After nine days of no storms, I struggled with motivation, but somehow still dragged myself out of bed last Thursday at 5am to get to the AZ/NM border in time for late morning development. It seemed like a lock for a supercell to form between 10-12 near San Simon and move east into New Mexico. Arrived early, took a cat nap, enjoyed a weaker storm waking me up with rain drops, but I knew the real show was the tail end one rapidly intensifying over the Chiricahua Mountains. Lightning showed up on radar finally and I knew I was in business. I sat back and watched it arrive in San Simon mostly a blob of rain, but then the bolts starting hitting around me and some structure began to show. I headed east on 10 to get out of the precip and avoid the widow maker bolts, but after a few miles I pulled over to a nice high view overlooking this valley. And that’s when this thing rapidly turned into the most incredibly structured supercell I’ve ever personally witnessed here in Arizona. The wall cloud, the vertical updraft, the incredible rain/hail falling to the right and then NUTSO towering lightning bolts landing everywhere. There is actually another faint one on the left. Thankful I pushed myself to chase this and feel lucky to have been on this guy for the 20 minutes it was awesome. The time-lapse is great, look for it in Monsoon 6!
Wont soon forget standing in front of this supercell near Denver City, TX on May 4th. My absolute favorite moment chasing this year. Seeing this sculpted beast was like something out of a dream. I stood here as long as I could as the hail started to fall around me, hoping to get a photo before I had to run. Thanks to one of the camera crew who were following me for hitting the shutter button!
No words for yesterday’s chase. From watching the tower go up just west of our target of Tatum, NM, to this moment near Denver City, TX…hands down, probably top 3 structure I’ve ever seen in person. I passed up some time-lapse opportunities that were insane on the south side of the storm with the updraft, but I knew I wanted to get right on the east side of the storm to get a view of the vault and holy crap did it deliver. Time-lapse dream for me yesterday, but this spot was the icing on the cake.
This season is turning out to be one of the best I’ve seen in years so far, hopefully it keeps rocking.
One of the best nights of last summer…September 1st, sitting here just NE of Willcox with my buddy Chris Frailey shooting lightning for over an hour. We were in such a good spot to watch it get close, but never really overtake us, so we score far away bolts, then super close strikes…and this beautiful shelf cloud rolling towards us with tons of lightning underneath it.
July 17th was an awesome afternoon of chasing in southern Arizona with supercells, severe storms and some nice structure. As night hit, the storms intensified and a couple strong ones moved west towards Ajo. This spot is west of Maish Vaya just after getting out of the mountains and we had this awesome view east as it kept racing towards us.
This shot immediately reminded me of Stranger Things…the big Shadow Monster crawling over town in the Upside Down 🙂
Someday I may get through the queue of images I have yet to edit from the years chasing storms, but that’s doubtful 😂
Here’s a new shot from June 12th, 2017 after a rough day chasing, missing tornadoes and epic structure…I found redemption near sunset in western Nebraska close to the town of Minatare. This supercell was electric and put out a sick ton of bolts. I’d keep chasing this guy through Alliance and well into the Sandhills until almost midnight.
Not gonna lie, and I’ve said it before probably, but July 9th was definitely the best day ever chasing haboobs 😂
This was southwest of Gila Bend aways, eight-image panoramic with the Sony A7R3 and Sigma Art 14-24. Massive, dense haboob riding underneath a pretty nifty shelf cloud.
That wall of dust originated southwest of Phoenix and ended up rolling into California and Mexico after dark…what an amazing day.
A favorite image of mine from this past summer that I’ve been saving for whatever reasons, but figured I’d post it finally. Sometimes you like an image so much you are afraid to post it thinking others wont feel the same…silly, but it’s real.
Captured this about 3 miles from the Mexico board in the Coronado National Forest west of Nogales, while on a workshop with Paula and Karen. It was quite the show and shocking to us that this storm that seems to be dropping rain on the other side of the mountains, was putting down lightning strikes on OUR side. That hill got hit at least two other times and it was quite amazing to see from up so high.
This area seems so non-Arizona, it was almost like we WERE in another country for a little bit. Green mountains that definitely have more of a central America look to them. Such a gorgeous part of the state.
Yesterday my workshop ended and since some of the models were calling for huge storms in Tucson to kick out a dust storm up the 10 in the afternoon, I hit up Benson for a bit to shoot around, but it quickly became apparent the dust storm wasn’t gonna happen until possibly way late.
So I raced to Phoenix (anxious to be home after six days anyway), caught the storms rolling into town up on the 101/64th street, hung out with storm pals Jerrod Harris, John Moore and some others! Lightning wasn’t happening though, so I moved onto the west side of town, caught a nice bolt producer over the White Tanks and then took a chance further west on Salome Highway where I caught this majestic beast.
The storm was kicking out some good strikes all around me, but there wasn’t anywhere I could shoot out of the rain…so I did something I usually hate, which is to just be patient and wait for the rain to pass 😂
The moment the rain stopped, I jumped out, setup up tthe Sony at 14mm and jumped back in the truck. A huge flash happened and I swear the bolt appeared to be right in front of me, but it turned out just to be the one in the left edge of this frame. So I jumped back out of the truck cursing because I missed it…and then saw the photo and was like…oh okay…that’ll do donkey…that’ll do 🙂
A huge positive or clear air CG…looks like it landed just across the freeway, a couple hundred feet away or so. It froze the profile of a passing truck as well, almost looking like it was near hitting it. Love the highway itself lighting up from being wet with rain.
Later I ended up on I-8 in the wee hour of the morning, but that’s for another time 🙂