Further Exploration

The day started out in a tizzy when Photoshop informed I had one day to log into the Creative Cloud or my subscription was going to be closed. I had no idea, I am used to Photoshop managing the subscription and updates automatically. So I checked and sure enough, no updates have been applied and I had to go in to help, manage subscriptions and was prompted to log in and download the updates. Mental note to continue checking for updates.

Once past that crisis, a nice breakfast at Broncos killed enough time for the sun to come out and make a trek into the woods tempting. Been meaning to get a bit further down the trail towards Little Grouse Mountain and this was looking like just the right day for it. 

It was pretty windy at the trailhead but Big Dog didn’t seem to care so we forged ahead. Not far around the first bend the mountains began to block the wind and it turned into an amazing beautiful Colorado winter morning!

So onward we went, through the beautiful historic countryside of the Cripple Creek Victor mining district past the many failed dreams of the area’s earliest pioneers. I imagine we made it well past where there have been any people recently as the trail was getting pretty rugged. 

Finally we emerged one valley from what I believe to be Grouse Mountain and the view was amazing! It looks like the trail will take me to the base and hopefully right on up the mountain. I’ll have to pack some more supplies for that journey though, including some water for the dog. 

In the picture you can see the rugged valley, the mountain and the magnificent Sangre De Cristo range in the background. Please be sure to click the links in the menu to bring up my image galleries where you can purchase wall art and many cool household items with my mountain art!

Advertisements

Pikes Peak Autumn

Autumn and golden aspen leaves grace the slopes of magnificent Pikes Peak Colorado this time of year, but with all the chaos from the move I was starting to think I was going to miss the whole show. Finally though, my truck is finally roadworthy and a day off of work coincided with a sunny morning. I decided it was now or never and readied my equipment for a morning shoot.

Victor Gold MiningI wanted to catch the beauty at first light so I set my alarm for an early morning, which proved to be unnecessary… I was awake long before dawn, which to me was a fortuitous excuse for a trip to Bronco Billy’s for some biscuits and gravy πŸ™‚ After some coffee and breakfast I was on my way around the gold mine and headed toward Victor. Didn’t see much color yet by that time so I continued my journey.

As I neared the ghost town of Goldfield an amazing scene appeared in rear view mirror…  The silhouette of one of the historic mines from the old west boom days was highlighted by a beautiful cloud bank filling in the valley below. A few deer grazing in the mountain grass also graced the scene and can be viewed on my website by clicking the buttons on the left or in the menu if you are on a smartphone.

Pikes Peak Autumn

Fall and golden aspen trees come to the southwest face of Pikes Peak Colorado

From there I continued north for a great view of Pikes Peak and the vista that spread before me was breathtaking! Clouds and mist were spilling over the mountain and filling the golden valley and mountainside with a mystical mantle that was begging for a camera! 

Several stops were needed along my way to Gillette Flats before I took the turn south on highway 67 and back to Cripple Creek. By this time the sun was burning brightly, creating a blaze of glory in the golden aspen leaves lining the route. One grove was particularly inviting, requiring a little hike to capture.

Be sure to visit my print site to see all the images from this outing as I get them posted.

Freedom Ride for POW / MIA

Hard to believe, a whole year has passed since I photographed this event, but here it is, the 2017 Veteran’s Ride for Freedom for the POW and MIA soldiers who are unaccounted for in all wars. Riders assemble in Woodland Park Colorado and ride en masse to Cripple Creek where a cheering crowd of thousands greets them with an amazing Colorado style festival. I’ve had numerous opportunities to photograph the riders leaving Woodland Park, but this was the first real chance I have ever had to actually go to Cripple Creek and capture them coming into town. Almost could not drag myself out of bed this morning but fortunately the doggies know the meaning of the alarm clock and were not having any part of going back to bed πŸ™‚

Veteran's Ride for Freedom to Cripple CreekI couldn’t figure out from the website what time the riders would actually arrive so I wound up getting there way too early, so I thought… Anyway it seemed like an opportune time for another 50 cent breakfast at Bronco Billy’s which upon arrival looked like a no go when I saw the crowd. Luckily I received a tip from someone in the know that I could go to one of the bars and order breakfast from there instead of sitting in the cafeteria. Cool! The bar was empty so that worked out just right! The bartender filled me in on the schedule and I was happy to discover that there was going to be a parade in less than an hour so as it turns out I wasn’t so early after all.

Miss ColoradoThe parade was small but quaint and I didn’t notice until tonight, but I captured an image of Miss Colorado, which I think is pretty cool πŸ™‚ This year was also the last year for the Vietnam era Huey displayed on a trailer in the parade so I was glad to have gotten the opportunity to see that as well. A traveling replica of the Vietnam Wall was on the other side of town but I managed to miss that somehow.

Then I took up a good vantage point in front of the Brass Ass which was also where a couple of Teller County’s finest were stationed as well. So I chatted with them and listened to the play by play of the riders progress on their radios πŸ™‚ Finally I heard the roar of probably hundreds of Harleys making the turn from the base of 14,115 foot Pikes Peak on Highway 67 into the downtown area. It was especially important to me to capture the front runners carrying the flags. Such a cool sight, so I made sure I was in the middle of the road for that! Just in time for the arrival of the riders a big ugly cloud rolled in overhead to spoil all the colors but I got the shots and got out of the street in time to get them going west down into the massive crowd at the festival and towards the beautiful flag flying over the street.

 

Then I captured a few more sights and sounds, including a video from my phone, which never ceases to disappoint me with it’s lack of quality… My camera does video as well, but for some reason I can never remember to figure out how to use it until it’s too late. Something about switching a still camera to video just doesn’t seem natural!Veteran's Freedom Ride to Cripple Creek

The heat today was oppressive, which was another reason to get there early. I was able to park in the Double Eagle parking garage, so I made sure I lost a few bucks to the one armed bandits there to make up for using their garage. Tried to take the doggies for a hike, but it was way too hot and we only went a few yards before they did their business and wanted to get out of the sun.

As I work on the pictures tonight it occurs to me that it was at this event one year ago that I received the first hint that there was something seriously wrong with my 70-200 F4L lens. Weird… parts of the picture in focus and other parts in the same plane not in focus…. After grieving about it for a couple of months I took it in for repairs and now I have it back as good as new πŸ™‚ It needed a tune up anyway after a decade of hard use!

I thought it was great to see all those thousands of people cheering and waving flags, everyone fully in support of the rider’s mission, especially in this time of such strife when so many are so bent out of shape over everything under the sun. There was not a single fight the entire time I was there, no protestors to ruin the event for everyone else, just thousands of people being happy and polite. I wish there was more of that in this country now!

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

 

First Snow

It was a beautiful crisp morning… the hint of fall definitely in the air here at almost 9,000 feet high in the Rocky Mountains. After a long week of drudgery and stress I knew I was in need of a road trip and the puppies needed their hike so I decided to take care of both in the same trip! I love taking the doggies to Little Grouse Mountain near Victor, beautiful scenery and almost zero chance of coming into contact with another person or dog up there, and the doggies love it too. Thought of going to church but when I’m stressed out, being around a bunch of married people and feeling alone is even more stressful. If I’m going to feel alone I’d rather just be alone, and the solitude of the mountains there is perfect therapy… Just me, the doggies and the amazing cool mountain breeze blowing in the pines.

Spring Water.jpgNoticed three empty drinking water jugs in the backseat and I have always wanted to stop at the spring for water. Almost at the split in the highway to Victor or Cripple Creek there is a big tank to catch the spring water coming out of the ground. A rubber tube funnels the water into the tank and anyone can fill water jugs from the spout for free. Animals, including elk, deer, and all sorts of big critters can also benefit from the big tank, and of course there is water spilling from the constant flow onto the ground for the little ones. Got my three jugs filled and headed on into Bronco Billy’s for some 50 cent biscuits and gravy.

stormy Collegiate PeaksThen me and the doggies were off to Little Grouse Mountain for a hike to the spectacular vista of the Sangre De Cristo and Collegiate Peak mountain ranges. Storm clouds were building over the Collegiate Peaks and a heavy haze made the Sangre Peaks almost invisible against the cloudy sky, not worth stopping for pictures but the billowing clouds off to the west were kind of neat. I felt this one looked much more dramatic in black and white, the elimination of color seems to have cut through the haze better. By the time we got back to the bottom the doggies were satisfied and ready for a nap.

Went in to Cripple to the Double Eagle and made some nickel bets, long enough to get a Untitled-1.jpgcouple of free brews to wet my parched whistle before heading back over the pass to Woodland. As I cruised through Gillette Flats I thought I could make out some snow up high on Pikes Peak through the storm clouds… the first sign that the fleeting summer in the high country is nearing an end. Figured I’d take a better look when I got to Woodland with it’s good views of the north face. Sure enough, from the excellent vantage point in Woodland it was apparent that the first snow of the year had fallen down to about 11,000 feet on the peak. But when I went to my usual vantage point the best view of the snow wasn’t visible so I took a swing up Paradise and on up into Paradise Pines for a better view which paid off… it was the perfect spot. The north face of the big peak shows a little dusting but the most snow can be seen on the little peak, which might be Cheyenne Mountain, towards the middle left of the frame.

Pair of Buck Mule DeerThen on my way down I could not believe my good fortune… two beautiful buck mule deer grazing in a meadow of wildflowers. Once again, extremely happy I had set my camera up for back button focus. For some reason once the bucks noticed me they took quite a few steps towards me, so I just held the button down which activates AI Servo focus (continuous) mode as long as I hold the button.Β  Normally a camera is set to one shot mode which activates when the shutter button is depressed. Then what happens is only the first shot is in focus and the subject becomes blurry as it moves closer to the camera. As a result I got quite a good bounty of the two deer in the beautiful meadow. What a way to finish a great day in the mountains πŸ™‚

These pictures and more from the day are available on my website as wall prints on glossy metal and acrylic sheets, canvas, or matted and framed with your choice of frame. Gift items including coffee mugs, t-shirts, greeting cards, pillows, towels and other handy household items are also available. Commercial stock versions can be purchased from 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

The Art of Walking Away

Had a pretty good day today, have to say so myself! Started out with my usual hike up the mountainside with the puppies. It was a beautiful cool cloudy morning portending the rainy day we have had. The forest is beautiful this year, very green, almost like the rain forest of the Great Northwest only our Colorado mountain pines are not nearly as large! Had to cut the hike a bit short though when I noticed a deer on one of the upper switchbacks that I didn’t want the dogs to scare. I hate to see them have to run on that terrain, so easy for them to hurt their spindly legs. Once they get to limping they are just bait for the lions 😦

Colorado Mule DeerWith a whole day ahead of me and nothing planned, I decided to take a drive down Twin Rocks and Teller 1, I usually have a pretty good chance of scoring some wildlife pictures somewhere along there, a great stretch for deer and elk to graze all the way along that route through the high prairie. I was fortunate to spot a couple of bucks foraging in a clearing of mountain grass and wildflowers. I attached my 70-200 zoom and set the ISO to 400 as it was a bit cloudy, nice light… just not as bright as usual. As usual I started shooting from a distance to make sure that I got some kind of record of the scene while moving ever closer for the best shot possible. Of course the deer noticed me right off but paid little attention until they noticed me closing in. Finally I got as close as they were going to let me get and snapped a couple of frames before they started wandering off. I could have wasted time trying to follow, but I knew I got the shot and just walking away was the most profitable action at that point.

Colorado LlamaAs I continued down Teller 1, I ran across another beautiful scene with llamas in a beautiful field of wildflowers and grass in front of the foothills. Stopped along the side of the highway and picked up a few more frames using my long lens. The rest of the drive to Cripple Creek was uneventful, except for a few morons who are willing to take their own lives and everyone’s around them by feeling the need to pass on the curves. I just can’t understand what is so important about going fast that it is worth risking life for the thrill.

Then it was down to Bronco Billy’s for steak and eggs. The waiter seated me clear in the back which suited me fine until I noticed I was sitting by a large multi family table of overweight tourists shoveling in food like there was no tomorrow. No apparent chewing, just shoveling… I waited about 10 minutes and no one came… As I grew more aggravated and disgusted I finally realized I no longer had an appetite and it was time to just “walk away” while I was ahead. Went out and stuck a couple of bucks in the slots, won $2 and got my appetite back. Went back to the cafeteria and got a different seat in the front away from the large groups πŸ™‚

On my way out of town I decided to stop in at the Double Eagle and try my luck with a couple more bucks in the electronic thieves. It was mostly up with a little down on a few different machines before winding up at a new .25 cent bet model with a few more dollars in my pocket to risk. After a couple of spins the thing went nuts! Turns out I had won back to back free spins, about 40 altogether I think. Well anyway by the time it was all done beeping and whistling I had almost $50 on the scoreboard… Took a few more spins with nothing and once again decided to just β€œwalk away” while I was ahead.

So at the end of a good day I have a few extra greenbacks, a few pictures to work on and a pretty good life lesson that is applicable in many a situation. Knowing when to walk away can save a lot of grief, whether it be at the poker table, an argument with the wife before the situation becomes too heated or even a close encounter with some irritable wildlife perhaps!

Of course the images from today will soon become available on my website with the commercial stock versions available on the image licensing portal.

 

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

Wild Ass Day

Definitely a wild ass day in Cripple Creek! lol… well technically it was a wild Equus asinus day in the old west gambling and gold mining town. Turns out the latest house I was trying to buy down there is back up for grabs… it went under contract out from under me but is back on the market again. I wasn’t actually too sure about buying the place so I decided to make a trip down to take another look.

Curious BurroFirst stop of course was Bronco Billy’s for breakfast. Had some scrambled eggs and hash browns and a half order of biscuits and gravy πŸ™‚ Left a 100% tip for my favorite waitress and my total bill was $2 πŸ™‚ Put a couple bucks in the slots while I was waiting and won a buck so following the huge breakfast I was only down $1!

Then it was on to the west side of town to take a look at the house. As I was cruising up up Bennett Avenue I noticed the donkey herd strolling along the street towards an empty lot of mountain prairie grass. These animals are believed to be the descendants of the pack mules used by the gold miners back in the old west days when Cripple Creek was first discovered. I pulled on ahead a ways where the doggies wouldn’t get so excited about the animals and grabbed my camera and the bag of treats that I had left over from my previous burro expedition and did my best to sneak up on the pack beasts without disturbing them. They are quite used to people so they didn’t seem disturbed in the least.

Burros in Cripple CreekSnapped a few frames of them grazing and tried to get some good portraits of the prettiest ones. When I was satisfied that I had captured the scene I got out the treats and boy did I make some friends fast! It wasn’t long before the entire herd had surrounded me looking for one of the special burro treats that I had picked up for a small donation at the Jail Museum a few weeks ago on my way to visit Little Grouse Mountain. Luckily it turned out that I had just the right amount and each critter delicately lifted a donkey biscuit from the palm of my hand. Gave each one of my new friends a pat on the head, checked my camera screen to make sure the pics turned out and it was off to the house on the west side.

As luck would have it, the owner / builder was there and I got all my questions answered about the place. Much more enticing than I originally thought so I didn’t dawdle this time, got right on the phone to my real estate agent and got the ball in motion. I don’t know if it will actually come through, but it looks like I have a good chance of landing a house in Cripple Creek this time for my retirement years. Life’s twists and turns are amazing… 30 years ago when I moved to the Denver area I would have thought you were nuts if you told me I would someday be retiring in Cripple Creek… Well maybe not, I have loved that place since the first time I visited, long before the casinos were even thought of.

Be sure to look for the complete set of print and gift items that will soon be for sale in the wildlife gallery on my website, including glossy wall art on metal and acrylic sheets, canvas and in traditional frames plus tons of gift items and novelties, including coffee mugs, t-shirts, shopping bags, shower curtains, greeting cards and more!

 

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

Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Sangre de Cristo, meaning “Blood of Christ”, according to this article in Wikipedia. Here in Colorado it is also a rugged and magnificent mountain range, one that I have been meaning to photograph in winter with just the right light for a long time. I knew that recent snow storms and cold temperatures were creating just the right conditions so I have been on the alert for the perfect day. I have been scoping out the right time of day for a while and when I saw that we had fresh snow followed by a clear day in the weather forecast, I knew that today was going to be the day.

Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range on a bitterly cold Colorado winter morning.And quite a day it was. Unfortunately when I awoke I was dismayed to discover that it was three degrees below zero here in southern Colorado with a bit more snow last night than I was planning on. Three below with a -10 windchill made me want to just crawl back under the covers and go to sleep, but the little voice told me it was going to be a great day. Often the bitterly cold days following a snowstorm produce amazing scenery here in the high country. So… I walked the dogs and loaded up my gear. Also called my friend to find out if she was still down with our planned trip… and after a slight hesitation she replied, “sure, what time?”. That was it… Come hell or high water I was going, and after a slight detour to Walmart for supplies we were on our way.

Not much to see but valley between Divide and Gillette Flats, but as we cruised through the high mountain prairie I could see it was indeed going to be a great day πŸ™‚ A few more minutes and Tenderfoot Pass was in the rear view mirror and the mountain range came into view. And it was amazing to say the least… The bitter cold and snow had produced one of the most amazing scenes I have ever encountered in my 30 years in the mountains. Soon the overlook came into view and we pulled in… Solid ice on the pavement made stopping in time a challenge, but a few pumps of the brakes and I was out capturing the day’s income! And it was cold… the wind was blowing hard from the west and the temperature at 10,500 feet was not very accommodating either! The wind chill was probably -20 I imagine, but I was not going to let a minor detail like that keep me from getting these images!

However, there was one little item to cut the session short… I promised my friend we would make the .49 cent breakfast at Bronco Billy’s casino in Cripple… so 136 images later we were on our way into town… and 30 minutes ahead of the deadline for breakfast. So my friend decided it wasn’t too much of a risk to gamble $1, which she turned into $19 by the time we got the call for our reservation πŸ™‚ $2.25 later and we were both stuffed… with eggs, hash browns, pancakes and toast and jelly πŸ™‚

Next destination, the park west of the court house to walk the doggies… another damned cold endeavor, but fortunately the puppies got their jobs done in a hurry πŸ™‚ Then onto the house we are buying… to make sure it is still there of course πŸ™‚ Assuming nothing goes wrong… I will be calling Cripple Creek home in about a month πŸ™‚

There is one more nice overlook between Cripple and Victor which seemed like a worthwhile stop, as long as I was this far… While shooting from that spot I noticed that the mountains were a lot more clearly visible with sunglasses on. Too bad my camera doesn’t have sunglasses. Wait, it does! I shuffled through my camera bag of goodies and there it was, my awesome B&W circular polarizer (ABWCP). Now of course I had to go back to the original location and shoot some more with the filter on, which proved well worth the effort. The best image of the day was one shot with the polarizer. Reminds me of a senior picture session I did one time… after an entire morning of shooting in Botanic Gardens in Denver, on our way out I spotted a bench with some colorful flowers in the background. One more shot, and the last shot of the day proved to be the best one of all. Lol… I could have gone there first and taken one shot and gone home 😦

So far I only have one image completed, the one shown in the article. But soon there will be many more available for purchase as prints, gift items, apparel and stock licensing for commercial use. Please click the link to my Fine Art Website to view the images as I complete them.

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