When visiting the Grand Canyon, there's a sense of awe and wonder at its natural beauty. Nothing could improve on that, could it?
How about a full cloud inversion?
It's pretty cold at the base of the canyon, so when warmer air traps the cooler air down there and a bit of moisture is included, clouds form and cover the canyon. The result is something that resembles an ocean of clouds.
Full cloud inversions in the Grand Canyon are rare, happening maybe once a year. When they do happen, it's as if you're walking in the sky.
This natural phenomenon typically occurs in late fall or early winter, and it's sometimes followed by snowstorms, like the one pictured above.
Even after a snowfall, the Grand Canyon can look a little like a volcano, with clouds for steam and an obsecured sunset for a far-off lava flow.
The Grand Canyon stretches for 277 miles, is about 10 miles wide in spots and is 1 mile deep. That's a whole lot area for these low-flying clouds to cover.
The video and images were captured by the SKYGLOW Project, "a crowdfunded quest to explore the effects and dangers of urban light pollution in contrast with some of the most incredible dark sky areas in North America," which includes the Grand Canyon.
And this isn't the first time that Harun Mehmedinović and Gavin Heffernan, the artists responsible for SKYGLOW, have showcased the Grand Canyon immersed in clouds. The video above and these photos are spiritual sequels to a video and photo project from earlier this year, "Kaibab Elegy."
Mehmedinović appreciates the Grand Canyon for for its varied wonders. In particular, he cited the park's "incredible night skies, staggering environment variety between top (rim level) and bottom (river level) of the park and just how weather patterns create a vastly different experience on the north (often more rain and snow) and south (often quite a dry or rainy when it's snowing north) rim" as reasons why it's his favorite park.
"You could have freezing temperatures and snow on the rim and 20 degree warmer weather at river level. I can't think of a park where one is confronted with as wide a variety of elements in a span of a few days," he told MNN in an email.
As for why he and Heffernan returned to the Grand Canyon after "Kaibab Elegy," that variety of experiences played a big part.
"In 'Elegy' you see the transition from late summer monsoons to late fall cloud inversions while [in] 'Requiem' you see the late fall transition to mid-winter. It's hard not to be inspired at Grand Canyon, or to take a bad shot."
If you want more of SKYGLOW, the Mehmedinović and Heffernan released a book and a video series chronicling their travels around North America.