Spinner

October 1st was my final chase of the monsoon this year and it was a wonderful way to bookend a spectacular season. This image was taken along the AZ/NM border late in the day. A low-topped supercell with a wall cloud spinning to the north as it slowly died out. This is basically the closing image from the year for me, although I still have lots to edit. After this storm faded, I turned and headed for home and that was all she wrote.

Didn’t even know the time-lapse caught a lightning bolt until weeks later, which was a pleasant surprise!

The Fields

Someday I may get through the queue of images I have yet to edit from the years chasing storms, but that’s doubtful 😂

Here’s a new shot from June 12th, 2017 after a rough day chasing, missing tornadoes and epic structure…I found redemption near sunset in western Nebraska close to the town of Minatare. This supercell was electric and put out a sick ton of bolts. I’d keep chasing this guy through Alliance and well into the Sandhills until almost midnight.

Doom

Not gonna lie, and I’ve said it before probably, but July 9th was definitely the best day ever chasing haboobs 😂

This was southwest of Gila Bend aways, eight-image panoramic with the Sony A7R3 and Sigma Art 14-24. Massive, dense haboob riding underneath a pretty nifty shelf cloud.

That wall of dust originated southwest of Phoenix and ended up rolling into California and Mexico after dark…what an amazing day.

Castle Rock

A favorite image of mine from this past summer that I’ve been saving for whatever reasons, but figured I’d post it finally. Sometimes you like an image so much you are afraid to post it thinking others wont feel the same…silly, but it’s real.

Captured this about 3 miles from the Mexico board in the Coronado National Forest west of Nogales, while on a workshop with Paula and Karen. It was quite the show and shocking to us that this storm that seems to be dropping rain on the other side of the mountains, was putting down lightning strikes on OUR side. That hill got hit at least two other times and it was quite amazing to see from up so high.

This area seems so non-Arizona, it was almost like we WERE in another country for a little bit. Green mountains that definitely have more of a central America look to them. Such a gorgeous part of the state.

Quinter Supercell

May 18th was a big storm day across western and southwestern Kansas…but we sat in one spot along an outflow boundary waiting hours for initiation and missed all kinds of storms going on, even a beast in SE Colorado…but finally near Park, KS a storm went up and we punched through the south side of it. At first it seemed to be headed north, but then it pulled off a nifty right turn as it latched on the boundary and headed into Quinter, which is where this shot was taken.

Not your typical stacked plates structure for a supercell, but it was stunning nonetheless and at one point seemed to have a funnel halfway to the ground. I never knew I caught a lightning bolt until scrolling through the time-lapse this morning! Lovely surprise!

Reaching Out

Other than Tescott, my favorite day chasing last spring was May 23rd in western Nebraska. Started off frustrated when we found out we had missed a tornado near Roswell, NM after being there just the day before…but then as the day got late, our supercell finally intensified and put on a gorgeous display of lightning and sunset colors amongst the sandhills. This was west of Tryon…with a little special appearance from Brandon Ivey and his tour group 🙂

Lovely to see the faces on Sandra Herber and Ajit Menon during this chase…finally got on something amazing on our last chase day!

Salome Strike

Yesterday my workshop ended and since some of the models were calling for huge storms in Tucson to kick out a dust storm up the 10 in the afternoon, I hit up Benson for a bit to shoot around, but it quickly became apparent the dust storm wasn’t gonna happen until possibly way late.

So I raced to Phoenix (anxious to be home after six days anyway), caught the storms rolling into town up on the 101/64th street, hung out with storm pals Jerrod Harris, John Moore and some others! Lightning wasn’t happening though, so I moved onto the west side of town, caught a nice bolt producer over the White Tanks and then took a chance further west on Salome Highway where I caught this majestic beast.

The storm was kicking out some good strikes all around me, but there wasn’t anywhere I could shoot out of the rain…so I did something I usually hate, which is to just be patient and wait for the rain to pass 😂

The moment the rain stopped, I jumped out, setup up tthe Sony at 14mm and jumped back in the truck. A huge flash happened and I swear the bolt appeared to be right in front of me, but it turned out just to be the one in the left edge of this frame. So I jumped back out of the truck cursing because I missed it…and then saw the photo and was like…oh okay…that’ll do donkey…that’ll do 🙂

A huge positive or clear air CG…looks like it landed just across the freeway, a couple hundred feet away or so. It froze the profile of a passing truck as well, almost looking like it was near hitting it. Love the highway itself lighting up from being wet with rain.

Later I ended up on I-8 in the wee hour of the morning, but that’s for another time 🙂

Dusty Wave

Well my final monsoon workshop of the summer was utterly fantastic. Two haboobs, tons of lightning and cool storms, and it couldn’t possibly have been more fantastic to have Karen Wright and Paula Corrette-Fay along for it. Two sweet ladies, they endured late nights, little sleep, crazy dust and windy conditions. Not to mention nerve-racking close lightning on one occasion 🙂 And now that she saw my storm chaser diet that includes quite a few McDonald’s cheeseburgers, Paula is worried about my diet

But big-time thanks to Ruth Montgomery for letting me use her house for both my workshops this summer…she’s the sweetest woman I know, cooks such amazing food and takes care of all of us. I’m so thankful to be her friend and have her in my life!

This photo was taken two nights ago which turned out to be our last chase. Karen really wanted to see a haboob and it was fantastic to be able to deliver on that because the past few years have been slow on that front.

This was looking towards Maricopa and vicinity along I-8. The northern edge of the storm looked a lot more defined than the stuff rolling down the interstate, so we stopped to time-lapse that direction and to take some pics. Gorgeous sunset light and a wonderful haboob.

Close

Not gonna lie…I enjoy getting close to lightning. Yeah, I’ll hide in the truck when my cameras are shooting…but I just really enjoy the close bolts and all the detail in them.

Yesterday was fun in the afternoon down southeast of Tucson…got some nice daytime bolts, enjoyed some flash flooding near Corona de Tucson…but after that, with storms in all directions except for where I was in Tucson…I couldn’t decide. West…east…north closer to home. Ugh. Went north, it sucks, went back to Tucson…pulled over, took a shot, then it was insane rain everywhere and I was done.

But storms popped over Phoenix while I was down there and so I was hoping to get lucky on the way home. Lightning was hitting Maricopa and near Sacaton north of me, so I setup on 187 and was hoping to get a bolt striking nearby up I-10 (which is where the car light trails are in the photo). But I setup the 50mm first and looked away as my buddy Chris Frailey pulled up, then looked back and suddenly a massive CG hit what felt like right in front of me. I stumbled as I raced to the car to get the wide angle, and two more bolts slammed down in the meantime. They were landing just about 1-2 miles away.

I got the 11-24mm ready, set to 15mm, calmly focused, f/8, iso 100, set it up, hit the shutter and BOOM this happened and then that was it haha.

25 second exposure, it all hit at once (other than the distance left one) and it was magnificent. Been waiting for a monster bolt like this for awhile now.

Swallowing Tempe

I never end up in Tempe for these things, but the way Thursday’s haboob progressed more north/northeast, and how behind we were, I skipped downtown Phoenix and went to this spot where I’ve shot a ton of times for other things…in fact, some of my very first images I took about eight years ago down here.

It’s a quick spot to get to, with an iconic view of downtown Tempe with the Mill Avenue bridges. The time-lapse is pretty sweet, I got two from here, wish I could have shot two more as looking east was pretty gnarly as well.

Oh and a Southwest Airlines plane is in there trying to outrace it