Magnificent Shots of Lightning Zapping the Grand Canyon

grand canyon

Photographer Rolf Maeder was able to capture some magnificent multiple lightning strikes zapping the Grand Canyon under atmospheric stormy skies, skillfully using long exposure times. This opportunity however was not exactly a planned photoshoot, and came about rather unexpectedly. Such were the unplanned circumstances last August 30, when Maeder and two friends were traveling by car from Sedona to the Grand Canyon, hopeful to get some nice sunset photographs.

grand canyon lightning

“I went to the Grand Canyon with my photographer friends Scott Stulberg and Holly Kehrt. From Sedona, where we live, it is a 2 hour drive, and to catch a beautiful sunset is in good reach. The sunset was disappointing in the view of photographers, but soon we noticed that a thunderstorm was appearing from the east.”

lightning grand canyon

Maeder further related how things transpired that afternoon.

“On the Moran Point we noticed that far away a lightning storm was building up. That was much more than we expected, so we started setting up our tripods and started to take pictures. The shot with the 2 lightning strikes was taken 9 p.m. with a Nikon D800, 24mm lens at f/8, ISO 400 and a 25 sec. exposure. The long exposure made it possible to catch two lightning bolts with one shot!”

Maeder’s spectacular images taken from the south rim show multiple bolts illuminating a highly atmospheric storm sky and linking it to the well-known Arizona landmark. Quite a stunning image, considering things happened by chance.

grand canyon lightning show

The Grand Canyon is a vast 277 miles long, and is up to 18 miles wide. It has a depth of over a mile in some of its deepest points. Around two billion years of the planet’s geological history has been uncovered as the Colorado River and its tributaries slice their channels through many layers of rock. These images, shot from Moran Point is from an elevation of 7160 ft on the South Rim of the canyon.

grand canyon editing

See Maeder’s twin bolts taken over the Grand Canyon here.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.