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Forked

A lightning bolt lands in the Four Peaks Wilderness area northeast of Phoenix, seeming to fork into two directions at the last minute as it strikes the side of a mountain.

A cakewalk chase yesterday…spent over 90 minutes at this spot just off the Beeline Highway where it intersects with Bush Highway. A storm to my north built up and died, then storms to our east went up and the lightning display after sunset was gorgeous. Here’s one of my favorites…always love being able to see where a strike hits the ground, it adds so much more dimension to a photo.

Today begins a hectic few weeks of July for me, as two film companies will be out attempting to capture dust storms. One crew from Japan, one from England. I’m a consulting on both projects, although I’ll also be filmed as part of the one from Japan. Stoked to be a part of them, but it’s gonna be crazy. Doing location scouting today and tomorrow. Today may actually give us a dust storm if things pan out!

Crashdown

A powerful downburst of rain dumps over the Superstition Mountains in Apache Junction, creating strong outflow winds that kick up tons of dust, lowering visibility to zero at times.

Our first chase of the 2016 summer monsoon here in Arizona paid off huge last night with a crazy lightning storm over the Superstition Mountains! A ton of bolts on camera and time-lapse, but it was once this downburst of rain happened that I was loving it. I stood in the road, getting blasted by dust and sand, praying for a bolt to happen because the downburst looked so sick, the especially with the way the rain foot was bending outwards in both directions…not to mention the dust everywhere adding all kinds of drama to the scene. Shortly after this though I had to run, the tiny pieces of sand were too much to handle and a few bits were still stuck in my hair this morning 🙂

Awesome start to this summer, can’t wait to see what else is yet to come!

Farewell to the plains for 2016!

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This was one of the last images I shot this past Wednesday east of Turkey, TX, my final day chasing the plains this year. Over the span of two months, I chased for 18 total days and if you toss in travel days, I was away from home for more than that. Also put roughly 21,000 miles on Vera II across 9 states, not including Arizona.
It’s sorta hard to see it gone already after waiting so long for spring to get here. My first day out was April 15th and the last was June 15th. And now the monsoon will keep me busy until fall but then it will be waiting for April to return once more.

Highlight of my year was the Wynnewood tornado for sure. Never seen one that close and powerful before, it was astounding to behold. I figured that would be it for me this year, but all told I saw over 12 tornadoes, five of which I actually caught on time-lapse and can’t wait to share soon 🙂

I will forget names, but while I tend to chase solo, I get loads of input from guys like Andy Hoeland, Brandon Sullivan, Jeremy Degenhart, James Langford, Brett Wright, John Sirlin, Max Olson and Mike Mezeul II. Heck, Jenny Brown saved my ass from driving all the way to Montana last week instead of sticking to Texas and getting this final shot 🙂 I appreciate the help and I learned so much this spring but I feel like I still known nothing haha.
Excited to once again have gotten to hang with guys like Willoughby Owen, Marko Korošec, Brad Hannon, Dean Gill, Daniel Shaw, Niccolò Ubalducci, Valentina Abinanti, and others. Finally meeting Dennis Oswald randomly in Stratford, TX. And Justin Terveen wherever we were. I respect you all so much and you are all so inspiring to me!

Of course running into the AZ crew, Tori, Christian, Trey, Corbin, Chris, Jerrod, Kevin, and John was fantastic. So proud of our little group out here and what everyone saw this spring! Tons of others I ran into…Jay, Matt, Blake, James, Jack, David, Wesley, Paul, Paul, Jeremy, Jack, Clyve, Jane, Shane (thanks for meeting us man!) and a bunch of other new faces and names. And I’m horrible with names, sorry about that!

Nick Drieschman and Joseph Barton Comstock…you guys made me laugh every time I ran into you, thank you for that 🙂 Hope you guys are proud of what you are doing, I could tell by the people with you that you were killing it!

Truly appreciate Sarah Al Sayegh, Brad Girard, Mike DeVos and Daniel for coming along for our little private tour! Appreciate your trust and support, I had an amazing time with you all! See you next year 🙂

Apologies for the length and wordiness of this post 🙂 I have tons of photos to work on, but I’ve been so focused on my next time-lapse film that I haven’t done much else. It’s actually nearly complete, but with family in town and the monsoon ramping up soon hopefully, not sure how soon I can finish. Bummed I missed Dodge City and that epic week but I’m pumped for what I captured this year! More tornadoes than I thought and some pretty gorgeous storms and scenery.

Thanks again to everyone for their support and kind words, and to everyone watching the live stream on Youtube this spring! Already looking forward to next year!

Branchless

June 30th last year down south of Tucson was such a surprising night. Shear was abnormally awesome. We saw a couple of supercells and one of them was this guy slowly moving over the Santa Rita Mountains. Love this branchless lightning...it starts off jagged but then gets that smooth, curved look that I really only see out on the plains most of the time. And that structure to the left...oh my

June 30th last year down south of Tucson was such a surprising night. Shear was abnormally awesome. We saw a couple of supercells and one of them was this guy slowly moving over the Santa Rita Mountains. Love this branchless lightning…it starts off jagged but then gets that smooth, curved look that I really only see out on the plains most of the time. And that structure to the left…oh my!

Rapid City IV

A decaying supercell hovers over the Rapid City, South Dakota area, dropping rain and gorgeous lightning bolts.

A decaying supercell hovers over the Rapid City, South Dakota area, dropping rain and gorgeous lightning bolts.

This dying storm over Rapid City on June 1st, 2015 was so amazing…so many bolts came out of it, I was in total heaven. This is the fourth image from this spot that I’ve shared, and I still have a couple more strikes that I might edit at some point!

But it just has me itching to do some chasing…cannot wait to get out there!

Haven’t posted much in the past week, been on a little vacation with the wife enjoying a much needed break from the kiddos and work. Back now though and ready for things to get crazy again!

Salome

I love this shot mainly because it was the only lightning bolt that I saw come out of this little cell and it took about 15 minutes for it to happen. Patience is not one of my best qualities, but nothing else was happening around me and so I decided to just aim at the spot the rain was falling and hope to get lucky. And boom, this gorgeous strike right after sunset...west of Tonopah along Salome Highway.  That's a good strategy out here in Arizona...lightning can do anything for the most part, but if you aren't sure where it's going to happen, aim at the rain shaft and you've upped your chances at capturing something.
I love this shot mainly because it was the only lightning bolt that I saw come out of this little cell and it took about 15 minutes for it to happen. Patience is not one of my best qualities, but nothing else was happening around me and so I decided to just aim at the spot the rain was falling and hope to get lucky. And boom, this gorgeous strike right after sunset…west of Tonopah along Salome Highway.

That’s a good strategy out here in Arizona…lightning can do anything for the most part, but if you aren’t sure where it’s going to happen, aim at the rain shaft and you’ve upped your chances at capturing something

The Vacuum

This incredibly photogenic storm near Booker, Texas was like a dust-eating machine. Everything around it seemed to get sucked into the updraft of this stunning supercell. The colors at sunset added to the apocalyptic look of this storm.

Amazingly, I still have some photos from this Booker, TX storm back in 2013 that I never actually processed…so last night I got motivated to edit this one! It’s one of the best storms I’ve ever seen, and my buddy Andy Hoeland and I still can’t believe we were there to witness this amazing supercell.

Another world

Standing here, near Bledsoe, Texas on the night of May 29th...it felt like I had traveled to another planet. The wind, the storm, the lightning...but it was the surreal orange glow everywhere that created this otherworldy mood which I'll never forget.

Standing here, near Bledsoe, Texas on the night of May 29th…it felt like I had traveled to another planet. The wind, the storm, the lightning…but it was the surreal orange glow everywhere that created this otherworldly mood which I’ll never forget. It was utterly amazing and mesmerizing. One of those moments you wish would never end.

The Cottonwood Meso

Seeing something like this in Arizona is super special, because sculpted mesocyclones like this one are kinda rare. It was amazing to watch this storm spin off the mountains, split apart and suddenly see this gorgeous meso that looked like something you'd see out on the plains during the spring.

What a day this one turned out to be. Definitely one of the top scenes of the summer for me in Arizona. I had been chasing around the Camp Verde area earlier and saw a little rotating storm, then headed north of Cottonwood to watch this one roll off the mountains. It was a bigger cell earlier but as it came over the mountains, it split into two and the left side suddenly became this brief but gorgeously sculpted mesoclyclone. I was freaking out at the time and I have the entire genesis of the storm on time-lapse (which you can see in my Monsoon II film).

This was a shot with my third camera and a lightning trigger…you can make out the bolt there on the right side of the cell.

Hoping to get lucky and see more of this kind of thing next summer!

Rapid City III

Another lightning bolt from that beautiful supercell on June 1st over Rapid City, South Dakota. The storm was dying out at this stage, but the lightning was incredible, especially viewing it from up high. So thankful again to my buddy James Langford for guiding me up to the top via cell phone.

Another lightning bolt from that beautiful supercell on June 1st over Rapid City, South Dakota. The storm was dying out at this stage, but the lightning was incredible, especially viewing it from up high. So thankful again to my buddy James Langford for guiding me up to the top via cell phone.

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