Over the Hill

Beyond the Hill
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 50mm f/1.2 l, iso 100, f/5.6, 25 sec // buy print)

A massive release of electricity explodes over the town of Whetstone, Arizona…with the cities of Huachuca and Sierra Vista off in the background. Taken along Highway 90 on a night where I dragged all three kids with me to southern Arizona when the wife was out of town haha.

It was an amazing night overall. Before this I photographed a lightning storm with the Milky Way in full glory for over an hour. You can see that time-lapse at the end of my Monsoon film released two weeks ago.


(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 50mm f/1.2 l, f/8.0, iso 100, 13 seconds // buy print)

My favorite focal length to shoot lightning with is 50mm. I dunno what it is…but if you get a bolt that fills the frame, it’s pretty much the perfect distance for me. You see the filaments more than if you are using say a 200mm or even a 135mm. That closeness to the storm and to the strike gives you that much more.

This was taken last night north of Sierra Vista, Arizona. We got caught in some epic downpours in town, but were finally able to get out of the rain and find dry-ish area to shoot. It was still raining on me a bit, but thankfully the 50 has a deep lens hood that helps a lot.

El Relámpago

El Relámpago
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 135mm f/2 l, iso 200, f/8.0, 1/6th, lightning trigger // buy print)

Yesterday I took a bit of a gamble and headed south mid-afternoon to hopefully get near the border by 6-7pm. There was agreement between a few models on some storms moving into southern AZ around that time and I was hoping to snag some lightning before everything died out.

This was taken southeast of Sierra Vista, but looking into Mexico. That’s a first for me. Basically the top 95% of this image is all Mexico. You can see in the lower part of the image a faint diagonal line that is actually the border wall. It was kind of exciting knowing I was shooting lightning that was happening in another country.

I have a few more from this night, but I really loved the one with the color and the mountain range. I couldn’t find out the name of that peak, but it’s just southwest of the town of Naco.

Electricity over Sierra Vista

LIghtning over Sierra Vista
(click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L, 70mm, iso 160, f/8, 13 sec // buy print)

This was taken on the night before I left for Africa last summer. I was determined to get as as many storm images as possible since I was going to be gone for 10 days, and so that goal compelled me to chase all the way down to Sierra Vista on this night.

I have to say, it was worth it. This southern Arizona town was getting blasted with lightning bolts and I had a nice perch just north of town along highway 82. This particular storm did have some interesting looks to it, even at one time having supercell appearance. Definitely love this shot…mean looking storm and two cloud-piercing bolts.