What happens when a lightning bolt and a rainbow meet

Greg McCown, 42, is a real estate agent in Tucson, Arizona, but when he’s not working hard, he’s busy pursuing his other passion: photography. Four days ago, with a dash of luck and a whole lot of talent, Greg captured something that photographers all over the world pursue their entire lives: a lightning bolt and a rainbow in the same shot.

Greg posted his absolutely stunning shot on Facebook Saturday evening. “Finally! After years of trying I finally got my lightning and rainbow picture,” he wrote in the caption. “What an awesome evening.” Greg was driving during a storm with photographers and stormchasers Bryan Snider and Chris Frailey. When the storm really got nasty, Bryan and Chris decided to head home, while Greg headed towards the rainbow. “I was just trying to find a foreground without telephone poles or other junk in the way,” he explained. “Found it just in time as this was the last bolt to strike before the storm dissipated into nothing.”

Wow. Absolutely gorgeous. Not only is it a bolt of lightning meeting a rainbow, but saguaro cactus positioned perfectly — and all during the daytime? Amazing, and that’s probably why it was shared almost 60,000 times and liked by over 60,000 people within the course of just a few days.

Greg is still reeling from the thrill of getting the shot. “What an amazing feeling it was,” he wrote in an email to The Huffington Post today. “It happened so fast and I actually only saw the flash out of the corner of my eye. I checked it on the camera LCD and couldn’t believe my eyes. I couldn’t wait to get home to bring it up on a big screen to make sure.”

This shot is truly a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. “I do capture lightning scenes quite frequently, but the majority of those are later in the evening,” Greg explained to The Weather Channel. “The combination of having a rainbow, a lightning bolt that is powerful enough to really stand out in the daytime, and composed perfectly with a saguaro has never happened for me before.”

This has been a major goal for Greg for ages, he told HuffPost. “This particular shot has been a goal of mine for over [seven] years,” he said. “I’ve seen similar things happen only a few times in my life while actively looking for it, so to catch it with the camera was nothing short of awesome.”

To capture the lightning, Greg has been using a device called a “lightning trigger.”

“In order to time that with the lightning would be next to impossible or extremely lucky,” he told The Weather Channel. “Our reaction times to see lightning and hit the trigger in time to catch it just are not fast enough. So I used a lightning trigger — this is a small device that sits on top of the camera, senses the lightning and fires the trigger. It still doesn’t catch every shot and tends to shoot at nothing at times, but it does make photographing lightning during the day much more possible.”

Using the lightning trigger, Greg has captured plenty of lightning bolts in his day, which can be seen on his photography site. Now that he’s finally captured a lightning bolt meeting a rainbow, he has his heart set on new photography goals. “For lightning, I’d love to capture a powerful bolt over the Grand Canyon,” he told The Weather Channel. “In other photography, I’d love to shoot a whale breaching. And there’s two locations I’d love to shoot, Iceland and New Zealand.”

We are in full support, Greg! Thanks for capturing the beauty for us all to see — your work has truly taken our breath away.

Check out more of Greg’s amazing work, right here.

(Images via Facebook, Twitter, iStock)

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