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Double Impact

(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 70-200mm f/2.8 is l, 70mm, iso 200, f/5.6, 25 sec // buy print)

Last year I was inspired by the photography of Drew Medlin, specifically his black & white work with lightning. He almost always sticks to a square crop which I thought was super cool and made it a goal this year to process a handful of my own lightning images with this crop.

So this is the first in my Square Series. First off I absolutely love what B&W does to a lightning bolt…creates a darker, mysterious scene…and the square crop to me adds an isolation to the entire frame.

I shot this back on July 23rd, early in the season, up along the Beeline Highway. There was an incredible show going on and strikes were hitting the mountains everywhere.

More to come!

A crashdown of lightning on the Beeline

Crashing Down - Monsoon Lightning Arizona Beeline

(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 70-200mm 2.8 is l, 70mm, iso 100, f/6.3, 20 sec // buy print)

During the day on Monday I tweeted out something to the effect that I “smelled lightning” and knew it would be a good night. Honestly, I had no idea what I was talking about, but it had been three straight days of great monsoon action in a row with storms that died out quickly as the sun went down, leaving no electricity to photograph.

It was more of a hunch, but it turned out to be a good one.

It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a lightning show quite like this one up on the Beeline Highway. I set up along the shoulder of the road south of the Gisela turnoff. There is a huge valley there in front of you and it gives you at least a 270 degree view of all the mountains around you. Perfect for shooting this stuff.

The only downside is that there was soooo many lightning strikes, all OVER the place…you had to pick a few directions and hang tough. I have two cameras now thanks to all the weddings I shoot, so now I’m firing double barrels out there. Which should make it easier, but it’s a lot to manage when you’re rushing to get things aimed, focused, exposed correctly, etc.

I was also quite the amateur on this night and ended up with some slightly out-of-focus shots. Was bumming hard core when I was checking these out in Lightroom. I’m tossing out this one below anyways…which likely would have ended up being one of my all-time favorites, but it’s got a bit of a focus problem and so it may end up on the trash heap. But what a sick scene right? Almost looks like a clip from a movie with a giant electrical alien being walking over a mountain top.

 

A dust storm timelapse over downtown Phoenix

I know. So tired of these. But I like ’em. Don’t see the dust come from the west very often.