Old Man Sunset

The Watcher - Arizona Monsoon Thunderstorms

(Click to watch the storm as God intended…larger, with a dark border)

Scenes like these are the reason why I love chasing and photographing the monsoons here in Arizona.

This was the day before the big haboob arrived in Phoenix. As you can see, dust storms in this state are a normal occurrence during the summer (just nothing so bad as the July 5th one). I was headed south from Phoenix and saw a big wall of dust headed our way, along with a pretty epic looking stormcell. On radar, it was actually headed perfectly towards town.

So I had found this spot the day before and set up here again. I love this old tree. It looks dead, but has green growth on some of the outlying branches. I’ve grown quite fond of it…dubbing it “the old man.” I started running a timelapse and let it go for quiet awhile. I may actually post it sometime soon, but as I am just young in doing these, I moved the camera around a few times, so I need to work a bit on the final product. It’s actually pretty gorgeous how this storm grows, dies and the colors move across it until night falls.

As it stands, a shot like this isn’t super-easy to get. Being able to capture a dying monsoon anvil, complete with awesome sunset colors, PLUS grab a wall of dust moving in front of it…well, it just doesn’t happen much. The only thing that would have made it more rare would be a lightning strike!

Hoping for a few more monsoon sunsets like this before the season ends! Still have a lot of chasing to do.

  • http://www.brianfurbush.com/blog Brian Furbush

    This is such a cool sunset shot Mike – I love everything about it. Seriously, it’s legit.

  • http://www.chrisfrailey.com Chris Frailey

    The cloud shapes give you the feel of them coming right at you. I’m guessing there was too much movement to try and bracket this out?

  • Mike

    Hey Chris…no, I just don’t bracket everything these days. I mean, yes, this was part of a timelapse anyways, but I doubt I would have bracketed it out…or at least, I might have, but would have just used a single RAW.

  • http://www.chrisnitz.com Chris Nitz

    Love that dust storm adding quite a bit of drama to this gorgeous sunset. The foreground tree adds in a nice touch as well. Just a great shot all around man!

  • http://www.cdeangelisphotography.com Chris DeAngelis

    SIck shot! Those clouds are insane and the colors are amazing!

  • http://goldenhourstudios.com Jesse

    Spectacular cloud formations and color. Love the lone tree and how the clouds dominate the frame.

  • http://www.myblueheaven.com Scott Wood

    Great shot. I have the same structure that I shot from the Casa Grande area. I wish the storms would return.

  • http://www.curtfleenor.com Curt Fleenor

    Awesome Mike…just awesome!

  • http://www.toadhollowphotography.com Toad Hollow Photography

    Amazing shot here Mike, LOVE the colors and the sky!

  • http://www.sarakbyrne.com/blog/ SaraKByrne

    Absolutely gorgeous.
    The colors in the clouds are so interesting.

  • http://perlmutterphotography.wordpress.com/ Steven Perlmutter

    Great shot. The colors are fantastic.

  • http://ramblings.chriswray.net Chris Wray

    Stellar composition, Mike. Skies don’t get much more expressive than this impressive example.

  • http://www.doephotog.com A.Barlow

    Very Very cool!

  • http://visualstate.wordpress.com andy gimino

    Just an incredible image mike! I love the combo of the sky set against this tree in the foreground. Well done!

  • http://lussierphoto.com Bob Lussier

    Great shot. I really love the idea of storm chasing, but somehow New England doesn’t seem to provide the same drama. But we’re going to NC in a couple of weeks. Is it wrong of me to pray for a hurricane to hit while we’re there?

  • http://heathofee.com Heath O’Fee

    Seriously? This shot totally rocks my socks. The range of colours is absolutely stunning and your composition is rock solid. So great, dude.

  • http://imagesbyjw.com Jan Winther

    Super shot!…

  • Gramma Karen

    Don’t know all the photography jargon, but looking at this takes my breath away! How’s that?