In a wild time-lapse video recently released by the two photographers behind Skyglow project, a book and video series exploring the effects of light pollution, we see a fog roll into the Grand Canyon like an ocean wave and the Colorado River disappear.
It’s called a full cloud inversion and is caused by cold air trapped inside the canyon being covered by a layer of warm air. The weather phenomenon is so rare that it took years to capture the footage.
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Harun Mehmedinovic explained how the project came together and the explosive final frame of the video.
When was the footage captured?
Harun Mehmedinovic: Over a two-year period, between early 2015 and 2017.
How did you first learn about full cloud inversions?
HM: By actually seeing it in person at the Grand Canyon! I knew about other inversions — in fact, in many places on Earth they are commonplace — but at the Grand Canyon they are rare.
Skyglow project aims to educate people on light pollution. What do you hope viewers take away from this video?
HM: I hope the last image [of the video] leaves them in awe and longing to see the amazing dark skies of our Grand Canyon for themselves.
What was it like to watch the canyon disappear into the fog in person?
HM: Completely surreal; it felt like being on a rocky ocean beach suddenly. That motion you see in the video, clouds acting like waves, was visible to the eye too, just much slower.
How long were you filming and how did you prepare for the shoot?
HM: I frankly just stumbled upon the inversion. It wasn’t planned. The last shot was a different story. I followed the weather pattern, and when I saw a north-south-direction thunderstorm, I went to North Rim hoping I could capture it from a side angle, and miraculously the image turned out way better than I even imagined. That’s partly luck.
Are there any other anecdotes you can share about the shoot?
HM: On the last shot, the lightning bolt hit close to the camera and completely fried it. I only got to see the image later, and it was just minutes before the camera went dead!