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Glowing Rails

(Canon Rebel XSI, Tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, ISO 100, 8-exposures, F8)

Back three weeks ago when I realized it was going to be a nice sunset, I’d drive 5 minutes and be in the middle of the desert. Now I’m scrambling for places in downtown Phoenix that will compliment the gorgeous skies we get down here in the evenings and mornings.

My little family and I had been driving around downtown two weekends ago just exploring and seeing what kind of restaurants are there, shops, etc. Of course I was unconsciously more focused on things I could photograph, but when isn’t that true? We passed these tracks and I just knew I had to come back sometime.

By the way, the cardinal rule about never leaving a sunset until it’s well past the sun actually going down is so very important. As the sun disappeared on this night, the high clouds that were hanging around all afternoon suddenly appeared to vanish. I was like “UGH! They were amazing, why did they just go POOF like that? Argh, better drive around and see what else I can find to shoot while I’m here.” Sure enough, I found something that I’m extremely excited to post at a later time, but as I was snapping the shutter I saw the sky. Wow…all the clouds were back and they were on fire.

Obviously they had never left, but the sun going down made them blend in with the sky for a few minutes before they got nailed with that amazing light. Don’t. Give.Up.On.Your.Sunset.

I love the train tracks in this photo more than anything…the way they were shiny enough to reflect the sky was remarkable. Next time though I think I’d like to be further down the tracks, closer to that bridge you see in the distance.

Westward Ho!

(Canon Rebel XSi, Tamron 17-35mm, 2.8, 17mm, ISO 100, 3 exposures)

As most of my many, many fans know (said tongue-in-cheek), I moved to downtown Phoenix last weekend, which opened up a whole new world of photographic options for me. But one of my passions is capturing the weather in it’s various forms, so being in a location with tall buildings and limited views off into the distance…well, it’s going to be a challenge for me. And that’s what I want this to be. I still want to scoot off into the desert to chase storms, but I’d also like take some risks and shoot stormy weather in the urban environment.

The last few days have been great around here for stormchasing…in fact, the last two specifically have been some for the history books. Tornado warnings galore, baseball-sized hail, damage, flooding, etc. They were storms you only see in the midwest during tornado season.

But on Monday I was driving back from picking up my daughter from the babysitter, so we drove the backroads and ended up driving right through the heart of downtown Phoenix. I’ve always loved this building and figured there was nothing better to use to frame the stormy skies with.

Now, I love this shot, but I plan on doing a lot more with it down the road. I was driving and snapping, so this was just a 3-exposure HDR, propped on my door with the window rolled down. I’m almost always doing six brackets these days, so this was stepping back a bit to get the shot.

My bucket list shot later on will be clouds like this, right at sunset, so I can get the building framed with the orange sky.