A gust front sunset over the Rincon Mountains

Sunset over the Rincons
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 16-35mm f/2.8 l, iso 400, f/5.0, 1/100th, 10-image stitch // buy print)

Sometimes the only way to capture an amazing scene is with many, many photos. This is a 10-image stitch of a gust front moving over the Rincon Mountains and Benson area on July 27th.

You can make out the gust front as it curves from the right side of the photo, to the left and then back towards the mountains and to the right again. That is basically an outflow/gust front boundary and as it moved across in front of us. This kind of thing is pretty awesome to see in general, but toss in an amazing sunset and it becomes 100 times better!

I was trying to take photos of it and realized one wide angle, 16mm wouldn’t at all capture it completely. So I went vertical and took 10 shots from left to right.

Lightning over the Rincons

Rincon Lightning
(click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 70-200 f/2.8 is l, 70mm, iso 125, f/8, 8 sec // buy print)

The monsoon moisture is just around the corner, so I’m all kinds of excited and looking back at old images I never posted.

Here’s one from the Rincon Mountains last July 1st. Was early in the season and a spectacular lightning show for an hour or so. Can’t wait for more of this next week!

In the Hills

In the Hills
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 70-200mm f/2.8 l, 70mm, f/8.0, 8 sec, iso 125 // buy print)

Some of the best lightning I photographed this past summer all happened on July 1st, super early in the monsoon season. This was another image over the Rincon Mountains southeast of Tucson.

I rarely use the 70-200 for lightning images these days. As much as it seems like it would be useful, even a sturdy tripod has a hard time keeping it perfectly still during thunderstorm outflow winds. Hence limiting this exposure to only 8 seconds. Plus it was at  70mm anyways, not the full zoom.

Most of the time if I try to zoom in to 200mm and photograph lightning, it’s not going to be tack sharp like a 50mm. I plan on using a 135mm next year to see how that goes.

Besides, I like to be a lot closer to the lightning and if I’m a 200mm-focal length away, it’s too far 🙂


This print is part of my Square Collection, which you can see right here

Crawlers over the Rincons

Crawlers over the Rincons
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 17-40mm f/4 l, 24mm, f/8, iso 100, 25 sec // purchase print)

I snagged a bunch of fun lightning images way back on July 1st over the Rincon Mountain southeast of Tucson. I had been timelapsing from A-Mountain, but decided to fly southeast when I saw storms moving down from the the northeast.

It was a fantastic spot to be in because the storms just marched right at me for over an hour. The lightning was striking behind the Rincons for awhile, but finally it began to move to my side of the mountain range and the show got better.

This was one of the bolts that night. Rare for me to have one like this…a strike hitting the ground along with giant crawlers across the sky. This was a 25-second exposure, so I don’t remember if this was all a single strike or if they happened at different times during the exposure. But I love seeing the mountains looking kinda small in the lower left of the frame and then how simply massive the crawlers were to stretch across the sky. .


Some lightning down on the Rincon Mountains

Lightning over the Rincons
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 50mm f/1.2 l, 50mm, iso 100, f/5.6, 25 seconds, cropped // buy print)

I am not sure I’ve ever made a panoramic lightning image before, but this one naturally called for it.

Back on July 1st, I set-up here just south of the Rincon Mountains and waited for a storm to come my way. And the timing was perfect…the sky got dark and the lightning finally started moving over the tops of the mountain range. I had  field day and literally have 10-15 more shots from around this area. Was insane.

This was cropped to a panoramic of course. I loved the symmetrical curve of the mountains the way nature of the lightning bolt started way on the left and landing in three spots on the far right. Such a unique looking strike and I dug the illumination of the mountain as well.

More to come from this stuff and the monsoon season thus far!


Playground of the Gods

Dance of the Gods
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark 3, canon 50mm f/1.2 l, f/5.6, iso 50, 30 seconds // buy print)

Yesterday was July 1st and the monsoon was in full-effect. I’m so excited about the fact that it’s really heating up semi-early this year since I’m headed to Africa on the 11th and would like to get in as much chasing as I can!

The lightning show yesterday over the Rincon Mountains was insane. I was there for about two hours, watching the storms behind the mountains slowly roll over the TOPS of them and then the bolts started raining down in every nook and cranny of those hills.

Not sure why, but the lightning was so intense that I dropped my ISO down to 50 for this shot and the bolt on the left is STILL blown out in a few places. But I love the utter chaos here with the three strikes nailing the tops of the mountain and the rest of the bolts just going everywhere.

More to come!