Autumn Cattle Drive

Took a long hike in the high country this morning and any day I get to spend in the mountains is a good day… but I didn’t see any wildlife, and my favorite bakery was closed. Not one to give up easy, I headed on past Victor to see if there was anything of interest going on at the old mines. Imagine my surprise when I came across a real honest to goodness cattle drive!ย  I only had a couple of minutes before the whole thing went behind a hill and out of my sight, but I was glad to get a few to document this awesome scene ๐Ÿ™‚

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Also donโ€™t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon including my latest, โ€œWildlife Photography in the Colorado Rockiesโ€ and this yearโ€™s wildlife calendar โ€œColorado Wildlife 2023โ€œ!

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 todayโ€™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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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!

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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!

The Victor on Ice Show

Victor on Ice

Well I got to try my hand at photographing an ice skating show in the tiny mountain town of Victor last night! My friend Olivia had been put in charge of choreographing the show so I had extra incentive to go see the first annual Victor on Ice! I had heard that there was a chain link fence around the rink so I made the mistake of not going prepared, as usual. Turns out there was a gap in the fence and I could have used my good microphone but it was left at home ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Also left at home were my new cold weather gloves and parka so I about froze. I don’t know what I was thinking, I guess it was fairly comfortable in the daytime and I apparently have forgotten how fast and how cold it gets up here at 10,000 feet when the sun goes down!

Anyway, the show was a blast and I seem to have done alright given my limited video skills ๐Ÿ™‚ For the stills I put my camera on manual with a 320th of a second, F4 aperture and ISO 4000, which seems to have worked well and I have some nice images to share with whoever is interested ๐Ÿ™‚

Lighter Side of Christmas Parade

Gold Camp Christmas Parade

I couldn’t imagine a better evening for a Christmas parade, the temperature was in the 30’s, no wind, no ice to contend with and no slippery snow hazard in the pass. I’ve been wanting to get down to Woodland Park to photograph the parade for quite a few years now but something always seems to get in my way, last year of course the entire event was cancelled due to the virus. I shot this event about a decade ago… in -8 degree temperatures with an old Canon digital that was unable to produce a usable picture beyond ISO 400 and an old film era AA powered flash unit that took 30 seconds to recover a charge. I managed to capture a couple of nice images but pretty much the night was a bust. Very little to show for two hours of misery in the bitter cold.

Gold Camp Christmas Parade

Technology has come a long way since those early days of digital photography. My camera now has no trouble creating a beautiful picture at ISO 3200 and my powerful little flash GODOX flash unit runs on the latest battery technology. The V1 speedlight can shoot all night on one battery with a recycle time of about a second. Amazing…

I arrivedย  in town about two hours early to make sure I could get a close parking spot and headed over to my favorite eating and drinking establishment for a brat and a Dunkel. Beirwerks was already pretty busy by then with a good crowd gathered around the outdoor fire pit, awaiting the action on Mainstreet. I was early enough to find a seat at a table not too far from the warm flames and settled in to enjoy my refreshments.

Gold Camp Christmas Parade

Eventually I wandered downtown to see if I could find a strategic location along the parade route while I could still squeeze into the rapidly gathering crowd. As I made my way up the street I passed the concession area where hot chocolate and coffee were keeping the crowd warm and fires glowed in barrels that were brought in on every corner to warm the hands of the any chilled spectators.

Gold Camp Christmas Parade

My camera strategy was to find an exposure setting that would allow just enough ambient light to fill the background while exposing the foreground with my flash. I finally settled on an ISO of 3200 and a shutter speed of 1/125th of a second. I brought my 70-200 F4L lens due to it’s relatively fast speed for that focal length and the fact that the aperture remains static through the focal range of the lens. I don’t have a lens faster than F4 with that focal range so it was my best choice. Although as it turned out I would have probably been better off with my 24 -105 F4-5.6 since I was very close to the parade as it went by and my focal length would have been F4 most of the time anyway. Oh well, the long end of my F4L came in quite handy for a few of the shots! Once I was all dialed in I switched on the wheel locks to prevent inadvertent changes to my settings in the dark where it would be difficult to notice and correct.

Gold Camp Christmas Parade

Just as the parade was about to begin there was a delay as a couple of rednecks in a pickup truck apparently decided that the road barricades didn’t apply to them and drove directly toward the oncoming parade. A few minutes were wasted as the police escorted them off the parade route. As the floats cruised slowly past I did my best to pick out the best compilations through the darkness of night. A few times I switched off the flash to capture the overall scene up the street. I continued to shoot throughout the parade, all the while dodging Santa’s elves who were busy running around handing bags of candy to the children lining the streets.

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Gold Camp Christmas Parade

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 todayโ€™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 itโ€™s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

Gold Camp Christmas Parade

Watch “Cripple Creek Donkey Derby Days Festival” on YouTube

I hope you enjoy today’s video of our historic Cripple Creek Donkey Derby Days Festival!

Donkey Derby Days

90th annual Donkey Derby Days in Cripple Creek Colorado

Jimmy the Bull, Star of the Rodeo

So I finally got the full 15 minute video of Jimmy the Bull fighting back uploaded! Watch from the start as he decides to go his own way and ends up exacting some serious punishment on his tormentors… In excruciating slow motion footage! The video also includes my favorite imagery of the day including bull fighting, calf roping, steer wrestling and more!

A Dog’s Life

It was a long day, glad it’s over. Don’t know if I’m any further ahead for having suffered through it, seems the line of those desiring to separate me from my money grew ever longer than the line of those wanting to contribute to my bottom line. Thought about doing great things after work perhaps even solving the immigrant kid crisis, but in the end cracking a beer and hanging out with the dog seemed like a better use of my time.ย  Plus the little bald liberal dude in the suit that gets to hang out with the hot Fox News chicks appears to be sufficiently agitated about the subjectย  for the both of us. Either that or he just needs a pee break, not sure which it is.

Big DogNow the wife used to rail at me for doing nothing after work but I contend that hanging out in the back yard drinking a beer with the dog IS doing something. Or perhaps the dog was just better company… as time passes I’m leaning towards the latter. Come to think of it, looking back at my life I can’t think of a single moment that I regret hanging out with the dog… Plus now that I have moved to Cripple Creek, this is gold country and Big Dog loves to dig in the yard. I like to think of myself as prospecting, not wasting time ๐Ÿ™‚

In other matters, stock photography sales this year are on pace to continue last years trend, which is 50% of the year before, which was 50% of the year before that and so on. The good news is as near as I can figure, if the trend continues my revenue will never reach zero… Still trying to come up with a sales formula that incorporates pi or maybe even pi squared. That would seem so much more awesome and make me sound so much more intelligent than just the boring 50% thing. In any case it has become difficult to justify even getting my camera bag out of the closet. However Donkey Derby Days are coming soon and I will surely want to have some memories of that epic event ๐Ÿ™‚

Or maybe it’s just summer, maybe in the summer a dog’s life is more attractive than life as a human?

Top of the World Rodeo

Bull Riders at the Top of the World Rodeo

Different kind of blog post for me… mostly pictures, not many words. Mainly because that was my entire reason for attending! Except for checking out the beer tent at the town dance last night. Can’t say that went too well… For 27 years I enjoyed going to those kind of things with Tricia, who enjoyed dancing so much… mostly I just like an excuse to have a few beers ๐Ÿ™‚ As I arrived at the beer / band tent I realized I really didn’t want to be there… no interest in people, crowds, dancing, pretty much the entire scene. Kind of like Charley Brown, I immediately just started missing my dog… had one beer and hightailed it for home to drink beer with Big Dog. He’s not much of a drinker, but at least he likes my sorry company ๐Ÿ™‚

Other than that, I had no plans to go to the rodeo, always feel kind of sorry for the animals, especially the little steers who really don’t want to be roped and thrown to the ground ๐Ÿ˜ฆ But due to the smoke from all the fires and some clouds, I can’t even see the mountains, and the wildlife is pretty spooked from all the unusual activity around the

Synchronized Riders

fairgrounds so there is nothing to shoot this weekend plus the whole thing was going on only about a block from my house! The deer have all fled and the poor foxes are running around in the daytime wondering what to do since they can’t get to their dens or their normal hunting grounds. This is the first time in the entire year that I have lived here that anyone has used the fairgrounds so me and all the wild critters are quite used to having it all to ourselves in peace.

Bull Riders at the Top of the World Rodeo in Cripple Creek, Colorado

And all the activity was also driving Big Dog crazy so I couldn’t leave him outside, making the whole weekend an entire uproar. Plus I don’t seem to have anything to eat or drink here at the house today and a brat and a beer on a hot day at an outdoor event sounded pretty darn good ๐Ÿ™‚

Bull Riders

So I thought, what the heck I might as well go over and try a different kind of photography. Fortunately I got in for half price since I am an Air Force Veteran, which I thought was pretty cool ๐Ÿ™‚ In addition, one of the food vendors was also buying lunch for all the Fort Carson guys who were in attendance, which I also thought was pretty cool ๐Ÿ™‚

Steer roping was the first event that I was able to see, and it turned out pretty well for the steers.

Steer Roping at the Top of the World Rodeo

A couple of them were too fast for the horses and one just refused to cooperate all together. When the horses bolted out of the gate the steer ran a few feet and slammed on the brakes. The riders were half way into the arena before they even had time to think about it ๐Ÿ™‚

Pretty Barrel Racer

There were only a couple of bucking bronc riders for some reason and my shots of that didn’t turn out to be very dramatic so I didn’t bother to process any as of yet. The synchronized riders were fun as were the barrel racers, and I got a couple of nice shots of them. Would have to say the bulls were the stars of the show as they went undefeated. Not one rider was able to complete an eight second ride and I got some pretty cool shots of that event, at least I think so ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s all over now, the livestock trucks have all hit the road and Big Dog is back outside enjoying the sunshine while I enjoy the peace and quiet that I am accustomed to ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you all enjoy the pictures of our little rodeo here at 10,000 feet of elevation, high in the Colorado Rockies ๐Ÿ™‚

Pretty Rider

Bull Riders at the Top of the World Rodeo in Cripple Creek, Colorado

Glamorous Job

I am fortunate to have a brother in the field of Canon Photography to talk with at work, and to exchange equipment when the need arises… The plan today was to test out the 1.4x lens extension he had loaned me for the weekend. When I looked out the window at first light as I was pouring my first cup of coffee I noticed what a pretty morning was shaping up in the beautiful light of sunrise. So I swigged down my coffee and grabbed the camera and the 1.4x. Then it was out the door with Big Dog but much to my surprise, in that 15 minutes a heavy bank of fog had rolled in and I could barely see my hand in front of my face! Needless to say a 200mm lens and a 1.4x extension are not much good when your field of view is only 10 feet ๐Ÿ˜ฆ But Big Dog was not about to be deterred from his walk by a little fog so into the pea soup we went.

Swimsuit model at sunset

I mentioned my friend at work, well this week we were comparing our experiences with portrait photography back in the day and I ran across this one from a photoshoot from the days of film. I still remember going through the prints the next day after receiving them back from the lab. I was at my favorite coffee shop sorting out my favorites when a guy went by and asked me if I was a photographer which led to a short conversation about the business. He commented what a cool job it must be to take pictures of beautiful girls and how glamorous it must be. Of course the story is long, but I just smiled and agreed.

The next day however was a completely different matter… Earlier in the week I had received a call from a lady in Iowa who was in charge of a jewelry show that was going to be conducted in the convention center in Denver. The assignment was to shoot portraits of each one of the approximately 150 event participants. She informed me that there was going to be a backdrop provided with the name of the show on a sign above that I was supposed to include in each picture. She told me to be sure to bring extra lighting. How much I wondered? She didn’t know, but I was definitely going to need extra lighting.

So I showed up early at the event center to be sure to find a parking place and get set up in time. I had no idea what I was in for, trying to imagine what I could possibly need all the lighting for that I had packed just in case. Well I found a parking place in the parking garage which appeared to be free… Grabbed my three Bogen light stands with umbrellas and soft boxes, three flash heads in their suitcase style carrying cases, two cameras complete with portable flash and battery packs and headed for the stairs.

Well the stairs were not that easy to find, but I made my way down to the lower floor of the parking garage when I noticed a pay kiosk. I had no idea how to run the damn thing, didn’t remember my exact parking stall number, or even if the kiosk on the bottom floor was applicable to the parking place on my floor. I looked around a bit to see if there was someone in charge and saw no one. In fact I saw no one at all, at the convention center on Broadway Avenue in the middle of Denver. It was like a ghost town ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I wondered if I even had the right day, what if I had already missed it, maybe the Rapture had occurred and I was the only one “Left Behind?” ????

The exit I took had me out on foot on Broadway Avenue, still not a soul to be found. I had no idea how to get to the room where the show was so I just kept walking, carrying my light stands, two cameras, three flash heads and God only knows what else. I walked and walked and walked looking for some kind of sign, some kind of door to go in, or even a person who might know… and I was getting more and more tired carrying all that gear. Finally I was sweating profusely and I could only go a few feet at a time before having to put all the gear down to rest. I thought I was going to die, I remember thinking to myself, “So this is how it ends, right here on Broadway Avenue…”.

Well, after walking all the way around the entire building I finally found a bunch of people and a door… This has to be it and lucky for me it was and I found the lady in charge with no trouble. After surveying the situation I quickly ascertained that the three light stands, umbrellas and flash heads were completely unnecessary. One camera with an off camera flash would be just fine. I could have made that walk with 10 pounds of gear instead of 75. Grrrrr…

So I completed the shots of all 150 or so people without a hitch. Except one lady who could not smile. I took six shots of her, each time her smile resembling more the look of terror that one might experience while witnessing a train wreck or car accident. Finally I gave up said “next”. Finally the job was complete and I told the lady I was done. She informed me she wanted the pictures the next day and gave me a bunch of Fedex account stuff. Well Fedex was a long and difficult trip for me so I offered to just get them developed in time to return to her before the end of the day. The pictures turned out fabulously and I made it back in time to give them to her before she left. She flipped through every one of them without saying a word… that is right up until the moment when the previously mentioned severely traumatized woman’s image came into view. She said, “Wow, she looks scared!”. Then through the rest of the images and without a word and she handed me my check and said “Thanks.”. That’s it, no more feed back from my day in hell. I remembered the guy from the coffee shop the previous day and thought to myself, “Yeah, some glamorous job ๐Ÿ˜ฆ “.

Lol… oh well, I’m sure it was nothing that a green chili burrito and a couple of beers could not cure at the Brewery Bar, my favorite Denver watering hole. Actually about a month later I received an email from the lady with a formal thank you for all the beautiful pictures. Apparently they were a big hit and I have to say it made me feel a lot better about the whole affair ๐Ÿ™‚