Bittersweet Morning

A special morning in the mountains today… After months of closure for some invisible project being performed by the mine to the north, my trailhead is finally open again. Whatever they had been doing appeared to have been completed months ago, but still the trail remained closed. Finally I called and prompted someone to look into it and it turns out that the trail could be opened.

Small herd of mule deer enjoying a beautiful Colorado winter morning

So this morning I loaded up the camera and the snowshoes and headed for the hills. It has been so long… I wondered if my ungulate friends were still there or if they had all  been shot by the trigger happy redneck population so prevalent here in the high country?

Well my question was soon answered… as I made my way up the steep ascent I could feel eyes upon me. I stopped and looked around a bit and sure enough, peering over the mountaintop were a couple of does wondering what I was up to 🙂 I stopped for a few shots before ascending further. The deer were waiting for me at the summit, warily staying just ahead of me in case they deemed it necessary to flee.

And ahead of me they stayed… about 100 yards all the way to the overlook where our

Small herd of mule deer enjoying a beautiful Colorado winter morning

paths parted. They meandered into the woods to the north as I turned left to complete the loop and head back down. One lone free range cow greeted me in  the deep snow, other than that I just made my way back down the mountain in the quiet of the morning.

Sadness filled my heart in the silence of the windward side of the mountain as I remembered my beautiful four legged companion who was so filled with joy at the freedom of the trail and the fresh mountain air his nose was constantly sampling. This was our special place and to be there without him was heartbreaking at first. soon however, I found comfort in the knowledge that he is no longer constrained by the bounds of this present reality and is free to visit his favorite place anytime he desires 🙂 I think maybe I could feel his presence galloping along the hillsides as I made my way back to the truck.

Small herd of mule deer enjoying a beautiful Colorado winter morning

Winter Day with the Bighorn

Alpenglow on the Sangre De Cristo

There is nothing I like more than spending a day with the Waterton  Canyon bighorn herd 🙂 The weather on my mountain was going to be cold and blustery but a nice sunny day was predicted for the Canyon and the decision on what to do and where to go was an easy one!

I got to the trailhead at about 9:30 a.m. which is usually a good start time. The parking lot was nearly empty so it wasn’t long before my pack was loaded, water bottle filled and mountain bike ready to go! My recent efforts at bike tuning appeared to be successful as I was comfortable in the newly adjusted saddle and that wretched squeak was gone! Turns out a slight alignment of the front brakes was all that was needed for my newly acquired peace and quiet 🙂

I soon passed the first of the favorite hangouts for the sheep with no sign of the herd.

Bighorn Sheep in Waterton Canyon by the South Platte River

Recent reports from the Canyon positioned them about four miles into the ride so I pressed on. I passed the yellow house and then the big dam at the 3.1 mile point, still no sign. Soon though I noticed a pile of rubble in the road… a very good sign 🙂 The bighorn scrambling around the cliffs often result in a lot of rock in the road and today was no different.  A lone sheep stood in the road and a quick glance upward revealed a few more. A big ram was resting along the bank of the South Platte River and a group of ewes and yearling were foraging on the mountain grass in the cliffs of the northern cliffs.

Bighorn Sheep in Waterton Canyon by the South Platte River

So I quietly put down my bike and pack and prepared for some photography.  This was going to be a good day to test out my new Manfrotto 502 tripod head 🙂 I snapped a few pictures and then attached the camera to the new fluid head and tried my hand at some motion picture recording. Though the new head was smooth and a pleasure to use, following the agile creatures is still a trick! I might add here that no one furnished me the 502, I purchased it on my own and there is no sponsorship from Manfrotto or anyone else for use of this head.

Soon the rest of the animals were on their way down to the road as some of them crossed

Waterton Canyon by the South Platte River

over to the river for a morning drink. Then much to my surprise they came walking straight to me! I backed off a bit and they came to me again! Soon one of the game wardens admonished me to give them some space, at which time I told him I did but the sheep appear to want my company!

I imagine they milled around my location for about an hour and then began wandering down the road. My second goal for the day was to ride all the way to the top of the road to the start of the first single track segment of the Colorado Trail, the entire six miles to the turnaround point, something I haven’t done in a long time! There is a stretch of river up there that I have been wanting winter photographs for a number of years now. I have a nice fall shot there but have always wanted to see it in ice and snow!

As always these images are available for

Bighorn Sheep in Waterton Canyon by the South Platte River

purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional framing and matting. Tons of cool gift, household and tech items are also available with one of my pictures, including coffee mugs, t-shirts, stationary, battery chargers, phone cases and much much more! you can also view collections on my website to enable simplified access to just the pictures that you are interested in!

Also please be sure to visit and subscribe to my YouTube site where you will find a short film set to inspiring music of this trek!

Some Christmas Sheep

According to the weather forecast today looked like an excellent day for a photo excursion to beautiful

Bighorn Sheep in Waterton Canyon by the South Platte River

Waterton Canyon for some bighorn sheep pictures. Snow last night and cold this morning threatened to put a damper on those plans but I managed to force myself out the door anyway, thinking the exercise would be a good idea before Christmas dinner!

Eventually photo buddy Kevin and I reached the parking lot and got out to prepare our bikes and gear for the ride up the dirt road along the pristine waters of the beautiful South Platte River on it’s journey out of the Rocky Mountains. It was here that we realized that the blue sky and sunshine were a little deceptive this day. There was a stiff wind blowing and any ideas of shelter in the canyon were soon dispelled by reality 😦 The canyon had become more of a wind tunnel than a shelter and it was a hard fight pedaling uphill against the stiff breeze.

No sheep at the primary sheep viewing location so we headed further into the canyon.

Bighorn Sheep in Waterton Canyon by the South Platte River

No sheep at the second location either and conversation turned to what a great workout we were  getting in lieu of the awesome wildlife imagery that we had envisioned 😦 Past the yellow house we pedaled, and on past the big reservoir too… Finally along the last vestiges of cliff wall we spotted a lone ewe walking along the road, and then another. The pair were making their way up the road and soon hopped onto the cliffs in deep shade where the lighting was less than stellar. We took a few shots there, looking often towards the cliffs where they had come down from in the first place.

Finally, a few sheep appeared in the lovely morning light spilling onto the rugged cliffs along the north side

Bighorn Sheep in Waterton Canyon by the South Platte River

of the canyon, so we picked up our bikes and gear and meandered down towards the new action. Eventually some rams appeared high on the cliffs, out of range of our cameras… and unfortunately did not descend before we were out of time… being Christmas day and all 😦 But we got some pictures and it was indeed an awesome workout. Clearly I need to spend more  time on my bike and less time at the computer screen! On the upside, my new Tamrac Anvil 23 pack was a great success, holding all my gear with space to spare and so comfortable that I hardly noticed that I was wearing it on my back! Soon I will be using to pack my new video friendly tripod so that I can add some motion to my imagery and contribute to my YouTube site!

Ultimately I did manage to get a few images that I like so I hope you like them! A couple are available on my website for purchase as wall art on glossy acrylic or metal sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing!

Winter Solstice 2019

Winter Sunset on the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Today marks the day when the sun has reached it’s southern destination at the Tropic of Capricorn and consequently the shortest day of the year for those of us living in the northern hemisphere. According to the Farmers Almanac, “Alban Arthan, Welsh for “Light of Winter,” is a universal festival, which has been (and still is) celebrated by many people and is probably the oldest seasonal festival of humankind. “. To me, it’s simply the true start of a new year as well as the day when these blasted long nights start getting shorter, if only a few seconds per day at first. I’m a daytime person, for a nature and landscape photographer not much can be done without light and longer days mean longer light!

Well anyway, 2019 was a pretty good year photographically speaking… Winter on my mountain was magnificent with plenty of good snow shoeing, some amazing weather phenomenon during the seasons change and some great photo trips to Eleven Mile Canyon, Waterton Canyon, Rocky Mountain National Park, Mount Evans and much more!

I also started shooting some video footage this year for the first time in my career! I had

Autumn on the South Platte River

my canon 70D for 4 years before bothering to learn how to use it’s video capability 🙂 The impetus to do so came at Eleven Mile Canyon. As I was sitting along the waters edge photographing the beautiful whitewater of the South Platte River I was thinking, dang, it’s a shame my subscribers can’t hear the power of the water as it roars out of the mountains on it’s journey through Colorado and Nebraska to the Mighty Missouri! Then I thought, wait… they can! If I can just figure out how to do it! Eventually that day I did figure it out and got some footage with great audio!

Bighorn Sheep In Waterton Canyon

Again, in Rocky Mountain National Park upon hearing the bugling of the bulls I thought it would be a shame not to capture the sounds to go along with the sights. Then there was the bighorn rams scuffling in Waterton Canyon to video. All in all it was quite a memorable year so I have added to my YouTube channel this video of my favorite video clips and photographs all from 2019. It’s about 15 minutes long, set to inspiring music and I hope you enjoy it!

Also the still images are available on my website for purchase as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional framing and matting. Tons of cool gift items, stationary, apparel, tech items, coffee mugs, household items and much more, all with a beautiful mountain scene from S.W. Krull Imaging!

Also please subscribe to my YouTube channel if you enjoyed the video! I’m just getting started with this new avenue and big plans for the future!

 

Sangre Mountain Sunset

After a pretty gloomy day in the high country I was thinking it looked like conditions were right for a spectacular sunset. As the sun descended towards the high peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range, an hour before sunset there was already some beautiful golden color showing in the clouds just above the mountains. So I readied my camera gear and made my way to a suitable vantage point to await the show.

Herd of Mule Deer in the Colorado Wintertime

And it was a pretty nice sunset, not that great but not really good enough to miss the golden hour for wildlife photography so I pressed on hoping for some sunset deer pictures. Soon I spotted a buck mule deer with some does so I stopped for a bit to see if I could capture an image of them. The buck was off minding his own business but much to my delight three cute curious looking does were gathered together to peer out from the golden mountain grass at me to see what I was up to. I got a couple closeups of them and as I moved around to the east I could see that I was  getting the Sangre de Cristos and some remnants of the sunset in the background as well 🙂

Winter Sunset on the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

The deer finally wandered off and I moved on to a better spot for the sunset finale that was shaping up to the west. And what a show it was, there was just enough space between the mountains and the clouds to allow the beautiful evening sunlight to pour through and light the clouds from below.

These are my favorite images of this spectacular evening, I hope you like them! And as always, these images and more are available on my website for purchase as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional framing and matting. Tons of cool gift items are also available including coffee mugs, apparel, bedding, stationary and much more, all with a beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountain scene!

Herd of Mule Deer in the Colorado Wintertime

Herd of Mule Deer in the Colorado Wintertime

 

Low Key Photography and Cyber Monday

Snow on the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Two subjects today… The first is low key photography. I’ve liked this look when I have seen it but have never tried it myself. When I prepare my images I have always worked hard to retain every speck of detail in the highlights and shadows that I am able, but that look doesn’t always really represent what I was feeling or wanting from the image when I shot it. So lately I’ve been looking into this idea a little bit and decided to try it on this image that lent itself to low key techniques. It has some good highlights on the snowy peaks as the sun was coming up in the east, some dark brooding clouds and some dark less important features in the foreground. Using curves and the apply image option in Photoshop I added some mood to the clouds and foreground. Some additional painting was required to retain some mid tones that I wanted in the image, and here it is! My first attempt at low key landscape photography. I may try some more of this with early morning wildlife photography if I get an image that lends itself to that.

Cyber Monday tomorrow… the day when many people make their online Christmas purchases.

Colorado Black Bear Family

There have been a number of improvements to my website this year and today is as good a day as any to explain them and make the pitch for online purchases of wall art! My site is divided into galleries, or collections as they are referred to on the main page which also shows an example of my latest imagery in a frame so you can visualize what it might look like on your wall! From there you can go above and view the site organized by the type of product you are interested in. For example you might interested in wall art. Hover the mouse over the wall art title and many types of wall art will appear. Click on the one you want and you will see the collections or galleries of images to choose from. From there you can pick your favorite subject and choose the size and framing materials.

Or from the main page you can go directly into the collections and then choose the print medium, whether it be wall art on acrylic, glossy metal, traditional framing and matting or gift and hand household items or tech items such as t-shirts, coffee mugs, shower curtains, yoga mats, battery chargers, phone cases and much much more!

And of course there is a search function if you have a specific subject in mind. For example you might be wanting a picture of elk, or deer or bears or Pikes Peak. Just go to the top of the page and type in your subject and only images including that word will appear. Then just choose your image and select the type of product you would like to purchase!

Well that’s it for today! Hoping for a happy and healthy holiday season for all!

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Happy Thanksgiving 2019

Snow on the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

According to Isaiah Chapter 61, He will give us beauty for ashes and joy for mourning. I am thankful this year for a return to peace and prosperity in my house after all those catastrophic years when my wife was dying of cancer. For a long time it didn’t seem like there was much to give thanks for but somehow I always found something to be thankful for, if nothing else that I had a meal to eat on the day and hope for the future.

I’m not one for a huge feast, for gorging myself until I’m sick on this day. In fact I like to

Fiisky Herd of Mule Deer in the Snow

start the day out in the quiet of the woods, burning  a few calories and getting close to my Creator before celebrating His Great Mercy as weremember that first year that the founders of our nation celebrated their survival in the new land.

When I glanced out the window as the sunlight began to stream over the ridge I could see it was going to be a beautiful morning to be outside. So I loaded up my snowshoes and my camera and headed for one of my favorite trails. The clouds and mist on the high peaks of the

Young mule deer buck in the snow

Sangre de Cristo Range and Pikes Peak were stunning this morning so of course I had to photograph them! Unfortunately there was so much mist from the recent snows that detail on the great mountains is somewhat obscured, but still amazing to behold!

Thanks to all the new snow, the steep sections of the trail isn’t really safe without some kind of traction, snowshoes were my choice today. Not that it takes much convincing, there isn’t much I enjoy more than the sound of the snow crunching beneath my big shoes 🙂

About a mile in I spotted a small herd of mule deer frolicking in the snow so I got my

Winter on Pikes Peak

camera ready and approached slowly and not directly at the animals so as not to spook them too much. They were already aware of my presence but were unconcerned. For some reason they were running around in the snow under the little aspen stand and I quickly figured out why. It is still the deer rut season and the buck was chasing the uninterested does around. Eventually one of the does made her way down the other side of the ridge for lower elevation and the buck followed her, out of sight. The other does went the other direction towards a big hill that they like to spend their days on enjoying the bright Colorado sunshine.

I hiked on to the top of the ridge where I usually turn around and decided that was going to be enough for the day. I wanted to get home in time to create a Youtube video and to get a few of these images published to stock in time for publishers rush to get their advertising campaigns done for the Christmas season.

Now I feel I have accomplished enough to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine and some Thanksgiving turkey. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

If you like my photography please visit my image website to purchase prints, wall art and tons of cool gift items and tech gadgets with my pictures on them!