Posts

A new year begins

Well…here we go. It’s 2011 and time to forget whatever I did last year, start with a clean slate, try some new things and see where it all goes.

Okay, kind of hard to do if you realize I posted the color version of this photo on Friday, the last day of 2010. Where is the new? There is a reason of course, and I think a good one.

Last year I was inspired by Mitch Dobrowner’s storm photography. His work is absolutely incredible, powerful and spellbinding. He’s naturally become my favorite storm photographer. There is a picture in his Storm section called “Monsoon: Lordsburg, New Mexico, 2010″…there aren’t many words to describe how beautiful that work of art is to me.

The main inspiration I took away from his work is the power of the black and white storm image. After publishing my first stormchasing book last fall, I wanted the next one to be filled with powerful B&W storm photos. I have an incredible love for the style, but it’s hard to break the habit of naturally processing an image in color. Hence the reason I’m posting the above image twice…it’s a reminder to me to not be so focused on something that I forget my goal for this year.

I was prompted by a reader of my blog to do the image in B&W and I was thankful for the prodding. It reminded me of what I forgot I wanted to do. It was like the photowalk we did last Wednesday in downtown Phoenix. The night before I told my wife I was thinking of shooting with nothing but my 50mm 1.4. But once I got there, I had the Tammy 17-35 on there by default and almost forgot my mission until buddy Rick mentioned he was going to use his 50mm a lot. Slapped my forehead and wondered aloud how I could have let the plan slip my mind. Doh!

Same thing with this photo. Because while I enjoyed the one I posted on Friday, this one gives me chills. I would venture to guess this photo could end up being on the cover of the next book and likely a print on my own wall.

I’m excited to see where this year will go as far as stormchasing goes. Of course I have other passions…the urbex stuff is compelling, the portrait work, the weddings…I’m pumped for all of it. But photographing weather will always be in my blood, driving me and compelling me to keep chasing.

A strong monsoon downdraft

I love seeing a thunderstorm in action. Normally when you are just minding your own business, you just see the clouds move in, maybe some dust blows ahead of them and then the rain/lightning starts.  But rarely do you get to see the origin of all that stuff.

This is the second opportunity I’ve had this summer to see a dust storm forming. The first I posted last week, The Birth of a Monsoon Dust Storm, which was a fun “time lapse” of sorts.  But today’s photo really shows you the raw power of a thunderstorm’s downdraft and what it can do.  You might also consider this a microburst.

I shot this on Saturday afternoon where storms were producing 65mph winds, hail and all kinds of lightning.  Sometimes you can get a downdraft like this and not see the same results, but the storms were fairly severe on this day and so you get to see something kind of cool. The dust you see forming on the edges above looks like it’s just on either side of the storm, but in reality, it was spreading in all angles and just hadn’t picked up any dust yet.

While this is a great way to see how a dust storm begins, it’s nothing like the giant Haboobs we sometimes get where multiple cells like the above storm are all grouped together and producing many downdrafts that join forces to send massive walls of dust headed towards Phoenix.

I rarely do this, but if you have an account on Flickr, maybe you wouldn’t mind favoriting this photo over there? It’s been doing well and I think just a few more comments/faves might get it Explored!