Do Over

Well, for whatever reason, yesterday’s fall picture trip was a bust. I failed to notice power lines in a lot of the images and those things are really time consuming to remove with Photoshop. Also it was too windy so the blowing leaves just made the images look blurry. And the wasted time… yesterday I decided that it would be a good idea to drive up Rampart Range Road  which I just noticed has made the most dangerous roads list, and photograph the Peak behind the golden aspen of autumn. However, the golden aspen are still green up there, the road is absolutely wretched and the Peak just looks like a big brown rock. Outside of Kansas, it was just about the ugliest scene ever.

Historic Gold Mine Colorado

So as I was pondering what adventure today might bring I was thinking a do over was probably the most profitable remedy possible. The autumn leaves around Cripple Creek seem to be the most magnificent that I have seen anywhere and the loop is an easy one to complete. So I arose early this morning and loaded up Big Dog for a hike. Fortunately we were able to beat the wind this morning so the leaves were behaving nicely on the trees and as luck would have it there were the coolest cirrus clouds hanging around high in the bright blue Colorado sky. They reminded me of angels… perhaps there were angels helping me today 🙂

After our little hike we headed south to Victor in hopes of getting some images of the mines and the north face of the Peak… without power lines :-|I was thinking that maybe the polarizer was to blame for some of yesterday’s failure but I could see the colors were so much more saturated with my sunglasses on that it was going to be necessary to use the dark blue glass again. Today the effect was amazing… it really brought out the blue sky and the angel clouds! To account for the one stop of light loss I was just extra careful to steady the camera on the hood of the old Dodge or on handy fence posts. Now that I’m back home in front of the computer I can say I am extremely happy with the results. The images are clear and sharp, the blue sky magnificent, and the colors deeply saturated just as I had hoped.Pikes Peak in Auutmn Aspen

Now I’m ready for tomorrow… truck all gassed up and maintained, pictures backed up, memory chips cleared, camera equipment ready to go… and with a clear head from our nice hike today I think tomorrow’s destination is going to be Twin Lakes. I have seen some images from there lately that make me confident that the leaves have achieved  peak color, the water should be awesome, the sky clear and the temperature amazing! I made that trip a decade ago and ruined the day with a bad choice. When I rolled into Leadville I went out to Turquoise Lake first only to discover that there really isn’t any autumn color there, only pine trees. By the time I got to Twin Lakes it was an ugly cloudy gray day… the trees up Independence Pass were beautiful, but the gray skies and wind made the water choppy and murky and with no light on the color it was a total bust. It has been a long wait for my return to that location, but it should be worth it!

These images and more are now for sale as wall art on my website, including glossy metal and acrylic sheets, wrapped canvas and with traditional framing and matting!

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Pikes Peak or Bust

Pikes Peak or Bust, my motto lately, became one step closer to reality today. Under contract for a house in the old west mining town of Cripple Creek, Colorado. Sketchy start to the day however, as creepy stalker woman somehow managed to be out working in the yard in March at 7:00 a.m. so as to be sure to be able to make snide remarks as I passed by with the dogs on their morning walk. As of this morning I was not sure that the sellers were going to accept my offer, so the words of stalker lady were all the more unbearable. Prayed a long prayer when I got back home that the long dark valley I have traversed over the last decade might finally be over and that He would finally allow me to shake this town and all it’s harsh memories.

Independence gold mine in Victor ColoradoAs I sat once again contemplating life with coffee and a donut at the Donut Mill in Woodland, I got the call that I was waiting for! Go down to the bank and get the earnest money, the sellers are going to sign! So off I went to pick up my friend and take the check over to the real estate agent 🙂 Once that was done, we decided that today would be a good day  for a road trip to Cripple for another look at the house and maybe some shots of the historic abandoned gold mines that I have been planning for a while now.

Pikes Peak or Bust was of course originally the motto of the gold miners pouring into the Cripple Creek and Victor Colorado gold mine discovery district. The area has a rich old west history and has somehow managed to retain that old west small town feel, despite the invasion of Las Vegas Casinos that have largely taken over the old town area. According to the website and organization,  MiningHistoryAssociation.org, “The Cripple Creek mining district lies on the southwestern flank of 14,115 foot high Pikes Peak. Gold was discovered in 1890 by ranch hand-turned-prospector, Bob Womack. Relatively meager placers led to the discovery of rich vein deposits. The rush was on as thousands of would-be prospectors and miners again accepted the challenge of the 1859ers, “Pikes Peak or Bust.” By 1900, 500 mines had been discovered, the towns of Cripple Creek and Victor had been established, and rail service had linked the district to the outside world.”.

Independence Gold Mine in historic Victor ColoradoAfter a short visit to some colorful Cripple Creek establishments and a drive past the prospective new abode, we decided to head over to Victor to photograph a couple mines I have been eyeing for some time now. The afternoon lighting was just right, the weathered wooden ruins of the mines against the amazing Colorado high elevation blue sky. The old Dodge truck took us up the rough gravel road to the base of the mines for an amazing photo session to capture this important era of American history.

So once again, a day that started out a bit sketchy became a day of hope… Reminding me of the words of the Almighty, “I will give you beauty for ashes.” and “I will turn your mourning into dancing.”.

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