Desert Double Rainbow – Chihuahuan Desert, New Mexico

Purchase Image Download:

Desert double rainbow and golden sky are the result of a summer monsoon over Albuquerque’s Sandia Mountains.

At the time I was taking this photograph, I had not yet learned the weather patterns of the Chihuahuan Desert. Actually, I hadn’t learned much about Albuquerque at all. All I knew was that a storm was brewing, and bad weather is the time for good photographs. Albuquerque turned out to prove this mantra even more than usual. As I was racing to find a location, a famed New Mexico summer monsoon outpaced me overhead. Most of the precipitation did not even reach the ground, but rather evaporated in middair — a phenomenon known as virga. As sunset neared, the sunlight reached just the right angle to be filtered by the virga, creating a bright desert double rainbow while simultaneously lighting up the clouds and the dramatic Sandia Mountains bright gold. It was one of the most stunning light displays I’ve ever seen.

Higher resolutions of this image are available (the maximum resolution for this image is 5157×5639). For usages that require a resolution higher than 3000px, or are otherwise beyond the standard terms and conditions, please email me directly at to discuss use-specific pricing.

Purchase “Desert Double Rainbow – Chihuahuan Desert, New Mexico” Fine Art Print: