Exploring Skagway Reservoir

Another day with no definite plan… Not that that is anything unusual, I rarely have a plan other than to wake up and have coffee. One of the ideas that has been rattling around in the background of my mind for a while has been to make the jaunt from Victor over to Skagway Reservoir.Β  As the coffee soaked in andΒ consciousness slowly began to percolate it occurred to me that today could be that day!

Foggy Mount Pisgah

First of all though, a stop at Grouse Mountain for my first climb to the overlook with Big Dog since my clutch bit the dust last January. I knew it was way too foggy to see the Sangre but I took the camera along in hopes that we might see some elk or deer. No luck with that, but the fog turned the nearby mountains into mystical ghostly shapes that created a completely different scene than usual. After a nice walk through the woods we climbed back into Old Faithful and headed for Victor. I was hoping that the fog had extended to the old mines there for some more cool photo ops but the sky was clear and bright and the mines were the same as always. I didn’t make any effort to get more of the same old photographs there.

Off to Phantom Canyon Road to the Skagway turnoff. Can’t say I was too impressed with the long washboard gravel road… Very annoying. No wildlife and no good views to photograph anywhere along the road either. Perhaps had we gotten an earlier start there would have been some mist and wildlife but 9:00 a.m. must be nap time for the local critters. The drive was so long and rough that I was about to give up when I saw what appeared to be a few cars parked in the distance. Must be it I thought, so I persevered, finally… success! Placid water and a dam came into view along with a few fishermen who had also braved the dirt road.

Skagway Reservoir

As we pulled in I could barely see the water through the glare of the morning sun… I noticed that I could see much better with sunglasses on so I figured this might be a good time for my B&W circular polarizer. It didn’t take long to discover the best vantage point for a shot… water like glass with the south Face of 14,115 foot Pikes Peak in the background. Big Dog was of course way more interested in the plethora of prairie dogs that were scurrying about the place foraging for food πŸ™‚

Wild Turkeys

I still held out hope that I would spot some wildlife on the return trip and it wasn’t long before I spotted a rafter of turkeys… Why a “rafter”? Well apparently according to this entertaining website, in the days of old the word raft used to mean collection πŸ™‚ Well anyway a few shots of the large birds and we were on our way home to review the day’s photographic bounty. Unfortunately on this day the images looked better on the camera than they do on the computer, but it was still a nice day and now I have seen the reservoir which by the way has quite an interesting history!

The reservoir itself was constructed in 1899 followed in 1901 by an electrical power station a few miles down Beaver Creek. At one time there was a tramway to the power station but after a major flood the station and apparently the tram were destroyed. According to the Mountain Jackpot there was a massive rainfall on Woodland Park and Cripple Creek that overwhelmed the Skagway dam burying the reservoir in 15 feet of debris and destroying the power pipeline which was never repaired. The power station survived but is now on accessible by hiking down the rugged terrain through Beaver Creek.

These images and more are now available on my website for purchase as wall art and commercial stock! Stay tuned, my next adventure is still in the planning stage but I hope to get out to Cottonwood Pass where I will explore the trail to the mountain goat viewing area πŸ™‚

 

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Signs of Winter

Once the colorful leaves of autumn hit the ground the mountains look kind of drab… kind of just like big jagged rocks. Lol… hence the name Rocky Mountains I guess. However we have been getting some snow here and there and a couple of days ago walking the dogs in the morning I noticed that the high peaks of the Collegiate Peaks and the Sangre Range have been putting on their winter mantle of snow. As the air cools and the fires of summer the distant peaks can be seen with greater clarity.

Snow Capped Sangre De CristoWinter is my favorite time of year to photograph… you could say I specialize in snow, which is probably a good thing given life at 10,000 feet of elevation! So the sight of the new snow got me motivated to get the camera ready and plan a hike to the good views as soon as possible! Well the day came and I eagerly ventured out in the morning to take the puppies for a short walk before hitting the trails with Big Dog. As I ventured out I was hit with disappointment though, gloomy looking clouds and mist 😦

But what the heck, the camera was ready and so was the dog, so off we went. Thought I might get lucky and see some wildlife that might save the day. However as I climbed higher the scene that came into view was magnificent. I couldn’t wait to get to the top before the rising sun had a chance to wash out the scene. Luckily I encountered no problems on the trail and the summit came in time for some great shots. The sun was hitting the distant peaks with just enough light for a beautiful early morning glow and there wasn’t too much haze from the foggy night before.Beautiful Sangre B&W

As I fiddled with the image in Photoshop I finally decided that the one image looked better in black and white. I really like the layers of mountains, the color wasn’t that great to start with and it just all looked more dramatic with a little more contrast that just works better in monochrome.

The hike was great and I had an idea that I wanted to see Phantom Canyon over by Victor so we stopped off at the grocery store in Victor and picked up some water and some Gator Aid for an extended trip. A couple of miles of the washboard dirt road convinced me otherwise though… I don’t need any loose teeth! Maybe another time… maybe another vehicle. Have been wanting a rag top jeep my entire life, maybe now is the time πŸ™‚

Well enough rattling on… these images are now available for sale on my website. Glossy metal and acrylic wall art is available, along with clothing and lots of gift and household items including greeting cards, t-shirts, yoga mats and much much more! Be sure to keep an eye on the website as I get more of these images processed!

Magical Morning

This morning began like any other… coffee, toast and an early start with the doggies for our hike in the woods. A magical mist filled the cool air this morning and the amazing green foliage seemed more lush than ever. The doggies even seemed to notice and were having a blast licking the water off the leaves of the underbrush. Wasn’t hiking for the exercise or for any kind of training benefit this morning, so we just took it easy, slowly climbing ever higher on the switchbacks, enjoying the plant life and water droplets along the way. Near the top of the trail I experienced a slightly rude setback as one of the rocks on the trail was loose from all the rain and I slipped as it rolled out from under me, slamming my kneecap onto another rock 😦 Lol… after a while the pain subsided and we started to make our way back down.

Pikes Peak SunriseAs I looked off toward the peak I noticed that an amazing cloudy misty fog had rolled in over parts of the north face of the mountain, creating a beautiful sunrise scene. The light of the morning sun was somewhat obscured by the clouds and the colors of the mountain and blue sky were subdued, almost watercolor like… It was amazing and I spent quite a long time photographing the changing scene as the clouds meandered across the north face.

Doe & Fawn Mule DeerFinally as we neared the bottom of the trail and the forest opened up, I noticed a doe mule deer staring at me. I hoped I could get one of her before the dogs noticed her or she got nervous about the camera… I successfully got focused and steadied and fired off a couple of snaps and then noticed the brush moving… The doe had a fawn and she had getting close to mama in mind! I quick focused on the fawn and started shooting in rapid succession as the doe and fawn grew closer. Finally it was over and mama led the baby away to safety.

Such a beautiful scene, appropriate that God would be painting on a Sunday. I thanked Him for the grace and beauty He had shown to me this weekend and headed for home.

These prints and more will soon be available for purchase on my website including glossy metal and acrylic sheets, canvas and traditional framed and matted styles. Gift items and novelties are also available, including, coffee mugs, t-shirts, shower curtains, greeting cards and more. Commercial stock versions of the images can be obtained from 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

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

Sports and Recreation

InclineYesterday started out too cold and sloppy to immediately run out and enjoy the first clear skies in what seems like forever, so I continued to ponder ways of making my pages and sites easier to negotiate. I noticed right away that my main photography page still has way too many non-photography related posts, mostly regarding sports.

Earlier in the year I had created special pages for wedding and model and portrait photography as well as a page for wildlife advocacy. Now it seems is a good time to have a special page for the growing number of posts about all the outdoor sports and recreation activities I continually find fascinating!

So yesterday was the day that S. W. Krull Sports was born! I’m very excited about the possibilities for this community page as it will provide a place for friends and fans of sports to interact and talk about their favorite events and accomplishments! The page participation is growing quickly with already over 50 likes in one day and I’m looking forward to a bright future for all the amazing activities available under the sun for energetic outdoor loving people and athletes!

Overdue Project

Cold, cloudy and dreary this morning. Sun is out this afternoon but there is so much mud and water everywhere from the huge pile of snow recently received that I’m not even going to attempt to go out in it. I don’t even know if I can get my truck back up the hill in this mess!

Beach-WalkAnd so I am bored and my wandering thoughts have turned to two boxes of prints. Worked hard many years ago with a few models to get a variety of prints that I tried to sell… It seems I was ahead of my time though, it was before digital, before the internet was big and before all the cool websites you can join to have your work marketed. A new computer job, and a lot of life’s problems and the prints just went into a box. But in all the moving over the last few years I somehow managed to keep track of my prints and negatives and have been keeping a close eye on them this year.

So today I decided to get them out and see if can scan the pre digital prints without having to get expensive film scans. I can put the prints on my Pixels.com site and sell them as prints and as Rights Managed stock imagery. One thing is for sure though… hundreds of prints stuffed in a box are not doing me any good!

Getting kind of tired of going to all the trouble of going out to get pictures and returning empty handed so I might be looking for a way to increase my odds of getting good pictures. Wondering if I can summon the enthusiasm for old ideas with new technology and new applications. Working with models instead of hoping for good luck on a hike or at a festival gives the photographer control over the setting and the lighting which greatly increases the chance of success.

So I’m going to scan and post a few of these images that are still relevant and see what comes of it. If it works out, I may return to my original idea, which was to work with models to create compelling imagery for prints and stock. It was fun then, I’m sure it would still be fun! Well anyway, I’m off and running!

The Rescue

I’m thinking I should probably put some of these stories down on the old electronic paper… John Hoss was my usual partner in crime and he has long since passed from cancer and I’m no spring chicken anymore either! I’m sure his sisters would like to hear the details of some of our adventures and I had probably better get to it before the memories fade πŸ™‚

Well anyway it was probably the spring of ’76, the ice had just gone out on West Okoboji and we were eager to get out in the water. John had built a two man kayak in shop class that winter, with a wood frame and fiberglass skin. Well on that particular day we had decided to put in at Johnson’s and paddle over to Pikes Point and back, doing a little fishing along the way. Of course there was no one at Pikes Point… it was a cold gray April afternoon and there wasn’t a soul on the lake, or even outside for that matter… I think it was about 50 degrees with a light breeze… So we soon bored of Pikes Point and decided to head back. But… at the time it seemed like a good idea to paddle across the lake and visit Gerk’s beach, the reasoning for that decision escapes me now… Well we got a little further than half way and a ferocious head wind came up along with some of the biggest waves I have ever seen on West! So we abandoned the idea of making Gerk’s and just headed for Johnson’s.

In the meantime we had begun to take on water as the bow was dipping under the waves and flowing over the top into the boat. We briefly debated doing some bailing with the bait bucket, but decided it would be a waste of time and only delay our inevitable arrival on Johnson’s beach. Of course in a kayak there are no seats, so we were kneeling in several inches of 40 degree water paddling furiously towards shore when we heard the horn of the Queen, the only other boat on the lake honking at us as it pulled up along our starboard side. Soon we heard the captain’s voice on the PA system asking us if we were in distress and in need of rescue… John and I looked at each other and I said to John, we don’t need rescued do we? John looked at the boat and looked at the Queen and looked at me and said, β€œWell that would be a real pain in the ass!”! So we told the captain that everything was fine and going according to plan πŸ™‚

Eventually we made the beach, half sunk in the cold gray water of West Okoboji, but laughing about the adventure and vowing to keep it a secret and not to tell our mothers about our marvelous idea and fun filled afternoon πŸ™‚