In the Clouds

I know, it’s May 20th… but this is Colorado at 10,000 feet and we are in a winter storm warning, supposed to snow all day and pretty much all night. It’s already cold, cloudy and windy but I figured I’d better get the big dog out for his exercise before it really gets cranked up!

Clouds Forming in the Colorado Rocky Mountains

So we had a good hike and I even got to be part of an interesting weather phenomenon 🙂 Once on the summit where I could see all around I noticed a patch of what I first thought was fog. After watching a bit though I determined that it wasn’t fog, there was too much wind and it seemed to be forming right before my eyes! Turns out up on the summit at probably 11,000 feet or so I was watching the storm clouds form all around me. There was also a tremendous updraft so the cloud would form near the mountain and then shoot out of the trees into the sky. It was an amazing thing to behold, I never cease to be amazed at the splendor of these mountains!

Now as I sit here at my computer it is just gloomy and grey and flakes are beginning to fly. Soon I imagine, with this wind they will turn into this winter’s familiar stinging sideways projectiles. No matter, we are back at our cozy little cabin, toasty and warm watching the action outside 🙂

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What Falls in Your Lap

I guess the message of this post is to focus on what falls in your lap.  Woke up early this morning and as usual I opened the curtains on my way to the coffee pot. 16 degrees and socked in with fog… couldn’t see a thing. No matter, I was wretched tired anyway and a cup of coffee and a nap on the couch sounded like a pretty good plan 🙂

Frosty Colorado Forest

Drank my coffee, let Big Dog back in and shut my eyes… that was going to be the end of it. I suppose it was about an hour later and Big Dog was starting to complain so I kind of opened one eye and noticed that the sun was starting to shine through on the distant aspen trees which were magnificently covered with a heavy layer of frost. Now this is a scene I have long wanted to capture but there just isn’t any way to get in position for the shot. But wait I thought… Now I have the 400mm… twice the reach I used  to have!

So I went back in, grabbed the camera and headed off to try once again to capture the beautiful grove of trees. This time I had a little better luck. 400mm seems like just the trick! Hope ya’ll like the image 🙂 As always it is available as wall art on my website, this one is in the Rocky Mountain Winter gallery.

My Friends Are Back

Mule Deer Herd in Deep Snow

After what seemed like a very long absence, my friends have returned to the high meadow where I enjoy snowshoeing with Big Dog 🙂 Today we had a couple more inches of snow and some nice new deep drifts to plunge through with the big shoes! There is nothing like the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of snowshoes in deep fresh powder and it seems like I am finally getting into some semblance of physical conditioning. Or maybe it was just the result of some good meals yesterday and a good night’s sleep 🙂

Well anyway, we finally broke through to the top of the little mountain and there to greet

Mule Deer Herd in Deep Snow

us was this beautiful trio of mule deer does looking curiously on. They were probably wondering what kind of creature would make that sound walking in the snow! They stood motionless as they studied me as I readied the camera for that shot and waited patiently while I snapped of a few captures.

It was then that I noticed Big Dog looking intently in a different direction so I peered into the distance to see if I could see what he was so interested in. Off in that direction were two more members of this little herd, also looking curiously on. It was a beautiful scene, deep snow with the pine forest behind them and the Sangre de Cristo Range in the distance.

Mule Deer in the Winter

Then to top it all off we encountered these youngsters foraging in the bramble at a lower elevation with this cute young buck.

As always, these images and more are for sale on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas or traditional matting and framing. My images are also available on many cool tech, household and gift items, including phone cases, battery chargers, t-shirts and other apparel, blankets, pillows and much more! Once in the website, just choose your favorite gallery and click on an image inside to bring up all the different product options along with pricing. You can order right from the site and the pictures and products will be delivered straight to your door!

 

Mule Deer Buck in the Winter

 

No Bull

Lol, yup… No bull today, the surly beast has moved off the trail and on to another part of the forest. The coast was clear and we hiked to the summit and the high meadow where I always hope to see some wildlife. I don’t always see wildlife there, but today was a good day. As we crested the summit I scanned the edge of the wilderness for any animals that might be enjoying the clearing and the sun. Today there were two

Twin Bucks in the Snow

beautiful buck mule deer just standing there looking at me and the big dog trying to ascertain our intentions. I snapped a couple right away, my strategy for making sure I at least get some record of the sighting. Then we moved in behind a grove of trees hoping the big males wouldn’t notice. Turned out to be a good strategy, when I looked around a big aspen tree trunk I saw that the stags had not moved an inch. Using the tree to steady my camera I snapped a few more using various shutter and focus settings before calling it good. By the time we got back around the trees the pair of bucks had disappeared into the wilderness to the west.

We also saw a herd of elk, but they were in a terrible location right at the top of a ridge in shade with bright sunlight behind them. I took a few pictures anyway but I’m sure they didn’t turn out. I’ll take a look at them later to see if they can be salvaged with some creative cropping or something.

Picture Mining

Took Big Dog out hiking this morning, cold and windy… too cold and windy apparently for any wildlife to be out and about where I could photograph them. Well that’s not completely true, I did see a herd of deer butts going the other way about 200 yards up on the mountainside but I was not in any mood to chase them 😦

Pikes Peak in Fog and Snow

So I decided today would be the day to take a look back and see what I may have missed in as I blew through autumn and early winter shooting like a madman and taking little time for editing. I don’t even know how far back I need to go, but one folder did catch my eye called “Sea of Fog”. I remember that day well and was pretty confident that I would be able to mine some more images from that shoot. I know that I only processed a couple of them before moving on to the next project. In fact I have been shooting pretty much every day this entire year and I know for a fact I haven’t even looked at all my captures!

Snowy North Face of Pikes Peak

Off to a very slow start though, Photoshop and Bridge haven’t been cooperating with each other since I downloaded the updates for the new 2019 version. Upon closer inspection I noticed that the latest install had not updated the Photoshop shortcut on my desktop and I was running the 2018 version with the 2019 version of Bridge. So… after downloading a couple more updates I tried again with the correct version and am having quite a bit more luck, both in performance and functionality. Someday I need to learn about this new content aware stuff. I took a look at it and saw that it was going to be a lot more reading than I want to do today!

Snow and Fog on the Sangre de CristoSure enough, the “Sea of Fog” folder has quite a few good images inside. It was an amazing day for sure. Heading out of town on Highway 67 north with my family I noticed that Cripple Creek was filled with fog, well worth a stop at the overlook. From there I could see that the entire Arkansas Valley was also filled with fog, making a side tour over to Victor necessary. Don’t know what the family thought of all the interruptions but sometimes a photographer has to just get the pictures!

Well anyway, I have a lot of work ahead of me, there are hundreds of images from an entire year that need processing. Perhaps the the wicked wind and cold of a Rocky Mountain January will give me the opportunity to do that.

Manitou Incline in Winter

Manitou Incline in Winter

These pictures and more are now available on my website including a couple of the snow covered Manitou Incline that I have added to the Manitou Springs gallery. The snowy Pikes Peak ones that I just did will be in the Pikes Peak gallery. I hope that this Christmas you will consider giving the gift of art! My site sells wall art including metal and acrylic glossies, Canvas, and a whole bunch of cool household items including pillows and blankets, yoga mats, phone cases, battery chargers, coffee mugs and much more!

A Good Ride

Wasn’t too sure what I was going to do today… getting back in shape at my age is no easy task and I just felt tired this morning. But I resolved to get on my mountain bike with my camera backpack and head down the hill for a 50 cent cheese omelette at the casino. Figured I could just call it good from there if I decided to, but thought maybe at least having the camera along I might be inspired to go further 🙂 And when I got done with breakfast it was so beautiful that the idea of just going home became unconscionable 🙂 So off to Victor it was!

Herd of Mule Deer

Saw a small herd of mule deer along the way so I had to get off the bike and get a couple of shots. Unfortunately by the time I had my camera out of the backpack and ready to go the deer were getting nervous and headed off to other parts 😦 But I still thought this one turned out kind of nice, even though they were already a ways away. It appears a few mountain wildflowers are beginning to bloom up here at almost 10,000 feet of elevation!

Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range

Next stop, just short of the bridge in front of the mine I found an abandoned mine site that had an awesome view up the valley all the way to the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, and it appears that there is some new snow blanketing the high peaks. By then the sun had begun to light up the haze a bit too much for good pictures so I thought it might be a good time to try the polarizer on my #Canon F4l 70-200 long lens. The scene through the viewfinder was much more dramatic with the dark glass in place, so this last one of the day is the one I chose for this blog post. I have many more to process, including some of the alpenglow effect on the range before sunlight that I shot while taking Big Dog for his exercise and morning constitutional 🙂

Now back home after a good hard ride up and down the hills of the Cripple Creek mining district. Glad I didn’t let the early morning negativity defeat me today 🙂 Hoping all my readers enjoy the pictures, please check my website for new prints and gift items that will becoming available in the coming days as I get around to processing them!

Majestic Morning

Luckily I awoke early on this cold wet morning… Down here in the valley it just looked like any other foggy misty morning and I had no idea of the beauty awaiting me on the mountainside. Actually I just wanted to get to the gym early to beat the crowds so I loaded up the puppies and the camera and drove off to the trailhead where we always walk.

Cute FawnUpon arrival I noticed some little eyes curiously staring from the dense forest, a fawn mule deer wondering what we were up to! Turns out Mamma wasn’t far away and I got some nice shots of the pretty pair before heading up the mountainside. It was foggy and wet at the trailhead as well and I was tempted to leave the camera behind… but there was a hint of blue showing through the mist from the sky above. Sometimes that means that I will climb out of the fog and see a pretty cool show on the peak.

Trusting my instincts paid off and after climbing a few switchbacks a magnificent view of the peak shown through. The fog was blowing around at about tree line creating an amazing mystical misty effect. I ended up shooting quite few from different elevations as we climbed ever higher to the top of the ridge on the north side of the Ute Valley.Fog on the Peak

These I am hoping will be good sellers on my website. These images are the kind that most people never get simply because they are not there when the brief shows occur. This time was no different, by the time we got to the bottom of the trail again the show was over. The fog had moved off to the east and was no longer very interesting looking. Plus the right lens is needed, a phone camera is just not going to capture the dramatic effect that my Canon F4L 70-200 is going to bring in, for example notice individual hairs visible on the little deer. Also notice that although the pine branches are blurred, the eyes and fur on the baby deer are tack sharp. In this case I had to use spot focus by selecting a single focus point in the camera to insure that focusing will only be on the subject I choose. Phone and point and shoot cameras are not going to have this feature and focus would have been on the branches, blurring the deer instead. In addition to the usual print and gift item products, commercial stock images are for sale on my website on 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