My April 2015 Photo of the Month is Rainbow Over Borrego Springs, an image made during a mountain storm earlier in the month.
Rainbow Over Borrego Springs Background
I made this image on a trip with my friend Chris Horn. Our travels took us from the Laguna Mountains down into greater Borrego Springs. We were headed back to attend a San Diego Photo Club event at Scripps Pier when we reached the Montezuma Valley Road Lookout. This is a beautiful roadside turnoff with a marker.
The reason we stopped was because of a giant, bright, rainbow looking down over the valley. The setup was perfect. The sun was getting lower, and we had a view down. While it looks nice and clear looking East, this was a consequence of the rain shadow. There was driving rain behind us to the West, being blow East by strong winds. All that water vapor gave us a sunny view and an awesome rainbow. You will notice that there is a faint second rainbow above the main one.
The rainbow seemed huge. In fact, this image was shot with my ultra-wide 14mm lens. A normal wide-angle lens likely wouldn’t have covered the entire scene, and you would have been stuck trying to stitch multiple images together. I was happy to capture this in 1 frame.
In fact, most of the time I was at the photo club event, I was daydreaming about how this image was going to look after a little processing. Usually with rainbows, it takes some work to make them stand out. This one was so distinct that I needed to do only subtle edits to let it pop.
Rainbows are considered rare, but the science behind them is very simple. If you have water vapor in front of you, and the sun behind you, you will have one. The last ingredient needed is the proper angle. The sun should be low to the horizon as the rainbow will appear opposite of it.
As always, thank you very much for reading, and I hope you enjoy the image!
T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.