Posts

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.

The Sandlot

The Sandlot…I know the only way you connect that film with this photo is obviously the playground area boxed in by sand, but when I was trying to think of something for Movie Title Wednesday, this one clicked into place. May as well use it now, I think this may be the first time I’ve ever shot anything sunset/landscape related from a children’s playground. There was a reason for that of course, I’ll tell you in a bit. But first…The Sandlot…once of those cult classic movies for me that will never get boring, never get old and never fail to bring a tear to my eye at the end. It’s kind of like Toy Story 3 in the way it makes us think of our childhood gone.

Some of my favorite lines:

“Only one kid in history had ever attempted what Benny was about to…and he got eaten.”

“He had kissed a woman, and he had kissed her long and good.”

And of course:

“You play ball like a GIRL!”

So this image above…wow, the sunset last night was friggin’ amazing. One of those skies you only get 2-3 times a year where the entire heavens seem to be lit up in fire. We have family in town this week and had a dinner planned for last night at my wife’s aunt & uncle’s place…and thinking it might be a good sunset, I grabbed the tripod and gear to bring along. I knew where we were going and remember that there was a park behind the house. I had no idea what was there or what I could even use to frame a shot if needed, but at least there was a wide open space to use.

I stepped out into the backyard with my daughter, saw the sky, ran for my camera and gear, snatched up Lyla and ran out into the park. Now sometimes you panic with a sky like this because you have no idea when the apex of the colors will be. The first shot was with a light pole and I was just kind of blah with it. Then Lyla saw the slide and the swings and went running off, and I said “Oh yeah, great idea Lyla!” Turned out the peak color moment was about to happen.

As I’ve said a lot of times before…with unplanned shots while out stormchasing or in your aunt and uncles backyard…you just have to frame the scene with whatever is handy. What better than a swingset? And a motionless one at that…not a breath of wind, not a hint of movement. This is a six-bracket HDR shot, although the sky itself is actually about 99.2% original bracket. I found that the HDR process just killed the textures for some reason.

Beyond the swingset…it’s definitely not a foreground ideal to a sky like this…but sometimes you gotta make lemonade outta…well you know.

The foggy beach of Oceanside

Over the weekend we moved to a temporary residence on the California coast for a little rest and relaxation. I have a feeling a lot of people would have been bummed by the foggy skies that persisted most days until at least 4pm, and on Sunday they never left. Being an Arizona desert boy, hating the heating and loving weather, I obviously didn’t mind the fog, and was soaking up the chilly, breezy air in the Oceanside area.

I was so relaxed most of the time, I ended up with no desire to find some cool tidal pools to do some long-exposure sunset photos. But I snapped a few on the beach close by us and on one of the mornings the fog was really thick and these shots were all taken then.

Fog is cool obviously, I’m nowhere near the first to photography it nor love it…but it’s amazing how it kind of pulls you into a scene and creates a weird, quiet mystery about what you’re seeing.

A little ode to the beach

We’re headed to San Diego tomorrow for a nice four-day weekend with friends in a giant vacation house that sits a couple hundred feet from the beach. It’s going to be awesome and it’s unbelievable to think I actually have to work today when all I want to do is get in the car and start driving.

In honor of the sand, surf and relaxation, I figured I would post a few shots from a beach near Den Haag in Holland. We were headed back to Amsterdam to leave the next day for the States, and decided to swing by the ocean to just take a look. We hadn’t been there yet and we needed to check it out.

The day was beautifully overcast, there were spots of darker clouds and rain, not to mention wind, and it all helped create some of my favorite photos from the trip.  The above image is my favorite of all of these…I felt so lucky to catch a sideview of that sail from the distance I was at. The dark crescent just stood out from the muted scene behind it.

I also like the one just below…like I said, the wind was blowing fairly good and the cloudy, wavy lines you see running along the beach are actually blowing sand.

Something about this beach cried out black-and-white to me, except for the surf board which just HAD to stay in color. Hope you enjoy!