Staying Close to Home

Beautiful Buck Mule Deer

Decided to just stay close to home today, no sense shooting hundreds of new pictures when I don’t even have the ones processed that I have already captured! Really what I wanted this morning was just a bit of exercise and some quiet time on my mountain.

As I climbed toward the top of the mountain I saw my favorite rough legged hawk in the distance. I readied my camera settings for a hawk in flight but the majestic raptor never came close enough. He glided through the valley and around the mountain to the north without ever coming near enough for an image. I have attached an image of him that I captured another time (see below).

I strode on, through the dense forest and up the mountainside to the summit. On the summit I looked around for any wildlife that might be enjoying the solitude of the quiet mountaintop and out of the corner of my eye I spotted a lone buck, peering out curiously from the woods. I quietly set up for a shot and he stood still for a few seconds while I dialed in the best composition. I put my pack down hoping he would remain long enough for me to attach my 1.4x lens extension, but when I looked back up he had vanished into the pine forest. I have to say he is the best looking buck I have seen all year, just magnificent!

Free Range Cattle

Today I decided against the second and third summits on the high ridge and just turned down the old wagon trail towards the return trail. The free range cattle were grazing on the high mountain grass as I made my way back down through the middle of the herd. These cows used to run from me but over the last three years I guess they have gotten used to my presence. In fact this little family of calves started coming over to say hello but before they had gotten very far I was already further from their mother than they were brave enough to venture.

Finch posing in the Rockies

Near the end of the trail birds had gathered by the dozens in the tasty wild bushes. I was trying to get some shots of them but every time I got close they would fly another ten feet away. Finally a couple of these little finches landed on the rocks just close enough for me to capture this nice portrait 🙂

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!

Rough Legged Hawk in the Rockies

Rough Legged Hawk in Flight


No long photo trip for this morning… just a nice visit to my favorite local mountain. The “Three Amigos” were there, along with a couple of new buddies that have joined them. If these fellows stick around I’m going to have to think of a new name for the group! The guys were not in the best place for lighting purposes but there was no way I was  going to make it past them and around to the other side so I just had to do the best I could. Luckily it was a bit cloudy so I didn’t have to contend with a super bright background. I think these came out OK!

Portrait of a Mule Deer Buck

A good day, and to top it off I solved a problem that has been vexing us all summer, the issue of setting exposure compensation (EC) when in manual mode. Normally manual means manual and EC is irrelevant but it comes back into play if you select auto ISO, which now means you aren’t really shooting in full manual mode. You can select the shutter speed and the aperture to control the creativity in your shot but if there isn’t enough light for the selected ISO you will underexpose your image. The easy fix of course is to select your creative parameters and let the ISO float, allowing the camera to assure a correct exposure.  But then your front wheel is used for the shutter speed, the rear wheel for aperture and there isn’t another control with which to select your EC.

Mule Deer Portrait

My original solution to the problem was to just use Tv mode, knowing the camera would probably select a decent aperture. But!!!! I finally looked into it and discovered the real solution at least for Canon cameras, the Q button… EUREKA! If you click the Q button all the pertinent parameters come up on the LCD screen where you can change them, shutter, aperture, ISO, and a graph for the EC! If you have a camera new enough for a touch screen you can just change it right there to whatever you desire. With the 1DX that has no touch screen I assume you could wheel over to it and change it with the set button.

I have to say, I have grown quite fond of  Tv mode as a method of controlling my images, especially when it comes to bird photography. It is easy to quickly change from bird in

Herd of Bucks

flight to photographing a deer in  the meadow with a spin of the front dial to change the shutter speed if you run across an unexpected subject change. However I am glad that I can once again just leave the camera on manual most of the time, knowing that I have control over all my important settings.

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 I should add that this article was not sponsored by Canon or any other camera company. All equipment used was purchased by me on my own volition.


The Tree

I’ve been eyeing this tree for a couple of years now… The life giving flow of sap long ago ceased, it now stands as a stark reminder that nothing can live forever.

I’ve tried a number of times to capture the picture that my mind envisions but I have never quite gotten it.

Finally the other day I was hiking into the canyon on foot and I looked up and spotted it high on the cliff against the beautiful Colorado summer sky and I knew I was going to get the shot 🙂 As my only goal for going in was to photograph the osprey, my only lens was the 100-400. I tried a few different focal lengths in hope of getting just the right perspective and I liked them all.

Tree by #swkrullimaging

This particular one with the clouds and blue sky was the closest to the picture in my mind 🙂

As always, the best of these images 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!

Why Plant Based Meat Substitute

Many have been asking me why all of a sudden I have started eating plant based meat substitutes. For quite a few years now I have been disturbed by the many reports of ranchers teaming up with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in our western states to kill off all kinds of wildlife, including our beloved wolves, bears and wild horses so that their precious cattle won’t have any competition on public lands. I of course am an avid user of our national forest land with all it’s beautiful mountains and trails. I think it is appalling that the ranchers get to graze their cattle on public lands, their cattle make a mess out of the land and the trails for everyone else and on top of all that the welfare ranchers as I call them get all upset when a wild animal takes one of their stock.

Free Range Cattle

Of course what the ranchers and the BLM keep hidden is the fact, according to this article by Wild Earth Guardians and many others, that less than one quarter of one percent of livestock is killed by predators, that’s 0.23%. And most western states even reimburse the ranchers for their losses, which is why they don’t even bother to try to find non-lethal methods to coexist with the wildlife. There isn’t much reporting in the lame stream media about it so it isn’t well known that the BLM regularly rounds up our wild horses with helicopters who dare live on public land, frequently causing horrific injury and even running them to death in their effort to corral them for slaughter and sale to foreign countries including Mexico, just to please the welfare ranchers and their interests. Wolves,  coyotes and mountain lions are trapped, poisoned and killed in all manner of inhumane and torturous methods that should be illegal in civilized society.

That doesn’t even begin to address the horrific way the livestock is treated, just read this article by the Washington Post… If you can bear to, I assure you that if you do you will never look at your steak the same again.

I had kind of resolved to come up with something tangible I could do to help conserve our precious wildlife when I retired from full time employment but up until now I hadn’t really found anything I could do besides write about it.  Well when the Covid-19 virus hit there were reports that with the restaurants all closed the ranchers were really struggling which of course didn’t hurt my feelings at all.

Then as the news media began warning of meat shortages, a story I had seen about plant based meat came to mind… Why should I worry about a meat shortage if I can find a suitable substitute? It wasn’t hard to find, Walmart and Safeway both carry several brands so decided to try it and went out to purchase some. When I opened the package I was surprised to find that the patties and sausages look just like real meat. Throw it on the grill for 8-10  minutes and you have yourself a decent meal! And much to my surprise they are actually pretty good! And you can even feel good that you are eating something good for your health!

Now I have a way to fight back against the meat industry, I don’t have to purchase their products. If enough of us who care follow suit we can put the meat industry out of business. No longer will there be any reason to slaughter our wildlife, no reason to subject millions of domestic animals to a dreadful life of confinement and abuse at the slaughter houses. Our national forests can once again be sanctuaries for our cherished wildlife and pristine wilderness for the enjoyment of visitors for generations to come. I urge you, please give the plant based meat a try, the furry critters are depending on you!

I of course will continue to look for other more direct ways to help conserve our wildlife, but in the meantime this is a good start that I can feel good about.

Some Tranquility

Tabby Cat

This morning my eyes were wide open well before sunrise so I arose and turned on  the news which of course was all bad. Disease, murder and now riots everywhere. I watched  the local news for a while just to see what had transpired up in Denver yesterday.  I’m a morning person and not much is going to stop me from enjoying my coffee but by the time I could see the first rays of sunlight poking through the curtains I was ready to spend some quality time on my mountain. After yesterday’s long hike in the Crags I was intending to take a day off, but I just had to go experience the tranquility of the early morning Colorado mountain sunshine.

As I pulled my old Dodge into the trailhead parking area my eyes scanned the top of the ridge

Prairie Dog

hoping to spot some deer or elk but all I could see was sunshine and mountain grass. I just sat in the truck for a while enjoying the warmth of the sun through my cracked windshield, listening to the birds and enjoying a moment of peace.

Finally I began the trek to the top of the ridge, my legs tired and sore from yesterdays adventure. There was no sign of life save for the sound of the birds, chirping out their happiness at the sun drenched mountain morning. I slowly meandered over the ridge and onto the high clearing where I pondered the events of

Free Range Cattle

these troubled times. I was thinking, maybe these riots were inevitable, really what did these blue state dictators think was going to happen, keeping people locked in their homes for months at a time. I know it is important to stop the spread of Covid-19 but did they really think they could keep the entire population imprisoned, as they watch their livelihood slowly going down the drain, their jobs vanishing, their hopes and plans for the future destroyed by a few leaders who will never have to suffer the real word effects of their policies. Perhaps the

Cottontail Rabbit

murder in Minneapolis was the straw that broke the camels back, the catalyst to unleash the pent up anger and frustration in cities all over America at the prolonged isolation and the destruction of a whole way of life for many. I pray that God will give our leaders the wisdom to resolve these problems peacefully and that life will soon return to normal. I used to follow my morning adventures with a nice breakfast somewhere and now there is nothing open. Nothing else to do but just go back home, unless of course I can find some errands to run.

Eventually the sun cleared the ridge on the east and I could hear the prairie dogs beginning to stir so I made my way down the mountain and into their little colony where I found a log to rest my weary legs and watch the action. One of the little fellows finally worked up the courage to poke his head out and chirp at me so I was able to at least get one picture to put in  this morning’s blog!

It wasn’t long before I heard the bellow of free range cattle who came trotting over the

Distant Deer

top of the mountain on their way to the watering hole below. Free range cattle are a bit wild and when they noticed me they hurried on past, casting a wary eye in my direction. When they all finally passed I arose and began the final leg of my trek back to the trailhead. Along the way I saw a feral tabby cat, a bunny rabbit and a pair of bucks in the distance grazing on mountain grass as they too made their way towards the watering hole.

Eventually my morning peace was at an end, but I felt sufficiently rejuvenated to face the day. My big plans today mostly include grilling the rest of my plant based burgers and sausages as I do my part to put all the beef producers out of business so there will be no reason for them to exterminate all the wolves and wild horses.




Celebrating the Supermoon


May 7, 2020 supermoon over Colorado

Decided at the last minute to try my hand at photographing the supermoon tonight.  The first order of business of course was to get the camera and tripod all set up with all the proper night sky settings. I decided on F8 for an aperture, 1/30th of a second for a shutter speed and ISO 100 to limit long exposure noise. I also wanted to try out live view which actually makes selecting the shutter speed pretty simple. You just dial it in until it looks right 🙂

Then the problem of where and when… so I went outside and made sure I had an

May 7th supermoon over Colorado

unobstructed view of the eastern mountainside. But exactly where and when? A quick search of the internet showed that the information I was going to need could be found on, including general moonrise time, current azimuth and elevation angle which really came in handy since I have a mountain between me and the horizon. I estimated the mountaintop to be about 10 or 15 degrees which helped me to figure out when I was actually going to see it. Unfortunately there was a cloud over that part of the mountain so I couldn’t get the mountain in the shot and I had to wait even longer for the moonrise!

At first I used manual focus along with the enlarge button for the LCD screen. Blowing up the moon on the screen really helped to get the right focus. I also tried out the touch screen focus method which I actually liked better. Touching the screen tells the camera where you would like to focus and also triggers the shutter. I had a two second timer set so that any camera shake set off by the touch would have time to settle down.

Well anyway, I got a couple of shots I am semi happy with… I don’t have the greatest equipment for astrophotography but it’s not really my thing anyway. I just do it for fun once in a while 🙂

The Perfect Rig

Photography Rig by the Pristine Waters of the South Platte River

I’ve been working for some time now to assemble the perfect rig for gaining access to the back country for landscape and wildlife photography. I don’t know whether it’s really the perfect rig or not, but it suits me perfectly and I was dying to try it all out together! I wanted the Tamrac Anvil 23 for it’s size and rugged construction, big and deep enough for all my gear and including a camera with battery grip and long lens. It also has straps on the center back strong enough to carry a heavy duty tripod comfortably. Then of course a carbon fiber tripod with a good video head, I decided upon the Manfrotto 502A for it’s rugged build plus it’s capability to operate effectively in the harsh Colorado winter. And of course the bike, which luckily I was able to find pre-owned and in like new condition, a Nishika Colorado 21 speed mountain bike with shock absorbers on the front forks 🙂

My idea was that Waterton Canyon was going to be considerably warmer and the best

Pristine Waters of the South Platte River in the Colorado Rocky Mountain Winter

place to try it all out! However the weatherman was forecasting a cold gloomy morning and I was pretty sure that the sheep were not going to come down 😦 I felt kind of guilty driving 100 miles just to go on a bike ride so I was going to back out, but I called my favorite camera store Englewood Camera, and they just happened to have a good deal on a 4 stop ND filter that I’ve been wanting so I thought what the heck… I’ll stop in at the camera store and maybe I’ll even be able to try it out on my favorite part of the river. Years ago back in the film days I had captured a great image of the river and I’ve tried repeatedly through the years without success to duplicate it with the awesome new technology at our disposal these days so that I could have it for sale on my stock portfolio!

It was still cold and gloomy in the canyon by the time I got there at about 10:00 a.m. so I bundled up and hoped for the best. Indeed I did not see a single bighorn sheep in my entire ride to the top of the dirt road. Modifications I

Pristine Waters of the South Platte River in the Colorado Rocky Mountain Winter

had recently made to my bike, including seat, hand grips and pedals proved worth the investment as I rode hard all the way to the turnaround without having to dismount a single time 🙂 On the way up I identified the very spot that I captured my favorite image so many years ago and on the way back down I stopped there for pictures and video. The other time was autumn so I knew I would not have the beautiful colors, but I have always wanted to try the image in winter as well. I spent a good amount of time there using wide angle and long lenses, the polarizer and a plain skylight filter. The water wasn’t flowing sufficiently to need the new ND, but I’ll try that out over at Eleven Mile pretty soon.

All in all I think I am satisfied with my winter images and I got a great workout on my mountain bike in the fresh mountain air of the Pike National Forest. As always these images and more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas, and traditional matting and framing! Also I have no sponsorship or compensation of any kind from any of these products. I have purchased them with my own funds because I found them most suitable to my needs.

Bittersweet Morning

A special morning in the mountains today… After months of closure for some invisible project being performed by the mine to the north, my trailhead is finally open again. Whatever they had been doing appeared to have been completed months ago, but still the trail remained closed. Finally I called and prompted someone to look into it and it turns out that the trail could be opened.

Small herd of mule deer enjoying a beautiful Colorado winter morning

So this morning I loaded up the camera and the snowshoes and headed for the hills. It has been so long… I wondered if my ungulate friends were still there or if they had all  been shot by the trigger happy redneck population so prevalent here in the high country?

Well my question was soon answered… as I made my way up the steep ascent I could feel eyes upon me. I stopped and looked around a bit and sure enough, peering over the mountaintop were a couple of does wondering what I was up to 🙂 I stopped for a few shots before ascending further. The deer were waiting for me at the summit, warily staying just ahead of me in case they deemed it necessary to flee.

And ahead of me they stayed… about 100 yards all the way to the overlook where our

Small herd of mule deer enjoying a beautiful Colorado winter morning

paths parted. They meandered into the woods to the north as I turned left to complete the loop and head back down. One lone free range cow greeted me in  the deep snow, other than that I just made my way back down the mountain in the quiet of the morning.

Sadness filled my heart in the silence of the windward side of the mountain as I remembered my beautiful four legged companion who was so filled with joy at the freedom of the trail and the fresh mountain air his nose was constantly sampling. This was our special place and to be there without him was heartbreaking at first. soon however, I found comfort in the knowledge that he is no longer constrained by the bounds of this present reality and is free to visit his favorite place anytime he desires 🙂 I think maybe I could feel his presence galloping along the hillsides as I made my way back to the truck.

Small herd of mule deer enjoying a beautiful Colorado winter morning