Little Grouse Mountain

Woke up early this morning with no real plan for the day, but as always I threw my camera in the truck… just in case. The doggies both did their business quickly, which is a good thing, and a big time saver! So instead of my usual trip to the gym I decided to head for the high country in hopes of seeing some wildlife, especially perhaps some bighorn sheep. I have heard rumors of sightings along the route to Cripple Creek and the 50 cent breakfast at Bronco’s was appealing to me as well, so that’s where I headed.

Curious BurroUnfortunately no bighorns, but I inquired as to the possible location of the burro population in town in hopes of seeing them for the first time in the wild in Colorado. So after breakfast I took a couple of roads to the outskirts of town in hopes of spotting the herd. No herd, but while on the hill I did see a big commotion and some ambulances at a casino… probably one of the ancient decrepit souls with oxygen tanks smoking a cigarette that seem to so often frequent those places. Lol I don’t know, just a guess but that is what came to me when I saw the scene. Then as I was on my way back down the hill I heard a big fight going on around some pickup trucks and motorcycles with lots of yelling and cursing, followed by sirens and cop cars. Another foray into the countryside revealed more cop cars and some sort of biker gang having a meeting. Certainly not my idea of a day photographing wildlife surrounded by the peace and solitude of the Colorado Rockies!

Eventually I decided to give it up, but on my way back down Bennett I spotted a burro, then another… hanging out at the jail museum west of the casinos. I wondered, will they let me just walk up to them and take pictures? I had heard they were used to people so I put on the wide angle and sauntered up. Sure enough, they paid me no attention and I started snapping some pictures. About that time a guy came of of the museum and told me they had burro treats inside. So I went in and made a donation and got a little bag of treats to reward them for being such good subjects. In fact they were so good the wide angle was definitely required to get any kind of shot of them due to their curiosity about the camera and determination to put a nose print on the lens! They like to be petted and also like the treats and were happy to eat all that I could give them. Eventually they lost interest when I was out of the treats and moseyed on over to the water tank that the museum provides for them. A big shout out to the museum for taking such good care of them!

Unfortunately, having to have an extra job is taking a toll on my concentration, my body and my photography skills. I knew something was off by the sound of the camera, but paid no attention to my instincts. Turns out the camera had been accidentally set to Tvย  at a 20th of a second. I’m lucky I got any pictures at all of the burros, very disappointing… But just the same I am happy this one turned out, it was one of my favorites. Oh well, now I have an excuse to go back soon and see those sweet natured beasts again ๐Ÿ™‚

Upon returning to the truck I discovered that Son Boy had found a hitherto forgotten packet of BBQ sauce and had managed to explode it all over the inside of my truck ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Actually it was a big relief when I finally ascertained what had happened because when I first saw him I about had a heart attack, thinking he was bleeding from his mouth!!!!!!!!!! Luckily the packets don’t hold much so I was able to clean up in short order and be back on the way. That reminds me… there is still sauce on the ceiling that I need to deal with ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Collegiate Peak Mountains in ColoradoWell then, off to Victor… There were a couple of spots along that road I wanted to photograph in the morning light… On the way I spotted an overlook I have never noticed before, so I pulled in to check it out and discovered a nice hiking trail to a small mountain appropriately named โ€œLittle Grouse Mountainโ€, just short enough for the doggies including 14 year old Kitsu to come with ๐Ÿ™‚ Nice little hike with all sorts of historic landmarks and interpretive signs along the way. Turns out Grouse Mountain is rich in mining history and there are a number of abandoned sites to study along the way. At the top there is a magnificent view of the Sangre De Cristos and the Collegiate Peaks to the west and northwest.

Finally I had escaped the hubub of a tourist invasion in Woodland Park for โ€œfree fishing dayโ€… which reminded me of Tricia. After she was diagnosed with cancer she said she just wanted to go fishing. She had never been and finally decided she would like to just retire and spend some time along a stream fishing. Unfortunately she kept finding too many things to do and never got to go. My advice on that subject? If there is something you really want to do don’t delay, there are no guarantees for a tomorrow in this life. As I wandered the summit of the little mountain and took in the magnificent views I wondered… did the miners appreciate this solitude as much as I was on this day? Were they as appreciative of the stunning views as I was this morning, or were they blinded by greed and the gold dust. I could sense their ghosts as the breeze whispered in the pines, occasionally accompanied by the mournful sound of the historic Cripple Creek Victor narrow gauge railroad train whistle. It had to have been a brutal lifestyle, I wonder if it was worth it? All the work and suffering for that gold only to leave it behind on the journey into the afterlife. And I wonder, am I just like they were? Only with a camera, prospecting for a different kind of gold in the harshness of life in these mountains two miles above sea level. I don’t know, but just the same I thank the Almighty for the legs and the lungs and the opportunity to be able to climb to a place like this and the eyes to see the magnificence of His Creation.

I was so enjoying the solitude, the happiness of finally getting to climb a mountain even if it was only a little one, a place all to myself save for the critters who call that mountain home. But sprinkles soon made my decision for me and it was raining steadily by the time we made it back to the truck. The puppies gladly hopped out of the rain into the camper topper and I decided it was time to return to the madness of the city. But it was a good day in the mountains, not what I had planned but that is ok with me.

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

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Tour of the Mines

Had a day off from unloading Walmart trucks yesterday… Didn’t bother to make any plans as I am usually soย  trashed from the trucks the day before that I am unable to function, but unfortunately I was up way early anyway with nothing to do. Was going to make my usual rounds running errands, which mostly consists of going to the gym and Walmart, lol not a whole lot to do in Woodland Park. Was looking forward to the burger special at the bar later in the day, but other than that, nothing ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Elk in the Fossil Beds National MonumentHowever, as I was on my way to the gym I thought why not take a cruise through the Pike National Forest over to Divide to see if there are any elk hanging around… Didn’t see any, but decided to pick up a Gatorade at Venture Foods and continue on down Twin Rocks Road to Teller 1 for another look.ย  Not much there, but I did spot one pair of the giant beasts running from the mountains over to the Fossil Beds Monument and managed to grab a couple of shots of that action.

By then it was early enough and I was so close to Cripple that some 50 cent biscuits and gravy were sounding pretty good… Plus I have been meaning to take a drive down the Tour of the Mines Road so I kept aiming the old Dodge south towards casino town. A quick walk for the doggies and I was enjoying a very economical breakfast before heading out for some serious pictures of the mines at the base of the magnificent snow capped Sangre De Cristo mountain range.

Abandoned gold mine near Victor ColoradoI drove a few miles down the rough dirt road south of town but wasn’t seeing anything impressive enough to continue so I just turned around and went back through Cripple Creek. I’ve also been wanting to take Highway 82 over to Goldfield. I was there a long time ago exploring the mines with the wife and was wondering what might have changed since then. As it turns out everything! Hard to believe how massive the Newmont Mine has become… When we took the road years ago, it was just a little dirt road winding through the forest past some abandoned mines. Now it is a highway past the massive crater that was once mountains. The mines that were once little abandoned, and probably quite dangerous death traps are now marked monuments, complete with fences and signage. But it was still fun to retrace the steps I had taken with my wife so long ago before the cancer changed everything.Newmont.jpg

Took the other way home, past the beautiful west face of Pikes Peak. By the time I got home it was raining pretty hard and getting cold. Was very tired and it was too early for burger night so I decided to just make the best of the excellent sleeping weather by taking a much needed map. Had to light the pilot light and fire up the furnace first though! 45 degrees indoors seemed a bit on the chilly side for almost the middle of May!

Be sure to watch for the rest of the pictures to be posted in the coming days! Click the links on the upper left side of the article to find the categories for prints, gift items and stock images!

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ $2.25 later and we were both stuffed… with eggs, hash browns, pancakes and toast and jelly ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ Then onto the house we are buying… to make sure it is still there of course ๐Ÿ™‚ Assuming nothing goes wrong… I will be calling Cripple Creek home in about a month ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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

Spring 2017

Wow… been a long winter. Here on the north face of Pikes Peak there isn’t much to photograph during the dark winter months. Between the winter and spring travels of the sun on the other side of the equator, Pikes Peak sits in the frozen silence of a season without sunlight. Although fascinating to watch, the dull rocky peak in shade is not much to photograph.

Sangre De Cristo MountainsHowever, the signs of spring are in the air although you wouldn’t know it tonight as I sit here shivering while huddled in four layers at my keyboard! We have been getting quite a few warm sunny days, most of the leftover ice has melted and there is a hint of light on the icy mountain. Of course spring is the snowiest season in Colorado, but many beautiful days in between the storms ease the pain of the seemingly never ending Colorado snow.

Late winter finds me prepared for spring, sporting a new Loweproย  camera bag, a repaired and tuned Canon 70-200 F4l IS, Ice Trekkers replaced and my spirit and desire to get out and start shooting again restored ๐Ÿ™‚ In addition, I have finally converted my blog to “Premier” in order to begin earning some income from it… Hoping that the monetary incentive will spur me on to new adventures so that I will have something to write about.

Also it looks like I may be moving to Cripple Creek, an old west setting complete with nearby ghost towns, gold mines and saloons that I have been wanting to study and photograph for a long time. Following the death of “The Examiner”, where I was a content provider for outdoor sports articles, my writing has been a bit random. With the conversion to a Premium account I have acquired the domain name swkrullimaging.com, and I intend to devote this blog to all things photography. Politics I will leave to the pundits and political commentators. I am certain that they will be able to carry on splendidly without me, and avoiding that subject will undoubtedly do much for my mood and my spirit.

Although I have made a few trips house hunting to my intended new location recently, I have not been there for optimal lighting for photography. Tomorrow is going to be a perfect day and I intend to cruise down Highway 67 to Cripple at just the right time specifically to photograph the magnificent mountain range known as the Sangre De Cristo Range. The light should be perfect at right about 10:00 a.m. as it clears the high peaks of 10,500 foot Tenderfoot Pass and shines on the jagged snow capped 13,000 foot mountain range dividing the waters of the North American continent. An added benefit of the adventure will of course be 49 cent breakfast at the Bronco Billy’s Casino on Bennett Avenue ๐Ÿ™‚

Right now though, time to check my equipment, make sure batteries are charged, lenses clean and proper equipment packed. I am so looking forward to this! Hopefully tomorrow evening will bring a new blog post complete with pictures!

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