The Dance of the Light

It's Alive - Light over Cave Creek

Being sick for the past 11 days or so, I hadn’t really taken any pictures, to say nothing of actually doing any stormchasing. Somewhat lucky for me, the weather was fairly quiet during most of the time I was couch-ridden, so I didn’t miss much.

But I’m back to normal now and just in time. Last night Arizona had a walloping of storms explode across southeastern portions of the state and the weather moved into Phoenix by early evening. Most of the bad stuff stuck to the east valley, but we got a nice dust storm/haboob and then a great lightning show later on.

To go along with my 5D Mark II, I have a 17-35mm, 50mm and 85mm. That’s it. My focal range isn’t awesome. So earlier this week, I discovered a nice little Canon 70-210mm f/4 that was built in 1988 and the reviews spoke of the high quality of the glass. Yeah, no IS and the zoom was of the telescoping variety, meaning you point it up or down and you’ll probably watch the lens slide around.

Either way, I wanted more range for lightning and it was $118. No brainer. And it arrived yesterday in the nick of time.

With my daughter in tow, we watched the sun go down and then saw some storms developing just north of Bush Highway. We headed up there and were welcomed with some amazing lightning, some of which ended up crashing all around us as we huddled in the car.

A bit later I ran into my buddy Scott Wood and then Bryan C. Snider, another twitter pal. So we hooked up and just shot together the rest of the night. So great to run into those guys and awesome to finally meet Bryan. He’s a solid photog.

This was one of our final spots. I’ll remember it always because the strikes were awesome, but the massive pile of 1/4 inch ants I upset likely will leave a scar on my leg. Ouch.

I have to say, that lens was perfect. This was taken at 160mm and there was no other way I could have shot it. No roads to get us closer to the storm. It was either zoom or watch from afar.

I’m gonna have a lot of fun with that thing.

(canon 5d mark ii, canon 70-210mm 4.0, 160mm, f/5.6, iso 400, 30 sec)

  • Dave DiCello

    Mike, I mean come on dude. You are the freakin’ master of lightning captures! This is out of this world awesome dude, helluva shot! Enjoy your weekend!!

  • Chris Nitz

    Sounds like a lovely night, and congrats on the new lens. I’m looking forward to how much more you rock that lens!

  • Jesse


  • Dave Wilson

    Fabulous. Not only is the lighting excellent, but I love the texture you’ve caught on the clouds too. I definitely envy your weather!

  • Chris Frailey

    Nice way to break in the new glass.

  • Randy Bayne

    Sweet shot!

  • A.Barlow

    Really cool shot man. Love the huge amount of lightning in this.

  • Kristi Hines

    Great capture… looks like that lens is perfect for the job! 🙂

  • Scott Wood

    I said it last night, and this image just proves it, that might be the best $118 you will ever spend. 🙂

    I had a blast out shooting with you and Bryan last night. I haven’t even imported my images yet.

  • Rick

    Congrats on the “new to you” glass.

  • Brian Furbush

    Whoa. This is sick.

  • Eje Gustafsson

    man on man… Another absolutely stunning capture. Glad you are feeling better so you can do what you enjoy, only bad thing now that your back out shooting again as Dave said on twitter makes the rest of us look bad 😉

    Great one. Can’t think where around here (if we ever would get some more good storms) I would be able to use a that much glass to shoot Lightning. Seems I always run my 24-85 at 24 to capture the flashes or I end up using my 11-16 running at 14-16mm..

  • Chris DeAngelis

    Great capture! That lens looks pretty sharp! What a deal! Where’d you find it?

  • Mike

    Chris, this forum:

    Is pretty awesome for Canon camera sales.

  • Chris Robins

    i wish we had this weather in the NYC area so that i could work on awesome violent nature shots like these. hot, in every sense of the word.

  • http://none aalevy

    Fabulous image of lightening over the desert