Lightstorm - Arizona Monsoon Lightning

(Please click to view on black)

Sometimes the weather forecasters predict a big storm to hit in the coming days, only to either be wrong or off a bit on the timing. But for the last 2-3 days, the National Weather Service kept saying a low pressure system would move into SW Arizona on Labor Day creating some intense storms and lots of rain.

Which is exactly what happened.

I had been planning on an all-day, noon-to-midnight stormchasing event for Labor Day and was pumped when Monday morning nothing in the forecast had changed. My buddy Ken met me at my house around 12:30 and we flew west of Phoenix and then south to Gila Bend.

If we had driven to Yuma, we might have seem some really nasty stuff, but that’s a long haul. So we hung out around the northern parts of Gila Bend, shooting storms in the farmlands and irrigation areas. Caught a few night photographs that will be shared at a later time.

But this lightning shot came almost 30 miles south of Gila Bend on Highway 85. I literally ran across a low area and up a hill to setup for this shot, which ended up being the highest spot around. The lightning wasn’t close, but it’s definitely not the wisest thing in the world to do.

I didn’t have much of a choice. I could see a gorgeous sunset going on and some stormy clouds with strong downdrafts of rain. It took awhile, many shots, but I finally got a decent strike before the beautiful color of the sunset disappeared on me.

(canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, iso 250, f/10, 6sec – buy print)

  • Scott Wood

    Very nice. Orders of magnitude better than anything I managed to capture yesterday.

  • Chris Frailey

    Looks like it was worth the run to higher ground. Nice one Mike.

  • Jon Stolarski

    Well worth the wait thats for sure. Well done.

  • Steve Beal

    The wide-angle works so well in this image… The purple skies are just epic!

  • Chuck Mitchell

    Killer shot Mike!!!

  • Scott Ackerman

    Yeah, this rocks! Nice shot.

  • Brian Furbush

    Some seriously impressive looking light Mike – wish we could get colors like that on a nightly basis on the east coast!

  • Jason Hines

    Absolutely amazing shot Mike! I just love the colors here and your processing is excellent!

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  • Curt Fleenor

    Sweet capture Mike!

  • Jesse

    Sky is epic. Love.

  • Jacob Lucas

    Great shot, Mike. I love how everything draws you in to the lightning in the center. Wonderful colours in the sky, too.

    Also…. drive to Vegas 😛

  • Justin

    That is beautiful violence. Wonderful work Mike!

  • John

    Very nicely composed and processed! Not to mention just the luck involved in capturing a shot like this! Great work 🙂

  • Chris DeAngelis

    Sick colors! That lightning is fantastic!

  • Adam Allegro

    Dude, wonderful capture. The colors are amazing. Well done.

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