To finish this week's posts, we leave Europe and travel across the pond to Arizona and the Grand Canyon. There are many theories of how the Grand Canyon was formed, but the most prevailing one is erosion. The present day canyon is the result of nearly two billion years being exposed to water, ice and wind. Many geologists believe that the Colorado River established its course through the canyon at least 17 million years ago cut channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. I tried to keep this geological feat in mind when I composed this image of the Colorado River on the eastern end of the park. It is hard to believe that it could have formed such a dramatic landscape but I guess a lot can happen over 17 million years.
So how do you capture the magnificence, vastness and the wonder of the Grand Canyon? The answer is that you don't. The best that you can do is to capture a small slice of the canyon and hope that a little of it's beauty comes through your image. There are two times to best photograph the park: sunrise and sunset. When the sun is near the horizon, it's light casts long shadows and adds great definition and depth to the canyon walls. Any other time, photographs seem flat with little or no definition because the sun is higher in the sky thus casting very shallow shadows. This image was taken just before sunset from Yavapai Point on the South Rim of the canyon. The sun cast a great golden glow onto the rocks creating terrific long shadows in the canyon itself. While many shoot into a rising or setting sun, my tendency is to shoot away from the sun to capture the great warm tones on the surrounding scenery.