Some Christmas Sheep

According to the weather forecast today looked like an excellent day for a photo excursion to beautiful

Bighorn Sheep in Waterton Canyon by the South Platte River

Waterton Canyon for some bighorn sheep pictures. Snow last night and cold this morning threatened to put a damper on those plans but I managed to force myself out the door anyway, thinking the exercise would be a good idea before Christmas dinner!

Eventually photo buddy Kevin and I reached the parking lot and got out to prepare our bikes and gear for the ride up the dirt road along the pristine waters of the beautiful South Platte River on it’s journey out of the Rocky Mountains. It was here that we realized that the blue sky and sunshine were a little deceptive this day. There was a stiff wind blowing and any ideas of shelter in the canyon were soon dispelled by reality 😦 The canyon had become more of a wind tunnel than a shelter and it was a hard fight pedaling uphill against the stiff breeze.

No sheep at the primary sheep viewing location so we headed further into the canyon.

Bighorn Sheep in Waterton Canyon by the South Platte River

No sheep at the second location either and conversation turned to what a great workout we wereΒ  getting in lieu of the awesome wildlife imagery that we had envisioned 😦 Past the yellow house we pedaled, and on past the big reservoir too… Finally along the last vestiges of cliff wall we spotted a lone ewe walking along the road, and then another. The pair were making their way up the road and soon hopped onto the cliffs in deep shade where the lighting was less than stellar. We took a few shots there, looking often towards the cliffs where they had come down from in the first place.

Finally, a few sheep appeared in the lovely morning light spilling onto the rugged cliffs along the north side

Bighorn Sheep in Waterton Canyon by the South Platte River

of the canyon, so we picked up our bikes and gear and meandered down towards the new action. Eventually some rams appeared high on the cliffs, out of range of our cameras… and unfortunately did not descend before we were out of time… being Christmas day and all 😦 But we got some pictures and it was indeed an awesome workout. Clearly I need to spend moreΒ  time on my bike and less time at the computer screen! On the upside, my new Tamrac Anvil 23 pack was a great success, holding all my gear with space to spare and so comfortable that I hardly noticed that I was wearing it on my back! Soon I will be using to pack my new video friendly tripod so that I can add some motion to my imagery and contribute to my YouTube site!

Ultimately I did manage to get a few images that I like so I hope you like them! A couple are available on my website for purchase as wall art on glossy acrylic or metal sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing!

Sangre Mountain Sunset

After a pretty gloomy day in the high country I was thinking it looked like conditions were right for a spectacular sunset. As the sun descended towards the high peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range, an hour before sunset there was already some beautiful golden color showing in the clouds just above the mountains. So I readied my camera gear and made my way to a suitable vantage point to await the show.

Herd of Mule Deer in the Colorado Wintertime

And it was a pretty nice sunset, not that great but not really good enough to miss the golden hour for wildlife photography so I pressed on hoping for some sunset deer pictures. Soon I spotted a buck mule deer with some does so I stopped for a bit to see if I could capture an image of them. The buck was off minding his own business but much to my delight three cute curious looking does were gathered together to peer out from the golden mountain grass at me to see what I was up to. I got a couple closeups of them and as I moved around to the east I could see that I wasΒ  getting the Sangre de Cristos and some remnants of the sunset in the background as well πŸ™‚

Winter Sunset on the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

The deer finally wandered off and I moved on to a better spot for the sunset finale that was shaping up to the west. And what a show it was, there was just enough space between the mountains and the clouds to allow the beautiful evening sunlight to pour through and light the clouds from below.

These are my favorite images of this spectacular evening, I hope you like them! And as always, these images and more are available on my website for purchase as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional framing and matting. Tons of cool gift items are also available including coffee mugs, apparel, bedding, stationary and much more, all with a beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountain scene!

Herd of Mule Deer in the Colorado Wintertime

Herd of Mule Deer in the Colorado Wintertime

 

Low Key Photography and Cyber Monday

Snow on the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Two subjects today… The first is low key photography. I’ve liked this look when I have seen it but have never tried it myself. When I prepare my images I have always worked hard to retain every speck of detail in the highlights and shadows that I am able, but that look doesn’t always really represent what I was feeling or wanting from the image when I shot it. So lately I’ve been looking into this idea a little bit and decided to try it on this image that lent itself to low key techniques. It has some good highlights on the snowy peaks as the sun was coming up in the east, some dark brooding clouds and some dark less important features in the foreground. Using curves and the apply image option in Photoshop I added some mood to the clouds and foreground. Some additional painting was required to retain some mid tones that I wanted in the image, and here it is! My first attempt at low key landscape photography. I may try some more of this with early morning wildlife photography if I get an image that lends itself to that.

Cyber Monday tomorrow… the day when many people make their online Christmas purchases.

Colorado Black Bear Family

There have been a number of improvements to my website this year and today is as good a day as any to explain them and make the pitch for online purchases of wall art! My site is divided into galleries, or collections as they are referred to on the main page which also shows an example of my latest imagery in a frame so you can visualize what it might look like on your wall! From there you can go above and view the site organized by the type of product you are interested in. For example you might interested in wall art. Hover the mouse over the wall art title and many types of wall art will appear. Click on the one you want and you will see the collections or galleries of images to choose from. From there you can pick your favorite subject and choose the size and framing materials.

Or from the main page you can go directly into the collections and then choose the print medium, whether it be wall art on acrylic, glossy metal, traditional framing and matting or gift and hand household items or tech items such as t-shirts, coffee mugs, shower curtains, yoga mats, battery chargers, phone cases and much much more!

And of course there is a search function if you have a specific subject in mind. For example you might be wanting a picture of elk, or deer or bears or Pikes Peak. Just go to the top of the page and type in your subject and only images including that word will appear. Then just choose your image and select the type of product you would like to purchase!

Well that’s it for today! Hoping for a happy and healthy holiday season for all!

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Before the Snow Flies

Storm Clouds on Pikes Peak

Snow is in the forecast for the next three days so I arose early today and headed for the trails! Wanted to get a good hike in before the snow begins to fly πŸ™‚ At the trailhead the mist had already begun to settle in creating a wonderful quiet paradise to walk through. As I walked along the trail on the north side of beautiful Ute Pass in the Pike National Forest I noticed how the barren aspen trees stood out against the dark forest so I stopped to snap a few.

Barren aspen trees in the cold light of a winter morningThis was also a good opportunity to test out my new old lens, the Canon 28-135 Dust Sucker :) Got this lens with my first digital camera back in 2002, and I have shot thousands of images with it, but when I got my 70D a few years ago for some reason this lens wouldn’t work with it and since I had gotten the 18-55 STM as part of the 70D kit, my old favorite wound up forgotten in the bottom of a bag of camera junk.

For years now I haveΒ  been almost exclusively a nature photographer, wildlife, landscapes, mountains, etc., which is fine of course but I’ve been thinking of trying to get back in to portrait photography which got me to thinking about a portrait lens. Of course I would like to have the Canon 28-70 F2.8L, but the funds for a Canon L are just not available yet! So I was reading about cheaper alternatives when I saw a review of my trusty 28-135. The literature still says that the lens should work with any EOS camera so I was wondering… would it work with my 90D?

Well here’s the answer! I took it out for some testing today and indeed it does work! The

Herd of Mule Deer in the Rocky Mountain Winter

best perspective on the above aspen tree in the background was too close in for my wildlife lens so I put on the 135. This particular image was composed with the lens zoomed into 90mm and it looks pretty decent! It’s not a Canon L by any stretch, but it will do in a pinch, especially in a portrait session where you don’t really need to see every pore in a model’s skin! In fact back in the days of film photography I used to use a #3 soft most of the time anyway! Of course now with digital and Photoshop soft focus can be applied sparingly and only to the areas where it enhances the image. So until I get my pro Canon lens, it looks like I have a portrait lens to work with!

Herd of Mule Deer in the Rocky Mountain Winter

Well I continued my journey, hoping to see some deer or maybe even a bear when I came to a climb to a vantage point with a view of the north face of Pikes Peak. Here it became obvious that the winter storm the weathermen have been forecasting was at hand! In just a few minutes the Peak was completely obscured, so I thought I’d better get back over the pass before the roads got bad. Fortunately along the way I did encounter this beautiful mule deer herd, one buck and a few does were grazing on mountain grass in the cold mist of the approaching weather.

All in all I would have to say this was a pretty good day πŸ™‚ I felt like I had gotten a free lens, got some nice pictures of the tree, some deer and some cool weather on Pikes Peak πŸ™‚

There are tons of new images, including bighorn sheep, deer and elk in Rocky Mountain National Park on my website from which to create Christmas gifts, so give it a click if you enjoy my work! Choose from beautiful wall art, apparel, household items, stationary, tech gadgets and more! And all with a beautiful image by S.W. Krull Imaging!

My First YouTube Movie

This is something I’ve been giving a lot of thought to for a long time… getting some software to piece my video clips together into a more polished video. One of the most amazing features of my Canon 70D DSLR that I purchased back in 2015 was the capability for it to do video clips, a DSLR that could shoot video, who could have imagined! Well I wasn’t that interested in shooting video, the camera had all that I could ask for in just it’s still shooting capabilities. Consequently, until this year I never even bothered to learn how to shoot video, didn’t even know how to switch it on!

Earlier this year I was photographing the beautiful South Platte River in Eleven Mile Canyon when it came to me that the still photographs I was shooting simply were not enough to capture the essence of the scene. Without the sound of the thundering whitewater there was simply no way to convey the grandeur of the moment. I thought of taking a phone video but the microphone is on the wrong side and the resolution is just not that impressive…. so I turned my camera around and studied the buttons. Hmmm… a switch, lets see what happens! What happened is there was a click and the OVF went blank! So I flipped out the LCD screen and shazzaammm there was a live moving picture! So…Β  I pushed the other button and recorded thirty seconds of the violently churning water πŸ™‚

I had created a YouTube channel some time ago for some reason, so I uploaded the clip to see what it would be like. Well it was a video clip with no intro, no reference to my website, no music, no transitions, nothing but a video clip. But I thought, maybe that is enough to start my channel with. In these days of social media, it is just not enough to take still pictures and send them to a stock site anymore. People like video and not having it is a serious deficiency in a photographers audience reach.

Same situation in Rocky Mountain National Park, without the bugling of the elk there was just no way to convey the full sensation of what I was witnessing. So I took a few clips in the park. And then a few more clips of the battling bighorns in Waterton Canyon and now I’m thinking I should get some software and put it together into some sort of cohesive theme.

Well I did it, I finally got some software and after a couple days of frustrating fiddling,Β  I finally have my first video to show πŸ™‚ Clearly I have some rough edges to iron out and I have a long steep learning curve to a more complete understanding of the software, but this video of the elk bugling in Rocky Mountain National Park is my start πŸ™‚

Quite a Day with the Bighorns

Fog Bank Sangre de Cristo

I have to say, yesterday was quite a day… the plan was to arise early and drive to Waterton in hopes of catching the bighorn sheep in full rut. The day got off to a bit of a rough start though, a heavy blanket of freezing fog had enveloped the entire region the night before and it took me about 20 minutes to chip my way into the truck before I could even depart!

On the way up the pass I looked back and noticed that the fog bank had created a beautiful blanket in the Arkansas River Valley at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Range, so I had to stop and snap a few pictures of that! There was a pretty good haze in the air to go with the fog so the images aren’t as clear as they could be, but it was still an amazing sight to behold πŸ™‚

We began our mountain bike ride up the canyon fully expecting a good long ride before

Bighorn Rut Season in Waterton Canyon

seeing any sheep but after just a few short minutes of pedaling a group of the critters came into view. I assumed it was the usual herd of ewes and youngsters that so often inhabit the entrance to the park, but much to our surprise the little herd was also occupied by four good sized rams causing trouble among each other, one in particular who was kicking the others in hopes of starting a fight.

Bighorn Rut Season in Waterton Canyon

I have long desired to witness the rams butting heads, and it looked like this day was going to give me that chance! I wanted to capture a still of the moment of impact, but I also wanted to get some video so my readers could also experience the excitement of the moment. As a group of three rams circled each other, jostling and kicking… I switched my camera to video to record the action. There was not the classic charge and clash impact in this scene, but I did manage to record the nudging and little head knocking on this video now available to watch on my Youtube Channel πŸ™‚

We watched transfixed by the action for at least two hours as the rams hassled each

Bighorn Rut Season in Waterton Canyon

other. They would graze for a couple of minutes while it looked like they might finally give it a rest and relax for a while, but soon the tension would again arise and the tussle would begin anew.Β  Just when we would think that nothing was really going to happen, all of a sudden without warning they would square off, take a couple of steps on two feet and smash heads. It was very difficult to photograph, zoom lenses were required to get the best view of the action, but too close to capture both animals when they were setting up for the action. It was also difficult to be focused in on the area where the impact would occur since it all happened so quickly without warning.

Bighorn Rut Season in Waterton Canyon

But I do believe I managed to capture the exact moment of impact on this image, the huge beasts with their heads together and eyes closed for the crash. I think maybe it would have been better if my camera had fired a millisecond earlier, but again… maybe the smashed heads is what I was after!

Rumors of a bear further up the canyon finally tore us away from the sheep herd and off we went. We rode to approximately the 4 mile point without seeing any other wildlife so we turned back around to return to the herd for a few more images. The river was magnificent in the winter light and the ride an excellent aerobic workout. I’m looking forward to really getting in shape for some more serious riding in the spring!

As I crested the final ridge on the journey home I was greeted by this magnificent sunset,

Sunset on the Sangre de Cristo

beautiful golden colors and the remnants of fog from the storm the night before. A perfect ending to a perfect day πŸ™‚

As always, these images and more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy acrylic or metal sheets, stretched canvas and traditional framing and matting! Click the link to explore!

A Day in Limbo

Majestic Bull Elk bugling on a Beautiful Rocky Mountain Evening

Grounded… truck in the hospital getting new brakes and I’m stuck at the computer on a perfectly beautiful late autumn day 😦 But IΒ  guess that’s ok, I still have dozens of pictures to work on from my recent adventures in Rocky Mountain National Park and Waterton Canyon πŸ™‚

Today I processed these two and placed them on my print website for purchase as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets ready for hanging, stretched canvas and traditional framing and matting. Tons of cool gift items are also available, including holiday cards, coffee mugs, t-shirts, household goods such as pillows and blankets, tech gadgets like battery chargers and phone chargers and much much more!

Click to explore, Christmas is well on the way!!

Bighorn Sheep In Autumn Colors