A micro-dust-burst-haboob something or other

(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 17-40mm f/4 l, 17mm, f/9.0, iso 100, blend // buy print)

I was shooting a timelapse of the dust storm in the opposite direction when I turned to look behind me and saw this. A  towering monsoon thunderstorm, a strong downdraft (potential microburst) and an approaching dust storm/haboob all creating one crazy scene.

The dynamic range was intense though as you might be able to tell. The sun was hidden by clouds except at the top of that thunderstorm where it was so bright that if exposed correctly, made the rest of the image almost black. I rarely go into post-processing talk these days, but this guy was kind of tough. As I’ve gotten away from doing HDR, I am doing more blending using luminosity masking (LM). I use LM on almost all my processing these days (other than B&W), I find it a lot of fun with more natural results. But blending something like this was tough for me and I’m still learning how to do it correctly.

Whatever the processing method…it was still an amazing sight. Usually storms build up along the outflow of a dust storm, not way out in front like this one. So it’s rare to get a scene like this with an incoming dust wall and a large downdraft out ahead.

  • http://www.lussierphoto.com Bob Lussier

    This is sick. All you need is a snowstorm and some lightening to complete the picture.

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

    Not only is a great image, but I am really impressed with the luminosity mask results you have been getting. I saw a tutorial a few months ago and have been trying it, a lot, but have yet to get something that I am even remotely pleased with.

    Until I read your post, I didn’t realize that this was how you have been getting these great images.

  • http://toadhollowphoto.com Toad Hollow Photography

    I’m with Bob on this one. This is CRAZY good, Mike, what a fabulous picture! I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of work that goes into producing this!

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