North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park
Congratulations to 2011 Great Outdoors Contest Grand Prize winner Lewis Abulafia. Describing the situation when he took this photograph, Abulafia recalls, "It was in October 2010 shortly before the North Rim of the Grand Canyon shut down for the season. I had been camping for a few days, going out before dawn and returning after dusk without any very exciting images. On the last morning of my trip, I awoke an hour before sunrise, looked out of my tent and was very disappointed by what I saw. The sky was totally overcast, and the wind was blowing strongly. Because it was my last day of shooting, I forced myself to get dressed, grabbed my gear and drove to a previously scouted overlook. The weather continued to worsen, and I literally had to hold on to my tripod to prevent it from falling over. About 45 minutes after sunrise, I was ready to pack it in, but I gave myself another 10 minutes to stay just in case. Then 8 minutes later, the sun broke through the clouds and illuminated Mount Hayden below with the sweetest light I've ever seen. I managed to get a few frames squeezed off before the clouds blocked the light again."
Canon EOS-1D Mark ll, Canon EF 28-135mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS USM, Gitzo tripod, Really Right Stuff ballhead