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Lay down your burdens

The Sofa -

(please click to view this nasty ol’ couch on black)

(title from the Battlestar Galactica soundtrack)

When I’m stormchasing, I can get very tunnel-visioned. I have a goal of where I want to get to and sometimes I’m unable to relax and just enjoy the stuff I see along the way. Of course, that usually depends on the situation, because other times I can be completely mellow and just go where the wind takes me.

This shot was from Labor Day and I believe my buddy Ken is the one who pulled the vehicle over. I was too busy being wishy-washy about whether we should run to Yuma or just hang out here.

Anyways…Ken took this big photography class from Mark Wallace not too long ago and one of his assignments was to do one big project on “something.” He decided to use me as his subject and basically created a little documentary/episode of the day in the life of a stormchaser.

So this couch. It actually doesn’t look that bad. But that doesn’t mean anything. It could be full of scorpions or God knows what. And yes…Ken wanted me to sit on it to get a posed shot for his project. I did it…but it was on the arm rest and I wasn’t very comfortable.

As for my photo…I love stuff like this. A desert landscape with something completely random throw into the mix to provide an awesome scene. Usually when I find some kind of “lost” element in my images, I really play with the tones and style of the image. I like to get crazy and give something like this a stark, post-apocalyptic look and feel.

What makes an image like this fun for me…it throws together two things I love: Weather and lost things. If you know anything about me, I rarely go out to shoot landscapes unless there are clouds, and mostly, stormy clouds. If it’s a blue sky, I wont even pack the camera. The other thing I love is urbex…farmex (gonna call this desertex for the fun of it)…stuff that has been abandoned or left for dead. So combining those into one image…well…that’s frakking awesome.

Have a great weekend!

(canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/16, iso 100 – buy print)

The Arizona Twister

The Arizona Twister or Dust Devil

(please click to enjoy a view on black!)

If dust devils were tornadoes, Arizona would be the capital of the world. During these hot summer days, you can drive down the long interstates through the desert and see these towering twisters of dust almost anywhere.

They can be tiny things, barely 10 feet tall and they sputter out after minutes. Or they can be long-lasting, tornado-like vortices that sometimes make you do a double-take to just make sure it’s not an actual twister.

While out stormchasing on Labor Day, my buddy Ken and I spotted this elephant trunk-like dust devil that lasted for quite awhile. It had to be hundreds of feet up in the air. Usually when you see a good one, it’s only going to last minutes so it’s not always easy to capture them. And even harder to get a backdrop like we got here. I’ve actually never photographed a dust devil quite like this before.

(canon 5d mark ii, canon 35mm 1.4 l, f/16, iso 100, 1/250th – buy print)

Lightstorm

Lightstorm - Arizona Monsoon Lightning

(Please click to view on black)

Sometimes the weather forecasters predict a big storm to hit in the coming days, only to either be wrong or off a bit on the timing. But for the last 2-3 days, the National Weather Service kept saying a low pressure system would move into SW Arizona on Labor Day creating some intense storms and lots of rain.

Which is exactly what happened.

I had been planning on an all-day, noon-to-midnight stormchasing event for Labor Day and was pumped when Monday morning nothing in the forecast had changed. My buddy Ken met me at my house around 12:30 and we flew west of Phoenix and then south to Gila Bend.

If we had driven to Yuma, we might have seem some really nasty stuff, but that’s a long haul. So we hung out around the northern parts of Gila Bend, shooting storms in the farmlands and irrigation areas. Caught a few night photographs that will be shared at a later time.

But this lightning shot came almost 30 miles south of Gila Bend on Highway 85. I literally ran across a low area and up a hill to setup for this shot, which ended up being the highest spot around. The lightning wasn’t close, but it’s definitely not the wisest thing in the world to do.

I didn’t have much of a choice. I could see a gorgeous sunset going on and some stormy clouds with strong downdrafts of rain. It took awhile, many shots, but I finally got a decent strike before the beautiful color of the sunset disappeared on me.

(canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, iso 250, f/10, 6sec – buy print)