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POTM Winner: John Dodson

Photo of the Month is sponsored by

Grand Canyon National Park, USA
Nikon D800, Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8, f/14, 1/10sec, ISO 320

Over the past few years my work has taken me to the Grand Canyon National Park, where I had the opportunity to spend several weeks during the monsoon season.

This particular morning I was on the western side of the park at Mohave Point on Hermits Road just at sunrise. These viewpoints can be easily accessed by all visitors using the park's transportation system as the road is closed to private vehicles. The buses usually begin running around 05:00 during the summer months.

Only two other people were present the morning I was there. The usual parade of summer tourists almost never appears this early in the day, making the enjoyment of the early morning golden hour an almost solitary experience in this section of the park.

A thunderstorm, arising in the west and moving eastward toward the sunrise, was hugging the north rim of the canyon, while I watched safely from the south rim. The storm moved parallel to me and appeared as a continuously changing natural history movie of nature's meteorological power, complete with a visual display of moving light and shadow, an audio soundtrack of rumbling thunder, accompanied by the tactile pleasure of storm winds rising up from the canyon.

There were abundant vertical lightning strikes captured using a Lightning Trigger device. The strikes in the image actually happened a few seconds apart, necessitating a partial composite of the east most strike to form a single image. Some horizontal light broke through the clouds and highlighted the red sandstone buttes extending from the south rim wall, providing a colorful contrast to the gray and black clouds of the storm.

The storm passed through the canyon over a period of about 30 minutes, offering one of the most memorable mornings in my Grand Canyon experience.

Post processing and image finalization were done with Adobe Lightroom Classic and Photoshop CC 2018.

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