Stunning! Rare Atmospheric Phenomenon Fills the Entire Grand Canyon with Fog


Stunning, breathtaking, Oh Em Gee, however you want to put it, the photos in this post are incredible to look at and incredibly difficult to capture. Not because it takes any crazy skills to properly photograph the Grand Canyon, but because the atmospheric conditions necessary to make these photos possible happens only about once per decade!

As you might have already noticed, the clouds in these photos decided to take a breather and settle into the Grand Canyon instead of floating above it. This phenomenon happens when something called a temperature inversion pushes fog down into the Grand Canyon and keeps it there.

Smaller versions of this happen about once or twice per year, Park Ranger Erin Whittaker told The Daily Mail, but a full inversion like the one that happen this last Friday takes place only about once every ten years. As you can see, it’s quite a sight to behold:






Ironically, Ranger Whittaker said that some of the tourists thought this was a typical occurrence and were disappointed that the pesky fog was obscuring their view of the Colorado River, an annoyance Whittaker and her colleagues quickly alleviated when they explained how rare the vista they were being treated to really is.

And once word got around that a gorgeous full inversion like this was happening under clear blue skies (yet another rarity), Whittaker said that “Word spread like wildfire” as locals streamed into the park to photograph the phenomenon. Whittaker called it “a treat for all.”

To find out more or see more pictures of this “Ocean of Clouds” shared by the National Park, head over to their Facebook page and feast your eyes.

(via Imaging Resource)

Image credits: Photographs by Erin Whittaker and Grand Canyon National Park

  • Oliver

    I’m sure the whole phenomenon was stunning but the photos above are just dull.

  • Matias Gonua

    wish the pictures were better

  • Jon Peckham


  • Anonymous

    wish this website was better

  • Even More Anonymous

    I wish the comments were better.

  • Jesse

    go take them

  • Fullstop

    I wish your avatar was better.

  • MarvinB7

    I like the one with the rocks and ice in the fore. Nice. So what if they aren’t gallery material. It’s still interesting. Haters, go hate yourselves.

  • Anonymous

    I wish the internet was better.

  • Fullstop

    I see what you did there.

  • Stormin

    missed it, and nobody thought to run a timelapse of the fog flowing thru?

  • Guest

    Here is a photo that I took during the inversion. It was a pretty cool event I thought.

  • Benjamin Mayberry

    Here is an image I got during the inversion. Was a pretty cool event!

  • Benjamin Mayberry

    No idea why it duplicated my image.

  • Scott in Montana

    Very Cool! Looks like you got there just in time!

  • Blachford

    To whom it may concern.

    Leave the damn clarity slider alone.



  • Jake

    Well, sadly you weren’t there to impress us all with your photographic expertise. I for one am grateful that some perfectly decent pictures were taken at all so that I could enjoy the moment and appreciate the beauty of the scene. Don’t need to see a masterpiece for that.

  • fast eddie

    Oh, you! :D

  • llaaa

    +1 … unique event : lets pump up our HDRRRRRRRRRRR

  • Mantis

    And of course, the comment section here never fails to disappoint.

  • A.J.

    The HDR in that top photo is very tastefully done.

  • Mantis

    This is why you only shoot for yourself, and ignore internet critics.

  • Jimmy

    This was a perfect opportunity to find out once and for all if people can walk on clouds. Did anybody try?

  • Tony

    I unliked this site on Facebook and only come here occasionally now specifically because the idiotic comments down here just ruin this place for me. This is not a very constructive photographic community, but instead is full of haters, nitpickers, and critics.

  • Oliver

    It lacks highlight details.

  • Mantis

    So? And how can you even tell in that tiny little portion shown?
    And the overwhelming vast majority of that photos audience don’t give a one iota of a rat’s ass about pixel peeping critiques like yours. They just think it’s a great looking photo, and they’re correct.

  • Mantis

    My one downvote must me an internet critic.

  • Arnold Newman

    Rare? Certainly. DIsappointing? Absolutely. I guess everyone who has visited the Grand Canyon and NOT encountered this phenomenon should count themselves lucky. It completely obscures the vistas.

  • Mantis

    This one too.

  • A.J.

    It cleared up within a couple of hours.

  • A.J.

    What makes a good photo?

    A wise photography teacher I had once asked us that question once, and yeah, a few photography nerds & snobs had the usual expected responses.

    The answer: If you like it.

  • Stanojev

    Same here, I don’t know any other creative community that is as negative and hard on each other as this one (the “photographer” community). The last straw for me was a while back when an article was posted here about a 17 year old girl who was doing stunning photography and she got ripped apart by the nitpickers in the comments (and the poor girl was reading them and responding). Talk about killing someone’s creativity… Makes you envisage a bunch of middle aged scientists with pocket protectors and microscopes counting pixels or whatever it is that turns them on and putting other people down because they’re frustrated that they haven’t become superstar photographers or whatever it is they thought they would be someday (picking on a teenage girl!). It’s sad. Now whenever I read an article I scroll down just to have a laugh as 99% of the time (watch someone here take the time to do an analysis and correct that %) the first comment is something along the lines of “that’s crap” or “I can do better” or “pixel number xxxxx is out of focus”. I read this BLOG daily for inspiration and occasionally, just occasionally, you’ll also find some constructive input in the comments section that you can use yourself so it’s worth skimming through. Hats off to all the people that take the time to write these articles and share some inspiration with those of us looking for it, I don’t think I could keep investing time into such a thankless job…

  • Matias Gonua

    I wish I got no replies.

  • Stormin

    in winter, the fog rolls into the Canyon regularly but with heavy overcast skies. This is rare due the clear sky ‘inversion’ phenomena

  • Benjamin Mayberry

    It didnt clear at all on that saturday and I was there sunday and it wasnt cleared when I left around 1pm. Kinda wish it did cause my parents were with me and they have never seen the canyon

  • Jake

    Well then stop being controversial! :P

  • Jake

    Ummm, any idiot would be able to do a Discussion Content Average Aggregate Generator Formula (DCAAGF) to figure out that the first comment is only obnoxious 87% of the time, but of course you’re too dumb to know that, and you probably have a $hi††y Sony NEX to take cat pictures with…nerd!
    That was total sarcasm, in case it wasn’t obvious, and yeah, you’re totally right. I love the content on this website most of the time, and while there is some crap, there’s no need to announce to the world how much better you could do or how awful someone is just to make yourself feel more significant. Anonymous internet conversations sadly filter out most peoples’ sense of tact.

  • Jake

    I climbed Mt. Etna once hearing that you could get fantastic views of all of Sicily. I got there and the entire top half of the mountain was obscured in a could with 20 foot visibility. It was awesome! I can see great views of tons of places any time in real life or in pictures, but how often do you get to literally walk through a cloud? You just have to learn to take advantage of and appreciate the curveballs nature throws you, and I am super jealous of everyone who got to see and photograph that rare occurrence in person.

  • Lord Maplebridge

    The HDR in the top photo is truly horrendous! In fact, it doesn’t even look like a photo, but rather like an image drawn entirely on the computer–typical of bad HDR:s. The promontory in the foreground looks like it’s been made out of plastic.

  • Ilama

    Wish the photos and the light were better… That’s just rubbish.

  • Chris Tamayo

    I was there Sunday and it cleared by 4pm or so.

  • Matias Gonua

    I wasn’t! I just wished that there were better pictures to appreciate that incredible event.

  • Matias Gonua

    Get used to it, I also dislike whinners and self proclaimed experts.

  • punktoad

    I wish life was better … For you.

  • Matias Gonua

    We agree on that one. Life is a pigsty.

  • Matias Gonua

    Well, I didn’t like this ones. So what’s the big deal about that?