Lightning, rainbow and cactus align perfectly for photographer

Photographer finally gets the image that had alluded him for seven years. Photo: Greg McCown
Photographer finally gets the image that had eluded him for seven years. Photo: Greg McCown

Greg McCown has photographed lightning plenty of times before, but the image that had eluded him for seven years was a bolt of lightning combined with that meteorological phenomenon called a rainbow.

But on Saturday in Marana, Arizona, the stars finally aligned for him, as did a rainbow and lightning bolt, and McCown got his incredible image that included the bonus of a saguaro cactus in the foreground.

"The combination of having a rainbow, a lightning bolt that is powerful enough to really stand out in the daytime, and composed perfectly with a saguaro has never happened for me before," the 42-year-old realtor from Tucson, Arizona, told the Weather Channel.

"The lightning and rainbow combination alone is something I’ve been trying to get for over seven years, about the time I first started shooting lightning. So to catch the lightning, rainbow and saguaro all together is something out of a dream for me."

McCown explained on Facebook that he had been across town catching up with two photographer stormchasers. After shooting for a bit, they went their separate ways. While on the I-10 freeway, a microburst halted traffic.

A rainbow caught his interest and he traveled southeast to follow it, searching for a foreground that was devoid of telephone poles and other unsightly objects. He said he found it just in time as this was the last bolt to strike before the storm dissipated into nothing.

"It’s not too often that a rainbow and lightning come together so there aren’t too many opportunities," he told the Weather Channel. "I’ve looked for it hundreds of times, and anytime there’s a rainbow, I’m looking for the potential of lightning.

"I’ve only seen the potential for lightning mixed with a rainbow on four or five occasions. And I’ve only been able to try and photograph it three of those times, taking thousands and thousands of pictures, but no luck."

Until now.

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