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Two frames | Lifetyle

From a family shoot on Friday.  Cute little girl.  An amazing sunset.

The Man on the Hill

(click to see the man larger in lightbox)

It’s April and the high yesterday in Phoenix was around 55 degrees. The snow level dropped to 4500 feet and the mountains east of town had the white stuff on them after the crazy “spring” storm we had over the weekend. It was really a last gasp of winter for us, which was insane considering we’ve already had a 100 degree day in 2011.

The storms hit on Saturday, so Sunday morning I met my buddy Ken Peterson out in Apache Junction to shoot the sunrise and see what we could see. It was amazing. 15 minutes before sunrise, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Suddenly they just started appearing, even if they weren’t as much as I would have wanted.

We were on the Apache Trail and pulled over when the clouds began that transition to pink and orange. We ran up to the top of a hill and almost died from being out of shape with temps around 40 degrees.

Ken decided to climb the next one and shoot down into Canyon Lake. After seeing his images later, I wished that I had gone with him, but I also would have missed out on this shot.

I just loved the silhouette of Ken with his camera on the tripod, not to mention the clouds that look like they were painted onto the sky.

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, canon 85mm 1.8, iso 100, f/10, 1/200 second)

Arizona monsoon lightning photos from August 28th

My daughter sat in her little car seat, enjoying Toy Story and staying safely away from any lightning or the bazillion numbers of mosquitos I encountered last night out in the Arizona desert. Probably was a little too close to a couple of canals out there, but at times it almost felt like a swarm of bugs attacking me. I definitely have more than five itchy bites on me today.

The above lightning strike was my favorite of the night. A tip to lightning photos out there (not that any of you would do this), if your car is running because you are keeping the AC on for your little girl, go ahead and do NOT put the tripod on your trunk…just use the ground. Subtle vibrations from the engine running caused a few of my shots to be a bit unsharp and I can’t tell you how bummed I was about that.

There is another one below I like that has the strike landing behind a cactus which created a beautiful silhouette.

While I was out, I met a guy who was trying his hand at lightning photography and while I stood there, I realized his own silhouette sitting on top of his SUV was kind of cool against the clouds over the city. Amazingly, I caught a shot of a lightning strike AND him, so I walked over, introduced myself and emailed him the photos today.

The last one is just him sitting there…watching. I just love it.

Hope you enjoy these!

Watchers of the Storm

Everyone has those “bucket list” shots you want to get someday. Yes, for me one of the big ones has to do with the weather. Shocked? Now, the shot above doesn’t completely satisfy my inner desire to get another shot like it, but it’s the kind I’m looking for.

I was inspired first by this photo taken by Sabrina Henry when she was in Africa. The way the cloud seems to appear on the horizon out of nowhere with a tree in front of it…just amazing perspective.

To me, there is something inspiring about a small silhouette of a tree or object, placed against the awesome power of a giant storm cloud. Trying to capture that is another story however. Arizona does offer tons of mountains, but “trees” are harder to come by unless you make it to higher elevations. So what do I have to work with down here?

Cactus.

The shot above combines a lot of stuff I love, obviously storms, clouds, a slightly black and white feel, and those little silhouettes. There is something so captivating for me about a giant monsoon cloud…the stuff going on inside it, the rain falling, the lightning that is sure to be exploding out of it…but it’s also just the sheer beauty of the way it develops so uniquely each time. I love the couple of saguaro cactus caught along the hilltop, seemingly watching the action happening just on the other side of the mountain.

Now, while this photo is dear to me, the bucket list version has me a lot closer to the cactus or tree, much like Sabrina’s photo. I’m still on the hunt for it…and probably like all photographers…when I do finally capture that “perfect” shot…I’ll be on the lookout for an even “more perfect” shot immediately thereafter.

As my buddy Brian mentioned this morning in his blog, sometimes we go back to the same spot over and over to take the same photo, but come away with something unique every time.

It’s kind of the same thing here. Once I get the shot I want, nothing will quench that desire to capture it again. Nothing.

It’s just who we are.