Stormy Morning Over Phoenix

I feel like I’m running out of titles for blog posts. Part of the problem is I tend to do these things on the fly, without much preparation, so I don’t take a whole lot of time to think about them. I usually just write what’s on my mind when I sit down and finally start typing.

Like today.

On our last few photowalks in downtown Phoenix, I noticed my buddy Rick Young with a headphone stuck in one ear as he wandered around looking for shots. It was interesting and I thought that sounded kind of cool. My car has a CD player in it, but nothing else and I hate listening to my iPod touch over those crappy FM transmitters. So at the end of January on my trip out to the Superstition Mountains, I stuck the iPod in my pocket, plugged in the headphones and went for a drive.

It was amazing what a difference it made. Now when Rick listens to tunes, it’s the Smashing Pumpkins and other bands like that. For me…I like soundtracks. And dark, murky, majestic soundtracks. My playlist consists of a few Battlestar Galactica seasons, The Dark Knight, Crimson Tide, Hunt for Red October, all three Lord of the Rings and the Firefly/Serenty combination.

There have been a few moments since where there will be a track that culminates in some massive revelation…while at the same time I’m cresting some hilltop and see the sun breaking through the clouds up ahead. It’s almost like my own soundtrack while out shooting. And I love it.

All this to say that I will likely be poaching song titles from these albums to help name these blog posts. Although ones like “The Council of Elrond” will be hard pressed to be useful for anything…some of them work well.

Like “Precipice” from season three of Battlestar Galactica. This image was taken up at South Mountain on Saturday morning, overlooking the city below. We had some fun storms roll through, lots of rain and some amazing clouds on Sunday afternoon.

A quick note about the processing of this shot. Brutally tough with the windy conditions…even using the -2 bracket I still have some blur in the shrubs and I’m okay with that. But there is a lot of motion overall in the scene…the cloud swooshing across the sky…so perhaps it works.

  • Steve Beal

    It definitely works! The title is perfect too 🙂

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  • andy gimino

    Great image mike! I love the streaky clouds.

  • Rick Young

    Love the image and the feeling of the fast moving clouds overhead. The blurry bushes work for me for the exact reason you gave in the post. This is where I feel shooting RAW is a must since you can play with exposure and fill to lighten up things that would otherwise be toodark to mask.

    That dude Ruck sounds super cool by the way…

  • Heather


  • Sean

    Hey Mike this image is great! Love your B & W work!

  • James Brandon

    Dude this is insane. Digging the feeling of movement throughout the frame

  • jina

    Challenge: Take a picture to correspond with the title “The Council of Elrond”… go!

  • Mike

    Thanks Wife! What a tough assignment!

    Appreciate all the kind words today guys…means a lot.

  • Chris DeAngelis

    Hey Mike, great image today! Love the B&W and the little blur works really well to convey the conditions in your scene. Soundtracks were my music of choice (lots of Hans Zimmer) when studying in optometry school. Enough to keep me interested, but not too much to distract!

  • David

    Try Last of the Mohicans. I live in the Great Smoky Mountains area near where it was filmed. It always inspires me when I am shooting and that music comes on.

  • Servalpe

    I love the dramatic scenery emphasized by the clouds motion and the bw treatment !

  • Chris Kenison


  • Mike

    Thanks man…I love movement in these storm images…always trying to align to take advantage of that!

  • Jessa Koppenhofer

    Storm + B&W = Brilliant & Beautiful
    This is a fantastic picture of the storms we had, I need more pics, post more pleaseee!! So awesome!