Caught on Camera

Lightning striking the ground at a distance behind the red and white striped sandstone hoodoos at Badlands National Park
Ben Hilgert, Share the Experience

National park weather can be as exciting as it is unpredictable. Powerful storms and stunning rainbows appear suddenly and vanish just as fast, providing an unforgettable scene for anyone lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time, and a real challenge for anyone trying to capture it on film. If nothing else, these national park photos of amazing weather will convince you to bring a camera on your next national park adventure!

Rainstorm cloud in an otherwise clear sky over Bryce Canyon National Park
Nathaniel Gonzales, Share the Experience

You can see for miles at Bryce Canyon National Park. On this particular day, a passing storm is dwarfed by the immense sky and wide-open landscape. 

Bottom arc of a rainbow going into the pillars hoodoos of Colorado National Monument
Amy Hudechek

They say you can never actually reach the end of a rainbow, but one lucky photographer at Colorado National Monument got pretty close.

Double lightning striking the ground behind the desert landscape of Arches National Park
Ben Pelta Heller, Share the Experience

Heavy storms occasionally bring much-needed rain to the parched landscape of Utah's Arches National Park, where this incredible picture of two simultaneous lightning strikes was taken.

The sun setting on the brown hills of Crater Lake National Park as storm clouds roll in
Joy Scarola, Share the Experience

The sun sinks down as a storm rolls in at Crater Lake National Park, offering only a brief glimpse of a sunset while the storm clouds gather.

Full half-rainbow with a faint outer rainbow over the desert landscape at Arches National Park
Ben Pelta Heller, Share the Experience

A complete half-rainbow stretches across the desert of Arches National Park, made all the more dramatic thanks to the setting sun. 

Distance rain-storm over the mesas of Canyonlands National Park
Richard Briggs, Share the Experience

Rain in the desert is a beautiful thing, bringing sudden wildflower blooms to life, giving desert animals much-needed hydration, and offering an opportunity to take extraordinary photographs like this one at Canyonlands National Park

Dramatic storm clouds rolling with the sun in the horizon over the black and white sandstone landscape at Bandlands National Park
Megan Matthews, Share the Experience

Badlands National Park is a photographer's dream subject under any conditions — it's simply a beautiful place — but the dramatic meeting of these clouds makes it downright otherworldly. 

Full semi-circle double-rainbow in front of cloudy skies over the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Kathy Pool, Share the Experience

Every good rain storm ends with a rainbow, and in this case, a departing storm blessed Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park with two of them. 

Dramatic storm clouds gathering in the blue sky over the sun-lit dunes of Death Valley National Park
Greg Clure, Share the Experience

Unique lighting conditions create a remarkable scene at Death Valley National Park: The desert floor is illuminated by the rising sun while the sky above remains darkened by storm clouds. 

Heavily textured storm clouds over Devils Tower National Monument with a large lightning strike nearby
Judit Fabian

Devil's Tower National Monument looks like something from another planet to begin with, but it's made all the more eerie by rippling waves of clouds at sunset. 

Taking great national park photos is easy, but capturing the weather is a different matter altogether. Keep an eye on the forecast next time you head out into our national parks, and don't forget to have your camera ready!


Some of those lightning shots were undoubtedly caught by a product called Lightning Trigger. Visitors to Grand Canyon's North Rim were amazed that my photo workshop class was standing by its DSLR's on tripods, doing nothing, while the Lightning Trigger captured lightning on the South Rim. There are other brands as well. No DSLR? Then get LightningCam for your cellphone, or search the App Store, and you too will have great pictures of lightning bolts. Unfortunately lightning bolts can travel 20 miles from where they originate, meaning one on the South Rim can reach the North Rim, so don't challenge dangerous storms. A tripod is necessary but there are inexpensive devices to hold your cellphone to a tripod. I'm not involved with any of the products or the Grand Canyon Monsoon Season workshop taught by Gary Clark and Don Smith, but I can recommend both as I did above.
Incorrect. The lightning shots were captured using a long exposure, a tripod, and a dslr. Specialized lightning triggers, while nice, are totally unnecessary.
I've taken pictures in nearly 30 of our National Parks. There is nothing like it. America's Best Idea!
Wow, these photos are beautiful and obviously taken just at the right moment! Great photography!
I was very curious about one thing: from the "suggested" blogs attached to the response I received for taking the survey, there is none dedicated to the main attraction of the pointed by me N.P., Yellowstone and G. Teton: Wildlife!!! Honestly we have nice rocks and views in the states were we live, or at least here in Utah we have...even we have lots of bison, moose and elk; but the main reason we go to those mentioned parks are the grizzlies and wolves. Why then there is no blog for Wildlife viewing??

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