Most of you knows photographer Jason Rinehart for his light painting work. While he’s passionate about creating art with lights and long exposure, he is equally crazy about capturing nature’s natural light work: thunderstorms.
While scrolling through Facebook recently, I stumbled upon a perfect example of Jason’s passion I didn’t know so much about. He captured a lightning strike under a rainbow, which is not something you see every day. Add another rainbow into the equation and you get a once-in-a-lifetime shot. I wanted to learn more about this incredible photo, and Jason kindly shared some details with DIYP.
Jason lives in Buchanan, Virginia, USA. “With easy access to many high vantage points that other photographers in other areas don’t have access to, the plus side of living within the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia,” Jason describes his place of living as “pretty special and unique place for capturing mother nature at her very best.”
As he often tells to people who attend his workshops, some of the most successful landscape photographers never leave within a 50 mile radius of where they call home. “The reason behind this is because you become tuned to your environment,” Jason explains. “You learn what light produces what types of conditions, at what times, what movement of weather creates certain moods of light and how these things result in what types of images you capture.” Indeed, his latest image shows exactly what he’s talking about.
“Knowing your environment is a crucial aspect of creativity along with patience, preparation, and opportunity,” Jason tells DIYP. All of these elements combined when he captured this incredible rainbow followed by the prefect bolt in the sunset. “It felt as if I was exactly where I was supposed to be at the exact time to capture the perfect moment.”
Taking the photo
“As I was driving home on this July evening, monitoring the radar maps tracking the line of storms out over West Virginia, I could tell from experience that they would arrive through my area of Virginia I live at sunset,” Jason tells us. “The line of storms was also only about 20-30 miles wide which also added to the potential to create something special once the line past overhead as it would be illuminated by the setting sun into the blue hour.”
“I grabbed my gear from my house and headed up to the Blue Ridge Parkway to my favorite spot called Pine Tree overlook just in time to watch this beautiful shelf cloud heading my way. Once the shelf cloud reached me forcing me to take cover in my car for 20 minutes as the storm passed I could see to the west the sun starting to create this incredible vibrant orange and pink hues towards the east lighting up the backside of the line of storms.”
Jason was lucky with the rain: it stopped just in time as the rainbow started to form right in front of him. He quickly set up his Canon 6D paired with a Sigma 14-24mm and a Haida rear mount 6 stop ND filter. He started shooting in continuous mode, which is something he does with all his lightning photography.
“I knew right away as the rainbow stated growing bigger across the sky that this was going to be something very special.” Jason says. “I’ve captured rainbows before on the parkway but never one so bright and vibrant as this one.” And his gut feeling and experience were totally right. The next thing that happen was this bolt dropping right out of the sky, framed perfectly within the double rainbow!
“All I could do was just smile once I heard my shutter stop knowing I just captured exactly what I put so much time and energy into,” Jason concludes. “It’s a beautiful thing to be passionate about something enough to share a gift with the world. These are the moments I can’t help but feel alive.”