My First Metal Print

So excited… getting my first glossy metal print of my work ๐Ÿ™‚ Actually it is going to be two prints, both of deer that I photographed back in the winter of 2010. One of the images I had to search pretty long and hard for on the backup drive, couldn’t remember where or when I had captured it and I haven’t even seen it in a long time. But the memory of one of my most favorite pictures has stuck in my mind all these years as something I would like to print one day. The second one was easier to find, I have kept it close by, foremost on my mind as the first one I would print when I got the chance!

Mule Deer Couple

As I browsed through the images on my backup drive I was somewhat taken aback at the size of my collection. I was only looking through pictures of deer and there are thousands, many of which I have never even processed or uploaded to my stock agencies. Got me to thinking, maybe I had better stop and think about what I am doing. Maybe I need to spend a little more time in front of the computer screen!

Well anyway, while I was going through the deer images I also came across this cute picture of a couple of baby bighorn sheep that I have not given near enough attention! Once again, there are hundreds out of the thousands that have slipped my mind and my attention that I need to go back and look at some more! With 2018 coming to an end and my last year of full time employment before retirement coming into view, perhaps now is the time to start that massive project! By the way, I have a bunch more of those baby bighorns in my bighorn sheep and goat gallery!

Baby Bighorn Sheep Playing on Mount Evans

One thing I did get done this morning is to create another gallery on my website, the “Deer in Snow” gallery. I have so many amazing pictures of mule deer interacting in the beautiful Colorado snow that I thought it worth separating them out so they are easier for my customers to find!

Well anyway, here is the other picture I am going to have printed… the one of the very surprised trio of does that I captured in a huge Colorado snowstorm. I don’t know who was more surprised when I popped out of the brush in front of these three ladies, me or the deer!

Three does in snow

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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

Train Travel

So I have been seeing this post about how wonderful it would be to travel by train across the country for only $213… and I feel I should weigh in with my own experience with said method of travel. Before I start however, I must admit that there is something to be said for an experience that one can remember, relish and even write about some thirty years after the fact ๐Ÿ™‚

moffat-tunnelNow this whole adventure began with an idea I had with some running friends to travel to get some 50 mile mountain runs under our belts as preparation for the 1988 Leadville Trail 100 Mile Run. The race we wanted to run was the San Juan Trail 50 mile run up in the coastal mountains near San Juan Capistrano. We didn’t have a lot of money then, so the train looked like a reasonable substitute for flying. Only a little more than 24 hours of travel time… piece of cake, we thought. It will be fun, they said, there is a bar car, food and think of all the scenery you will get to view!

Day 0, Denver’s Union Station, no problem. The excitement was building, we boarded the train with our running gear, and off we went through the tunnels and up the front range through El Dorado Canyon to the crown jewel of tunnels, the Moffat Tunnel and our first experience riding a train with no air circulation. Apparently the diesel fumes in the long underground exposure are a bad thing, so no air and a bit of diesel fragrance for a while. Well as you can imagine, two ultra runners had no problem surviving a ride through a tunnel.

Now for the enjoyable part of the trip. We cruised through Colorado and the scenery was indeed spectacular, especially Glenwood Canyon and the bar car. Here we met a sweet young lady from Canada who was traveling alone and interested in some company with a couple of knuckleheads from Colorado, don’t remember her name. This of course was before smart phones, Facebook and apparently even paper and pens. Soon Colorado was behind us, but Utah scenery isn’t bad either and we still had money for the bar car ๐Ÿ™‚ Now bear in mind, the train isn’t the airline. There are no complimentary meals or drinks and the prices for said supplements need to be paid for in full at the time of serving.

The day dragged on into evening and the scenery faded into blackness. Sundown coincided with the end of the fun trip ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Now maybe things are different thirty years later, but at the time we were very much dismayed to discover that the bar car closed early. Once again, this isn’t a 747 with movies and radio. At this point you discover that you are traveling on a long dark bus, $213 does not include a sleeper car, not even a cot, just your seat crammed in there with everyone else on your car… No problem we thought, we will just get some sleep and soon it will be morning. So we loaded up our new Canadian team member and moved her to our section of seats and the three of us closed our eyes and drifted off to sleep. Except the sleep did not come. Between the hundreds of snoring passengers, the excitement and anticipation of the race ahead, and the proximity of a potential new girlfriend, sleep proved impossible. And I love that Canadian accent, couldn’t get enough of it. However after a couple of hours, nearby passengers were not nearly as enamored with my new girlfriend as I was and before long the three of us were in hot water with the conductor.

This is where things really began to turn ugly. Unable to sleep or keep quiet apparently, it was not long before we found our little travel trio exiled from the civilized people and confined to an empty non climate controlled prison car. Here is where we learned about railway right of ways. The freight companies own the tracks that the passenger train runs on. Sounds good, except that the freight companies are busy and every time a freight train is encountered the passenger train has to pull over to a sideout and wait thirty minutes to an hour while the freight train passes. Which is also fine if you are asleep with the civilized people, but very cold if you are incarcerated in the โ€œbad peopleโ€ car. Now I don’t remember which was which, but part of the time, when the train was running, we sweltered from unregulated heat. The other part of the time, which I think was on the sideouts, we shivered and buried ourselves in any sort of covering we could find. Unfortunately we were not aware of these circumstances when we left civilization and didn’t bring our bags with us. So we just huddled together and did our best to survive January in Utah and Nevada. On the night when we most needed some sleep to rest up for the task ahead there was no sleep to be had. But the night wasn’t a total loss, I did get to know, however briefly as it was, a cute young Canadian girl ๐Ÿ™‚

Morning finally came and we were allowed back into the civilized car with clothes and snacks. Unfortunately we had vastly underestimated the necessity and the cost of spending the entire trip in the bar car and were running low on funds. So we just huddled and napped as best as we could all the way to LA Union Station. The rest of the trip was not without incident however, as you might imagine with such a long trip on a glorified bus tempers are bound to flare. Don’t remember the reason for the altercation, but at one point we had to disembark one belligerent passenger to another car who said he was coming back but must have thought better of it.

Finally we arrived at Union Station where our little trio of travelers had to separate. My new girlfriend was traveling on to another destination in California, a goodbye kiss on the cheek and I never saw or heard from her again. Calla, one of our friends from the computer company we worked for at the time looked at her and said โ€œWhat was that all about?โ€. Don’t think we ever filled her all in on the entire adventure. Anyway, Calla picked us up for a one night layover at her house before giving us a ride down to the race the following day. This begins an entire new adventure, involving flat tires, oil lights, more snoring and another sleepless night in the cabins at the race, but that is a whole ‘nuther story, for another whole ‘nuther blog post, if anyone is interested ๐Ÿ™‚

For the return trip we knew we would need a better plan… Nearly out of money, we knew there would be no spending a good part of the time in the bar car. So we took out our wallets, counted our money and strategized how to best invest it. We knew we were going to need food and beverage… a lot of beverage. And since any beverage that could make the time pass was officially prohibited we knew we were going to need some of those red party cups. Eventually we decided that the proper combination was going to be a 12 pack of Coors and a large Dominoes pizza apiece. We managed to smuggle the beverage and the food onto the train in our duffel bags, along with plastic cups, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.”. We knew we had to wait until nightfall to begin rationing the sleeping medicine, so we whiled the afternoon away reading old Runner’s World and Ultra Running magazines while looking at the lack of eastern California and Nevada scenery. We figured if we drank one beer an hour for twelve hours we could make it until morning with our sanity so we waited until 6 p.m. to begin administering the medicine. I don’t know exactly what time it was that the last beverage was consumed, but we finally managed a slumber, or stupor, whatever you want to call it. I remember we both woke up at the same time with headaches and cotton mouth sometime before 7 a.m. We just kind of looked at each other and then our watches and I remember Craig saying, โ€œI love it when a plan comes together!โ€. We had survived the night on the train. An old lady behind us with a big smile told us good morning, and she said, โ€œOh I thought you guys were going to be real trouble drinking all that beer, but then you just went to sleep!โ€. Craig said, “Yup, that was the plan!”.

We arrived to a new blanket of deep white snow in Colorado, apparently a foot of the stuff had fallen in our short absence. My renter met us at Union Station and told me I didn’t need to worry about the snow. He proudly told me how he had driven his truck back and forth on the driveway and had packed it down really well. When I got home I was relieved to find that the snow shovel had not been stolen or broken, just resting in it’s proper place, unused just inside the garage door. It was only a few weeks before the thick layer of driveway ice withered in the Colorado sunshine.

Well that is pretty much it in a nutshell… the joy of traveling the country by train with no sleeper car.

 

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

Time

Time is a funny thing. It is supposed to be a constant force, marching on without regard to its effect on us mortals. Though it may be a relentless enemy, when we are hurting time can be our friend. Time heals it is said. Father Time’s advance is supposed to be steady, but there are circumstances in which it seems to slow down or race ahead uncontrollably. For example, prior to my trip to Denver I needed to get my truck maintained and time seemed to stand still while I waited the estimated hour for the work to be completed. Occasionally time flies by unnoticed like the six years that have gone by since I have had lunch with my old friend. For the fifteen years that we met weekly for lunch, time was steady and the years long and memorable. Yet in these difficult years since Tricia’s diagnosis, almost half that time has slipped by without notice.

Yesterday’s trip to Denver was a compacted combination of all those phenomenon. Had to stop in the Springs to pick up my final check at the medical company where I don’t work anymore. It seemed like yesterday when I made my first trip there to take my tests and learn of the company’s policies and procedures. My time there was like a vapor and now I will never see any of those people again. Before long, it will be like working for that company didn’t happen at all.

Colorado Springs was the same, as I left town time seemed constant. I see it every week and it hasn’t changed much over the years. Same with I25 on my way up to Denver. The route is mostly unchanged and the effects of time seem normal. The freeway is being widened near Park Meadows. It was being widened when I moved away and it is being widened again. Nothing unusual here. But when I made my turn off onto Arapaho road I began to notice some odd feelings. Arapaho and the Valley Freeway looked all different to me. I made a wrong turn and had to make a loop under the bridge and try it again. Home Depot is still there and I remembered that is where to turn so I pulled in off of Clinton Street, but the shopping center looked different and I didn’t see JD’s where I remembered it to be. It seemed like a lifetime since I had been there.

However as I approached Home Depot, I found my old parking place and spotted Dennis’ car there as well. Suddenly I felt as if I had been there last week, as if no time had passed at all. Dennis looked the same, save for a few more gray hairs and we quickly picked up where we left off. We still have the same friends and interests and a common past. Soon we were discussing our internet problems, some things never change. However, as we discussed megabytes and gigabytes and data rates we had to laugh. If someone would have described these numbers to us thirty years ago it would have sounded about as likely as Star Trek. Thirty years ago we had an acoustical modem that you used by sticking a telephone receiver into rubber lined holes . Our data rate then was a whopping 100 bits per second. Then we upgraded to 300 and then 1200. Later 9600 bits per second was warp speed. The five million dollar mainframe we worked on had 65k of memory, not 65 megabytes, just 65k bits. We typed our code on card decks. Those times seem like a million years ago, maybe even another lifetime.

The time for lunch to end was upon us and just as always we sauntered into the parking lot and vowed not to let six more years pass. Leaving was as always, like it was just last week and we were on our way. But as I proceeded down Arapaho towards the east, time warped again. Everything is different. There are new businesses, new buildings, new roads and new signs. Even the intersection at Parker Road is different. Seemed like forever since I had been there. Parker too is quite different for the same reasons. Feels like much time has passed since the 20 years I lived there.

However, the instant I passed the town of Parker, I was jolted from the future to the past. South of Parker nothing has changed in six years. It was like I’d never left and I could have been driving down the road yesterday and I wouldn’t know any different today. My subdivision is also unchanged, the same deer are still standing around in the yards eating the grass and the forest along the street looks exactly like it did all those years ago. My old house is different though and I’m glad Tricia didn’t have to see it. We worked hard to make it look and feel like the mountains so the house was surrounded by rocks and trees and a beautiful rock garden in the center with a colorful crab apple tree in the middle. In the years we lived there some of our pines reached at least 50 feet. However, it appears the new owner doesn’t like trees. Majestic old pines chopped down and disposed of, the rock garden, the tree, the flowers, the juniper bushes all gone. Twenty years of loving attention to detail all wiped away. Now the house could be something transplanted straight out of the sterileย  and monotonous neighborhoods of barren Aurora.

Finally, my destination. The storage unit to pick up my photography studio stuff, and the weirdest part of the entire journey. Here, time had stood completely still. I can still remember being miffed that my studio wasn’t making the trip. We were going to get a new start in the mountains, but it did not appear that my photography was going to be a part of it, and it wasn’t. The daily war on cancer soon consumed us and the years passed by quickly, almost like a blur. But now standing here looking at my backdrops, my wall prints, brochures and office equipment it seemed that time had stood completely still. Almost has if I had been transported out of my life and into someone elses for six years. But now I feel like Father Time has waited for me, patiently standing by while I dedicated the years to another person’sย  needs. It was like I had been suddenly transported back to a life that has been faithfully awaiting my return. In fact it was like the clock had actually gone backwards six years to pick me up where I left off.

I don’t know if I will want to have a studio again, probably not since my interests have changed and I am more at home outdoors than in a studio. But I know one thing, my equipment wasn’t doing me any good up there with me down here. Time marches on and I am eager to find out what he has in store for me now.