Posts

The Fields

Someday I may get through the queue of images I have yet to edit from the years chasing storms, but that’s doubtful 😂

Here’s a new shot from June 12th, 2017 after a rough day chasing, missing tornadoes and epic structure…I found redemption near sunset in western Nebraska close to the town of Minatare. This supercell was electric and put out a sick ton of bolts. I’d keep chasing this guy through Alliance and well into the Sandhills until almost midnight.

Doom

Not gonna lie, and I’ve said it before probably, but July 9th was definitely the best day ever chasing haboobs 😂

This was southwest of Gila Bend aways, eight-image panoramic with the Sony A7R3 and Sigma Art 14-24. Massive, dense haboob riding underneath a pretty nifty shelf cloud.

That wall of dust originated southwest of Phoenix and ended up rolling into California and Mexico after dark…what an amazing day.

The Great Haboob Chase on Interstate 8

On July 9th, 2018, I woke up in Blythe, California, and checked the forecast one more time and it confirmed what I already knew the day before: the potential for an awesome storm rolling west down Interstate 8 was looking pretty good. And with that came the likelihood of a dust storm, or haboob. I already had the entire day’s route planned out…I’d hit south near the border towns of Sells and Santa Rosa, then head back north to I-8 to catch the storm outflows from Phoenix and central Arizona.

Rarely does a forecast come to fruition so perfectly…but this one did. I chased some good severe storms in the far southern portions of the state, and then headed north…hitting the town of Chuichu south of I-8 just as things got rolling. A big microburst kicked up a wall of dust that would move west and eventually merge with other, strong storms that rolled through Phoenix.

We jumped on I-8 and got west out of the dust and pulled over first at Vekol Road, my favorite spot along that freeway. The wall of dust was incredibly impressive…shelf cloud over it, the dust connecting right into the cloud base…it was amazing.

It was around 5:00pm at that point…and the chase would continue, for hours, all the way to Yuma. One of my final shots came around 8:30pm in the area of Ligurta. All told, around 140 miles and three and a half hours of chasing. Never have I chased a wall of dust for that long. Or been chased!

Besides July 5th, 2011…this was hands down, the best haboob I’ve ever seen. So many shapes and sizes. Incredibly density and definition. And the colors at sunset. Magnificent.

The film has all the clips from start to finish…somewhat in order, but not always. The microburst at the start was in Chuichu and the final scene was Ligurta.

It was fun to not only share this with some other chasers all having the time of their lives, but also with two of my kiddos. What an experience to have together!

Hope you enjoy this, and the music by Ryan Taubert.

I shot around 5,000 frames on two Canon 5DSR’s for this. Lenses were the Canon 11-24mm and 50mm 1.2.

Edited with Lightroom, LR Timelapse, After Effects and Premiere Pro.

Vekol Sparks

A stunner of a sunset on August 23rd last year out along Vekol Road. I was flying down there, exited the freeway and of course my buddy John Sirlin beat me there by five minutes. Such an incredible sight…the colors were intense and the bolts were everywhere. This was my favorite one from this spot…we left west after it got dark and shot more lightning near Gila Bend and then up in Sun City West even later in the night. One of the top days chasing last summer!

The Hand

A creepy, electric hand stretches out across the sky, seemingly originating from the Sand Tank Mountains.

I miss lightning. This was July 1st last year during a monsoon that started early and epic (this cell was a tornado warned storm an hour earlier), and I was standing here with a few buddies watching some amazing lightning in the distance.

Just about three months before my usual chase season begins out on the plains. Can’t wait to get back.

Out of the cloud

Out of the Cloud
(please click to view this image on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 35mm f/1.4 l, iso 160, f/8.0, 15 sec // buy print)

Last season I captured a brief timelapse of a thunderhead building up with lightning illuminating it from the inside. What made it awesome was the moonlight. The moon was almost full and thus the cloud was already visible with the naked eye even though it was well past dark. It made it extra awesome because you could already see the cloud building almost as if it were daytime, and then the lightning as also visibly illuminating the cloud as well.

Since that night I so badly wanted to capture some storms with the moon nearing fullness. And on October 17th, it finally happened.

I was out on Interstate 8 near Gila Bend shooting north when I look behind me and see this line of storms building. What’s so awesome is that normally, without the moonlight, I likely wouldn’t have seen it very well…and maybe missed it entirely. But with that extra light, I could see the cloud plain as day. One section started growing larger, so I aimed that way and waited.

Even more interesting was the fact that this cloud didn’t even seem that big. But boom! Bolts started raining down. Standing there it almost felt like the strikes themselves were just as tall as the cloud. I’ve never captured lightning from a such a small storm before…I couldn’t even believe it produced anything.

Definitely one of my favorite shots from 2013.

Juxtaposition

High and Low
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 70-200 f/2.8 is l, 100mm, iso 125, f/6.3, 20 sec // buy print)

Feels like it has been awhile since I posted a lightning photo from this past summer and I still have gobs that I haven’t shown yet…so here is another.

Last year I decided to do a “square collection” of lightning photos all processed in black & white. This is the second in that series. I love the mood that monochrome creates for lightning images and I think the square format kind of isolates the subject in a unique way. This was taken out along Interstate 8 east of Gila Bend. I dug the juxtaposition of the one strike hitting the flat desert while the other appears to land on those two small hilltops.

Summer feels like it’s so far away.

 

 

Crossing Interstate 8

(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 17-40mm f/4 l, f/6.3, stack of nine images shot at 25 seconds each // buy print)

This is my second go at stacking lightning images (first is here)…I tend to avoid this but sometimes when a single shot of lightning is kind of boring and doesn’t make the cut, it’s interesting to see what happens if you put a bunch of those together into one final photograph.

I shot this back on September 4th while this storm crossed over Interstate 8 from right to left across the frame. The nine images were captured from 9:15pm to 9:21pm.

I’m neck deep in weddings and family photography right now, but yeah, I’m kind of excited already for next summer!

 

Top to bottom

(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 50mm 1.4, f/6.3, iso 250, 20 sec // buy print)

One of my favorite kinds of lightning shots are from a distance when you can see the entire profile of a thunderhead. If you can capture the strike coming out from the cloud and then hitting the ground…well, it’s just a fantastic display of nature. I’ve seen quite a few of those floating around from my storm chasing friends but I never have quite been able to capture it that way that I wanted.

This one is about the closest I’ve come to it. A twenty second exposure, you can see the one strike on the left actually originate near the top of the thunderhead, curve to the left, burst through the ceiling of clouds and then hit the ground. Was an amazing storm to watch as it crossed interstate 8 from the north. The mushrooming clouds were absolutely sick and I kept praying to get a great shot.

Taken on September 4th, this was a week before the season ended. I kind of miss it already, but am loving being neck deep in family and wedding photography right now!

 

 

The open heavens

The heavens opened - monsoon sunset arizona

(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 17-40mm f/4 l, 35mm, iso 200, f/5.0, 1/100th // buy print)

I love taking pictures of lightning…it’s one of my favorite things when it comes to weather photography. But I also just love the raw power of a thunderstorm. And the beauty they contain.

This rain shaft…was a powerful thing. As I was driving west, I watched the base of the cloud get dark, textured and nasty. Next thing you know a wall of rain is falling to the ground. Most of the time this is enough to be a gorgeous example of nature…but on a lucky occasion you get to witness something like this with fantastic sunset colors mixing into everything.

I’ve seen sights like this before and it’s always incredible how the light and color from the sun bounces around these clouds and rain.

I couldn’t take enough pictures of it.

The season is winding down here…in fact, today may be the last good day left. There might be some spotty, random days before the monsoon is truly gone, but we’re close to the end here.