Photographer Snaps Rare Shot Of Rainbow And Lightning Intersecting Over Arizona Desert

Rainbows and lightning are two very different, but equally beautiful natural phenomena. Real estate agent, storm chaser, and hobby photographer Greg McCown has tried to catch both in the same sky for seven years and Saturday, he finally did it.

And now, the once-in-a-lifetime shot of the two intersecting in the desert sky has gone viral.

Photo by Greg McCown, via Twitter/Sean Breslin

McCown was chasing a storm near the small Arizona town of Marana when he stopped at the side of the road and set up his equipment. When trying to capture lightning, he usually sets up more than one camera, he explained to Tucson News Now.

Luckily, as he stood there keeping track of his cameras, the storm in full swing, a lightning bolt struck the ground at the same time a rainbow crossed the sky, the two intersecting with a cactus in the foreground.

“I was focused on one of the other ones pointing a different direction. I saw this flash and said, ‘Hey. I wonder if I got that.’ Having no idea what kind of strike it would be. When I pulled it off on the LCD screen in desert I was doing a happy dance.”

The amazing photo is circulating the Internet and impressing fellow photography enthusiasts. For Greg, the attention on social media has been a lot of fun, and life since the photo “has been like a dream.”

McCown has been chasing storms since 2004, and he’s gotten pretty good at capturing nature’s light show. He uses a special contraption that senses the flash and fires the trigger. It isn’t foolproof, but ups his chances of success, he explained to the Weather Channel. Most of these shots are captured in the evening.

But one day while driving to work, he caught a rainbow and lightning intersecting, but didn’t have his camera. He’s been chasing the photo ever since.

“Rainbows and lightning are both beautiful and in very different ways. Several years ago, I saw a beautiful rainbow on the east side of Tucson as I was driving to work. Suddenly, lightning started striking right in the middle of this rainbow,” he said. “I didn’t have my camera and I was working at the time, so couldn’t have stopped if I wanted to. But as soon as I saw that, I knew I had to shoot it someday.”

And the rest, as they say, is history.

“To catch the lightning, rainbow and saguaro (intersecting) is something out of a dream for me … (It’s) pretty rare. One of the comments I’ve heard most about my picture is that they’ve never seen it before.”

For more of Greg’s work, click here.

[Photo Courtesy Ethan Miller / Getty Images]