The creation of a dust storm | Timelapse

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A powerful microburst fell onto the desert floor south of Gila Bend on August 13th, 2012. I was moments too late to capture the birth of it, but I timelapsed what I could.

This should really give you an idea of how these things form out of nothing…a strong draft of air falls from the thunderhead and explodes in all directions. When this happens out in the desert, the dust picks up and you can see how the air ripples outwards like in a pool of water.

This was a painstaking timelapse to finish because I sadly shot it at f/18 so I could have 1/5th sec shutter speeds to hopefully give myself a chance to capture lightning (ND filters next year). And I did get a few lightning strikes actually! But it resulted in horrible dust spots and bad flicker. This is made up of 838 exposures and I manually de-flickered them because third party apps weren’t working for me. That was a very, very long and tedious process. I never want to do that again.

But I felt this one was worth it and happy to be done with it now!

The image at the top is a quick capture of the initial outflow picking up dust as I was setting up for the timelapse. Below is the video itself.

7 replies
  1. Matt Pohlhammer
    Matt Pohlhammer says:

    Awesome display – so much energy! Pastor Dave (Hillis) shared it to me.
    f.y.i. – If you ever find yourself in the S.F. Bay area on a warm Spring or Fall day, with a strong, cold, WET onshore flow, head over to Sausalito with your camera gear, and you may get to see the weird “rolling fog” phenomenon that occures there. This is crappy video, but you get the idea.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnkU6oTPGO8

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