Lightning strikes the center of the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Lightning

Bryan Snider Landscapes, Storms, Sunrises & Sunsets

Lightning over the Grand Canyon at Sunset

One of my “bucket list” shots for the 2013 monsoon season was to capture Grand Canyon lightning.  Little did I know, it would only take a few weeks into the season for me do it! Honestly I was going to do whatever it took to capture an image like this, but on the other hand I was realistic with myself and knew it could take some time if not years.

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The idea really started friday morning.  I had spent all morning looking at the weather models, twitter feeds and so on.  The weather models was telling me to head to southeast Arizona, but my heart wasn’t wanting to drive that way again.  Earlier in the week, I had some very good success in Tucson at “A mountain” which was another destination on my bucket list.

My buddy Larry Reeves and I decided that we would head to the Grand Canyon.  We really had nothing to lose.  If we were lucky we would have an impressive storm and if we didn’t see storms, then you can never go wrong with the Grand Canyon, especially this time of year.

We left around noon and drove non stop to the canyon.  Along the way we saw lots of great storm photo opportunities, but we ignored our craving for these storms and stayed focus on our goal. We were committed to the canyon and nothing was going to stop us!

Upon arriving at the Canyon, we quickly knew we were in for a spectacular treat.  One storm after another, approached the south rim and came into the canyon with beautiful rain shafts, cloud structures and of course lightning.  However, it was the sunset storm that was the most impressive.  For starters, the drama that the sunset created for the rain shaft was impressive.  However what was most impressive was watching the storms path.  At first it moved into the canyon from the south rim (left side of photo), then into the center of the Canyon.  It then came to a crawl before changing directions.  By this point the rain was coming right at us!  In a way, this was a good thing!  We had been able to stay dry all day and if this storm was willing to drop me a bolt as it creeped closer then so be it.

Then all of a sudden flash and click!!! (the instantaneous sound of my lightning trigger!)  I had captured it and everyone around me knew it!  In fact, I had screamed “yes” so loud that I’m confident that people on the north rim could probably hear me. I had got my photo and at this point the storm decided to turn back north towards the north rim.

The very next day I made another trip from Phoenix up to the Grand Canyon with my buddy Chris Frailey in hopes of capturing even more storms! Some would think I’m nuts, driving 1200 miles in two days, just for photographs! However, when you get an image like this, it’s totally worth it!