture additional images of more red-tails, white-faced ibis, killdeer, horned larks, and even a herd of American Bison!

I hope you all enjoy a few more images from this fantastic day!!

 

 

Also don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon including my latest, “Wildlife Photography in the Colorado Rockies” and this year’s wildlife calendar “Colorado Wildlife 2023“!

Elk Herd on a Beautiful Rocky Mountain Evening

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!

Coyote on the Hunt
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