Geology of the Ouray Area as Viewed by Drone

A WrightEd Online Lecture Series

January 12th and 19th

$30 for this course
$100 to sign up for ALL NINE (9) 2021 Winter/Spring Semester Lectures


9:30 – 11:30 am

A benefit for the Wright Opera House, this continuing education course is presented by Mike Boruta & Steve Cumella.

WrightEd Geology of the ouray area

This two-part lecture series by Mike Boruta and Steve Cumella will explore the amazing geology of Ouray. Mike’s drone photography and videos will be used to look at features that make Ouray’s landscape so distinctive. Drones allow views and perspectives not possible by other means. We will take a drone’s eye view of some interesting geologic features in the Ouray area including dinosaur tracks, rock glaciers, volcanic deposits from the world’s largest volcanic eruptions, and faults that record the history of past mountain building episodes. Ouray’s spectacular scenery is the result of distinctive rock formations, mountain building episodes, and erosion by streams and glaciers.  Mike’s images help us see and understand geology’s important role in creating this beautiful landscape.

The Wright Opera House is a 501c3 nonprofit, operating a historic venue and premier performing arts organization located in the City of Ouray. It is supported by event fees and by generous donations. Click here to make a tax deductible donation to the Wright.

Steve Cumella received his bachelors and masters in geology from University of Texas at Austin.  He has been in oil and gas exploration most of his career, starting with Chevron 1981.  He was awarded Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists’ Outstanding Scientist Award in 2005 and the American Association of Petroleum Geologist’s Robert H. Dott, Sr. Memorial Award for Best Special Publication in 2010. He was an American Association of Petroleum Geologist Distinguished Lecturer in 2011. He is past executive editor of the Mountain Geologist and was president of the Grand Junction Geological Society in 1991. Steve has authored numerous publications for geological journals, given numerous presentations at geological society meetings and conventions, and led several field trips.  

Steve has enjoyed visiting Ouray since 1979 and became a full-time resident in 2017.   He and his wife Cindy enjoy hiking, camping, and puzzling over the geology in the Ouray area.

Mike Boruta sees the world from above. He is the excited passenger on the airplane with his nose pressed into the window, marveling at the details of the landscape below. He is the hiker who seeks out the trails with the best views. He envies birds and clouds and can spend hours getting lost in a map.

Since 2009 he has worked as a freelance cartographer, making recreational maps for National Geographic’s Trails Illustrated, as well as fishing and mountain biking guidebook maps for Stonefly Press and Fixed Pin Publishing. But the types of maps he has always wanted to create have eluded him. These are the painterly “birdseye maps” that show the landscape as if the reader were flying above it like a bird. It is possible to digitally render these views of the landscape, but the computer struggles to communicate Earth's beauty as well as a skilled painter can. Mike is not a painter, but he has always been drawn to photography.

In 2013 he realized the link which allowed him to turn the birdseye view in his mind into a reality which could be shared with others. This tool was the “flying camera,” also known as a “Drone,” “Unmanned Aerial System,” “Quadcopter,” etc. For the past seven years Mike has been honing his skills with this new tool, creating aerial landscape panoramas of the place he knows best - Ouray, Colorado and its strikingly beautiful San Juan Mountains.

Mike is an FAA licensed drone pilot.

We're working hard to make the Wright Opera House an open and welcoming venue to organizations throughout Colorado. We're also trying to restore a facility that is over 126 years old. Needless to say, we have our work cut out for us! If you have some praise for what we've done already or some feedback on what we could do better, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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