Been bad at editing lately, or I’m just so desperate for new material that I don’t want to go back to old stuff right now. But there are still a few images I love from the past few years that I’m trying to get around to working on…so here’s June 14th south of Paducah, Texas. An isolated beauty that spun towards me across farm lands for near an hour. As it got closer, the lightning became more visible and I was lucky to snag a couple nice bolts!
This has been a roller coaster week of emotions, lack of sleep and total exhaustion. From Phoenix to Texas and then to northern Arizona for two photoshoots. Feelings of helplessness and pain as a friend left this earth way too early, to a day later witnessing two people promise to share their lives together at one of the most beautiful places in Arizona. A day later spending time with another couple celebrating a 30th birthday at Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend.
It was stormy up there last night…incredibly windy and rain was coming. Our session ended before it got dark, which allowed me some time to myself. The sky was gorgeous, the clouds beautiful. This photos has what looks like a raggedy shelf cloud approaching my position.
I stayed there awhile, soaking it up, enjoying the spot with only a few people around. I even took a few portraits of two random couples and texted them the images just because after this week, I am inspired to try and be a better person and love people as much as I can.
This tornado! Never get tired of it 🙂 I’ve been wanting to take some frames from the time-lapse of this guys and do more fine turning on the editing…so I’m finally getting around to doing that. This was one of the first few frames I shot when I got to this spot south of Wynnewood, Oklahoma on May 9th, 2016.
You can see the time-lapse of this at the end of Vorticity, but it’s cropped a bit so you miss out on the beautiful structure above that twister.
Part of doing the fine tuning was removing the powerlines, because while it’s too difficult to do in a time-lapse, I really disliked them and wanted this to feel more in the middle of nowhere. If you can’t tell, I’m dying to get out chasing. Just about three weeks until my schedule is open and I can head out!
(click on the image to see it full sized)
Last summer I made quite a few trips up to the Grand Canyon in an attempt to capture lightning, but always I failed. I even had a perfect storm right in front of me with a nice little downdraft, but nary a bolt came out of it. It was incredibly frustrating to say the least. To make the attempt over and over and come away empty handed…well I’m sure you can understand how that might feel.
I’ve had a few people say…but you’re at the Grand Canyon though, so it’s always worth the trip. Inside, I wanted to say…no, it’s not. It’s 7 hours of driving only to fail again and again. Outwardly, I’m like…yeah, true. You’re right. But of course I really didn’t feel that way.
However, this photo kinda represents what those people were trying to say and maybe it’s changed my heart a little bit. I arrived the night before to capture any lighting I could, but the storms didn’t cooperate as usual. I parked in a campground, pretty depressed, slept an hour or so, woke up early and made my way to Navajo Point to watch the sunrise before heading home.
The sky was dark, and then slowly the light grew. Then clouds were majestic. The North Rim caught the first light of the sun perfectly and I stood there in silence, taking it all in. It was overwhelming. Even though it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in the United States, it was 6am and I was utterly alone. It was perfectly quiet except for the clicking of my camera.
I won’t soon forget that morning. Despite the supposed failure, I was thankful to be there. I left with a happy note in my heart and knew I’d be back yet again.
I don’t do a lot of straight landscape photography these days as my time is spent between storms, weddings and family…but my annual road trip with my pals is when I get to stretch my muscles a bit.
Watson Falls, Oregon. This was a beautiful place and I did my best to channel guys like Peter Coskun, Michael Shainblum and Mike Mezeul II. I worked hard to get into this spot that was sorta right over the river as much as possible. I wanted to get those rocks with the small flowers and hanging grass, plus try to get the water rushing underneath me.
I love how it turned out, but it was a difficult shot. The misty spray from the falls was brutal, and I wanted to shoot this at f/22 to get a longer exposure and sharpness throughout, but the waterspots were horrible. I dropped to f/6.3 and they disappeared! So this is a blend of the two shots, mainly to get the smoothness in the water running in the foreground.
Hope you enjoy this little break from storms!
My final day of chasing the plains last year was June 15th, and it was a chillaxing kind of day. I hung with two friends, Jenny and Justin, and we watched weak supercells spin over fields and we didn’t have to move too much.
Towards the end of the day, a new storm moved in from the southwest and as it neared my position, this beautiful shelf cloud formed just ahead of a stunning blue hail core.
Storms are only months away, I’m starting to get pumped!
Combing through the archives of photos I never edited, here’s one from monsoon 2015 west of Tonopah, AZ. I had the kids with me, I was running a fever, but this isolated storm started going up and we went after it. At the time I had no time-lapse clip I felt was good enough for the ending of Monsoon II, and I was pushing myself hard. But on this night, I knew I got it.
Incredible storm, at sunset, with crazy bolts and gorgeous colors. What a fantastic night.
A frame from a time-lapse I shot two days ago somewhere in the middle of the Oregon woods. The time-lapse version I share will likely be in color, but for a still shot…the scene demanded black and white.
I love stuff like this. Low, foggy clouds rolling over hills, blanketing pine trees so they become ghostly silhouettes. I need to print this big on canvas for somewhere in the house.
A creepy, electric hand stretches out across the sky, seemingly originating from the Sand Tank Mountains.
I miss lightning. This was July 1st last year during a monsoon that started early and epic (this cell was a tornado warned storm an hour earlier), and I was standing here with a few buddies watching some amazing lightning in the distance.
Just about three months before my usual chase season begins out on the plains. Can’t wait to get back.
Last fall I was invited to speak at the Disney Animation Studios. I couldn’t believe it. I’ve spoken in many different places at this point, but mostly it’s been camera clubs and festivals. I did travel to Sweden in November 2016 to talk at a gallery opening for their national landscape photography association and that was fairly incredible to say the least!
But this was Disney. The Animation Studios make all the films my kids love. Films I love. And they asked me to come show my time-lapses of storms to them? Mind. Blown.
I can’t talk much about the why. But suffice it to say, they wanted to hear my story, see my work and ask questions about it. And it was one of the most extraordinary times of my life. The bonus of it all was the fact that we had planned a Disneyland trip anyways for around Christmas, so we just doubled-up on this trip and did it all at once. And brought Jina’s parents along for the ride.
To make things even better, my host Ross Blocher offered to give us a tour of the studios and even the backstage lots across the street. It was amazing. Walking the halls of this place knowing that films like Tangled, Frozen, Wreck it Ralph and Moana (to name a few) were thought-up, created and brought to life all inside these walls. The art on all the walls was mesmerizing. I wanted to buy some right there and hang them in the kids’ room.
The entire day was so memorable I don’t know where to begin. But I was so incredibly honored to be there and I’ll never forget it.
The next day we journeyed to California Adventures in the rain and it was such a blast. Here are some pictures from the trip!