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Crashdown

A powerful downburst of rain dumps over the Superstition Mountains in Apache Junction, creating strong outflow winds that kick up tons of dust, lowering visibility to zero at times.

Our first chase of the 2016 summer monsoon here in Arizona paid off huge last night with a crazy lightning storm over the Superstition Mountains! A ton of bolts on camera and time-lapse, but it was once this downburst of rain happened that I was loving it. I stood in the road, getting blasted by dust and sand, praying for a bolt to happen because the downburst looked so sick, the especially with the way the rain foot was bending outwards in both directions…not to mention the dust everywhere adding all kinds of drama to the scene. Shortly after this though I had to run, the tiny pieces of sand were too much to handle and a few bits were still stuck in my hair this morning 🙂

Awesome start to this summer, can’t wait to see what else is yet to come!

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!

The Twilight Zone

The road ahead
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 17-40mm f/4 l, 17mm, iso 500, f/18, 1.3 sec // buy print)

Nothing I like better than a spooky, dark, cloudy scene when it’s storming. Here is one of my favorite roads in all of Arizona…it’s popular of course, for obvious reasons. The long road extending downwards towards the Superstitions in the distance.

One of the cooler spots in Arizona.

I captured this back in February of last year…a beautifully dark winter storm was blowing through and thus I hit the road as per usual. The one thing that seems to pop out in this image to make it extra-special to me is that one headlight. Something about it is ominous and when I looked at it again this morning, the title “Twilight Zone” just popped into my head.

Ahhhh, I’m dying for some stormy weather…monsoon season just over a month away.

The snow-capped Superstition Mountains

White-capped Superstitions
(please click to view larger on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 35mm f/1.4 l, f/8, iso 200, 1/320th // buy print)

What a day.

I have so many images I haven’t even looked at yet, but this was the first one I took early this afternoon. Never before have I seen the Superstition Mountains with snow that low to the desert floor. It was an amazing sight and one I wont soon forget.

This was taken at 12:47pm right after the early morning storms rolled through.

I discovered this spot a few years ago on my own, although it’s not really a secret apparently. The normally empty location had 20 cars parked on the shoulders of the road, mud everywhere, people walking, taking pictures and a police officer hanging out to make sure nothing happened.  Was definitely tough to take any kind of shot without people in it, so you get what you get!

More to come, including a pretty awesome shelf cloud I captured later in the day!

The Middle

The Middle - Road Superstitions

(please click to view on black and fit your screen // canon 5d mark ii, canon 17-40 f/4 l, 17mm, iso 400, f/18, 3.2sec // buy print)

Yes, I’ve shot this road so many times. But the last time I was here I realized I missed something important. The road itself. I didn’t have my camera low enough. I didn’t make the road more a part of the composition like I should have. At least, that’s how I saw it.

Besides, I’m always, always looking for the ultimate shot here. This spot is meaningful to me. And someday the cloud and sky and sunset will all align to give me some kind of epic image that I’ve been chasing forever.

I took this one back in February on a stormy evening (my favorite kind) with a bit of color showing up at sunset. The very top of the mountain off in the distance has a slight purple tinge to the top where you can see the last bit of sunlight hitting it.

Still one of my favorite spots in all of Arizona.

A sunset on the Superstitions

The Red Supersitions - Lost Dutchman - Arizona

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(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 17-40 f/4 l, 17mm, f/16, iso 100, 1/4 sec // buy print)

The weather predictions for winter out here in Arizona called for a La Nina pattern…meaning not much rain and not very cold temperatures. So it was kind of a surprise when December rolled in with quite a few cold fronts that dropped snow on the mountains outside of Phoenix and also an inch of rain in town.

Now, of course, we’re well into our predicted La Nina winter, with temps hovering around 75-80 and no rain in sight. Which makes me sad, but at least I have December to look fondly on.

I took this photograph back on the 22nd along one of my favorite stretches of road in all of Arizona, and it’s only about 30 minutes from my house. If you’ve followed me for awhile, you’ve probably seen a few past images from this spot. This was probably my third night out in a row trying to capture a sunset over the mountains east of Phoenix, but nothing was panning out. My buddies Chris Frailey and Bryan Snider were out there those days as well and all of us were pondering the whereabouts of Arizona’s epic sunsets.

Finally this evening paid off. I was worried though…the clouds stretching from the mountains ahead were actually on the left side of the road about 15 minutes earlier. I was praying they wouldn’t move too far right before the color of the setting sun hit them.

This was also the first time out with the new (used) Canon 17-40 L. Love the lens, can’t wait to play with it a bit more.

 

One of my favorite spots: Lost Dutchman Road

This scene may not be a stranger to some of you. It most definitely isn’t for me. Since I’ve started seriously chasing storms earlier this year, I’ve probably taken photographs from this spot 10 times? I can’t help it. The road and cliffs stay the same, but the light, the shadows and the clouds always change.

I’ll probably throw something together someday with all the different views of this place over the course of a year.

I photographed this last Monday while out with my daughter. She was in her car seat, watching Toy Story on the DVD player and I was setting up in the middle of the road.  I can’t wait for the day she can go out there with me and appreciate the view from this spot. I hope she enjoys it as much as I do.

This is a six-bracket exposure using my trusty Tamron 17-35mm 2.8, Photomatix, CS5 and other goodies.