The 2012 Arizona Monsoon in Timelapse

Well this is my baby. All the hard work timelapsing last summer is now in one single place. A short film, 19 minutes long, that is the payoff for all the hours, miles driven and time away from family in 2012. The video took me quite awhile to produce. Most of the timelapses were completed in one form or other last fall, but with the busy wedding and family portrait season upon me, I had to put it on the back burner for awhile. But slowly this year I’ve pieced it together, organized it, cleaned it up, found music and finely tuned my simple presentation.

And now it’s here. I’m damn proud of it.

No, I don’t use a dolly. Yet. I’m not sure it’s important to have one but all the most amazing timelapses usually have some kind of motion in them. But timelapsing while you storm chase is quite a different beast than planning to shoot the Milky Way one night out in Joshua Tree National Park. You never know when or where a dust storm may crop up. Or lightning. Or a ridiculously awesome monsoon sunset. Sometimes I literally cannot get my tripod set-up fast enough. The secondary idea of ALSO having to get a dolly set-up, not to mention figuring out in my brain just exactly how long this dust storm will take to get to me, is fairly difficult. But I may yet be moving that direction this summer. We’ll see.

But for now, these are simple timelapses that show you the nature of the Arizona monsoon. Walls of dust…beautiful clouds, amazing sunsets, rain, gorgeous landscapes…all of that stuff. It’s what I love about this state. It’s what drives me to chase over 7,000 miles every summer.

Some of the clips in here have been posted separately before, but there are a bunch that haven’t been seen, including a storm moving over Tucson over the course of 90 minutes.

My only regret is that the lightning portion is super-brief. I debated putting it in at all, but there are a couple of clips I really loved and they needed a place to be seen. This coming summer I hope to have a bit more patience with timelapsing lightning for longer periods of time. But the monsoon is fickle and lightning doesn’t always last too long. It moves with the storms and makes it tough.

Everything was filmed on Canon 5D Mark II’s, using the Canon 17-40 L, the 70-200 f/2.8 L and a Rokinon 14mm 2.8. I use a wireless intervalometer to run the shutter and then I kick back and watch the storm roll in or take stills with the other camera.

I am showing it here for free, but if you love the movie and feel like purchasing it for your personal collection, or to view anytime on your iPhone, iPad or whatever, it’s available for $5. I will email you a link where you can download the movie. You can click the button down below the movie to buy!

Also…I’m posting this on my birthday! I never ask for these kinds of things, but as a little gift to me, if you enjoyed the film, I’d love it if you could spread the word via email, share this on Facebook, Twitter or wherever. It would mean a lot! When you put a lot of hard work into something that people are supposed to watch, you want to try to get as many people to see it as possible!

Thank you for checking it out, I hope you enjoyed viewing it as much as I did filming it and I truly desire for you to fall in love with Arizona like I have. It’s such an amazing place.




39 replies
  1. Marilyn & Dennis
    Marilyn & Dennis says:

    Absolutely gorgeous…. particularly love the sound of the wind; your talent is such a delight. We are very proud of you. HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

  2. Scott
    Scott says:

    Have only been able to watch the first couple of minutes at work but I can’t wait to see the whole thing. Looks amazing, bud. Nice work.

  3. carlos
    carlos says:

    Happy Birthday! What an awesome project!

    One minor quibble… you might want to change the word “runs” to “ran” in the opening sequence. Makes it sound like Monsoon runs on a schedule every year rather than last year’s season ran from this date to that date…

    And, yes, this state is amazingly photogenic….

  4. Patti
    Patti says:

    This is wonderful! People don’t understand my fascination with living in Arizona and the Monsoon. I hope this seaon is better; I would love to see you do more time lapsed thunderstorms with the rotating clouds, lightening and rain. Great job!!

  5. Mike
    Mike says:

    @ Carlos – It actually does run on a schedule out here :) It used to officially start after three days of dew points over 55 degrees, but now we have a set time period that the NWS came up with.

    I mean, it shows up when it wants and stops when it wants, but we do have an official season that runs from June to Sept :)

    Thanks for the kind words!

    @Everyone Else – Thanks so much for the kind words and sharing this video with your friends…been amazing!

  6. carlos
    carlos says:

    Huh! When did they do that? I haven’t watched local news since we moved up the hill, but it was always tied to three days of dew point data when I watched the weather….

  7. Matt
    Matt says:

    I fell in love with Arizona and it’s monsoons since my first visit. Thanks for the fantastic movie. It cements in my mind the steadfast opinion that you are a fantastic talent (which I knew all along anyways). Happy Birthday and keep doing what you are doing Mike. It’s an amazing body of work that you are creating.

  8. Toad Hollow Photography
    Toad Hollow Photography says:

    Totally all over that, Mike!! Great production, my friend, can’t wait to get my link and download this to my iPad so I can see it over and over and over and over again!! Well done, this is such a great film!

  9. Bill
    Bill says:

    Beautiful job.Having a mild interest in tome lapse video with my Canon, I’m curious about some of the background info. Wireless intervalometer make, frame rates and editing software.

  10. Srinivas
    Srinivas says:

    Amazing video. How beautiful the world is!!. Happy birthday Mike!. I really appreciate your hard work, time and creativity!!.

  11. Kari Salomon
    Kari Salomon says:

    What incredible imagery! Thank you for sharing all of this- so many weeks of hard work for you. My students will enjoy- and hopefully leave some comments.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] this year I released my first ever short film that collected a bunch of timelapses I photographed during the 2012 monsoon season in Arizona. I was incredibly proud of that film and I was amazed at how well-received it was by all […]

  2. […] Vidéo timelapse tournée en Arizona par Mike Olbinski. […]

  3. […] moon and Venus: – Cowboy Tex – Sunset/sunrise montage: – How to use a piping bag properly – Arizona Monsoon Season Timelapse by Mike Oblinski – Bird […]

  4. […] The 2012 Arizona Monsoon in Timelapse – Mike Olbinski is well known for his incredible work in the field of storm based photography.  The 2012 monsoon season resulted in a terrific series of posts and photographs as the season unfolded, for those who follow Mike and his blog.  He has taken some of the best highlights from this work and compiled it into a 19 minute time lapse video that showcases the power and drama of nature, and Mike’s incredible ability to photograph it.  Extremely dramatic and a wonder to see. […]

  5. […] I am showing it here for free, but if you love the movie and feel like purchasing it for your personal collection, or to view anytime on your iPhone, iPad or whatever, it’s available for $5. I will email you a link where you can download the movie. The link to my blog where you can buy it is below: […]

  6. […] above, but if you'd like to keep and watch it on your own device, Mike has put up an option to buy it on his blog for $5. I say go ahead and do it, and support the awesome work from a great […]

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