Coyote Ridge

Coyote Ridge is a trailhead at Eleven Mile Reservoir that I’ve been meaning to hike for a couple of years now. I’ve started the hike and turned around a couple of times, both times in the winter. The cold at Eleven Mile Reservoir is extreme so one time I turned around for that reason and the other time because I knew that I would not be able to climb the ridge without snowshoes or at least my Ice Trekkers.  The logical solution is to explore the trail the first time in summer… but I always seem to have something to do in the summer!

Yellow Wildflowers at Eleven Mile State Park

Well yesterday I didn’t have something to do… the osprey have probably already migrated to South America, the eagles have vanished from the Canyon and the deer and elk are nowhere to be found. I’ve seen pelican flying over the canyon on their way to the reservoir but the eagles don’t seem to have that behavior. I’ve seen the eagles fly west around the mountain where their nest is but from there where they go is a mystery. Once we spotted a bald eagle at the reservoir, along with a bunch of other birds hanging around a bag of trash thrown down by a camper, but that is the only time. However I have been suspicious for a long time that the eagles make the wild southeast section of the reservoir closest to the dam their summer home, the only section of the park without vehicle access.

Eleven Mile State Park

So I arrived early at the park yesterday with the intention of creating a video of this exploration and began the trek around the cove to the rugged ridge on the other side to the east. As I neared the ridge I could finally see where the trail was going to cut through the trees and rocks, up close it became obvious that the trail was a well maintained route facilitated by a set of stairs constructed of logs. I quickly made the steep but easy ascent anticipating a fabulous view on the other side. However the reward did not come immediately, I had to hike probably another half mile where an offshoot onto another outcropping became available.

On the higher ground the trails turn to forest roads for the Park Service, but mountain bike tracks also indicate that these are commonly used trails for bikers, something I’ll have to keep in mind. I would like to explore the entire southeast side someday but the distance is too great for me to want to do it all on foot. Mountain biking the section would be awesome!

Eleven Mile State Park

Well anyway, I made my way down closer to the shoreline to where the view did open up, allowing me to get some beautiful pictures and survey the entire vista to the west and north. I could see that there are a number of inlets in the wild terrain of the southeast side but I was unable to see the big dam marking the entrance to the stunning Eleven Mile Canyon. I suspect you would have to get right up to it in order to see it, so I wasn’t really expecting to see it from the first outcropping anyway.

After exploring the massive rocks creating this beautiful access to the lake I decided to just sit awhile and see if I might see the raptors flying over the clear blue water in search of the big trout I’ve often observed there. In the stillness of the morning, motion on the big island in the middle of the reservoir had caught

Pelicans at Eleven Mile State Park

my eye. Pelicans were landing and taking off from there and closer inspection through my big lens revealed a huge population of pelicans and great blue heron making themselves at home. The pelicans were all bunched together close to the east shore while the blue heron were spread out closer to the high ground in the on the north end. None of the birds paid any mind to the kayakers and paddle boarders floating past.

I never did spot any raptors, although some other hikers told me that red-tailed hawks could regularly be seen soaring overhead. Eventually I could feel my skin begin to burn from the blazing Colorado sun so I decided to call it a day, next time I will be sure to remember sunscreen. Although there are many trails up there going in every direction it wasn’t difficult to find the way back… just don’t stray too far from the water and you will eventually be returned to the starting point.

Once again, there is a video associated with this adventure, so I hope you enjoy it! If you do, I hope you will consider subscribing to my channel, you can definitely help it to grow by doing so!

Pelicans over Eleven Mile Reservoir

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

Beautiful Outing at Manitou Lake

It always seems like the greatest expedition is going to yield the greatest images, but sometimes it’s the simplest choice that’s the best. This was one of those days… A quick check of the time of sunrise in Colorado indicated the sun would be peeking over the horizon at about 6:00 a.m., and by coincidence that’s exactly the time the gate at Manitou Lake opens 🙂 Other much more difficult locations with dubious chances for great images were quickly cast aside and plans were made for a sunrise arrival at the lake.

Great Blue Heron at Manitou Lake

Kevin and I were greeted by a few great blue herons fishing along the shoreline but unfortunately we were unable to get very close before the great birds took flight. No matter though, the herons weren’t done fishing and landed at more opportune locations around the lake where we would be able to make a more stealthy approach. A pair of beautiful pelicans were enjoying the early morning sun, standing on a log poking through the surface of the water. The interesting effect was it looked like they were standing on the surface of the lake!

A couple of laps around the lake on foot yielded a few nice images of great blue heron and pelicans landing on the water. by 9:00 the sun was already getting hot and the birds were all retreating to the shade where they could enjoy this beautiful Colorado summer morning in comfort.

These are just a couple of images that we were able to capture, please check out our new wildlife group called Wildlife of Eleven Mile Canyon and Manitou Lake to see more! And if you love wildlife the way I do, please feel free to join the group!

Pelicans Swimming

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! I should mention at this time that this blog post is not sponsored by Canon or any other firm. All equipment used in the making of the blog and video have been purchased by me on my own volition.

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

Pelicans Swimming

Amazing Alpine Hike with the Elk Herd

Funny how things work out… As I sat sipping my coffee this morning I decided I didn’t want to do any driving today. For one thing gas prices are insane, and for another… I really don’t like spending time on the road. So the plan I worked out included a short drive to my favorite trailhead and a good hard hike.

When I reached the first summit it was so pretty and quiet out that I decided to stop and capture a few seconds of video and post it as a greeting on Facebook. I sat and enjoyed the ambiance for a few minutes while the video clip uploaded and then I headed back down the trail. But then I began to hear the birds singing over in the woods, some song that I didn’t recognize. So I decided to take the hike to the next summit and hoped I might catch a glimpse of the new birds.

Herd of elk in the Pike National Forest of Colorado

As I neared that summit I could see over to the next high peak, and on it was a beautiful herd of elk. I knew if I cleared the summit they would see me and take off, so I quietly got my camera ready and began to film and photograph. As I watched through my long lens I wondered what the cows were looking at so I moved up a bit further and saw that  they were watching over their crop of new calves! It was then that I knew for sure I was going to have to make a real video 🙂

I filmed for awhile and then decided not to disturb them by walking toward them so I just went back down through the forest the way I came. As I neared forest edge a grouse startled me by jumping out of the grass right at my feet and flying into a nearby tree. I got a few seconds of footage of that guy and took a few stills before he grew annoyed with me and flew away for good. But I was glad to see the little fellows have returned to my mountain. They normally like to run along the ground on the high ridges so perhaps I’ll get some better pictures of him another time.

Dusky Grouse in the Morning Light

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video and if you wouldn’t mind and you like the content, please like and subscribe!

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! I should mention at this time that this blog post is not sponsored by Canon or any other firm. All equipment used in the making of the blog and video have been purchased by me on my own volition.

Blue Heron Catching Huge Trout

Watch my new video which includes a great blue heron catching a huge trout! What a great day of photography as I get to see pelicans, heron, baby geese and the bald eagle triplets!

Houston We Have Lift Off


Osprey Chick Learning to Fly

Well that’s it… all the osprey we have been watching all summer are officially in the air 🙂 About a week ago the older chick took his first tentative flight from the nest over to the top of a nearby cliff, after which he took the leap and soared high into the clear blue Colorado sky. Today the younger fledgling hopped up and down, wings flapping furiously in a sustained test flight above the nest.  Papa osprey took up his usual perch overlooking the area as he kept a watchful eye out for any danger to his family while mama left the nest  for a nearby perch to give the young one space to take the plunge out of the nest. The older offspring soared high overhead as if to give the nest bound chick the confidence to take the leap.

Osprey Chick First Flight

Anticipation was high as the entire valley knew something big was up… Then it happened, the nest was left behind with a flight that swooped low at first and then gained altitude as the exuberant raptor flapped his wings and soared high above the pristine waters of the South Platte River in Eleven Mile Canyon. After a couple of triumphant fly by’s the young bird found a landing spot and took up a perch in a tall dead tree high on the canyon walls.

Osprey Chick First Flight

We watched for a long time, the young aviators joyfully taking turns soaring over the canyon to practice and show off their new skills. For a while the siblings actually flew simultaneously and perched side by side on a tree limb to celebrate the moment together.

Not much attention was paid to the nest on this day, it appears that the summer home as a social gathering point has become secondary as the new flyers learn to soar and hunt for themselves. It is with a twinge of sadness that I realize our task as photographers to document this momentous occasion may be complete for this breeding season, although I may journey further into the canyon to see if I can discover the best fishing spot in hopes that I may capture the victorious moment a meal is snatched out of the water.

Osprey Chick First Flight

I also wonder what next summer will bring, will the young ones find a mate and return to the canyon to nest and raise a family of their own? Or from their vantage point high above the bonds of earth will they spot a better location to continue the circle of life? Time will tell…  as my thoughts turn to autumn, changing colors and cooling temperatures, and the rut season for the big mammals… the bighorn sheep, elk and deer.

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal!

A Dog’s Life

It was a long day, glad it’s over. Don’t know if I’m any further ahead for having suffered through it, seems the line of those desiring to separate me from my money grew ever longer than the line of those wanting to contribute to my bottom line. Thought about doing great things after work perhaps even solving the immigrant kid crisis, but in the end cracking a beer and hanging out with the dog seemed like a better use of my time.  Plus the little bald liberal dude in the suit that gets to hang out with the hot Fox News chicks appears to be sufficiently agitated about the subject  for the both of us. Either that or he just needs a pee break, not sure which it is.

Big DogNow the wife used to rail at me for doing nothing after work but I contend that hanging out in the back yard drinking a beer with the dog IS doing something. Or perhaps the dog was just better company… as time passes I’m leaning towards the latter. Come to think of it, looking back at my life I can’t think of a single moment that I regret hanging out with the dog… Plus now that I have moved to Cripple Creek, this is gold country and Big Dog loves to dig in the yard. I like to think of myself as prospecting, not wasting time 🙂

In other matters, stock photography sales this year are on pace to continue last years trend, which is 50% of the year before, which was 50% of the year before that and so on. The good news is as near as I can figure, if the trend continues my revenue will never reach zero… Still trying to come up with a sales formula that incorporates pi or maybe even pi squared. That would seem so much more awesome and make me sound so much more intelligent than just the boring 50% thing. In any case it has become difficult to justify even getting my camera bag out of the closet. However Donkey Derby Days are coming soon and I will surely want to have some memories of that epic event 🙂

Or maybe it’s just summer, maybe in the summer a dog’s life is more attractive than life as a human?

First Snow

It was a beautiful crisp morning… the hint of fall definitely in the air here at almost 9,000 feet high in the Rocky Mountains. After a long week of drudgery and stress I knew I was in need of a road trip and the puppies needed their hike so I decided to take care of both in the same trip! I love taking the doggies to Little Grouse Mountain near Victor, beautiful scenery and almost zero chance of coming into contact with another person or dog up there, and the doggies love it too. Thought of going to church but when I’m stressed out, being around a bunch of married people and feeling alone is even more stressful. If I’m going to feel alone I’d rather just be alone, and the solitude of the mountains there is perfect therapy… Just me, the doggies and the amazing cool mountain breeze blowing in the pines.

Spring Water.jpgNoticed three empty drinking water jugs in the backseat and I have always wanted to stop at the spring for water. Almost at the split in the highway to Victor or Cripple Creek there is a big tank to catch the spring water coming out of the ground. A rubber tube funnels the water into the tank and anyone can fill water jugs from the spout for free. Animals, including elk, deer, and all sorts of big critters can also benefit from the big tank, and of course there is water spilling from the constant flow onto the ground for the little ones. Got my three jugs filled and headed on into Bronco Billy’s for some 50 cent biscuits and gravy.

stormy Collegiate PeaksThen me and the doggies were off to Little Grouse Mountain for a hike to the spectacular vista of the Sangre De Cristo and Collegiate Peak mountain ranges. Storm clouds were building over the Collegiate Peaks and a heavy haze made the Sangre Peaks almost invisible against the cloudy sky, not worth stopping for pictures but the billowing clouds off to the west were kind of neat. I felt this one looked much more dramatic in black and white, the elimination of color seems to have cut through the haze better. By the time we got back to the bottom the doggies were satisfied and ready for a nap.

Went in to Cripple to the Double Eagle and made some nickel bets, long enough to get a Untitled-1.jpgcouple of free brews to wet my parched whistle before heading back over the pass to Woodland. As I cruised through Gillette Flats I thought I could make out some snow up high on Pikes Peak through the storm clouds… the first sign that the fleeting summer in the high country is nearing an end. Figured I’d take a better look when I got to Woodland with it’s good views of the north face. Sure enough, from the excellent vantage point in Woodland it was apparent that the first snow of the year had fallen down to about 11,000 feet on the peak. But when I went to my usual vantage point the best view of the snow wasn’t visible so I took a swing up Paradise and on up into Paradise Pines for a better view which paid off… it was the perfect spot. The north face of the big peak shows a little dusting but the most snow can be seen on the little peak, which might be Cheyenne Mountain, towards the middle left of the frame.

Pair of Buck Mule DeerThen on my way down I could not believe my good fortune… two beautiful buck mule deer grazing in a meadow of wildflowers. Once again, extremely happy I had set my camera up for back button focus. For some reason once the bucks noticed me they took quite a few steps towards me, so I just held the button down which activates AI Servo focus (continuous) mode as long as I hold the button.  Normally a camera is set to one shot mode which activates when the shutter button is depressed. Then what happens is only the first shot is in focus and the subject becomes blurry as it moves closer to the camera. As a result I got quite a good bounty of the two deer in the beautiful meadow. What a way to finish a great day in the mountains 🙂

These pictures and more from the day are available on my website as wall prints on glossy metal and acrylic sheets, canvas, or matted and framed with your choice of frame. Gift items including coffee mugs, t-shirts, greeting cards, pillows, towels and other handy household items are also available. Commercial stock versions can be purchased from 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

The Dilemma

Just when I thought I had found the superhighway to the high peaks of the Ute Pass northern ridge, I find myself thwarted by a gate and a no trespassing sign 😦  I finally got an early enough start in the cool of the day to really take a run at that trail with the doggies. We were making good progress when all of a sudden I saw a fence… then a closed and locked gate followed by the totally rude sign 😦 I had no idea that someone owned that section of the Pike National Forest… How can you own a national forest anyway?

Storm clouds and snow on Pikes Peak Colorado

Storm clouds and snow on Pikes Peak Colorado

Well, back down we went… It was getting hot by the time we reached the bottom anyway. I did notice on the way down however, there is another trail leading southeast. I’m pretty sure it is the one that connects to some other trails that go all over the mountain, including up to Bald Mountain. But, that exploration will have to wait for another day.

Had a nice lunch with my friend while closely watching the temperature and the clouds. Landlord won’t let me leave the doggies at home, not that they would appreciate being home without me anyway.  Be that as it may… if it gets too hot I can’t leave them in the truck camper while I work. Even though it is well ventilated it still heats up in the sun when the temperature is over 79. Kind of amazing… 79 is borderline, but 80 or 81 is too hot. Well anyway, the dilemma… work too much and I get too tired to enjoy life and lose money at my photography and writing, work too little and I don’t have enough money to enjoy life or do my photography and writing. So whatta ya do…

Anyway, today it suddenly jumped to 89, a real rarity for the mountains and I can really feel the heat beating down on the roof and south window… Fortunately I had the foresight one summer to install a window air conditioner and I have it and the fan going full blast! And as a sign that the Almighty is watching down on me, I just noticed yesterday that I had made a good print sale to make up for today’s lost wages, a nice winter scene on Pikes Peak 🙂 Reminds me of the Bible verse, “My God shall supply on my needs according to His riches in Glory.”.

 

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

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 🙂

End of Summer

The Labor Day weekend is a bittersweet time where I live, especially the Monday holiday. It is unofficial end of summer and the highway through town will be jammed with cars and pickups pulling camper trailers. Thousands will stream out of the mountains to head back to their homes in the cities and plains of the Midwestern states to start school and go back to their jobs. It will be a good day to avoid the highways and byways and to just stay home and get things done around the house.

The mountains will become quiet and a peaceful cool will settle in as autumn sets in. This is my favorite time of year for photography as the aspen trees change and the mountains take on their mantle of gold before becoming covered in winter’s blanket of white. Fall is my favorite time in the mountains. The storms of summer will come to an end and the days will be filled with beautiful late summer sunshine providing excellent lighting for landscape photography. I like to get out during the week to enjoy the solitude of the workweek when even the weekenders are absent from my favorite places.

I also look forward to participating in many of autumns great events. This year I plan to attend Oktoberfest in Woodland Park and we are going to have our own ultra marathon in the Pike National Forest not too far north of town. And I am already looking forward to my annual hike up the Crystal Falls Trail to Crystal Reservoir to see the colors on the big Peak.

Today however, winter and snow are on my mind and on this crazy day on the roadways I will stay home and make preparations for the inevitable onslaught of white.