We stood at the rim of the canyon and looked down, trying to find the river at the bottom of the canyon. In the broad daylight the steep cliffs, and craggy spires are a deep black with crisscrossed white lines. These cliffs are made mostly of Precambrian gneiss and schist and the lighter colored dikes are pegmatite. This is not like the Grand Canyon where you look out and over the vastness. Here, you look down into the gorge.
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison was a place I was looking forward to visiting since up until a week before I left, I had never heard of it before and it sounded fascinating. The canyon walls are so steep that there are supposedly parts of the gorge that receive only 30 minutes of sunlight a day. The walls aren’t evenly lit and it was one of the most difficult places I have ever photographed.
We knew we would be coming back in the early morning before sunrise to photograph the canyon and as we’d only have about 15 minutes to do so, we scouted out our preferred spot in the late afternoon. In doing so, we checked out every canyon lookout point, watching the sun slowly set. The later is become, the more mysterious the rocks became.
Night fell and we talked about where the milky way would most likely rise and what would be nice in the foreground. It wasn’t easy finding something suitable, but just like in Arches National Park, the area is pitch black at night and the stars are a sight to behold.
Early the next morning we stood yawning, and freezing, at the edge of the canyon while taking pictures as fast as we could of the beautiful walls which were bathed in a rose colored hue. The following pictures have not been enhanced to change the color. This is actually what we saw.
Before too long, the sun was over the ridge behind us and the pink melted away and the rocks became gray once more.