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

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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

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

Happy New Year 2015

Happy New Year… 2015! 2014 is behind us and we have a whole new year took look forward to. I do so with some trepidation however, as each successive new year seems to come with a new wave of problems to deal with.

halo

Halo on the Pikes Peak

I actually started my 2015 celebration by taking advantage of the cold and snow day on Nov. 29, 2014 with a look back at my images from 2014. Using Photoshop, I browsed every photo session from 2014 looking for good examples of each for my 2014 review. I created a new photo album for my S. W. Krull Imaging Facebook page to contain these images and also started my iStock 2015 year off with a bang by uploading that batch there as well. It started out to be a pretty good year with some good photo shoots of snow and wildlife in the Pike National Forest and some hikes to Bald Mountain to look at Pikes Peak from above the tree line on the other side of the valley. The year finished with a bang as well with several excellent photo ops here in Woodland Park, including the USA Pro Challenge, a Veterans Motorcycle Rally, the Cruise Above the Clouds car show, Oktoberfest and Apache the wolf at Native American Day.

2014 was a pretty good year for my Examiner role as I finally achieved “Newsworthy” status there by reporting on the previously mentioned events here in the City Above the Clouds. I also finished 2014 up with a couple of Examiner articles, one discussing the 2015 racing schedule and another about making a New Year’s Resolution to run instead of packing on more pounds for the rest of winter.

2014 turned into a pretty good year for the wolves with a couple of surprising developments at the end of the hunting seasons when federal judges finally ascertained that the states were not honest stewards of wildlife they had been entrusted with. Wolves in four of the worst killing states have been placed back under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Other more progressive states such as California are working to assure that the wolves receive adequate protection from trophy hunters and trappers. My hope is that in 2015 trapping will be seen to be the barbaric and unnecessary practice that it is and the majority of people with good hearts will lobby hard for it to be banned for good in the U.S.

Unfortunately my aspirations were slowed a bit at the end of 2014 when my trusty camera bought the farm, but it was probably getting time for a new one anyway. My rule of thumb is to get a new one when I can double my megapixels. My Canon 40D had 10mp sensor and if I am not mistaken the 70D and 7D MkII both have 18mp sensors, which is close enough to double the 40D especially considering the advancements in technology that has occurred since 2008. I am excited to see what new capabilities I will acquire with the new technology.

Also in 2015 I hope to score a copy of Adobe Light Room. I have been struggling along with an old version of photoshop for years now and have been salivating at the color management tools available in the new software. And of course I hope 2015 is filled with many exciting photo ops. The Lost Creek Wilderness has long been on my to do list and perhaps 2015 will be the year.

2015 is looking like it is going to be a great year. I am hoping the best for myself and my friends as well. Happy New Year!

Death of a camera

Still mourning the loss of my Canon 40D. First time in my life I have actually worn a camera out. So I was thinking back at the times I had with that camera and it Deer-Triooccurs to me that we covered a a lot of ground together. For starters I imagine there were probably close to 1000 treks through the wildlife preserve and the lake to photograph the deer herd where I used to live. There were the balloon festivals, marathons to be covered, hikes in the mountains of Boulder, the sheer cliffs of El Dorado State Park, Rocky Mountain National Park and the Mount Evans Wilderness. The camera was with me as picked my way onto rocks Climbing-Teamnear the banks of Clear Creek photographing Dipwhitewater rafting and kayaking. We were wary when we photographed the female bear with her cubs and were surprised by a nudge from behind from a curious bighorn sheep and we made ourselves comfortable with a family of coyotes while they feasted on a deer carcass.

Coyote

The camera was with me in good weather and bad, sunshine, rainstorms and blizzards.  One other time I thought the camera had seen it’s last shot during a blizzard in 2009. My gloves got wet and I think a little moisture must have seeped into the shutter button. Anyway the camera quit shooting, but I opened all the little doors on it and later on it dried out and started shooting again.

Through the lens of my 40D I experienced the aging and passing of my samoyed and my border collie along with their feline buddy Bubba. The camera was along when we said goodbye to our home in Parker that we thought we would retire in.

We stared in wonder at the constantly changing north face of Pikes Peak and explored the forests and parks of the Pike National Forest when we first moved to Teller County in 2010. Since then there have been fires and floods, drought and storm, and some incredible mountain snowfall to capture.

Pets

Finally, at the most inopportune time, my trusted device failed me. I was trying to get some shots of a small herd of young doe mule deer who were strolling past. Much to my surprise the deer just walked right up to within a few feet of me. Close enough that they passed between me and my friendly little tabby cat Tigger who didn’t seem to be the least bit concerned. I was worried that the deer would become startled by the little guy and was holding my breath hoping not to scare them into any sudden violent behavior. TiggerBefore long I was gazing in wonder and amazement as Tigger and the smallest deer of the group were touching noses and making friends. Unfortunately the only record of the incident will be in my mind. The final image captured by my 40D was the portrait of Tigger that I had taken moments before.

All in all it was a very rewarding six year run with that camera. I hope then next six years are equally filled with wonder and adventure. By the grace of God they will be.