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A shelf cloud photo/timelapse over Fountain Hills

Shelf Cloud over Fountain Hills
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 17-40mm f/4 l, 17mm, f/8, iso 200, 1/200th // buy print)

When I chase in the central plains every spring, I do so with the intent of hopefully capturing a tornado someday, but mainly to get beautiful cloud structures that we don’t see much of out here in Arizona.

And then yesterday happened. I had been out shooting snow on the Superstition Mountains in the early afternoon when my buddy Jeff started texting me about the lightning and hail raining down all over Scottsdale. In parts of that city it hailed so badly it was a crazy whiteout on freeways and even the Diamondbacks couldn’t practice this morning as their field is a sheet of ice.

I started to head back towards the cell intending to cut it off at Gilbert and the Beeline. I had a smaller storm to drive though first, but when I emerged on the other side I saw some serious dark clouds with great looking cloud bases and structures. I rush to this spot that I’ve been too before knowing it would be perfect and started timelapsing.

And while the cloud were gorgeous before, suddenly this crisp looking shelf cloud emerged and made my day. It was absolutely beautiful. My only wish is that I had been somewhere a bit nicer, but there was no time to drive anywhere else. But I didn’t care really. I was just so happy to stumble upon this thing. It even had that bluish-green tiny from all the hail falling. Amazing.

A timelapse of this storm is below…watch it full-screen so that you can have a dark background because of how dark the scene itself is.

(btw, the video quality via Vimeo seems suspect today, not sure what’s up. Usually a bit more crisp than it is.)

Breaking Dawn

Breaking Dawn - Four Peaks Sun Rays

(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 70-200 f/2.8 is l, 200mm, iso 400, f/8.0, 1/1000 // buy print)

Yes, it’s Movie Title Wednesday and yes, I’m using a Twilight film! You can blame my buddy Chris DeAngelis for pointing me in the direction of this title. We also came up with Dumb and Dumber, but that was for an entirely different reason that I’m sure Chris would want me to keep close to the vest (insert LOLLING here).

Breaking Dawn. Ugh. I usually do this series to recommend movies, but with apologies to my wife…ugh. I watched it because my wife is hooked on the series (even if she admits its not very good) and also because I pretty much love all things related to vampires and werewolves. But these movies are hard to watch. Our favorite scene in this one is where the wolves talk to each other in their heads. It was probably one of the most cringe-inducing moments I’ve ever had watching a movie.

I will say this though…the title is perfect for this photo! Last Thursday I was somehow home early from my trip to Oregon, and thus was able to enjoy a day of stormy weather in and around Phoenix. I grabbed my gear and my daughter, and we just drove around having fun, seeing whatever we saw. This scene right here was kind of amazing. Mostly because it lasted for probably 30 minutes or so. It’s rare to see sun rays like that for an extended amount of time. I saw them and still had 15 minutes to get to the spot I was hoping to shoot them from. Luckily, they were still going strong.

These are the Four Peaks that you’ve seen me photograph a lot I’m sure, but I’ve never taken a photo of them from so far away.

And that’s a bird flying in the middle of the frame, not a dust spot 🙂

A random dirt road near the San Tans

Dead corn stalks, weeds, brown dirt, powerlines, contrails caused by airplanes overhead, mid-day sun…nothing beautiful here right?

Ah, trick question…of course it’s beautiful! This is my old stomping grounds…Gilbert Road, the San Tan Mountains in the distance…I’d sit here and look for sunsets, lightning, clouds, whatever.

I shot this back in December of last year but never really processed it until a few weeks ago. I went out that day because I had recently discovered how much the HDR process can reveal in a daytime sky filled with airplane contrails. When you stand out there with the glaring sun…it’s hard to make out the clouds. A single snap of the frame gives you the mountains and road…but the sky is obliterated. HDR allows you to pull in those awesome lines and let them interact with your foreground.

Hope you guys enjoy this one…it’s special to me for some reason. I just love the lines…the road disappearing along with the powerlines…the clouds zig-zagging…so glad I went back and found this guy.

Stormy weather ahead

A couple of days ago we had some fairly severe weather develop across Arizona. Storms dumping a lot of rain and producing 60+mph winds. The cell on the left of this grouping was actually severe warned a bit after this. Damaging winds, tons of rain…good stuff.

I shot this in the middle of Gilbert Road just south of Hunt Highway looking north. They are actually way across town on the very far side of Phoenix, but it’s amazing how clear the skies were that you could actually see the rain falling.

Again…my love affair of roads continues.

This is a hybrid exposure blend, plus a little Topaz Adjust on the road and Nik Silver Efex for the black and white processing.