One of my personal favorite images of 2018 was this one early in the morning of July 21st on the Vekol Valley Road overpass looking east. Asher and I had gone almost all the way to New Mexico earlier, and then raced back towards home as a huge MCS blew up and started blasting west and northwest. We raced ahead of it here and had only a few minutes to setup before it blasted us again with strong winds, dust and rain.
It’s rare (to me) for these kinds of MCS storms in the desert to move fast and have so much cloud-to-ground lightning as well. It’s usually in cloud, back in the rain…so this night was such a treat. This is just a single exposure, around 20-25 seconds…and lightning was exploding everywhere. It was an intense barrage for hours, ones I like to call “widow makers” because they just seemed fast and deadly.
Not sure what took me so long to get to this one, but one of the more stunning scenes from last spring for me. Long chase on May 29th from north of Laverne, Oklahoma to here southeast of Ringwood. The colors went nuts at sunset and this supercell/shelf cloud looked all kinds of amazing. Had to bail shortly after this to meet up with tour guests in Colorado the next day.
A tutorial on the best settings for lightning photography, from day to astro, with real world images and exif information.
Stuff from this video:
September 1st, the night that keeps on giving haha…so many fun lightning shots from that chase, here’s one looking towards the dry lake bed near Willcox from near the Kansas Settlement. I got this on wide angle which I would have preferred, but it was set to ISO 2000 for time-lapse and the bolt just blew the crap out of the shot. This was fun despite wishing I had a tad more foreground.
One of my annual traditions around these parts is to post a nice recap of the year in photos. They range from road trips with friends, family pics, wedding, photoshoots and of course, storm images. It felt like a different year overall, a little more subdued, with spring chasing offering slightly less excitement this time around and a couple less weddings. But wow it was a blast of a year regardless!
The year kicked off at a little shoot with a former bride and groom from Australia and their new baby girl, and then I was off on a road trip with Jay, Jason and Andrew to Death Valley and the eastern Sierras. From there it was wedding season, then storm chasing on the plains, followed by epic haboob and lightning action across Arizona during the monsoon, and finally fall weddings and family portraits. Toss in some wonderful family moments, it was a year to remember.
It also marked my fourth year as a full-time photographer and it keeps getting better and better. I still feel incredibly blessed that I get to do this everyday.
Hope you enjoy this look back at some of my favorite images, including at least a photo from almost every wedding and family session!
A new image from June 12th, 2017…after missing all the tornadoes and structure earlier, I raced out of Wyoming through Scottsbluff and finally got in front of that line of storms that had continued to move all the way into Nebraska. This particular storm had produced another tornado just 30 minutes or so earlier. I loved this view with Chimney Rock in the distance and some decent structure looming over it. Would end up chasing this into Alliance and all the way into the Sandhills until near midnight. A great end to what started out as a day I almost quit and went home 🙂
Never edited this guy back from September 2017 up at the Grand Canyon…mostly because of a big water spot, but I cropped it out and decided it was worth posting! This was the end of a wonderful 24 hours up at the Canyon, my best time up there in six years of trying. The day before there was lightning in the afternoon, then sunset and finally later at night right out over the ditch. I slept in the truck knowing more storms were set for the next day and sure enough, severe cells with hail exploded and moved across the Canyon during the late morning, capping off a fantastic trip.
A new image I never edited from September 5th, 2017…one of the most spectacular monsoon scenes I’ve personally experienced…the light was so intense from the setting sun, so magical…the color out of control, that I just stood there in awe. Toss in a rainbow, gorgeous desert cactus and shrubs and a strong downburst over Organ Pipe and it was almost too much haha.
Missing this stuff.