Ord Madness


A beastly embedded supercell approaches the town of Ord, Nebraska back on June 1st, 2018. It was pretty amazing to see this form out of a big messy line of convection and it actually dropped a brief tornado north of town just about 15 minutes after this.

Willcox Shelf

One of the best nights of last summer…September 1st, sitting here just NE of Willcox with my buddy Chris Frailey shooting lightning for over an hour. We were in such a good spot to watch it get close, but never really overtake us, so we score far away bolts, then super close strikes…and this beautiful shelf cloud rolling towards us with tons of lightning underneath it.

Tyron

A beastly storm moves towards the town of Tryon, Nebraska on May 23rd, 2018. A noisier photo than I like…the Canon 5DSR at 1600 iso and bumping the exposure up a bit isn’t ideal, but it’s a frame from a time-lapse and I love it, so sharing anyways! Can’t wait for sights like this again!

Intensity

One of my personal favorite images of 2018 was this one early in the morning of July 21st on the Vekol Valley Road overpass looking east. Asher and I had gone almost all the way to New Mexico earlier, and then raced back towards home as a huge MCS blew up and started blasting west and northwest. We raced ahead of it here and had only a few minutes to setup before it blasted us again with strong winds, dust and rain.

It’s rare (to me) for these kinds of MCS storms in the desert to move fast and have so much cloud-to-ground lightning as well. It’s usually in cloud, back in the rain…so this night was such a treat. This is just a single exposure, around 20-25 seconds…and lightning was exploding everywhere. It was an intense barrage for hours, ones I like to call “widow makers” because they just seemed fast and deadly.

Ringwood

Not sure what took me so long to get to this one, but one of the more stunning scenes from last spring for me. Long chase on May 29th from north of Laverne, Oklahoma to here southeast of Ringwood. The colors went nuts at sunset and this supercell/shelf cloud looked all kinds of amazing. Had to bail shortly after this to meet up with tour guests in Colorado the next day.

The best settings for lightning photography

A tutorial on the best settings for lightning photography, from day to astro, with real world images and exif information.

Stuff from this video:

Lightning Trigger IV: https://store.lightningtrigger.com/
Join a tour or workshop: http://www.mikeolbinski.com/workshops
Follow John Sirlin: https://twitter.com/sirlinjohn

Incoming

Only about five and a half months until haboob season returns…can’t wait to get chased by these beasts again. 2018 was a fantastic year for them, hopefully 2019 rocks as well.

Dry Lake

September 1st, the night that keeps on giving haha…so many fun lightning shots from that chase, here’s one looking towards the dry lake bed near Willcox from near the Kansas Settlement. I got this on wide angle which I would have preferred, but it was set to ISO 2000 for time-lapse and the bolt just blew the crap out of the shot. This was fun despite wishing I had a tad more foreground.

This was 2018

One of my annual traditions around these parts is to post a nice recap of the year in photos. They range from road trips with friends,  family pics, wedding, photoshoots and of course, storm images. It felt like a different year overall, a little more subdued, with spring chasing offering slightly less excitement this time around and a couple less weddings. But wow it was a blast of a year regardless!

The year kicked off at a little shoot with a former bride and groom from Australia and their new baby girl, and then I was off on a road trip with Jay, Jason and Andrew to Death Valley and the eastern Sierras. From there it was wedding season, then storm chasing on the plains, followed by epic haboob and lightning action across Arizona during the monsoon, and finally fall weddings and family portraits. Toss in some wonderful family moments, it was a year to remember.

It also marked my fourth year as a full-time photographer and it keeps getting better and better. I still feel incredibly blessed that I get to do this everyday.

Hope you enjoy this look back at some of my favorite images, including at least a photo from almost every wedding and family session!

Chimney Rock

A new image from June 12th, 2017…after missing all the tornadoes and structure earlier, I raced out of Wyoming through Scottsbluff and finally got in front of that line of storms that had continued to move all the way into Nebraska. This particular storm had produced another tornado just 30 minutes or so earlier. I loved this view with Chimney Rock in the distance and some decent structure looming over it. Would end up chasing this into Alliance and all the way into the Sandhills until near midnight. A great end to what started out as a day I almost quit and went home 🙂