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Stormchasing: A couple of more shots from Nebraska

One of my main goals when it comes to stormchasing, whether I take a big trip to Nebraska to do it or drive around finding the monsoons here in Arizona this summer, is to take photos that are as well composed as I can make them in whatever situation I find myself.

I love looking at stormchasers’ photos from the midwest…tornadoes, lightning, wall clouds, scary stuff…but aside from a few guys that take their time when shooting (Dick McGowan, Mike Hollingshead), most of them are hurried shots without much thought of framing a nice scene.

My stormchasing experience is very lacking, so I don’t have a lot of room to talk, but I tried my best to achieve my goal when snapping these shots on Saturday. It’s not always easy I find, because sometimes the monster cloud is hovering over a highway and there is a car in the way and two other guys with cameras taking pictures of it as well!

I was a little disappointed with what I ended up seeing overall…I saw some amazing stuff, captured it as best I could, but I just failed to see that monster supercell isolated by itself with amazing structure going on.  Obviously I only had one day, so I’m not being too hard on myself, PLUS it was a heck of a fun time…I just hope to one day get another crack at shooting this stuff.

Stormchasing: Hail core dump

I had planned a 4-day stormchasing extravaganza this spring, but the way things worked out, it ended up being a one-day blitzkrieg on Saturday up to Nebraska to photograph whatever I could in a short amount of time.

Part of me wishes I lived around this weather so I could photograph it more often…and the other side of me, after seeing the craziness of the clouds and weather…am just fine living in Arizona *grin*

This is one of the shots from the day. A hail core being dumped north of Mullen, Nebraska. It had multiple tornadic signatures on it, but we never saw a funnel.

More to come!

Sunset on the ol’ railroad tracks

I’ve taken quite a few photographs from this spot over the last 6 months. It’s amazing to think it’s only about 2 miles from my house (for now, until we move). I rarely try to dip from the same well more than once, but this place is fond to me. And I do try to go there for different reasons when I do.

And as far as I know, they are rarely, if ever, used because I’ve stood there for a long time and never have seen a train.

Last night we had some rainy-ish looking clouds roll through and while there appeared to be stuff falling from them, it seems to be only virga that never hit the ground.

The lines of the rails never goes in the direction of the setting sun, so I sat there praying the virga would be ignited by the final gasps of sunlight, and while I wasn’t completely disappointed, it definitely didn’t pop the way I’d hoped.

Click on the photo for a larger view.

Technobabble: Two, 3-bracket HDRs merged in photoshop.

Storms rolling across the Arizona desert

This morning I woke up, looked outside and saw fluffy clouds. The photographer switch inside of me was instantly ignited and I left the house after a few minutes.

We just haven’t seen any weather in weeks and weeks…for a guy like me, that’s an eternity! It didn’t even look that spectacular out there, and in fact, the clouds you see above were the stormiest of anything and they didn’t even drop any rain.

This picture almost didn’t happen. In fact, most of my best shots end up being unplanned.  I had been shooting the clouds, the sky and some rays of the sun shining through. As I was leaving, I noticed this dead log just a few feet from where I had been standing. How on earth did I miss it before???

Anyways, I ran up and snapped this photo.  Love the sky framed with the foreground. I also love the golden field in the distance…which was green just a few weeks ago. You can already see dead tumbleweed next to this log. That tire hanging off the branch just adds an interesting element.

I shied away from HDR on this one and instead just went with an exposure blend.

Foggy day in Corvallis, Oregon

Yesterday I picked up a roll of film I had lying around from a long time ago. Now it wasn’t a “photography” roll of film, I really have only been doing this hobby seriously for less than a year now, it was just some pictures my wife and I must have taken over 5 years ago. But I had no idea how long.

Well, when I got them back, I found out it was almost 10 years old. A very long time ago, we looked like kids, lived in our apartment and most of them were just silly photos. But it made me think about old shots that I hadn’t ever posted or forgot about in the hustle of processing photos.

These two photos are three bracketed, hand-held HDR shots from my business trip to Corvallis, Oregon. This was a very tough shot for me, because the city was essentially all around this place, even though you may not be able to tell by looking. I had to squat low enough so the hill blocked some houses, and just to the left is a very busy highway.

But I couldn’t pass up the cloudy skies and the low-flowing fog floating across the valley between the hills.

I can’t decide which I like better, the color or the black/white, so I’ll leave it up to you.

Oh, and I’m trying out a new watermark on my photos…something subdued, maybe more professional looking. Curious what people think of that as well.

Storms and Clouds over the Arizona Skies

Monday was eventful in terms of capturing some cool shots of storms, clouds and falling rain around the Phoenix area. I drove out to Apache Junction and snapped some shots of the incoming storm, plus a few other cloud pictures.

Mmmm, I love clouds.

After the rain…the sunlight streams through a hole in the clouds.

Impending storm heads to the east Valley.

Shot from Idaho Road and Lost Dutchman looking West.

Storm Photos: Part 3

I found a few more photos from last week that I didn’t upload, plus a redux of the “Shrouded in Clouds” photo of the Superstitions that I posted on Monday.

That last one…I think would make an awesome print, in either color or black and white.

A shot of the Superstitions while it was raining…the clouds were hanging low around the cliffs and the scene was magnificent.

Another shot of the Superstition cliffs.

This was an amazing sight…mammatus clouds leading out from a thunderstorm dropping rain. You can see the rain on the horizon on the right, while these bubbly clouds rise from it.

This might be one of my most favorite photos. I posted it already here in color, but this is a black and white, cropped and has a border around it.

The above picture makes me think of a quote from A Few Good Men: “YOU WANT THIS ON THAT WALL! YOU  NEED THIS ON THAT WALL!”

*grin*

As always, these are for sale as prints, email me if interested.

Storm damage photos

I didn’t get as many shots of storm damage as I would have liked, but here are the ones I DID get of some flooding, flowing washes and a downed tree.

Tuesday's Storms

This week is going to be wild and wacky in terms of weather. I’m hoping that we get enough rain so the Salt River is flowing and maybe some outlying washes become rivers because it sure would be fun to shoot a few photos of those thing!

Tuesday night was the second wave of storms, Monday having been fairly week. Tonight though, tons and tons of rain…at last look we had almost an inch of rain at our house! (see my weather station).

Before the storms came in though, there were some great clouds and falling rain that just HAD to be captured by yours truly, so here are  a few shots.

This first shot above was taken in the morning as the first wave of storms was leaving…only to be followed by the stuff below in the late afternoon.

Lightning!

Last summer I realized I could photograph lightning with my little point and shoot camera. Downside was that it was a continuous shot mode, took 2-3 shots per second and you kind of had to be close for the camera to pick it up.

But I was hooked. Big time. I LOVED chasing storms and getting lightning shots. So I knew I needed a better camera, one that could do lots of cool things.

So I bought a Rebel DLSR. Most of you have seen how much I’ve used it since October or so. But as much fun as it has been, I couldn’t believe how long I had to wait until summer to get thunderstorms for lightning shots.

Surprise surprise…we had a nice little winter thunderstorm show last night and yes, I rushed out thanks to my buddy Tyler letting me know he saw some bolts lighting up the sky.

It was a fun storm chase for me, although it ended up with my Blackberry being slaughtered by my car and pouring rain. I stopped to shoot some photos and was in such a frenzy that my phone fell out of the car onto the rocks without me realizing. I left just as pouring rain and hail showed up (drove through some pretty dang good hail), and didn’t realize it was gone for over an hour.

After looking all over the car, I came back to the same spot and somehow spotted the red blinking light. Soaked with rain, scratched from me likely running over it, the phone was still ON, but nothing worked.

Ah the fun of storm chasing 🙂

Here are four shots from the night, the only four I really ended up with. The first three were shot from Higley and the 202, looking northeast. Amazing how high up this little corner was and how it almost looks like they were shot from a hilltop.

This last one below isn’t as good as the others, but I do love the rain you can see falling, while the lightning appears from out of the middle of it all.