Grand Canyon North Rim, Lightning Display

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.

The best time to catch multiple strikes is about 15 minutes into the “blue hour”. That’s when you can get a long 15-30 second exposure without blowing out the highlights or having black shadows.

Feature Image Details

This image and the preceding rainbow images 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, in the blue hour.

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.

Two strikes in this image were back to back then in the next 10 to 15 seconds or so there were two more strikes.


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

Previous Grand Canyon Posts

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock

4 thoughts on “Grand Canyon North Rim, Lightning Display

    1. I lightened the images in the last three posts a bit and toned down the blue. One thought just occurred to me. I am using a different polarizer now and perhaps it is a bit more blue.

  1. Nice photo. I certainly wouldn’t want to be in an exposed area with a lightning storm near. Interesting technology used to capture the shot.

    Come to central Florida during the summer if you want to get some lightning photos. It’s the lightning capital of the world. Years ago, I had to attend an early evening business symposium near the Orlando International Airport. There was an electrical storm going on as I was driving my car, a storm of intensity that I had never experienced. At a long stoplight, I decided to check my watch for 60 seconds and count the number of lightning bolts in the sky….47 if you can believe it! The whole sky was charged. I was afraid to leave my car when I arrived and I waited about 15 minutes for the storm to subside.

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