The Arizona Twister

The Arizona Twister or Dust Devil

(please click to enjoy a view on black!)

If dust devils were tornadoes, Arizona would be the capital of the world. During these hot summer days, you can drive down the long interstates through the desert and see these towering twisters of dust almost anywhere.

They can be tiny things, barely 10 feet tall and they sputter out after minutes. Or they can be long-lasting, tornado-like vortices that sometimes make you do a double-take to just make sure it’s not an actual twister.

While out stormchasing on Labor Day, my buddy Ken and I spotted this elephant trunk-like dust devil that lasted for quite awhile. It had to be hundreds of feet up in the air. Usually when you see a good one, it’s only going to last minutes so it’s not always easy to capture them. And even harder to get a backdrop like we got here. I’ve actually never photographed a dust devil quite like this before.

(canon 5d mark ii, canon 35mm 1.4 l, f/16, iso 100, 1/250th – buy print)

  • Len Saltiel

    Wow Mike. Excellent capture. Love the way the dust devil is lit especially against the dark background.

  • Brian Furbush

    Whoa, that is pretty damn cool. I really like it in color too, shows off how vibrant the foreground is against that narsty looking dust devil.

  • Scott Wood

    Great shot. Most of the ones I capture are never as nicely defined as this one. Great job.

  • Jim Denham

    Great catch Mike!

  • Chris Nitz

    I like how the dust devil looks like a small ray of light coming down and blessing whatever is on the ground. I’m thinking about all the poor ants and spiders that must feel like they are headed to OZ thanks to that little devil. Fun stuff.

  • Edith Levy

    Wow terrific capture Mike.

  • Capnschwartz

    Ever stand in the middle of one of those? Good time to be had!

  • Curt Fleenor

    Awesome capture Mike!

  • Rick Young

    Love the dust devils… Sorry I had to bail at the last minute!

  • Chris Lazzery

    This is awesome, Mike. Great composition; love the light-to-dark gradient.

  • Jesse

    This is awesome and totally agree with Brian on the color really making this pop.

  • Steve Beal

    Sweet capture Mike – it’s just a matter of time before you have a real twister for us to drool over 🙂

  • http://none aalevy

    I love it. You capture the beauty of both the desert and the Dust Devil with excellent composition with short period of time to to it .
    Remarkable. You continue to wet my photography appetite!!!

  • Coral

    Wow what an awesome shot.

  • Chris DeAngelis

    Great shot! Love the lines created by the planted crops. We have those all over, but never with nice clouds to complete the scene like this!

  • Toad Hollow Photography

    Absolutely INCREDIBLE Mike! I’d like to call this fan-flippin-tastic, myself!

  • Mark Blundell

    Superb capture- right place right time and with camera in hand – awesome work.

  • John

    Truly inspiring capture! Talk about being in the right place at the right time. These things look pretty cool and I definitely want to make a trip out to Arizona in general – it looks like such a beautiful place to photograph!

  • A.Barlow

    It looks like it’s picking fruit. 🙂 very cool shot and yeah you got lucky having such a wonderful backdrop. LOVE those clouds!!

  • http://www.chrisrobinsphoto,com Chris Robins

    sweet man.

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