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An Arizona Meso

Sometimes in Arizona you get lucky when you're out chasing and happen to stumble on a storm that not only looks pretty great from far away, but it also suddenly begins to form structure on it  right before your eyes and the next thing you know, you have a bonafide mesocyclone. These are kind of a rare occurrence out here, but lately they seem to be happening more often. EIther they've always happened and no one sees them in the wide open lands of Arizona, thus an influx of storm chasers has suddenly revealed these hidden gems...or El Nino and climate change are the reasons. Or a combination of both. Either way...August 2nd south of Holbrook was amazing!
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 16-35mm f/2.8 l, 16mm, iso 100, f/8, 1/60th)

Sometimes in Arizona you get lucky when you’re out chasing and happen to stumble on a storm that not only looks pretty great from far away, but it also suddenly begins to form structure on it right before your eyes and the next thing you know, you have a bonafide mesocyclone. These are kind of a rare occurrence out here, but lately they seem to be happening more often. EIther they’ve always happened and no one sees them in the wide open lands of Arizona, thus an influx of storm chasers has suddenly revealed these hidden gems…or El Nino and climate change are the reasons. Or a combination of both. Either way…August 2nd south of Holbrook was amazing!

Symmetry

These two bolts almost appear to be mirror images of each other at first glance. Of course they are very different...but it's what fun about lightning photography. Finding the hidden shapes and nuances to what you capture.
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 35mm f/1.4 l, iso 100, f/8, 6.0 sec // buy print)

Two nights ago near Wilcox, Arizona…on my way home from being in New Mexico for two days…some isolated cells kept popping up near here as the sun went down, so we hung out a bit to capture a couple of sweet strikes before continuing on to Phoenix.

This storm was funny though…you can see the rain on the left, which had already moved past me…there appeared on radar to be another cell straight ahead, but no rain…but I saw another bolt here prior to this, so I aimed this way and caught two of them. I normally would have panned left towards the rain where I’d normally expect to see one.

But I LOVE clear air bolts…don’t seem to get a ton of those!

Tonopah

For me, there is nothing better than an isolated thunderstorm at night. But this storm...it had the moonlight shining down to really show the structure and to top it off, the updraft was actually rotating, which is somewhat rare for Arizona. You can see circular motion in the tower. which adds some drama to this shot. Really added to the scene for me, maybe it a bit more special than normal.
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 50mm f1.2 l, iso 200, f/8.0, 20 sec // buy print)

For me, there is nothing better than an isolated thunderstorm at night. But this storm…it had the moonlight shining down to really show the structure and to top it off, the updraft was actually rotating, which is somewhat rare for Arizona. You can see circular motion in the tower. which adds some drama to this shot. Really added to the scene for me, maybe it a bit more special than normal.

Lots more to come from this guy…the time-lapse should be amazing, can’t wait to start putting together Monsoon II later this summer. If you haven’t seen the first film, here’s the link!

Bubbles II

On a long, lonely highway between Marriman and Hyannis, Nebraska...a huge MCS moves by, leaving behind it wet roads and a gorgeous sky filled with mammatus clouds. A bit of lightning snakes around on the left side of the storm.
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 16mm f/2.8 l, 16mm, iso 100, f/8.0, 8 sec // buy print)

A long, lonely highway of roughly 70 miles separates Merriman and Hyannis in western Nebraska. When you are low on gas, have no internet access and are praying that Hyannis has a working gas station, you don’t really want to stop too much. But when you see something like this, you have to. A huge MCS had come through here, leaving behind it wet roads and a gorgeous sky filled with mammatus clouds. A bit of lightning snakes around on the left side of the storm.

Was a great way to end the day…and yes, some kind strangers stopped by and confirmed a gas station was up ahead!

The End

Driving through an abandoned town and then turning the corner to see this scene was truly one I'll never forget. We had just witnessed the Dora tornado 30 minutes before, and so we blasted towards the storm in hopes of seeing another one. This was just as good. The sun igniting the rain into a horizon of orange, the blue hail core in the supercell and lightning. It was incredible to witness. I know if I returned to this spot during the day, it would seem normal and boring. But on this night, with the wind, the colors...the lightning...it felt like we were watching the end of the world or something.
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 16-35mm f/2.8 l, 16mm,. iso 100, f/8.0, 5 sec // buy print)

If you are interested in a print, you can click the link above and use coupon code “chase2015” for 25% off!

I’m proud of this one…not just the shot itself, but just the fact that we were even here to witness it. It took us hours to make our way southeast through a southeast moving line of storms. It was brutal. Hail, rain, traffic in Clovis, NM…but somehow, someway we got out in front of this thing.

Driving through an abandoned town and then turning the corner to see this scene was truly one I’ll never forget. We had just witnessed the Dora tornado 30 minutes before, and so we blasted towards the storm in hopes of seeing another one. This was just as good. The sun igniting the rain into a horizon of orange, the blue hail core in the supercell and lightning. It was incredible to witness. I know if I returned to this spot during the day, it would seem normal and boring. But on this night, with the wind, the colors…the lightning…it felt like we were watching the end of the world or something.

Also I have 477 frames of this storm on time-lapse! Can’t wait to share it all!

From May 29th near Bledsoe, TX.

Artesia II

A beautiful supercell rotates over the deserts southwest of Artesia, New Mexico.
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, rokinon 14mm f/2.8, iso 100, f/8, 1/60th // buy print)

Here’s a shot from May 23rd, 2014 that I never edited. Taken southwest of Artesia, New Mexico. We had been striking out on solid supercell structure the first few days of our chase trip, so this gorgeous little LP storm had us jumping up and down.

Headed back to the plains Friday night…cannot wait.

Across the Sky

A lightning bolt seems to travel all the way across the sky and slams into the ground near Goodland, Kansas on April 15th, 2015. In reality this may have been a few different strikes unrelated to each other, but it's hard to tell. In the middle of the photo right on the horizon is a supercell and a small wall cloud that spawned a funnel cloud a bit later.

A lightning bolt seems to travel all the way across the sky and slams into the ground near Goodland, Kansas on April 15th, 2015. In reality this may have been a few different strikes unrelated to each other, but it’s hard to tell. In the middle of the photo right on the horizon is a supercell and a small wall cloud that spawned a funnel cloud a bit later.

Headed out to the plains in three days! Cannot wait!

 

The Alanreed Supercell

Alanreed Supercell
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, rokinon 14mm f/2.8, iso 100, f/8, 1/40th // buy print)

Storm chasing can be frustrating and fruitless. Or it can be magnificent and incredibly rewarding. On April 16th of this year, I was able to chase solid structure for almost six hours. So many time-lapses and photos. It was just one of those days that keeps you coming back for more.

This storm earlier spawned a brief tornado near Groom, Texas. It moved to the east/northeast across the rolling farmlands…I caught up to it once again here just north of Alanreed. The hail core and structure was gorgeous. After the clouds nearly passed over me, I got back south and blasted east to chase it again.

More to come!

Let’s go places

Let's go places
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, rokinon 14mm f/2.8, ISO 3200, f/2.8, 20 seconds // buy print)

Last Tuesday I left my house around 4pm for Colorado and two days of chasing storms. Around 3 in the morning I couldn’t go any further, so I pulled over at a parking area north of Las Vegas, New Mexico to grab a few hours sleep.

A perfect spot to grab a shot of Vera II against the Milky Way. Loved how dark it was here…not to mention open and flat. Standing there, seeing the stars blaze in the sky like you don’t usually living in a big city…is always awe-inspiring.

Crossing 95

Crossing
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 16-35mm f/2.8 l, 16mm, iso 100, f/8, 1/60th // buy print)

Nothing like a good chase day during March in Arizona. Not only that, but playing the models and having them prove true when you drive all the way to western Arizona…icing on the cake.

I started off early yesterday, chasing a few cells through Phoenix past Fountain Hills, but I knew all along I would head west on the 10 and see what happened mid-afternoon. I time-lapsed some light convection along the interstate as I watched the cold core slowly progress across southeast California. As it grew closer to Arizona, I landed in Quartzsite, grabbed a bit and blasted south on Highway 95.

A big line of storms was nearing the highway, so I sat there and time-lapsed it rolling by. Lighting was going off…thunder…it was beautiful, especially in March!

Here’s a raggedy shelf cloud with the rain behind it moving towards the Kofa Mountain range. Such a fun day!