Posted by: kerryl29 | September 26, 2022

The Story Behind the Image: Everlasting Beams of Light

Note: By the time this post goes public, I will be in northern Minnesota, hopefully taking advantage of an early outbreak of fall color along the northern shore of Lake Superior. Another post will appear, as if by magic, next week. I will be back home early in the first week of October and should be able to return to the chronicling of the Death Valley experience the following week.

10 years ago, while on a photo tour of northern Arizona, we spent a few days on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The tour ended with a morning session at Point Imperial, one of several North Rim canyon overlooks. We had visited the location in the afternoon the day before, and were thus familiar with most of the ins and outs. We had a nice sunrise and I think most of the participants figured that was more or less the end of the tour, as everyone took what was presumed to be their final images of the session.

But something unusual happened. The clouds in the eastern sky formed in such a way that beams of sunlight began piercing the cover, creating fascinating patterns between the sky and the canyon. Once this effect had been noticed–and we all noticed–everyone pretty much forgot about leaving, and hastened to take advantage of the conditions.

The scene itself was unique, but what was even more extraordinary, in my view, was how long this phenomenon lasted. I’ve seen events akin to this elsewhere, both before and since, and typically the effect plays out in a few minutes. A full hour after this started, it was still very much extant. I honestly don’t know how long it lasted, because after 75 minutes or so, I left, having obtained what I felt I could, both photographically and existentially. And I was the last of the participants to pull up stakes!

Regardless, it remains today among my favorite experiences and, thus, one of my favorite captures.

Morning Light, Point Imperial, Grand Canyon National Park – North Rim, Arizona

To see a larger rendition of this image, go here. Be sure to click on the image in the new window to view the photograph with proper proportionality.


  1. Wow, that’s truly amazing.

  2. Love those sunbeams! Look forward to Northern Superior.

    • Thanks very much, Jane!

  3. Absolutely stunning!! I hope you enjoy your trip!

    • Thanks!

      The trip went well (I just returned earlier today).

  4. Always love those “God rays.” So dramatic!

    • Thanks, Steve!

  5. Awesome light. Great image.

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