The Clearing

Continued my exploration of the new trailhead and trail system that I have been working for the last couple of weeks. After encountering “the gate” I had to branch out in a new direction and the cool cloudy morning we are having seemed just the day to do that. So early this morning the puppies and me forged ahead further than before, hoping to find a route up to the top of the ridge and maybe yet another view of the majestic mountain across valley.

Sunset on Pikes Peak

Beautiful summer sunset on Pikes Peak Colorado

By then little old Kitsu looked like she was getting tired so I decided we would just keep going back to the beginning. Just as we were getting ready to head back up the switchbacks I noticed a car driving in the woods! I watched to see what it was going to do when I figured out where exactly we were, at another trailhead parking area that I have used before.  It is also the place I came down to the time I descended the back side of Bald Mountain, and swore I would never hike again, incredibly steep there! Well anyway, I know where I am there and from my new trailhead I am happy to discover that I can go anywhere on the entire ridge from there, from inside Woodland Park all the way to Rampart Reservoir if I wanted!

Black-Bears-4I wonder how many miles and how many hours I have spent hiking that trail system? I have hiked it in summer, winter, fall, rain, snow and near darkness. I have seen deer, elk, bear, coyote, bobcat and all kinds of birds including eagles and hawks. The trails and the forest on this little patch of the Pike National Forest have been an amazing source of peace for me for almost a decade now, I feel so fortunate to live so close to such solitude. Countless pictures I have taken along the way, many of which can be viewed in my Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak fine art image  gallery. The commercial stock version of those images can be found by clicking here. Many more can be found in my wildlife gallery.

Definitely looking forward to many more miles of trail, changing seasons and abundant wildlife on this ridge now made accessible by my new favorite trailhead 🙂

 

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

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Deer Herd Adventure

This morning the Almighty was smiling on my photography endeavors 🙂 Thankfully I got a good night’s sleep and awoke before first light and before the doggies had any interest in departing from their comfortable slumber. So… there was time for a healthy breakfast of coffee and some discounted do-nut balls from Walmart that I snagged yesterday for $1.50 🙂 Fortunately the internet was  back up after a full day of downtime due to an “incident” which has yet to be divulged by my provider, and it wasn’t long and I was caught up on all the news, weather and latest Facebook rumors.

Two does in the wildernessAs it started to get light I loaded up my equipment and the dogs and aimed the old Dodge at the trailhead. As I neared the closest trailhead I detected some excess canine excitement… A quick visual assessment revealed a pretty good sized herd of deer grazing right where the trail begins. Obviously a problem for a hike with 100 pound Son Boy, who would like nothing more than to join the deer in a good frolic and cannot understand why they don’t have the same enthusiasm for him. So, off to the second trailhead… Saw a few deer here too, but at more of a distance and slightly over a hill, hopefully out of range of the doggy’s senses.

On our way up the mountain I noticed yet another small herd of the deer grazing in a clearing. Fortunately Son Boy was looking the other way and failed to notice them. I made a mental note of their location so I could come back and hopefully get a few shots in the beautiful morning light.

Two or three miles later my first loop through the woods was done and the doggies were resting in the camper topper while I prepared my equipment. Hoping the deer were still grazing, I made a second climb on to the mountainside. Unfortunately the herd I was looking for had already moved out and gone behind the mountain. So I turned back down, intending to try a new trail back to the trailhead. Much to my surprise, it was only a minute and yet another herd was making it’s way down the trail towards me.

Doe mule deer in the wildernessSo I switched on the camera and quick got off a shot, something I like to do in case everything goes south, at least I have one shot to prove I was there! Then I resisted the urge to move towards the deer for a closer shot. I thought since they were coming my way, maybe if I just stood still they would  keep on coming. My little gamble paid off as the deer seemed to remember that me and my photographic antics were not a threat to them. Soon a trio of the beautiful fur babies were coming directly to me.

Here I appreciated my efforts to switch my camera to “back button” focus mode. It worked splendidly and exactly as I hoped. A quick hit of the back button will focus on stationary deer and allow me to shoot at will until there is movement. Then when the animals began moving towards me at a faster pace, holding the button down basically switches the camera to AI Servo mode, re-focusing for each shot as the animals close in.

Now as I’m reviewing the images, it appears as though all the shots are tack sharp. The best will be uploaded to my premium print and stock photo site on Pixels.com while I ponder whether it is even worth it to upload to micro stock anymore. ROI from there has become so minuscule I am questioning whether it is cost effective to continue doing so. So for my stock image customers, at least the two images shown in this blog will only be available as stock on licensing.pixels.com

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