Posts

Irrigation

(Click to view with a black background AND so it fits your monitor, unless you have a giant one)

What I love about stormchasing around Arizona is just the random places you find along the way. The farm fields you just happen to be hanging out by for an hour as you watch storms develop over the Catalina Mountains. I never really have plans on where I’m going, I just end up there.

On this day I was with my buddy Ken Peterson and we pulled off to shoot some of the cool clouds, and ended up sitting around at this spot for well over an hour. I shot a timelapse of an awesome downpour on the mountains, so we just hung out for a bit, waiting for the sun to get lower so we could start some lightning shooting.

This was a giant farm area in the middle of the desert, growing some kind of fruit we couldn’t identify. The irrigation canal was so full we couldn’t believe it wasn’t overflowing.

I love lines in my images and this shot was full of them. Powerlines, the canal, the edge of the farm, the road on the left. The main reason I took it was that I liked how it framed the cumulus clouds building off in the distance.

(canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/16, 1/100th)

From Within

Tucson Arizona Lightning

(click to view in lightbox…the border really adds a lot)

As I said at the start of the week, I had been planning on not really blogging since I have this awesome guest series going on right now. And on a side note, thank you to EVERYONE who participated and made it a success. Been so much fun. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s conclusion.

But anyways, I couldn’t help myself. Had to post today.

So Tucson, Arizona, is where it’s at. Those of us in Phoenix tend to just wait around, maybe drive to Casa Grande on some nights to get lightning, but the storms just aren’t as frequent up here. A friend of mine on Twitter, Beth Allan, comes down once a year in August with a group of stormchasers to shoot lightning all week. And they base themselves out of Tucson.  And they rock it.

Only problem is that it’s about 100 miles away from downtown Phoenix. A long drive, lots of gas. I can’t do it everyday. But I definitely wanted to make it a point to venture down there a few times this summer. Last night was my first trip there and honestly, I should have gotten there a lot earlier in the day. Immediately upon hitting the town, it was like a fireworks show in all directions.

I also am unfamiliar with the city or where good high spots are, so I kind of got lost driving in some hilly areas. I stopped, watched the lightning over the town in the distance and that’s when I this cloud in the photo suddenly start dropping tons of rain. When you see a huge thunderstorm with a massive rain shaft…aim there. That’s usually where 90% of the lightning is going to show up.

It’s always fun to shoot lightning when I can use the 17-35mm lens, because that means it’s close and awesome. I still tend to cower down in the car, or huddle up next to the tripod to stay lower than anything else 🙂

This was the best strike of the night for me, in what amounted to a lot of driving for about 20 minutes of shooting. I love how it looks like two bolts exploded from within the cloud and go in different directions. Awesome.

(canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 24mm, f/9, iso 200, 10 sec)