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(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 50mm f/1.4, iso 100, f/5.6, 30 sec // buy print)

I’ve been trying to do some housekeeping this month since it’s been a bit slow and the crazy amount of weddings I have through spring haven’t started yet. I’m a lot better about deleting photos I know I’ll never work on. As time goes by, your feelings change and what you like now might mean you don’t like shots you took then. I’ve gotten last year pretty much cleaned and so I went back to 2011.

And found this little guy sitting there with 4 stars meaning I intended to edit it someday and never did. At the time the reason was that I already had two other shots from this angle that were downright rad. But when I saw this one…I was like, this guy is rad too, why did he get left out?

Processed it over the weekend and am dropping it now. This is on Gilbert Road south of Hunt Highway taken on September 10th, 2011. The lightning was super intense on this storm that battered Chandler. Was an awesome night.

Double Impact

(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 70-200mm f/2.8 is l, 70mm, iso 200, f/5.6, 25 sec // buy print)

Last year I was inspired by the photography of Drew Medlin, specifically his black & white work with lightning. He almost always sticks to a square crop which I thought was super cool and made it a goal this year to process a handful of my own lightning images with this crop.

So this is the first in my Square Series. First off I absolutely love what B&W does to a lightning bolt…creates a darker, mysterious scene…and the square crop to me adds an isolation to the entire frame.

I shot this back on July 23rd, early in the season, up along the Beeline Highway. There was an incredible show going on and strikes were hitting the mountains everywhere.

More to come!

A monsoon sunset over Phoenix

(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 17-40 f/4 l, 26mm, iso 200, f/5.6, 1/100th // buy print)

When you are a storm chasing photographer, you have to make do with whatever foreground you are given..  I kind of wish I had been able to see this amazing sunset out in the middle of the desert somewhere, peppered with saguaro and rocky cliffs…but despite that, I was mesmerized with this view last night.

I’m obviously a weather nut. I love it. I love towering cumulus clouds. But seeing the way they look at sunset, with red and orange tones, is absolutely magnificent. The textures and depth in the clouds is always fantastic. And then you get the falling rain lit up and glowing. Blue skies as a contrast.

A wonderful scene. And as I keep saying, this might have been the last monsoon sunset of the year. Still hoping for one more great day.

 

More haboob – September 6th, 2012, Phoenix, Arizona

Watch FULL SCREEN in HD puhleeeez!

Oh yeah…another haboob dust storm awesomeness rolled into Phoenix this evening and blanketed the town in dust for over an hour. The wall was about 50 miles long and the winds didn’t seem that strong, so the dust just lingered in the air forever. Blech.

I regret not getting to this spot 10 minutes earlier, but thems the breaks kid.

Met with some wedding clients right after this and then flew up the Beeline and captured some lightning. All in a days work.

Another dust storm rolling through uptown Phoenix

It wouldn’t bee a monsoon thunderstorm if we didn’t have a wall of dust moving through town. Usually though, that’s all we get…but the last two days have seen decent rain for Phoenix. It’s been crazy weather, flash flooding on the outskirts of town and widespread precipitation.

Been a busy summer for the monsoon season. Definitely more active than I remember in recent years.

A crashdown of lightning on the Beeline

Crashing Down - Monsoon Lightning Arizona Beeline

(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 70-200mm 2.8 is l, 70mm, iso 100, f/6.3, 20 sec // buy print)

During the day on Monday I tweeted out something to the effect that I “smelled lightning” and knew it would be a good night. Honestly, I had no idea what I was talking about, but it had been three straight days of great monsoon action in a row with storms that died out quickly as the sun went down, leaving no electricity to photograph.

It was more of a hunch, but it turned out to be a good one.

It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a lightning show quite like this one up on the Beeline Highway. I set up along the shoulder of the road south of the Gisela turnoff. There is a huge valley there in front of you and it gives you at least a 270 degree view of all the mountains around you. Perfect for shooting this stuff.

The only downside is that there was soooo many lightning strikes, all OVER the place…you had to pick a few directions and hang tough. I have two cameras now thanks to all the weddings I shoot, so now I’m firing double barrels out there. Which should make it easier, but it’s a lot to manage when you’re rushing to get things aimed, focused, exposed correctly, etc.

I was also quite the amateur on this night and ended up with some slightly out-of-focus shots. Was bumming hard core when I was checking these out in Lightroom. I’m tossing out this one below anyways…which likely would have ended up being one of my all-time favorites, but it’s got a bit of a focus problem and so it may end up on the trash heap. But what a sick scene right? Almost looks like a clip from a movie with a giant electrical alien being walking over a mountain top.

 

An old house in Colorado

The House - Colorado Thunderstorm Mammatus

(click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, rokinon 14mm 2.8, iso 400, 1/320 f? // buy print)

Here’s another image from our brief trip to the central plains for a little bit of spring stormchasing.  An amazing display of mammatus was headed our way and I was on the lookout for something special to capture in the foreground. Sure enough, we stumbled upon this old house just beckoning us to include it in our compositions.

I’ve never seen mammatus clouds like that before, so it was kind of a thrill to get them on camera finally.

I used the Rokinon 14mm on  his one, which not only is manual focus, but also has a manual aperture ring, so I have no clue what I shot this at. It was handheld, so probably wider than f/8.

A fun trip, I still have a few more images to share at some point!

A lightning strike near Eloy

A lightning strike near Eloy, Arizona

(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 50mm 1.4, f/16, iso 250, 5 sec // buy print)

July 3rd felt like the first real day of storm chasing. We were out late in the afternoon, watched a cell build up and drop a bunch of rain near Casa Grande, even helped some people who flipped their car they hydroplaned on Interstate 8.

Yeah, that accident was a bit surreal to say the least. We missed it by roughly 10 seconds, and by the time I pulled over to help, the couple was crawling out of their vehicle. But their Honda was upside down in the median. Crazy. The girl called her mother first, so I called  911. They were totally fine.

Later on, the sun went down and the sky got dark. I had planned to hit Tucson, but the storms right here in Eloy were perfect. Finally was able to shoot some lightning via long exposure for the first time this year. Always a good feeling.

Got a couple of okay images, nothing earth shattering, but here’s one from the night.

Hoping to get a few more days in before Sunday when we hit our week-long vacation to Missouri.

A dying monsoon sunset near Casa Grande

(watch full screen if you can. there is musicon this one, in case you are at work)

Last night I was heading down to Tucson late in the day with the specific goal of catching some lightning from lingering thunderstorms. If I had actually stayed on course, I think I would have captured some cool shots down there.

But as things usually turn out when I chase storms, something better comes along. I saw this cloud building up as I was driving and it didn’t look amazing at first. But it increasingly kept building up and then the top started spreading out. The beauty of it was the isolation. All by itself, framed against the evening sky.

I checked the radar before starting to see the movement of the storm, and it was basically sitting in one spot. Amazing to shoot this for around 40 minutes and have it just get bigger and not really move in any direction.

You will likely notice a lightning strike right after the 11-12 second mark. Catching that was unbelievably lucky. At the time the shots were 4 seconds apart at 1/1000th speed. I only saw 2 or 3 bolts anyways the entire time, so I’m not even sure how I got that. It looks great on a still that I will share later.

Hope you enjoy…the colors and the cloud were so amazing in person, I wish you could have stood there with me.

A wall of dust from Jomax Road

Dust Storm Haboob Jomax Road Arizona

Just a quickie shot from Jomax Road at around 8pm on Wednesday evening. Dust storm rolled right across the entire Phoenix area and out the northwest side.

Loving that 14mm Rokinon lens I purchased not too long ago. Super wide fun.