Venturing Out

It was unavoidable, had to pick up a prescription at Walgreen’s down in Woodland Park. I rarely look forward to going down there, today even less. In addition to Walgreen’s I had to brave Walmart and Tractor Supply as well, mask on face avoiding all contact with people. Of course there is no place to have lunch, no place to stop for a micro brew, nothing to do but get my supplies and  get out. Thankfully the panic in the mountains appears to be pretty much over with and supplies were plentiful. Walmart is monitoring how many people are in the store, but it wasn’t busy and fortunately I didn’t have to wait in any lines.

Springtime Deer in the Colorado Rockies

I did decide to drive up to Paradise Open Space Park to see if I might be able to take a little hike in the woods on the mountainsides of Ute Pass. Saw quite a few deer on the way,  looks like we’ve added significantly to the herd! Sadly it looks like the pine beetle have laid waste to quite a bit of acreage with a lot of trees cut down, ugly stumps left in their place… victims of the drought that is thankfully over with. The trail was steeper than I remember, or perhaps the gravitational pull of the earth has increased significantly. I suppose the month that I’ve been sitting on my butt recovering from surgery may have contributed to me sucking wind on the inclines… but I’m going with the gravitational disruption story, it has a better ring to it 🙂

Cloudy Pikes Peak

I usually write with some joy about the arrival of the spring equinox and the glorious light of the sun on the north face of Pikes Peak, but I was in the hospital on that day with the north face of the Great Mountain far out of view and out of mind. And I have to say, there isn’t a whole lot of joy going around this year and even the beautiful light of spring shining on fresh snow did little to lift my spirits. I am thankful though to live in such a beautiful sparsely populated place where a person can still go hiking without getting arrested.

There are rumblings of a loosening of the stay at home order coming next week, but I also saw a warning to go with it to “Stay out of the mountain towns.”. Can’t blame them I guess,  I don’t really want the city people bringing the virus up to my little mountain town either.

All in all I would have to say it was a pretty good day, assuming I managed to avoid contracting the virus. Speaking of which, stylish face masks printed with one of the many images on my website are now available for purchase! I’m going to get one or two for myself, as soon as I can figure out which picture to use!

 

Is Winter Really Over?

Elk in Fresh Rocky Mountain May Snow

Three days of snow in May and the storm clouds have finally dispersed. A beautiful hike through the fresh snow in the back country and I’m wondering if we will finally be able to say goodbye to Old Man Winter for the season! I guess the elk were probably hoping for the same… when we cleared the ridge I saw them basking in the morning sun that we haven’t seen for days 🙂

Storm Clouds on Pikes Peak Colorado

 

 

Grandeur

Rough legged hawk Soaring Above the Rockies

Sometimes in the morning I stop to just thank God for the grandeur of the surroundings that He has blessed me with. These majestic mountains, the beautiful wildlife and the peacefulness of this incredible wilderness. And this morning I was doing exactly that when I noticed this rough legged hawk soaring high above me.

It is a good omen I think, a sign that the almighty was listening to my grateful prayer 🙂 It is also my prayer that through my pictures others will see His handiwork and appreciate the wonderful gift that He has given us in this amazing planet with all it’s wonders.

Majestic Snowcapped Sangre de Cristo

Majestic Snowcapped Sangre de Cristo

Spring

Today is the spring equinox and as it turns out, my fourth anniversary with WordPress who’s software greeted me with a nice electronic congratulations 🙂 Can’t say I even remember signing up, but four years ago today was exactly nine days before Tricia went into surgery to try to save her spine from the tentacles of the cancer she was so bravely battling. Unfortunately although they called the surgery a success, she never walked again. I don’t even remember blogging the first year of my membership here. Every day consisted of pushing her wheel chair about a mile down to the coffee shop and back. The coffee shop had the only chair on the planet, as far as I know, that she could be comfortable sitting in. The sun would stream into the windows there and that warmth and comfort was about all there was to look forward to. By the next spring she was gone and I was starting life anew… Thinking back that first year alone in the campground was crazy! I’m sure I had plenty to blog about then, perhaps I should go back and read some of my entries 🙂 I remember every weekend through the spring and summer I spent hauling the remnants of our lives together off to an auction house in Denver.

Sangre de Cristo Spring

Sangre de Cristo range on the first day of spring

Today didn’t feel much like spring though, yesterday the windchill was -1 and today the real feel was 10 accompanied by a couple of inches of blowing and stinging snow. That didn’t stop me and Big Dog from making the trek down to the mountain, it was cold but with a couple of inches of fresh snow and some beautiful sunshine it was a splendid day 🙂 The alpenglow was some of the most pronounced that I’ve seen yet, but I shot that yesterday and felt like sleeping in a little today. By the time we got there the view to the west was obscured a bit from blowing snow and haze in the air from the spring snowstorm, but the view of the Sangre de Cristo range was stunning anyway. Although not award winners, the pictures from today are pretty and a good record of the first day of spring for 2018!

Snow on Pikes Peak

Fresh snow on the foothills of Pikes Peak

Was hoping to see some deer out early this morning but no luck with that. I wasn’t paying much attention on the return trail and missed the turnoff which produced a view of the Pikes Peak foothills and some blowing snow off to the east that I haven’t noticed before. Some wispy clouds in the morning sun added to the scene which kind of made the day 🙂 However, plans to get out on my mountain bike were definitely dampened by the wind and snow, maybe next week!

I hope that this spring brings hope and joy to everyone, especially my readers and that all your plans for the warmer weather come to fruition! I know many are struggling with all kinds of issues and it is my fervent prayer that with the onset of the warm sunshine peace and prosperity will seek out and find each and every one of you 🙂

Futility

I have to admit, today’s project seems like an exercise in futility. Without a running vehicle I see the same scenery and the same photo subjects day after day with little hope of shooting anything original or new. And even if I did the odds in this saturated marketplace that anyone will even see my work is becoming more and more remote. Last week I wrote of alpenglow, the cool celestial effect from which the Sangre de Cristo mountain range got it’s name. I don’t know, maybe everyone but me already knew about alpenglow or maybe I’m just more easily entertained than others, but the fact is virtually no one saw the article. Or maybe I am the victim of the new Facebook algorithm that picks out for people what Mark Zuckerburg thinks they should be looking at. I have noticed recently that I am only seeing the posts of a couple of people, over and over and over. Funny, I eliminated 90% of my most annoying liberal friends and now all I see are the annoying posts of my few remaining liberal friends. Not sure what that means, maybe liberals make the most posts or maybe FB thinks I am in need of reindoctrination, lol. The fact remains however, virtually no one is seeing my posts and Facebook has become a nearly irrelevant tool for marketing my work. On every post I make, I am reminded that others are “boosting” their posts by purchasing ad space. And true enough, my side space is filled with ads by other photographers that I have no interest whatsoever in making a purchase from and am quite sure that they have no interest in my work either, a waste of money for all involved.

Springtime Aspen and Fence

Barren springtime Colorado aspen trees

Fortunately for me, the business models of my stock agencies are more business oriented in their search methodologies, favoring those who work hard and consistently produce new material without making judgements on the political correctness of the producer. Shooting for stock is quite a bit different than shooting for art, in fact too much artistic manipulation will only get your work rejected by the stock editors. Subjects of great beauty are of course helpful in stock photography but not necessary. Advertisers are often not looking for magnificent scenery for their ad campaigns, but are looking for a concept that matches their vision. A suitable backdrop for their vision often includes a copious amount of open space for text or imagery of the product they are marketing.

So today, the mountains looked pretty much the same as they do every morning at sunrise, amazingly beautiful and worthy of a few shots even though I don’t see any difference since the last time I photographed them. But today with the despair of the failure of my more artistic work to sell I turned my sights back to stock. I have been eyeing these aspen trees for some time and today I noticed that the sun was casting an interesting light upon them and the parched mountain grass. Knowing that sharp focus is important to stock editors, I set my camera to Av and f8 in hopes of a razor sharp image and tried to capture a vision of solitude or loneliness in the simplicity of barren late winter aspen trees. These I uploaded to my stock agencies along with some of the morning Sangre de Cristo, however only this one have I added to my own website where it will be sold as royalty free stock.

Facebook posts of my work require a lot of extra time, and my return on investment of this effort does not appear to be worthwhile so I won’t be putting in any extra effort making my images available for viewing there. Until I see some effort in fairness by Facebook I consider it to be an irrelevant tool as far as business marketing is concerned. On the upside, I have recently noticed that I have made “All Star” at LinkedIn as interest in my portfolio is growing there 🙂 Any of my readers who want to continue to see daily updates are welcome to add me as a LinkedIn contact! You are also welcome of course to subscribe to my blog  by clicking the follow button and you will receive an email each time I publish a new article!

Difference a Few Days Can Make

Storm clouds roll in on the north face of Pikes Peak Colorado

The weather changes fast in Colorado, that much is certain! A few days ago I was making my morning rounds, the gym, the grocery store, the library, etc. until I finally ran out of things to do. So I stopped at my favorite Pikes Peak viewing location to walk the doggies. When I was done I was sitting in my truck, worn out from the late night before kind of dozing and wondering what to do next. Eventually I looked up and the beautiful sunny morning I was enjoying was changing fast! The approaching storm brought days of cold and snow to the high country and I was lucky to capture it rolling in over the north face of Pikes Peak. The whole show only lasted about 15 minutes before the peak was completely obscured by fog and clouds so I was lucky to have looked when I did!

Cute herd of curious mule deer

Today, only a few days later, the sun bathed the high country in beautiful springtime warmth and another day of photo opportunities. Almost missed it again though, so tired that I contemplated just calling it an early day. Fortunately the doggies were not ready to retire early and their eager faces were not possible to turn down… Loaded into the truck and off to the trail head we went. By then I was thinking the lighting was pretty nice so I decided to take a little drive after our walk to see if I could find some deer coming out for the nightly feeding. I have also been wanting to explore the Edlowe Road area, including some of the dirt road offshoots that I have been wondering about for years so this seemed like a good opportunity to do both.

Snow capped Pikes Peak Colorado

The journey paid off with a few really nice pictures of small herds of mule deer and some new views of the peak. Evidence of last week’s storms and snow are all but gone, a mantle of white on the peak is all that remains. And the aspen trees are starting to show signs of renewed life in the mountains of southern Colorado with a hint of green to mark the end of another long Colorado winter.

These images and more are available for purchase on my Pixels.com website in the form of traditional framed prints, glossy metal and acrylic sheets and canvas. Gift items are also available including apparel, coffee cups, beach towels and other nifty household items.

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

Last Vestiges of Winter

Winters are long in the high country but I hope that this early May snowstorm will mark the end of winter 2017.  Snow fell for 24 straight hours and the temperature dipped to 13 degrees on May Day Eve. Getting out the winter parka and relighting the pilot light on the furnace can be a bit dispiriting just when you are ready to get out the lawn chairs and lemonade.

Storm clouds receding from Pikes Peak ColoradoHowever the snowy weather can also bring magnificent beauty. So on May the first, the day following the storm I arose early in the morning to take a peak out the window at what might be going on at 14,115 feet on America’s Mountain, Pikes Peak. And from what I could see it looked like I was  going to hit pay dirt! There were some fluffy clouds gathering and hanging around just below the 14,000 foot level with just enough blue sky to add some color and interesting light to the scene.

So I grabbed the camera and my trusty Canon F4L 200mm zoom and loaded the doggies and camera equipment into the truck. We drove to the trail head and quickly marched up to the first clearing where there is an unobstructed view of the peak. Son Boy wasn’t too excited about stopping there for the picture taking and tried occasionally to convince me with his considerable power to do things his way and head up the trail. But I was able to hang around a while and get what I hope to be the last vestiges of the winter of 2017 as it receded from the massive monolith before me.

As I write this, on the sixth of May the first thunder of spring is rumbling through the valley and the mesmerizing sound of falling rain is providing the night’s music. The winter of 2017 and with it one of the most terrible struggles I have ever experienced in my lifetime is indeed behind me. Hopefully next winter will find my situation vastly improved, although from today’s standpoint it does not appear that it will. But I have hope for I know that it is written, And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God..

I have  selected this image and one other as the best of the series and have made them available as stock and print exclusively on my Pixels.com website. These will not be available on any micro stock sites as I have determined not to make my best images available at the discouraging rates that images are drawing in that venue.

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

 

Stormy Signs

Thought it was going to be a pretty uneventful day… hiked up the mountainside, the peak was cloudy but not too interesting. So I decided to just make my usual rounds, the gym, the coffee shop, pick up some snacks…

Cloudy Stormy Peak.jpgBut as I was between tasks I noticed that things had changed on Pikes Peak, the first signs of the impending winter storm were beginning to manifest on the 14,115 foot monster to the south. So I scurried to my favorite vantage point and set up the camera for a few shots of the developing storm clouds. But the wind on the peak was blowing so hard that the clouds kept changing. They kept changing and I kept shooting!

By the time it was over I had collected about 140 new images of the wild action on America’s Mountain… And I had filled two hours that I was wondering what I was going to do with. This one of the clouds and fog was one of my favorites for the day. It will be available as a print, an image on gift items and a stock image on Pixels.com. I hope you enjoy the view as much as I did!

The view outside now is of only heavy snow… appears it has moved in a bit early. Glad me and my critter menagerie is all safely tucked indoors. Also thankful for shelter tonight as I pray for those who must be out and about on an unsafe night…

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

The Darkness and the Light

Interesting day… Sitting at the Donut Mill collecting my thoughts as I realized that it was this exact day that my wife went in to hospice down in Colorado Springs two years ago. The cancer had spread everywhere it seemed and there was no more hope. On March 5, 2015 she passed, ending six long years of her battle against cancer, and beginning my long dark battle to rebuild my life.

Light falls on the north face of Pikes Peak for the first time this year.I was being paid by the state through a medical home care company to provide care for her, income that allowed us to rent a nice cabin in town. However, on the day she died it was a triple blow… in one day I lost my wife, my job and my home and to top it off, my main camera had recently died as well. I don’t think I have ever been more unprepared in my entire life for something I knew was coming. My first task, in order to get out of the cabin before another month’s rent was owed,  was to get rid of almost everything we owned … from the cabin and storage. Donated most everything rom the cabin to Storehouse Ministry and took the rest up to an auction house in Denver, quite an adventure in its own right! Didn’t take long, and I was able to get a new camera, my  Canon 70D.

Driving down the pass still contemplating those dark years, I noticed that for the first time this year the sun has gotten close enough to the Vernal Equinox to shine some light on the north face of Pikes Peak. I couldn’t help but appreciate the dichotomy, the joy of light returning to the mountain on the day of my darkest memory.

Speaking of light… it has been over 9,000 times that the light of some scene that I deemed worthy to capture has fallen on the 20 megapixel sensor of the camera I selected for the continuation of my stock photo business two years ago. Since then I have captured a collection of new memories, new friends, new experiences and new aspirations. I have experienced never before seen, by me anyway, valleys and mountaintops, wildlife, rivers, lakes, cities, events and people. The dark memories of this day two years ago seem like a lifetime ago, or maybe even someone else’s life.

I thought it very appropriate for the Almighty to remind me on this day that the darkness is only for a while. If we can hold on He will lead us through every valley and back onto another mountaintop.  As King David promises in the book of the Psalms “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”.

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

One Year Ago

One full year has gone by since  the passing of my wife and companion of 27 years. Much has changed in that year, but much is the same. I find that I miss what we had together, especially during our years in the Denver area. I miss our home, our friends our holidays together and having someone to hang out with on bad weather days. I remember the fun we had just walking around Park Meadows on rainy days, looking at stuff and going to the food court.  I miss walking our dogs in the parks near our home in Parker and hiking in Castlewood Canyon State Park. But after a full year, I also find that I can go days at a time without looking back, only forward at what might be yet to come.

Tricia MemorialOne thing I find interesting and maybe even good news that might be helpful to others navigating the grieving process, I can now visit places that remind me of our life together without feeling the sting of loss. At first I just wanted to escape, to go someplace where every restaurant, every park and every shopping mall didn’t remind me of our life together. But after one year, these places have become mine, not ours. One year of new experiences, new friends and new memories have made their way to the forefront of my mind and I feel at home in the town where fate landed me. The people in my life too have changed… no longer do they greet me with sadness when they see me as the broken half of a pair, but as my own separate and distinct identity.

Out of necessity, I have completed the massive and ruthless downsizing that took me from suburban husband with a good sized house, yard and garage to single and nimble photographer ready to roll on the next big project at a moments notice. The mountains are starting to respond to the advance of spring and the signs of renewed life are all around. With the change of four seasons now behind me I am ready to move on, to create a new life for myself and experience new things and to contemplate new possibilities. But I know also that I will never forget her and the good times we had together, I wouldn’t want to.