When we picture a rainbow, we usually think of the traditional multicolored bow that appears once the sun comes out after some rain. However, there are other types of rainbows out there, some of which are much more rare.
U.K.-based landscape photographer Melvin Nicholson happened to capture one of these rainbows while he was exploring Western Scotland. Nicholson was at Rannoch Moor near the village of Glencoe when he spotted a rare fog bow, also known as a white rainbow, and captured a stunning photograph of the not-often-seen phenomenon.
The photographer had been looking for a particular tree, and when he arrived, it was covered in mist. “Then the sun started to rise behind us, burning off the mist, and at that point, the fog bow appeared,” Nicholson told ABC News. “I had never seen anything like it in my 10 years capturing landscape photos around the globe or even in my 44 years of life.”
The fog bow only lasted for five minutes, and Nicholson knew he had captured a good shot once he saw how fleeting the white rainbow was.
In a post on his Facebook page, Nicholson wrote “As soon as I saw this wonderful isolated windswept tree, I knew that it had to be framed by the fog bow. Freshly fallen snow set the scene all around. It was just beyond magical and one of those days that you’ll remember for a long time to come.”
A fog bow is a rainbow that appears in the fog rather than the rain, as its name suggests. It can only be seen if the sun is behind you when you are looking at it.
Because of the small size of the water droplets, a fog bow has much weaker colors than a regular rainbow, with a red outer edge and bluish inner edge, as you can see in this fog bow that was captured at the Red Rock Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Montana:
Beautiful, right? If you’re eager to capture a fog bow of your own on camera, find a spot where you know fog collects (the Bay Area would be a great option for this!) and make sure to set yourself up with the sun behind the direction you’ll be shooting.