Lightning and Rainbow in Desert Monsoon Thunderstorm

September 20, 2012

Monsoon thunderstorm

: Jim Pastore
Summary Authors: Jim Pastore; Jim Foster

The photo above showing a desert monsoon thunderstorm pushing off to the east of Catalina, Arizona was taken on the evening of August 5, 2012. A jagged cloud-to-ground lightning bolt dominates the scene while the gentle arc of a rainbow adds colorful accents. It's not the shield of rain and dust that paint this rainbow bow in shades of red, orange and yellow but rather the fact that the bow formed close to sunset. Longer path lengths of sunlight when the Sun lies near or below the horizon are responsible for reddening sunsets and rainbows alike. Note that rainbows only occur opposite the Sun (antisolar point) -- directly behind the camera.

Photo Details: Camera: NIKON D80; Focal Length: 28.0mm (35mm equivalent: 42mm); Aperture: f/32.0; Exposure Time: 3.000 s; ISO equiv: 100; Software: Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 Editor 10.0 Macintosh.