Posts

End of the Rainbow

A powerful thunderstorm that dropped heavy rain and pea-sized hail moves off over Dead Indian Canyon along the Little Colorado River. This canyon eventually connects to the Grand Canyon. As the storm departs, water runs through the desert and a stunning rainbow seems to disappear into the canyon itself.
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 16-35mm f/2.8 l, 16mm, f/8.0, iso 100, 1/80th // buy print)

So many aspects of a storm are amazing to photograph and usually you get stuck wanting to always be in front of it for that awesome structure and lightning and whatnot…but sometimes the departing storm, where you have given up chasing but decide to watch it move off across the landscape…can be just as beautiful.

This was about 14 miles east of the Grand Canyon along the Little Colorado a few days ago. Specifically labeled Dead Indian Canyon on Google Maps…it’s a stunning location. I rode out a pretty good storm along this road, with pea-sized hail and heavy rain…I could see runoff draining through the landscape down to the canyon all over the place. As it moved by though…the sun came out for about a minute and created this beautiful rainbow…and seemingly disappeared into the depths of the canyon.

One of my favorite moments from this summer.

Wilaha

A distant thunderstorm rumbles and throws down tons of bolts west of the small community of Wilaha in northern Arizona.
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 50mm f/1.2, f/5.6, iso 500, 25 sec, 6-images stacked)

I spent yesterday afternoon up in northern Arizona, hoping to grab some lightning at the Grand Canyon, but of course…that’s an elusive goal and once again it didn’t pan out. But I did see quite a few rotating storms, drove through a great hail storm east of the Canyon, then witnessed a beautiful rainbow over the Little Colorado canyon there, followed up by a gorgeous sunset from Moran Point and then this little isolated storm on my way home towards Williams. It blew up in the distance west of Wilaha, moved closer and closer to me, the bolts were great, but sadly no good west roads and it died out before I was hoping.

Decided to do a 6-image stack of this storm…because it was so distant and any single bolt didn’t seem to do it justice!

West of Tonopah

I was in Avondale when storms looked to be dying out, but way out west I thought I saw a base just hanging out there...so I went for it. Finally as we neared Tonopah the cloud tops went up and the bolts started raining down. One of the most incredible lightning shows I've seen. Lasted for 45 minutes, created strong dusty outflow and had some amazing colors.
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, rokinon 14mm f/2.8, iso 400, f/5.6, 3.2 sec // buy print)

**You can use coupon codex “chase2015” for 25% off prints all summer long**

One of those times you drive towards a storm base without much hope, and then it explodes to 40k ft right at sunset and you witness an incredible lightning show for 45 minutes. Shot this west of Phoenix near the town of Tonopah a few nights ago.

This is a frame from a 352-image time-lapse…gotta be one of the best lightning time-lapses I’ve shot. So many CG’s for the life of this storm that lasted almost 45 minutes. Plus the colors, a huge dust outflow…was amazing.

Got tons of shots with the 50mm too, can’t wait to share some! Probably will save the time-lapse itself for when Monsoon II comes out

Lightning over Billings

I had to hold my tripod down as I was being blasted by 40-50mph winds up on the ridge above Billings, Montana. A fantastic light show...major thanks to my friend James Langford who is from Montana, for passing on this location to me!
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 50mm f/1.2 l, iso 100, f/11, 8 seconds // buy print)

On May 31st, I drove all the way from Denver to Billings with the idea that I’d be chasing storms in central Montana the next day, but it turns out all I’d end up chasing would be the night I got there smile emoticon

Thanks to my buddy James Langford for telling me about the “Rimrocks” above Billings…when this storm rolled through I had the perfect spot to shoot it. I had to hold my tripod down as I was being blasted by 40-50mph winds the entire time! A fantastic light show!

Symmetry

These two bolts almost appear to be mirror images of each other at first glance. Of course they are very different...but it's what fun about lightning photography. Finding the hidden shapes and nuances to what you capture.
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 35mm f/1.4 l, iso 100, f/8, 6.0 sec // buy print)

Two nights ago near Wilcox, Arizona…on my way home from being in New Mexico for two days…some isolated cells kept popping up near here as the sun went down, so we hung out a bit to capture a couple of sweet strikes before continuing on to Phoenix.

This storm was funny though…you can see the rain on the left, which had already moved past me…there appeared on radar to be another cell straight ahead, but no rain…but I saw another bolt here prior to this, so I aimed this way and caught two of them. I normally would have panned left towards the rain where I’d normally expect to see one.

But I LOVE clear air bolts…don’t seem to get a ton of those!

The Panhandle

The Panhandle
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 16-35mm f/2.8 l, iso 400, f/5.6, 1/250th, handheld 9-image stitch // buy print)

Last week Tuesday I jumped in my truck and drove all the way to Colorado and the plains to chase storms for two days. This was the second day in the Texas panhandle. I watched this supercell start off as simple towering cumulus and two hours later it became this beast hovering over the farmlands northwest of Pampa.

Three hours prior, I had been near this spot, talking on my live stream about how this part of Texas was so beautiful, I was praying I could capture an amazing supercell just hanging over these farmlands. And then suddenly storms fired and I didn’t move but a few miles over the course of several hours. The storm intensified and became a supercell in short order, and then evolved in so many ways. This was one of my favorite views of the entire day. Wide open, descending prairie…and even a little windmill out there. Thursday turned out more incredible than I could have hoped for when I woke up that morning, I can’t wait to share more!

 

Sunrise at Sunset

Sunrise from Sunset
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 16-35mm f/2.8 l, f/8, 1/500th, iso 100, graduated filter // buy print)

On the first day of our road trip up north a few weeks ago, we stopped at Sunset Point to wander out in the golden fields that are all over up there on the plateau. It was dark and serene, other than the passing cars on Interstate 17. We found some spots in the dark, like with this cactus…almost out of place with all the tall grass around it.

Sunrise was perfect…the light just peeking over the horizon lit up all the grass and the tippy points of the cactus…it was stunning.

A great omen for our trip…more to come, including a time-lapse film, a documentary by Jay Worsley and more images from yours truly!

On Approach

Approaching
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 35mm f/1.4 l, iso 100, f/5, 1/200th, 8-image stitch // buy print)

After seeing that amazing supercell near Booker, Texas…it’s tough to imagine anything looking more ominous. But this storm was close. This is a big, 8-image panoramic, so things look further away than they actually were. The wall cloud was rotating violently, and we stood there in awe of what we were seeing. You can see in the darker area of the wall cloud how low the base is to the ground. Incredible.

This storm was marching on Denver International Airport and while a few tornadoes were reported, there was no real evidence of any on this day. But this was the second best wall cloud I’ve ever seen.

Can’t wait to get back out on the plains next spring!

The End

The End
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 35mm f/1.4, f/4, iso 400, 1/500th, handheld 9-image stitched pano // buy print)

The summer monsoon in Arizona came to an end this past weekend when a major transition event in the form of a intense trough moved through the state and caused flooding and tons of damage. We storm-chasers live for these events, which don’t seem to happen but every 4-5 years. There was a tornado risk as well, which is obviously unusual for our state.

As timing would have it…I was actually shooting a wedding on this day. I thought about chasing in the morning, but the storms were too far away to risk not getting back in town in time. So I watched what all my buddies were doing from my office as long as I could, then packed up and went to shoot a wedding that I was pretty excited about. As luck would have it…I was up by Pinnacle Peak where the bride was getting ready when the storm started to move into the West Valley. It was time to leave to go to the venue and as I headed south, the most incredible shelf cloud I’ve ever seen in Arizona was rolling over town.

I waited until I had the best possible view I could from the 101 freeway, pulled over and snapped this quick 9-image pano.

I didn’t care about composition or where I was, or the fact that Best Busy is right there in the photo. I only wanted an image of this scene to have forever.

Simply amazing.

End of the Rainbow

End of the Raimbow
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 16-35 f/2.8 l, 16mm, iso 100, f/8.0, 1/20th // buy print)

One of my favorite roads in Arizona is this one that leads almost right into the Superstition Mountains. I only visited it ONE time this summer and this is what I saw. A stunning, light-infused scene with two rainbows starting on the left side, and a faint connection to one of them on the right. The rain, the sunlight, the cliffs, the color in the sky…was all amazing.

This is a scene from my time-lapse film that will be released on Monday or Tuesday next week! I didn’t shoot it from the middle of the road of course, but just off to the side!