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Thor’s Landing

An early morning thunderstorm over the Superstition Mountains on July 3rd delivered a couple of magical lightning strikes. This one in particular is one of my favorites...a single, powerful bolt landing at almost the highest point of the mountain. I'm a huge comic book fan and if anything looked like the arrival of Thor from Asgard, this is it.
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 50mm f/1.2 l, iso 160, f/9.0, 10 sec // buy prints)

An early morning thunderstorm over the Superstition Mountains on July 3rd delivered a couple of magical lightning strikes. This one in particular is one of my favorites…a single, powerful bolt landing at almost the highest point of the mountain. I’m a huge comic book fan and if anything looked like the arrival of Thor from Asgard, this is it.

Bubbles II

On a long, lonely highway between Marriman and Hyannis, Nebraska...a huge MCS moves by, leaving behind it wet roads and a gorgeous sky filled with mammatus clouds. A bit of lightning snakes around on the left side of the storm.
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 16mm f/2.8 l, 16mm, iso 100, f/8.0, 8 sec // buy print)

A long, lonely highway of roughly 70 miles separates Merriman and Hyannis in western Nebraska. When you are low on gas, have no internet access and are praying that Hyannis has a working gas station, you don’t really want to stop too much. But when you see something like this, you have to. A huge MCS had come through here, leaving behind it wet roads and a gorgeous sky filled with mammatus clouds. A bit of lightning snakes around on the left side of the storm.

Was a great way to end the day…and yes, some kind strangers stopped by and confirmed a gas station was up ahead!

Angry

Angry
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 16-35mm f/2.8 l, 16mm, iso 100, f/8.0, 1/6th sec // buy print)

April 16th turned out pretty amazing across the Texas Panhandle…such a long, six-hour chase and so many views of different supercells. This was the one that produced a tornado earlier near Groom. At this point the radar velocity was intense right up ahead along this road. This was as close as I wanted to get because of the rain and the intensity of the rotation. You can see how low the clouds are in there, how angry this storm looks. The blue color in the clouds is hail.

More to come from this day!

The Alanreed Supercell

Alanreed Supercell
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, rokinon 14mm f/2.8, iso 100, f/8, 1/40th // buy print)

Storm chasing can be frustrating and fruitless. Or it can be magnificent and incredibly rewarding. On April 16th of this year, I was able to chase solid structure for almost six hours. So many time-lapses and photos. It was just one of those days that keeps you coming back for more.

This storm earlier spawned a brief tornado near Groom, Texas. It moved to the east/northeast across the rolling farmlands…I caught up to it once again here just north of Alanreed. The hail core and structure was gorgeous. After the clouds nearly passed over me, I got back south and blasted east to chase it again.

More to come!

Crossing 95

Crossing
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 16-35mm f/2.8 l, 16mm, iso 100, f/8, 1/60th // buy print)

Nothing like a good chase day during March in Arizona. Not only that, but playing the models and having them prove true when you drive all the way to western Arizona…icing on the cake.

I started off early yesterday, chasing a few cells through Phoenix past Fountain Hills, but I knew all along I would head west on the 10 and see what happened mid-afternoon. I time-lapsed some light convection along the interstate as I watched the cold core slowly progress across southeast California. As it grew closer to Arizona, I landed in Quartzsite, grabbed a bit and blasted south on Highway 95.

A big line of storms was nearing the highway, so I sat there and time-lapsed it rolling by. Lighting was going off…thunder…it was beautiful, especially in March!

Here’s a raggedy shelf cloud with the rain behind it moving towards the Kofa Mountain range. Such a fun day!

Thunder and Stars

Thunder and Stars
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 16-35mm f/2.8 l, iso 4000, 16mm, f/2.8, 20 sec // buy print)

I’ve been chasing storms like crazy for almost six years now. During that time I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Milky Way just hanging out with a thunderstorm brewing nearby.

This past Saturday I pulled off at a favorite spot, got out of the car and saw the Milky Way just up there, hanging out, watching some lightning. Blew my mind. And this thunderstorm to the left was going nuts. I’m almost always out at night to strictly photograph lightning, but I knew I couldn’t pass up this amazing opportunity, so I started time-lapsing the whole thing.

I haven’t posted it yet, I may save it for my end-of-year film…but suffice to say, I’m stoked about it. The stars of course were awesome. But the lightning was non-stop. I took about 450 photos for the time-lapse, all at 8-seconds, and there was some kind of lightning flash in every shot. It was unbelievable how active these storms were.

Stuff like this is why I love chasing storms. I’ve been out hundreds of times over these past six years, and still I get to see something new on a regular basis.

 

A sunset south of Sheffield, Texas

Sunset south of Sheffield
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 16-35mm f/2.8, 16mm, f/5.0, iso 200, 1/125th // buy print)

Sometimes the light and the sky after a storm passes is just as good as the storm itself. This was south of Sheffield, Texas, after we photographed and timelapsed a bunch of gorgeous shelf clouds and hail cores. These clouds were moving fast overhead and the light from the setting sun created this moody sky.

I still love being in the middle of nowhere, having a beautiful sky like this and walking out onto a road to snap a photo. It’s something about the silence of no other cars, city sounds or anything else. Just a rumble of thunder and the snap of a camera.

Can’t wait to get back to storm chasing next week! The monsoon is almost back.

A Colorado sunset

A Colorado Sunset
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 16-35mm f/2.8, 16mm, iso 100, f/8, 1/50th // buy print)

Sometimes you do all you can to get in front of epic supercells for those amazing structure and lightning photos…only to find out that a retreating cluster of storms at sunset can be equally as beautiful.

This was from last week on Interstate 70 on Colorado’s eastern border. We were chasing these storms in hopes of getting to the other side for some lightning imagery, when we realized we just had to stop for a few minutes. My dash Sony Handycam, that does my live stream feed, was bringing out some contrast that we couldn’t see with the naked eye too well.

And when I walked out and took a shot with my 5D3…wow, it really popped. It was almost like the camera could pick out the separation between two storms right there in the middle of the road. More than I could see with my own eyes.

Glad we stopped.

The end of the road

End of the Road
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 50mm f/1.2, f/8, iso 125, 15 sec // buy print)

I love middle of the road shots…but rarely do I get a chance to have lightning bolts striking at the other end! I sat here for a good 15-20 minutes capturing bolt after bolt…and this turned out to be the best of the bunch.

This was back on August 18th out in Buckeye…a night I’ll always remember because of the amount of lightning that I captured in a span of two hours within a 10 square mile area. I barely moved the entire evening.

Barrage

Barrage
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, rokinon 14mm f/2.8, iso 100, 25 sec, f/8 // buy print)

I’ve stacked lightning a handful of times. Stacking means when you basically merge multiple photos together to create a new image. In this case, I stacked near 30 images to get this one photo.

I don’t normally go this route for lightning…I like the solo strike, the power of less instead of much, much more…but sometimes when lightning is so far away that a single image just isn’t good enough, I like to see what happens when you stack ’em.

I photographed soooo much lightning on this night, in that same area (as you can see), so I had to give a stack a try. In fact, this is actually “Stack Number Two” from the night…the first one can be seen here. That one only had a few strikes, where this one includes everything that came after that. This image includes about 26 minutes worth of lightning. It’s kind of incredible to see what can happen in that short amount of time. The focus of the storm just raining bolts down in a general area.

Nature is amazing.