Australian Weather Calendar: November 2016

November photgraph by Colin  Leonhardt

Rainbows form when sunlight is refracted (bent) and reflected by raindrops: Blue light refracts at a greater angle than red light, separating the colours. From the ground, you can only see light refracted through drops above you, so you see the familiar semi-circular rainbow. Colin Leonhardt, in a helicopter with the sunset behind him and a rain shower ahead, saw refracted and reflected light from both above and below—forming a full circular rainbow.

‘We were lucky,’ says Colin. ‘There was a rain shower. You’re not allowed to fly through rain, so we went around the back of it—it was at sunset—so because we were actually in the back of the last bit of mist of the sun-shower, and the light was going through it, that was ideal.’

Colin used a Canon 1D Mk2 N with 8–15 mm fisheye lens—essential because of the size of the phenomenon: ‘When I first saw it, I had a 25 mm lens on the camera, and I only got a quarter of it in the frame,’ explains Colin.