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One | Sean & Julie | Guerrilla wedding, Canyon Lake

What the heck is a guerrilla wedding? No, they don’t wear fatigues, which is a question I got a lot when I told people what I was photographing this past Saturday. Essentially it means that a couple plans to have their wedding at “some” location that they love, be it public or private, and just show up with an officiant, witnesses and themselves. No band, no food, none of that traditional stuff.

Sean and Julie decided to have theirs at Canyon Lake on Saturday late morning. Grandpa performed the ceremony and it was a fairly awesome spot. More to come.

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Stormchasing with my buddy Bryan

Nothing is more fun doing by yourself that is even MORE fun if you have someone with you who is just as enthusiastic as you are. I have a healthy obsession with stormchasing. Bryan said one day that he wouldn’t mind joining me sometime…to learn how to take lightning shots, HDR brackets and see some cool stuff.

Well, when I asked him two weeks ago and then showed up at his house, I had no idea how excited he actually was. Not only did he have his camera, tripod and gear all out…he had an extra pair of shoes in case it rained, a poncho, snacks, water and supplies.

Yeah, he was the perfect stormchasing buddy. He even offered to drive half the time and allow me to watch the radar. Awesome.

Now this spot was fab. We had to hike a few hundred feet to the top of this hill, and yes, there were towering powerlines just out of the frame of the shot here…which during a lightning storm isn’t super-wise, but it had an fantastic view of the approaching dark clouds so we didn’t care.

I had gotten the brackets I wanted, but Bryan was still going strong. I stopped here, saw him posed against the sky and setup my tripod real quick. I told him to hold still for a second and then fired off my shutter three times.

Now…I try to keep my language clean. Our pastor will probably read this and shake his head at me…but sometimes you just gotta say what you gotta say. A really bad work day can cause the filter to fade a bit and who knows what’s going to happen at that point.

Well, back to Bryan and my brackets. He didn’t know what I was doing, I told him to hold still, I fired off the shots…and there was really only one thing to say after that.

“You’ve just been HDR-ed…b*tch.”

Why? I dunno, but it made perfect sense to me and Bryan laughed. I’m fairly certain it’s loosely based off of a movie quote that I can’t think of right now. If someone knows it, enlighten me.

So what’s the moral of the story? If you are going to be out stormchasing, photowalking or whatever, it’s nice to have someone with you who’s excitement is almost equal to yours.

Oh, and stay out of range of my wide angle lens when I’m in an HDR kind of mood…you never know if you’re about to get owned and made famous on my blog.

(I use the term ‘famous’ loosely)

Canyon Lake Monsoon Panoramic

Sometimes it’s hard to capture all the detail you want in a single image, so you have to go for the panoramic. I definitely recommend clicking on the photo to see the larger version. This picture is from my recent stormchasing adventure with my buddy Bryan. We drove down Apache Trail towards Canyon Lake and stopped just a little short of it to climb to the top of this hill to see what we could see.

Yes, I’ll verify that Bryan warned me that we were watching an approaching monsoon thunderstorm and the hill we chose to shoot from also had a couple of giant supports for powerlines on it, but that’s for the faint of heart to worry about!

What we loved about this spot was the color of the hills in contrast to stormy skies in the background. The sunlight from behind us still shown a little on them and it made for an awesome sight. You can see Canyon Lake on the left, with a massive downpour behind it. Some more rain is falling just behind the hills in the center of the photo, and the entire storm was moving slowly towards us.

By the time we climbed down and drove a little more, it started pouring pretty good.

Those hills and mountains around the Superstitions really created some amazing vistas to use when photographing our beautiful monsoons season here in Arizona. Hoping to get out there again sometime soon.

For those interested, this is a merge of three HDR shots created from three-bracketed images each.