In pictures: Electrifying photos of lightning striking the Grand Canyon

  • @SophieWarnes

It's one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, and the awe-inspiring sight of the Grand Canyon on any ordinary day is stunning.

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But one photographer hit the jackpot when he took photographs of the Canyon in the middle of a lightning storm. The resulting photos are jaw-dropping.

Rolf Maeder explains how the shots were created: "Sometimes an opportunity comes very unexpected. On August 30th, my friends Scott Stulberg, Holly Kehrt, both wonderful photographers, and I were driving from Sedona to the Grand Canyon to get some sunset shots.

"After a short time being there, we noticed that we couldn't get what we wanted because of the very hazy light. So we decided to return to Sedona, just shortly checking out some more viewpoints.

"On the Moran Point we noticed that far away a lightning storm was building up. That was much more than we expected, so we started setting up our tripods and started to take pictures."

"The shot with the 2 lightning strikes was taken 9pm with a Nikon D800, 24mm at f/8, ISO 400 and a 25 sec. exposure. The long exposure made it possible to catch two lightning bolts with one shot! The foreground was light-painted with a flashlight by Scott."

Lightning strikes in two different places in the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River. It's 277 miles (446km) long, can get to up to 18 miles (29km) wide, and is about a mile deep (6,000ft).

Although the exact process of the formation of the Canyon is still the subject of much debate, the area has been continuously inhabited for thousands of years, and is now the centre of a huge tourism industry.

The Grand Canyon National Park attracts around five million visitors a year. Visitors can hike, raft, ride a mule, and take helicopter tours above the Canyon.

On the West side, more adventurous souls can traverse the Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped glass-bottomed cantilever bridge 500-800ft above the Colorado River.

Black and white edited photo of the Grand Canyon