Stormy Canyon, A Photographer’s Dream

The Grand Canyon is our first stop with our daughter, Rachel, on her whirlwind tour of The Southwest. After our quick stay here, we will visit Page, Arizona, Moab, Utah, Monument Valley, and finish with a stop on the corner in Winslow, Arizona. Since we are not hiking the canyon, one night is sufficient. We will fit in a sunset shoot and a sunrise shoot before heading to our next stop.

We have been to the Grand Canyon many times over the past few years. Each time we hope for the fantastic canyon shot with interesting clouds or stormy conditions. Up ‘til now, we have what most would say is “picture perfect” weather with blue skies, but to the photographer benign weather conditions making for “nice” but not fantastic photos.

Yesterday afternoon, we arrived in the rain. Although the rain had stopped by early evening as we headed out for sunset, there were still patches of dark clouds with a hint of a storm brewing. Setting up the tripods, it soon became obvious that there would be little or no sunset given the amount of cloud cover. Many of the many clouds dipped low into the canyon feathering sheets of rain. Hopeful, for the magic light through the clouds, our trigger finger remained on alert.

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Amazing Light Through the Clouds

Thunder rumbled in the distance, and then came the lightning.

Most sane people would head for safe cover. But, not Rachel. None of us knew how to shoot lightning so it was experimentation time. Rachel shot and shot, but the lightning was just too fast for her and her trusty trigger finger. This left her with a lot of dark pictures of the canyon and not a lightning bolt to be found.


Sun Setting Amidst the Storm


Sunrise the next morning was a lot less exciting. The storm from the night before moved out leaving us with our familiar setup – benign conditions (e.g., cloudless skies). So, after shooting the sunrise, I then focussed on the red rocks of the canyon.


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Another Cloudless Sunrise – Colorful All the Same

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Red Rocks of the Magnificent Canyon


Jeff and Rachel Just After Sunrise

Jeff and Rachel Just After Sunrise

In the end the canyon is a gorgeous place, even in “boring” conditions. And remember’ it’s all about the light.