Better than expected

We reviewed the photos we’d taken on our first three days at Canyonlands National Park/Needles District. It was our last morning there. Somehow the collection seemed incomplete. We’d missed taking some iconic, “big” scenery images. You know what we mean: the magnificent, striated reddish rock walls under a bright blue sky….

We still had time though. We saved the last few daylight hours on our last day for the task.   A ranger at the visitor center directed us to the right place to go for photography at dusk: head for the amphitheater at the campground, then climb the steps up to a rocky lookout facing east.

The late afternoon sky turned dark as we drove through the park. We saw a flash of lightening far in the distance. Our first thought was, “The storm will ruin our chance to take photographs.” But as the sky turned darker and darker, we started to think of the possibilities. Was there any way we could actually capture a lightening bolt in one of our photos? It was worth trying.

We got to the amphitheater and threw on our rain jackets. The sky grew quite dark, and the wind picked up as we climbed the steps to the top of the rocks. It hadn’t started to rain yet which was a surprise. The lightening continued to flash every few minutes many miles away over distant mesas.

We each tried our own method for capturing lightening in a photograph: Joe took panorama photos of the sky, one after another; Beth snapped continuous images of the most likely spot on the horizon.

After many, many photos – Beth got the first photo of lightening. We ended up taking 271 photos to achieve that photo! Joe’s pano strategy didn’t work.

A few rain drops started to fall, and we decided to duck into the car and head back to the campground.

All of a sudden the rain stopped, and the almost setting sun broke through the clouds and illuminated the rock walls and landscape to our east.

A minute later a magnificent double rainbow appeared.

The next day we reviewed over 300 images taken in less than 20 minutes the evening before – and made a surprising discovery.

Hidden in all the images was a second photo of lightening!

Well, it would have been nice to get a few “iconic” shots of Canyonlands, but our photo session up on that rock thrilled us, and those images of lightening will bring back great memories. We’d say we did better than expected.


May 2017

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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9 Responses to Better than expected

  1. Betsy Eggers says:

    WOW! Two thumbs up!

  2. sallywalters says:

    Beth…yes! Marvelous lightning fotos and glad u got the opportunity…we have been nearly two years in AZ now and the fantastic lightning “art” has been mind-blowing…once the monsoon season comes (@ June thru August) the opportunities for fotos and rainbows abound. Yet another reason for you to come back before you go into monastic retirement back east…😇

  3. icelandpenny says:

    Bravo — your perseverance paid off. But never mind the photos, what an event to experience, and in such a setting.

  4. Well done! I have only ever captured lightening once (in Bruges while sheltering from the rain during a bike ride). What was the secret, continuous shutter action
    ? I focussed on the last zone where I saw a bolt and hoped that another would happen in the same area and that my reflexes were good enough to capture it. Gives you a buzz when you see that you captured it. Interesting approach from Joe

  5. plaidcamper says:

    Worth the patience and effort – great results!

  6. Holy smoke. Stunning. It’s funny how rarely people talk about how much photography it takes to produce these wonderful effects. Glad you stuck with it – it brings happiness to people like me, who don’t :))

  7. What a lovely surprise. Taking lightning photos isn’t easy. You’ve done well.

  8. leggypeggy says:

    Nice photographic work. So nice to find the unexpected amongst the pics.

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