Eclipse Party on Bald Mountain

Kind of forgot about this… until I downloaded the camera chip from yesterday’s shoot and discovered these images were still unprocessed! Well, better late than never ๐Ÿ™‚ Actually I almost missed the event completely. On the day of the eclipse I was just out making my usual rounds, going to the gym, getting supplies for later, etc. Then Iย  got to thinking about it and everyone was so excited about it I thought maybe I should give the eclipse some more attention! As I thought about it while looking at the peak and wondering what it was going to look like with a 90% eclipse it came to me that Bald Mountain would be the perfect spot for viewing. There is an unobstructed view of the peak from there and you can see all the way to The Sangre De Cristo,ย  Sawatch and Mosquito Range mountains from up there.

Pikes Peak Eclipse PartyA quick check of the internet on my phone and I discovered that I had just enough time to get up there to see the whole thing, from start to finish. Didn’t expect to see anyone else up there but there was already a small party going on by the time I arrived. Apparently Bald Mountain is a popular hiking destination for quite a few Crystola locals! Grabbed my camera and tripod and hoofed it up to the summit and took a seat in the soft grass. It wasn’t long before I heard someone exclaim that it had started ๐Ÿ™‚ Several people had those little dark squares of glass suitable for sun viewing so it was easy to get a minute by minute report of the progress ๐Ÿ™‚ I selected my wide angle and put the camera on the tripod and attached my remote shutter release so that I could video with my phone while snapping pictures of the peak.

Eclipse on the PeakThe change seemed to come in phases with a sudden cooling of the temperature. The summit of Bald Mountain is probably close to 10,000 feet so it was a bit chilly up there anyway, but as the sun became more and more obscured by the moon it got downright cold! Eventually about when I figured the effects were at their maximum, someone loaned me the glass to look through. Indeed it looked like the sun was about 90% obscured so I shot some video and then this image of the peak.ย  The dimming of the light was not all that noticeable, kind of like a fully overcast day only with a weird flat greenish looking color cast. I usually do some Photoshopping on my images but for this one I have left it alone in an effort to provide an accurate rendition of the conditions at the time. You can see that it was just kind of a dull light and there are no shadows on the peak.

Then as quickly as it had begun, it was all over with. It was a glorious clear day and the bright sun quickly warmed the summit and everyone was on their way. I’m sure those who went to the maximum effect areas of the country had a much more dramatic eclipse experience, but I met some new people, had some fun and participated in the event of the century… and that’s got to be a good day. Be sure to watch the Academy Award worthy video I shot below ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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
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Another Sunday

Survived another Sunday… Not my best day in the eyes of the Almighty though I am sure! The day was going pretty well, managed to get showered shaved and off to church ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s where things began to falter though. Managed to say “shit” in church, right in front ofย  the pastor while spilling coffee all over the snack table. Fortunately I was not struck by lightning and God refrained from the “Smite” clause yet again. Surely I am getting close to my 70 times 7 limit though ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Lone DoePicked up my friend for some house hunting out on Teller 1 and then proceeded on into Cripple to see if another house I was wanting is still up for sale. For sale sign is still out front, so that was gratifying. As long as we were there with some spare change it seemed like a good idea to try a few spins at the casino, which turned out to be a good idea as we had some fun, drank a free beer and managed to escape with enough to pay for the gas and our meals for the day ๐Ÿ™‚ Once again I am happy to report that I was not “Smote… Smitten?” on the spot for a few additional infractions on the Lord’s Day!

Was a bit disappointed that I didn’t see one example of wildlife on the entire trip. One time I saw a whole herd of elk along Teller 1, but of course I didn’t have my camera. Word got out I was coming back with my camera so all the elk have hidden themselves deeper in the wilderness and I am sure I will not see them until such time as I forget to bring my camera.

I was fortunate the other day to get some nice deer pictures at dusk which I am slowly working on, and I am definitely appreciating my new version of Photoshop CC. I hadn’t upgraded in a long time, in fact not since Photoshop CS2 so I am just now discovering wonderful new tools that perform in one step things that used to require “actions” to accomplish. CC is an online download so it didn’t come with a bound book to read, just the online documentation. Online docs are OK but I really like to have a book in my hand that I can read cover to cover. So this time I am just kind of poking around randomly, catching up at a snails pace. My latest discovery is the “haze” tool in the special effects slider on “Bridge” It is an amazing tool for bringing density back into a capture obscured by fog or smoke haze. It also works well for lessening the effects of low light at dusk. At any rate, the tool is making my dusk picture of these deer a snap!

So… starting off the new week on a good foot. We found a house that might be a good possibility, a bit small but surrounded by solitude and beauty. I think we could make it work! Looking forward to spring and the extra light provided by Daylight Savings that will give me another hour to grab a few dusk pictures before each day’s end ๐Ÿ™‚

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

 

Out of the Darkness

I don’t know how this piece turned out this way. I was going to write a long post on opening a studio. So I was going to throw it out and start over, but I thought, “This is raw stuff, maybe it will help someone going through hard times?”. So I’m not even going to edit it, just post it the way it came out…

Strange how life can sometimes grind you down to nothing, to the point where all you can think of is survival. Whether you will have a place to live, food to eat, any kind of future at all. When times get like that your dreams get buried, your ideas fade and hope for a prosperous future becomes an afterthought. Every day becomes a battle for the next day and there is no time for dreams to percolate, no time for hope, no time to remember the plans you once had.

DeiaBikiniBut through it all there is this from scripture โ€œI know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a futureโ€. At times these words can seem empty, when all that is ahead looks like darkness. But the words themselves in the worst of circumstances are also a pinpoint of light, if you can hold on to them.

I once had dreams of owning a photography studio. Actually I did for a little while, but it was heavily subsidized by the computer company I was working for, which eventually ran into rough seas and layoffs were the fate of a bunch of us. Soon I did get a new job in the industry but the learning curve was steep and I decided that it was best to just concentrate on the bird in hand rather than divide my time on a venture that hadn’t really blossomed yet. Times were good and my plan was to reopen as soon as the time was right.

Unfortunately, the new company began to stumble, contracts were lost and layoffs hit again. Then 08 happened, then my wife’s cancer diagnosis in 09 and death in 15. Forgotten were the good times, when Tricia and I were a team working with budding models working on their own dreams. Forgotten was the love I had for the equipment, the fascination with lighting ratios, highlights and shadows. Forgotten was the amazing way my wife labored to make backdrops and find props for the pictures. Forgotten were the delighted smiles from our clients when they got to see what we had created together. Everything we’d worked and hoped for was in ashes, only a gravestone to remember it with.

I survived the rest of 15 and part of 16 by selling all that we had accumulated but by the beginning of summer this year, life looked pretty bleak. Until one day I walked into Walmart and saw the sign, hiring, see manager. Well it just so happens I knew the personnel manager and the next day I was sitting in the training room at my first day back on the payroll.

I know unloading trucks isn’t much to brag about and certainly no way to get rich. However, the interesting phenomenon is that any kind of job takes survival off the table. As long as you work hard and follow the rules, survival is something you don’t have to think about anymore. For quite a while though, some of my friends who saw me limping around, popping aspirin and rubbing my tired eyes said to me.. โ€œYou could be making a lot more money.โ€, but there was no time to think about that. I wasn’t ready to think… I said, โ€œYou know, I don’t want to think about that. Right now I just want to unload trucks.โ€. Survival at the time depended on just doing and concentrating on the simple job.

However, it is starting to sink in that the pain levels are becoming unmanageable and not sustainable. Fortunately I work with understanding people and there are younger men who are more than happy to take on the heavy lifting. But still, I have been racking my brain to think of ways to make more money with a smaller physical price tag.

Beach-WalkAs I was disposing of twenty years of accumulation last year, I ran across some of my studio pictures. Something told me to box them up and put them in a safe place. Something also told me earlier this year to scan them and make a Facebook page for them. So I did, and pretty much paid no attention to that page at all… until yesterday. First I discovered some new FB tools for business pages, and fiddled with them a bit. The new job and steady income has also gotten me to fiddling with the idea of buying some property and getting out of these squalid digs. Then today I had my โ€œout of the darknessโ€ moment, it finally sank in to my worn out mind, the memories, the dreams, my hopes for the future. I thought, just maybe… I can put it all together and pick up where I left off, a decade ago. It’s a long shot for sure, but my new plan is to have a photography studio.

It will be a long tough road since I had to sell some important equipment to buy cancer medicine, but I just call that an obstacle. When I first started, way back in 1992 I had to do all my photo sessions outdoors… Lol, which resulted in some blue lipped models, but the adventure of it all was fun for all of us. I think if I dig deep… I can start anew one more time… Hopefully there won’t be too many fake summer pictures in the snow before I have new equipment, new digs, and a new shot at the studio I left behind so long ago ๐Ÿ™‚ Here’s to a new start, withย  S. W. Krull Models as ground zero for the new enterprise!

 

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

Holidays BT

Have been struggling to come to grips with the first holiday season I will be spending without Trica in 27 years. Last year Tricia was in the wheelchair not able to do any cooking but my sweet friend and awesome gourmet cook, Heike, invited us over to her and Pat’s house for a wonderful day of turkey and excellent old world German cooking. I have been dreading the holidays for a few weeks now, unsure of what it is going to be like to be alone when everyone else is enjoying their families. Now obviously I could just go back to Iowa and have Thanksgiving with my huge beautiful family there if it weren’t for the wreckage of life after cancer and death that I am dealing with here in Colorado at the time. On the other hand after the loss of a life partner you feel alone no matter how many people you surround yourself with.

Ooops, blog post running of the tracks again. So anyway I have been thinking about this a lot lately and last night I dreamed I was running the Mile High Turkey Trot four mile race with a dear friend from what seems like a previous lifetime. When I awoke thinking about the dream it started to come back to me that for quite a few years running the race WAS the way I celebrated Thanksgiving. As far as I was concerned it was the way TO celebrate Thanksgiving. Up at sunrise, pin on the number and head out into a cold blast of November morning air in your shorts and t-shirt. No turkey to buy, no mess to clean up, no relatives to bicker with. Food, no problem… only a runner can appreciate the joy of drinking a cold beer at 10:00 a.m. in your sweaty running clothes in frigid temperatures surrounded by hundreds or even thousands of like minded people. It doesn’t get any better than that ๐Ÿ™‚ If the post race snack and libations aren’t enough, someone is always having a Thanksgiving brunch, and a gourmet champagne breakfast is probably cheaper than having to buy a turkey with all the trimmings.

So anyway, that was how Thanksgiving was done before Tricia, or BT as I now call it. Tricia, however had a different idea of how Thanksgiving was supposed to be run and come to think of it, the race was a great source of friction when we first got married. She was mad that I was never there to help start cooking the huge meal that I didn’t want. So year after year the fighting continued until I eventually wore down and gave up the race. Years went by and the Thanksgiving race faded from memory completely, until last night.

So anyway, as I continue down this road back to my life that once was, I remember that I was 30 when we met. I had my own life, my own way of doing things and my own ideas of how things were supposed to be. Little by little it is coming back and I am realizing how much I have missed the freedom of life BT! Well, better get going, this blog has given me an idea for an Examiner Article! Time to write about all the Turkey Trots going on in the Front Range on the Turkey Day! Turkey Day? Who knows, maybe I’ll run the race! It has been a long time but I think if I can claw my way to the top of the Manitou Inline I can probably jog a few miles for a breakfast beer at the finish line in Wash Park ๐Ÿ™‚

Changing Seasons

So I put the COMPLETE stamp on summer by finishing my Intemann Trail article for the Examiner. It was quite an adventure that took pretty much all summer, starting with a two and a half hour “short cut” from Red Rock Canyon over to Manitou Springs in quest of my press pass for the Pikes Peak Ascent.

Goats

Mountain Goats on Mount Bierstadt

It was a great summer that included a bunch of things I have been meaning to do for years, the whitewater festivals, visiting the wolves in Guffy, the mountain goats on Mount Evans, climbing 14ers Bierstadt and Yale, climbing the Manitou Incline with my brother and meeting Robin and best of all meeting new friends in person that I had only known through Facebook prior to this summer.

The fall colors come early in the Colorado high country, in fact it still feels like summer in the lower elevations when it is time to go up for the fall pictures. Fall felt like it officially started yesterday with the running of the annual Pikes Peak Road Runners Fall Series I race in Bear Creek Park down in the Springs.

I have to say I am not looking forward to the short days and long hours of darkness but the summer has left me with a bounty of over six thousand pictures to work with over the cold months. I am also looking forward to working on some new projects, including the re-start of my portrait photography services and a new line of T-Shirts now available on my Fine Art website along with many other products that are available there.

So anyway, have a great autumn everyone, I am certainly planning to ๐Ÿ™‚

Order

Sitting here at Starbuck’s in Englewood passing the time until lunch and thinking about how far I’ve come since that fateful day last March. I am amazed at how many things had fallen into disrepair and neglect from the battle we were forced to fight against Tricia’s cancer. Almost three months have gone by and I am now starting to see some semblance of order taking shape. Both my vehicles are maintained and in working order again, most of the move and cleanup are behind me, physical strength returning to these old muscles and my stock photography work is proceeding full steam ahead with almost 500 images added this spring.

A new normal is emerging as I build a life for myself that doesn’t include space for a spouse. I have noticed a subtle change in the way I think of her as I go about my new daily routine. At first everything I did that reminded me of her just hurt but now I don’t think of her all the time while I am doing my new things. Now I actually like to take some time out and go somewhere or do something we used to do together just because it makes me feel close to her again. Close without the pain. Kind of a peaceful reconciliation I guess I would call it.

Kayaker

Kayaker competing in FIBark 2015

I have somehow found the strength to start doing some of the things that I have been meaning to do for many years, like photograph the Garden of the Gods 10M race and go to FIBark in Salida. I am starting to feel less like an unemployed nurse and more like a photographer again. And today, up here in Denver, I am just enjoying being in a place that I called home for over 30 years. Lunch with Dennis today will be at one of our old favorite places on Santa Fe, the Platte River Grille. Haven’t been there in probably 10 years and am looking forward to having a burger on the patio under the amazing blue Colorado sky on this beautiful summer day.

The Gift

As I have been going about the business of moving on I have also been stopping in at all the places Tricia liked to make sure everyone has been informed of the sad news. In doing so I have been continually astonished at the effect her life, her suffering and her passing have had on all those who came in contact with her.

Everyone who knew her was impressed by her faith, perseverance, hope and joy. Her Christian friends say that she taught them how to be a Christian, how to believe and hope when it looked as if there was no hope. Her non Christian friends remember her big smile and thumbs up trademark that were never dampened by her suffering and never subject to her circumstances. It is apparent from the looks on their faces and in their eyes that they know that her spirit was being carried by a force greater than anything this world could throw at her.

Her life and her death have changed people. Her friends see the world differently now. Many have commented that they now regard their own problems as small and I can quote many as saying “When I think of my problems I think of you and it makes my problems seem like nothing.”.

So the gift she left us is the gift of faith, an ability to look beyond the problems of the day and to something greater. A closer connection to the life beyond and a closer bond with everyone who participated, from the one who opened a door for the wheelchair to the one who came and sat with her in our home, to those who took timeout to call or email and pray and to those who were able to help out financially. And most of all to our church family who provided the solid rock to stand on when everything else was being shaken.