Sunset on the Four Peaks

My plan on Wednesday was to drive out and get some photos of the snow on the Four Peaks mountain range northeast of Phoenix. You can get a nice view by heading up the Beeline Highway and turning off on the appropriately named Four Peaks Road.

I’ve always wanted to take a great picture of the Four Peaks covered in snow. It happens out here once a year if you’re lucky and the snow disappears quickly.

On this day it was already stormy and rainy out. Jina told me it might be better to wait until Thursday for a clearer day. She was right for a bit, because when I got out there around 3:30, the peaks were entirely covered in clouds. And it didn’t look like it would clear up.

I gave up and drove further up the Beeline, in hopes of finding some other snowy peaks. I found A LOT of good stuff up there, some of which I’ll post tomorrow.

But on my way back, I realized it was clearing a bit. I rushed to the spot I found earlier on Four Peaks Road and setup. The clouds were lifting off the peaks and the sun was starting to set.

I knew if I could get a shot of the peaks lit up orange from the setting sun, it might be the photo of a lifetime for this Arizona native. But the sun was behind clouds and the horizon was barely visible.

I sat there waiting for almost an hour, but the sun finally did peak out from below the clouds and slowly it lit up the hills below the peaks, up the peaks and then finally the peaks themselves and the clouds above.

It only lasted about 5 minutes, but it was the pinnacle of my short photography career up until this point. I don’t know how you get a better chance than this. High clouds over the peaks, lit up from the setting sun. The very tippy tops of the peaks shadowed slightly from the clouds. The snow…the orange-purple light…the clear day…it all added up to something I wont ever forget.

Oh yeah, it’s available to hang on your wall somewhere! Check out the new price guide I posted the other night.

Storm Photos: Part 3

I found a few more photos from last week that I didn’t upload, plus a redux of the “Shrouded in Clouds” photo of the Superstitions that I posted on Monday.

That last one…I think would make an awesome print, in either color or black and white.

A shot of the Superstitions while it was raining…the clouds were hanging low around the cliffs and the scene was magnificent.

Another shot of the Superstition cliffs.

This was an amazing sight…mammatus clouds leading out from a thunderstorm dropping rain. You can see the rain on the horizon on the right, while these bubbly clouds rise from it.

This might be one of my most favorite photos. I posted it already here in color, but this is a black and white, cropped and has a border around it.

The above picture makes me think of a quote from A Few Good Men: “YOU WANT THIS ON THAT WALL! YOU  NEED THIS ON THAT WALL!”

*grin*

As always, these are for sale as prints, email me if interested.

Storm Photos: Part 2

On Saturday I had planned to photograph some of the snow on the Four Peaks. I knew all week that it was likely going to snow up there and I’ve been dying to shoot this once-a-year event.

The downside was that the weather had been so bad, the Beeline Highway was closed at Bush Highway and I couldn’t get as close as I wanted, plus the stormy clouds pretty much covered the top of the peaks.

However…it was a stunning day out, the clouds were puffy, stormy and gorgeous. The views were super-clear and the visibility was endless.  We drove out along the Beeline and then came home the back roads via Bush Highway, and these below are the results.

Looking down the on-ramp to the Beeline.

A closed road that goes to Saguaro Lake.

Here is a shot of the Beeline to the left, but you can also see the snow on the hills way along the back horizon. That was about as much as I could get.

Another shot of the snow on the distant hills…although it’s kind of hard to see here with the clouds meeting the white.

The cliffs around the Saguaro Lake area.

Saguaro Lake on the left, the Bush Highway on the right…it was such a clear day.

Storm Photos: Part 1

What a week of weather. I don’t know if anyone else can understand how an event like we had can be as exciting as it was to me. The low pressure system that brought all the rain, wind, tornadoes and snow, was record-breaking.

The aftermath of that storm demanded that I document it. Granted, I didn’t get to see everything I wanted, but that’s usually the case when it comes to my excursions. I head out with one idea in mind, but end up somewhere else entirely.

I took Friday off from work just to drive around. The photos below were all taken on Friday, the very LAST photo being my absolute favorite shot of the day.

Also, you’ll notice these have a new watermark on them, something I’m going to start using now to protect them from being stolen illegally. I usually don’t mind them being downloaded as wallpaper for your computer, but I would like to sell some prints and if I make them readily available without the watermark, then I wont sell anything.

Hope you enjoy these! They are all HDR.

The above is the Superstition Mountains on Friday morning. The clouds were hugging the tops of the cliffs and made for some spectacular views.

Tempe Town Lake lowered it’s inflatable dam to let the Salt River flow once more.

A shot of the Salt River flowing under the Country Club Avenue bridge.

This is a wash on the Indian reservation south of my house.

The Salt River again from Country Club Avenue.

A thunderstorm south of my house.

And my favorite…I called it “Shrouded in Clouds.” This was the sight of the day…if nothing else had turned out, this would have been just fine. I will be using this road again this summer during monsoon season.

If you are interested in a print, just drop me an email!

Storm damage photos

I didn’t get as many shots of storm damage as I would have liked, but here are the ones I DID get of some flooding, flowing washes and a downed tree.

Tuesday's Storms

This week is going to be wild and wacky in terms of weather. I’m hoping that we get enough rain so the Salt River is flowing and maybe some outlying washes become rivers because it sure would be fun to shoot a few photos of those thing!

Tuesday night was the second wave of storms, Monday having been fairly week. Tonight though, tons and tons of rain…at last look we had almost an inch of rain at our house! (see my weather station).

Before the storms came in though, there were some great clouds and falling rain that just HAD to be captured by yours truly, so here are  a few shots.

This first shot above was taken in the morning as the first wave of storms was leaving…only to be followed by the stuff below in the late afternoon.

Lightning!

Last summer I realized I could photograph lightning with my little point and shoot camera. Downside was that it was a continuous shot mode, took 2-3 shots per second and you kind of had to be close for the camera to pick it up.

But I was hooked. Big time. I LOVED chasing storms and getting lightning shots. So I knew I needed a better camera, one that could do lots of cool things.

So I bought a Rebel DLSR. Most of you have seen how much I’ve used it since October or so. But as much fun as it has been, I couldn’t believe how long I had to wait until summer to get thunderstorms for lightning shots.

Surprise surprise…we had a nice little winter thunderstorm show last night and yes, I rushed out thanks to my buddy Tyler letting me know he saw some bolts lighting up the sky.

It was a fun storm chase for me, although it ended up with my Blackberry being slaughtered by my car and pouring rain. I stopped to shoot some photos and was in such a frenzy that my phone fell out of the car onto the rocks without me realizing. I left just as pouring rain and hail showed up (drove through some pretty dang good hail), and didn’t realize it was gone for over an hour.

After looking all over the car, I came back to the same spot and somehow spotted the red blinking light. Soaked with rain, scratched from me likely running over it, the phone was still ON, but nothing worked.

Ah the fun of storm chasing 🙂

Here are four shots from the night, the only four I really ended up with. The first three were shot from Higley and the 202, looking northeast. Amazing how high up this little corner was and how it almost looks like they were shot from a hilltop.

This last one below isn’t as good as the others, but I do love the rain you can see falling, while the lightning appears from out of the middle of it all.

Contrails over the desert

I took these awhile back, but never posted them on the blog. I noticed some awesome contrails over the desert and so I drove out at lunch to take some shots.

Contrails usually don’t show up too well on bright, sunny skies, but the usage of HDR and a polarizer filter can really bring them out.

These are all HDR, shot south of Hunt Highway.

Chandler Park Sunset

The same park I took some other shots at in a previous blog post also provided some amazing sunsets the day before.

The park is high, around three stories, so you get an amazing view.

Some more cement pipes that have been turned into art. This is one that set up perfectly for a setting sun.

I’ve gotten a lot of good feed back on this one. I call it “Ocotillo Sunset” because of the ocotillo cactus in the foreground. Got me an AC on Wunderground (Approver’s Choice)!

New Park

There is a new park in Chandler, built on an old landfill that has been closed for many years now. It’s about three stories high because of all the trash under it, so it’s kind of an interesting place.

They have some new playground stuff, interesting items used as “art” and it provides a high place to look around the town of Chandler.

Here are a few shots from around the park.

This is a giant concrete pipe turned on it’s side acting like a silo, or sort of like the corner of a castle around the playground area at this park. I stepped inside, saw the open ceiling and had a field day. This is an HDR.

An HDR of the playground…loved the clouds behind it…stunning.

One of those fun rope contraptions I used to love as a kid.

Another shot through the “silo”