Yet another Phoenix dust storm – September 11, 2011

We’ve lost track of the number of large dust storms (or HABOOBS) that have rolled into Phoenix this monsoon season. Some people think it’s more than normal. I kind of think that the big one from July 5th put everyone on alert for these things and now anytime we get one it’s a big deal…and more noticeable. Dust storms are very commonplace out here and we get them every summer.

Granted, we may have had some pretty dry deserts, so the dust could just be a bit more plentiful than normal. Another thing that also may be a difference is that we’ve received a lot more weather moving up from the Tucson area than down from the Mogollon Rim like we usually do…and the Rim usually doesn’t send dust storms.

Either way…we got another one on Sunday night and it looked pretty good creeping over South Mountain.

Soooo…we had some severe storms all over AZ this weekend. Phoenix was forecast to see some of these storms Sunday afternoon/evening. I went to the usual parking garage (it’s so close to home and easy) when I saw some cells on radar moving NE towards town and I was praying a few would develop over Phoenix. I was also hoping that I’d catch these right at sunset and get some amazing colors in the sky coupled with some gorgeous cell structures.

Of course things never go how you want. We got another dust storm. I’m not complaining though, it was a beautiful sky, beautiful clouds and the dust was awesome as it rolled over the mountains into town.

And towards the end…you can still see a bit of a sunset.

A few notes for this timelapse:

1. Pay attention around the 22 second mark…the dust cloud creeping over the mountain is just cool. Looks like a rushing, crashing wave.
2. Hopefully the haters will be quiet now and enjoy a dust storm timelapse that not only keeps running, but doesn’t stop until the dust has passed. *grin*
3. The timelapse is made up of 836 images shot five seconds apart from 5:46pm until 6:55pm (roughly).
4. This was a full manual timelapse. Manual white balance, iso, shutter speed and aperture. I have to say…this ended up being some of the best results I’ve had so far doing this.

Hope you enjoy!



  • Wow Mike, what a great time-lapse. Must me really weird to see it coming and experiencing it. Well done.

  • Mike

    Thanks Len! Much appreciated. It is kind of weird, but such an awesome sight.

  • Jessica

    Stunning! You did a great job in capturing that! I saw the photo on wunderground and came here via your time lapse link. My 11 & 8 yr old enjoyed viewing it as well. =)

  • Case

    Amazing Mike! Love those time lapse!

  • Another excellent timelapse Mike – I like that you left it running through the cloud! Very surreal and awesome!

  • Sick time lapse. How did you manage to protect your gear being that you left it out shooting in the dust? And where were you when the haboob hit?

  • Mike

    I didn’t protect it…it wasn’t a super heavy dust storm. And I just stood out in it with a couple of other photographers.

    Need to get the camera cleaned anyways 🙂

  • You were not kidding, that part where it rushes over the mountains is crazy. Nice job going full manual and thank you for sacrificing your camera in the interest of your “haters” 😉

  • Erin

    Fantastic capture! And it is totally awe-inspriring. Great job!

  • Nice one Mike. I love the passing through the dust storm and the after effect it leaves.

  • You outdone yourself yet again. Very awesome to see not only it rolling in but passing you over and the dust settling down. 836 frames all manual now that take dedication especially towards the end when your getting dusted. Bet both you and the camera had dust and sand where none should be afterwards.
    I hope both you and the camera are now clean and ready for more storm pictures.

  • That’s pretty crazy how it flows. Nice work.

  • Outstanding as usual, Mike. When you say full manual, did you make adjustments occasionally throughout, or set it at the start and then just let it run?

  • You are just a haboob magnet… I agree, I think this is your best timelapse yet!

  • More incredible work Mike, I mean WOW! I love how it just seems to be rolling over those mountains!

  • Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?