Four Rainbows Over Banks Lake, Washington

July 22, 2014

Quadruple Rainbow Small

Photographer: Robert Orleth
Summary Authors: Robert Orleth; Jim Foster

The photo above shows three obvious rainbows over Banks Lake in Washington State. It was taken a little before sunset on June 18, 2014. The bright primary rainbow is at left and its secondary rainbow is at right. In the middle is the primary's reflected bow, standing nearly vertical. In this case the third bow isn't a result of a third reflection of sunlight within raindrops, rather it's due to the reflection of sunlight off of Banks Lake, then being refracted in the raindrops. You can tell that it's a reflection because the color scheme (blue on inside, red on outside) is the same for both the primary and reflected bows. Note that if you look very closely you can detect a fourth rainbow. The reflected bow has a very faint secondary bow as well -- just to the right of the major secondary bow.
Photo details: Camera Model: Canon PowerShot G11; Focal Length: 6.1mm; Aperture: f/4.0; Exposure Time: 0.017 s (1/60); ISO equiv: 80.