Living within striking distance of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, photographer Jason Rinehart is lucky to have a spectacular landscape at his fingertips. This has allowed him to hone his storm photography skills over the years, and he's become quite adept at knowing what weather conditions will yield him the best results. Recently, this experience paid off when he was able to photograph a bolt of lightning centered perfectly below a double rainbow. And as if that weren't already enough, the entire scene happened at sunset.
The result is a dreamy image where the rainbows look like bell jars trapping the bolt of lightning. The pink and purple sky only enhances the magical feeling of the photo, which all came together because Rinehart knew how to read the weather predictions.
The photographer was on his way home and monitoring the radar maps when he noticed that a storm headed his way would hit the area right at sunset. After stopping at home to pick up his gear, he headed out to his favorite spot in the Blue Ridge Mountains and, sure enough, his predictions were correct.
“The rain stopped just in time as this incredible rainbow started to form right in front of me. I quickly set up my Canon 6d, Sigma 14-24 with a Hadia rear mount six stop ND filter and started shooting in continuous mode as I do with all my lightning photography,” he tells My Modern Met.
“I knew right away as the rainbow started growing bigger across the sky that this was going to be something very special. I’ve captured rainbows before on the parkway but never one so bright and vibrant. The color was something to witness and takes your breath away. Being a photographer, knowing you're capturing something so special is a pretty indescribable feeling. I like to think that in these types of circumstances and moments, words are unnecessary because the image now tells the story.”
Though Rinehart was already more than satisfied with what he'd seen, something extra-special happened next. “This bolt dropped right out of the sky so perfectly framed within this beautiful rainbow,” he recalls, “and all I could do was just smile once I heard my shutter stop knowing I had just captured exactly what I put so much time and energy into.”
For the photographer, the image is a prime example of inside knowledge of the environment paying off. He hopes that the work is a reminder to other creatives that, often, the best work can come close to home.
“It’s a beautiful thing to be passionate about something enough to share a gift with the world,” Rinehart admits. “These are the moments I can’t help but feel alive.”