Congratulations to Kris Walkowski for winning the Stormscapes Assignment with the image, “The Grace Within The Canyon”—a six-image panorama taken at Lipan Point at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
“The other night, while sleeping in the tent, I woke up several times, mainly because the wolves were making a lot of noise from a far distance—maybe because of the full moon or maybe because they were hunting,” explains Walkowski. “Due to the slow Internet access, I checked the weather at the visitor center the previous evening. The forecast for sunrise was very promising with clouds and rain. After not getting much sleep, I exited my tent and looked at the sky—the clouds were looking very promising. I left my camp around 4:30 a.m. and started driving towards my destination. Halfway through my trip, I noticed a pretty big gap on the horizon. That gave me hope for the sun to break through. I was debating between Moran and Lipan Point. Finally, I chose Lipan due to the strong wind that was also mixed with a bit of rain. As I arrived, several spectators were already sitting on the cliff, observing the sky, waiting for the sun to show its mighty colors. During the final sunrise moments, I started shooting the scene towards the sun, but quickly realized what was happening behind my back. The wind and rain started picking up as the sun was rising above the horizon. I turned and switched sides towards the canyon and nervously started setting up my tripod again for a panorama scene, which sometimes takes several minutes, especially when the ground is steep and uneven. Due to the strong side rain and cross wind I was nervously wiping my lens from the raindrops after each series of pano images. The scene was very intense and I was full of adrenaline. After panning my camera several times, the double rainbow and rain started moving away exposing different beauty of the canyon.”