Grand Canyon North Rim, Sunset Rainbows

The monsoon season, mid-July to mid-August is the best time to visit either the North or South Rim of the Grand canyon. There are frequent afternoon and evening showers with rainbows and lightning.

Feature Image Details

The images in this post were taken at Cape Royal. It’s about an hour from the lodge by car, then a short 15-minute level walk to an excellent overlook with 180 degree views.

This image was late afternoon looking east, away from the setting sun in the golden hour before sunset.

Lightning Trigger

I used a Lightning Trigger by Stepping Stone Products to capture the strike.

Other than continual exposures or long ones, there is no way to capture a strike. Human reaction times are too slow even with your finger on the shutter.

Lightning sends out an electrostatic charge before it happens and the trigger picks up on that. You do need a camera with quick reaction time. Sometimes there is weak, cloud to cloud lightning that the trigger picks up on. If so expect a lot of throwaways.

In my next post I have a quadruple strike, that was taken after sunset. It was a long 15-second exposure and there was a series of strikes in that duration.

Rainbow Math

The apex of a rainbow is 180 degrees from the sun. At noon, with the sun straight overhead, a rainbow would be below the horizon. At sunset a rainbow makes a big arc.

From a plane, one can see a rainbow as a complete circle.

Additional Rainbow Images


Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock

5 thoughts on “Grand Canyon North Rim, Sunset Rainbows

  1. Hi Mike, you appear to be living the dream. Love all of you photography of areas my wife and i hiked back in the day. mac

  2. Great shots! Interesting technology (lightening trigger) same principal is used in aviation for non radar storm detection

  3. OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH MY GOSH!!! Stunning!!! How long did you have to sit to catch that one?
    I just love your work.

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