In the game most of us played as children, “Rock Breaks Scissors” the winning sequences are Rock breaks Scissors; Scissors cut Paper; and Paper covers Rock. I was reminded of that old game several years ago as I stood on the rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison River with my dear Friend, Kevin Desrosiers observing the many geological and geographical nuances of that awesome scar on the earth’s surface.
Some sixty million years ago, an area in what is now Southwestern Colorado uplifted creating a very elevated highland of two billion-year-old metamorphic rock. Some thirty million years ago volcanic eruptions on both sides of this upland covered the land in volcanic rock. Then, a mere two million years ago, the Gunnison River began forcefully cutting through the lava and into the metamorphic substrate, and thus we have the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, from 1933-1999 a national monument and since then one of Colorado’s remarkable geologic wonders of a national park.
And, of course, hungry lichen love nothing more than to chew on tasty igneous and metamorphic layers of stone, resulting in a black canyon covered in color: an abstract photographer’s wonderland.
A focal length of 300mm gave me the very narrow angle-of-view I wanted from the height of about 3′ above the surface. An aperture of f/20 provided depth-of-field, and a shutter speed of 1/25 second at ISO 100 gave me an overall medium exposure.
I could have easily spent an entire afternoon crawling around on the rim of this awesome gash, but I would have missed the beauty of the canyon itself, and as is so often the case, there were too many images and too little time.
I remember my experience in this canyon about 15 years ago. The shear walls of this awesome canyon is a tapestry of colors which you have captured so well. I was so taken by the majesticness of the canyon walks that I neglected to see the intricacy of the numerous lichen species that you have captured. Thank you for your artistry and your high level skills.
Hey Charles. It’s good to hear from you. I hope you are safe and well. Black Canyon of the Gunnison was amazing the first time I saw it in the 1970s. It was still a National Monument then and I had not remembered its amazing Beauty in the 45 years in between. Seeing it in 2017 made me realize how much I had forgotten. But the lichens were in a class by themselves, or maybe it was a matter of having eyes that were so much more perceptive the second time around. This time I literally could have spent the better part of a day just “seeing” what the lichen had to offer me. I hope we are both able to find our way to this place again. Thanks so much for your kind words. Walk in Beauty.
Don, thanks for this image. Love the “X” pattern in lower left, and the intensity of the orange patches. I’m curious about your use of a 300mm only 3 feet from the subject. Did that lens offer you some advantage over other focal lengths? Have a great week.
Hey Ray, it’s always good to have you with me. The “X” pattern was a “happy accident” from wanting to balance the orange areas in the top and bottom of the frame; and when I realized it was there, I just said, “Well isn’t that nice?” The use of the 300mm was due to the fact that I had left my macro lens in the car and did not want to walk back to retrieve it. My 28-300mm is an FX lens and I knew that the minimum focusing distance was about 3′; so if I could see a composition that I really liked from that height, I was pretty sure I could bring it into focus. Other than that, there were no real advantages to the lens. Of course, being a zoom lens offered the advantage of adjustable focal lengths. Good thoughts and excellent questions. Take good care and Walk in Beauty.
I looks like you stumbled on another world in micro land. A very colorful land where it is autumn all the time. I understand that it would be hard to leave with so much beauty around you. You could shoot macros for hours then use a medium focal length for hours then wide angles for days; then there are changes in the light, weather, and seasons! Yes, too little time. Thanks for sharing your adventure.
Hi Nancy T. What a wonderful story you have shared with us! I’m sure I was thinking of you somehow as I was kneeling over that lichen remembering that frosty field in Acadia and watching you working that frozen patch of blackberry leaves, oblivious to everything around you. Always too little time, no matter how much of it there is. Where would we be if we could not share adventures? Take very good care. Talk soon.
Thanks, Everyone, for joining me for this conversation. Yesterday I put nearly all of my possessions in storage in preparation for being on the road for the next two years. The plan is to leave in mid-March on the journey that awaits me. I’m looking forward to having all of you with me. Walk in Beauty.