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.