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Brain Lightning

I love weather, I love chasing storms and I absolutely LOVE the challenge of photographing lightning. There is definitely a love/hate relationship when it comes to lightning for me and I’m sure most other photogs out there doing the same thing. You drive far and fast to get in a spot to get some shots off, and then the storm dies. Or the lightning is enveloped in clouds and just doesn’t hit the ground anywhere that you can see. It can be one of the most frustrating hobbies out there, but also fulfilling and intensely exciting.

These shots are not what I’d call my favorites. I definitely love cloud-to-ground strikes better, I like to get them up close if I can where they fill the entire frame.

However, what IS kind of fun about these shots are the way they explode from within this monstrous thunderstorm and create an amazing sight in the darkness. The images are fine, but standing there looking at this with my own eyes…you have this ominous cloud headed away, the city lights kind of set it aglow a bit, then you have lightning inside adding shadows, textures and depth.

My wife described it as synapses firing off inside a brain. That’s it perfectly.

I shot the first few of these on Gilbert Road just south of the Beeline Highway. I was set up there waiting for this storm moving 50mph+ to hit me. Well, it came at me just fine, but all the lightning was INSIDE the storm. Then it poured for a long time and finally it flew over me, so I got out of the car and starting snapping photos. The first couple are of the storm racing AWAY from me…the last few I drove NE a bit and got some shots from the side.

There was no way to keep up with this monster moving that fast, so I called it quits afterwards.

These next ones are further NE up the Beeline, shooting west-northwest at this fast moving storm.

Under Construction in Downtown Phoenix

Waaaaay back in December of last year I went on a little photowalk across the city. Started in Tempe at sunset, ended up in downtown Phoenix. It was my first time really shooting the urban environment after dark, and I think I’d have a lot more fun now and know how to even snap the photos better.

I’ll be moving down this way in a matter of days so I expect I’m going to invade and conquer this place known as “urban” Phoenix and give it the HDR stylizing that it quite frankly deserves.

This building is…well, I have no idea. It sits northwest of the US Airways Center where the Phoenix Suns play, but I never bothered to find out what the name of the place was going to be or if it’s even completed yet. What I did love was all the different colors of light on each and every floor. It was like some kind of muted rainbow of colors and it was something I just had to capture.

Now of course, I would have expanded the three original brackets to at least six and shot it at better ISO and a higher F-stop, not to mention using something other than my silly kit lens. But I still love the building and am proud of how this turned out anyways.