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The lake that wasn’t there

Canon Rebel XSI, Tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, ISO 100, F9, Six exposures, HDR

An amazing weather system moved through Arizona earlier this week. In fact, a total of FIVE confirmed tornadoes hit northern Arizona on Wednesday. That is unheard of.

What is also seen on very, very rare occasions is standing water in the middle of a flat desert. This “lake” didn’t exist earlier in the day and within about six hours of heavy rains and hail, it formed out of nowhere.  My buddy Bryan and drove down this little road to capture some awesome storm clouds about 90 minutes before sunset…and then decided to just sit and wait to see what things looked like when the sun went down.

We got lucky with the clouds, because they were all but gone about 30 minutes before this, but suddenly started forming again right over the mountains. And I was so focused on the water and sky, I didn’t even notice the colorful rocks that lay right beside me.

I have so many different shots from different angles and with different lenses around this area, I may post a few over time…I love them all, especially for the uniqueness in the fact that it’s unlikely anyone could ever capture this again.

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.