Introducing: The Arizona Monsoon Photography Workshop

Purple Rain

Ever since I started storm chasing, people tell me that they want to tag along. They want to see some AWESOME lightning. And then that turned into people wanting to learn how to capture lightning and dust storms. Eventually those requests also included lessons on timelapsing as well.

So…why not do all of that at once?

I’ve thought about it for a long time, planned it out in my head and so this summer I’m introducing for the very first time my Arizona Monsoon Photography Workshop! I’m super excited about this…nervous yes, but thrilled to share my passion with other photographers.

A Quick Word

Before I move on to the exciting details about what I have planned, I need to make sure that everyone is aware that this is sort of a “trial run.” There is a lot that goes into a normal photography workshop, but this one is a bit is different – We’ll also be out on the road chasing storms. There is a lot to coordinate and much to learn from the experience of actually doing this for real.

Because of this, the workshop will only be three days long. In 2014 I plan to launch this fully with a 6-7 day workshop. I didn’t want the first workshop to go that long when I didn’t have everything nailed down completely.

And since it’s the first time, there may be some bumps and I will be learning a lot myself about the best ways to do this. Feedback from you all will be ultra important to me!

BUT…you will still be getting a huge knowledge dump from me. I will go into more details on that below.

One other note: I am not a meteorologist. I do understand how the monsoon works and I’ve lived in Arizona my entire life. If you’ve seen my work, you know that I tend to get to the right spots on the awesome storms. But I am not a forecaster and usually chase based on input from model runs, NWS discussions, radar and gut instinct.

Aside from all that though…I need to make sure you know that we’ll be having a ton of fun. A TON OF FUN. I mean…we’re gonna chase storms! Read on.

The Details

When: August 9th – 12th
Base Location: Tucson, AZ
Cost: $700
Deposit: $350
Lodging: Five bedroom vacation rental
Expenses covered by fee: Breakfast, gas, car rental, lodging
Spots: 4 (can be expanded if you are lodging elsewhere and have transportation)

(note: we’ll need to fill all four spots before the workshop is a go)

We’re going to have three full days together to learn, ask questions, chase storms, shoot, ask questions, edit, sleep, ask questions, learn, chase, shoot, timelapse…a lot of stuff. It’s going to be a lot of information so bring your notebooks!

The brief plan will be to meet down in Tucson the evening of the 8th to say hello, have drinks or dinner, and then hit the hay in the house we’re staying at. You don’t have to be there the evening of the 8th, but you will need to be at the house bright and early on Friday the 9th.

Friday morning we will wake up and talk about stuff we’ll need to know for the day, like weather apps, camera settings, etc.

We will THEN hit the studios of the local NBC new stations, meet meteorologist Jeff Beamish (he’s awesome!) and get a nice overview from him on the monsoon season! Super excited about that, I can’t wait!

The rest of the weekend is chasing and learning. Saturday morning we will likely go over processing images from the day before and Sunday we’ll talk about timelapsing and anything else. We’ll stay over Sunday night as well and break camp Monday morning.

 

Equipment you need

In order for this workshop to be successful, you are going to need the right tools. Without them, you may just end up watching and forget everything a few weeks after the workshop is over! So here are the requirements:

  1. A Digital SLR
  2. An external cable release (like this for Canon)
  3. If you want to timelapse, an Intervalometer (like this one for Canon – note: if you have this, you wont need the cable release above)
  4. Tripod
  5. Memory cards!

This stuff below is HIGHLY recommended by not required…the first three are the most important:

  1. Laptop
  2. Lightroom
  3. Photoshop
  4. iPhone or Android
  5. A lightning trigger if you want to attempt lightning captures during the day.

 

What you’ll be learning

The workshop will consist of six areas:

1. Using your phone or laptop to chase storms. What applications to purchase, what services to use, etc.

2. In the field capturing weather. Settings, lenses, methods, shooting when the light is good, what is the best light, capturing lightning, etc.

3. Processing and editing those images on our computers. How I store and organize, collections, editing with Lightroom, editing methods in Photoshop and ways to learn more

4. Capturing a timelapse out in the field…a basic overview in how to get the best quality you possibly can.

5. Putting a timelapse together using Lightroom to edit and then export video.

6. Learning about the weather, how the Arizona monsoon works, why storms build up and die out, why we get haboobs, and all that jazz.

 

Final thoughts

This is going to be a a blast. But I will say…chasing storms is tough. I wont be able to guarantee that we’ll see amazing stuff. I’d like to get us in front of a giant dust storm, but you never know if that will happen. Trying to capture lightning is a super frustrating and highly rewarding hobby. We’ll do our best to find the great light shows and get you some images. The good news is that we’re based out of Tucson and that’s kind of monsoon central here in Arizona. Phoenix will get nothing while Tucson gets nailed. And if Tucson isn’t getting anything, chances are we can head south or east and still get to some storms.

Right now the plan is six of us in a stylish, comfy mini-van. If there is more demand than I thought, we may open up a second vehicle, but then like I mentioned above, lodging would have to be figured out.

I’m very excited about this. I’m stoked that some of you will get to be a part of this stepping stone to a major storm chase workshop in 2014. I will answer any and every question you have to the best of my ability and the end of the weekend you’ll know how to do this on your own.

And hopefully we will all have made a few new friends!

If you are interested in being a part of this, please fill out the form below and hit submit!

Thank you!

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Tell me about yourself, why you want to be a part of this and how excited you are!!!