Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Rio Grande

As we approached Taos we came upon the Rio Grande Gorge, and the large steel bridge over it. Ironically, we initially stopped in the area because there was a rest stop, and it was only after we parked that I noticed the canyon right next door.

The source of the Rio Grande is in Colorado, and it flows from there south through New Mexico eventually forming part of the natural border between Texas and Mexico. For much of the river's path through Colorado and New Mexico it follows the Rio Grande rift, and area where the North American plate has stretched and thinned.

Indeed, the dark rocks of the Rio Grande Gorge are volcanic flows that resulted from the rift. Luckily for those of us living in the Southwest now, mysteriously the rifting stopped, and the area is fairly geologically quite now. For a view at what Taos and the area would be like if the area was still pulling apart, look at other rift zones like Iceland or Africa's Great Rift Valley.

While on the bridge I was thinking less of geology and more of just how far down the river was. I timed the drop and it was 17 seconds to the river below, a very long fall indeed.

I actually encountered a few photographic issues while shooting the gorge. The first was simply that I didn't a wide enough lens to capture both the shadow of the bridge and the full length of the view, so I shot another vertical panorama, such as you see below. Another issue that I didn't notice until I got home was that every single one of the photos I took was horribly overexposed, unusable. Thankfully, some post processing in Lightroom saved the day.

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