Another lightning bolt from that beautiful supercell on June 1st over Rapid City, South Dakota. The storm was dying out at this stage, but the lightning was incredible, especially viewing it from up high. So thankful again to my buddy James Langford for guiding me up to the top via cell phone.
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 16-35mm f/2.8 l, 16mm, f/10, iso 100, 0.5 sec // buy print)
I’ve made quite a few trips to the Grand Canyon this year and last, but never have I seen the color and sky like I did a week ago. I went up there of course hoping for lightning, which never materialized…but this blazing sunset was such a treat it made up for everything!
Someday I’ll get the storms I want over that place, but in the meantime…I’ll take a sunset like that!
Last night was a magical evening and I discovered later that perhaps there was a special reason for it. When I returned home after these storms died out…I discovered that a kind lady named Mary Kathleen Johnson had quietly passed away around 5pm that same day . This photo was taken two hours later. She was a lover of weather, of storms and of living beneath the gorgeous views of the Catalina Mountains. She was a huge fan of storm chasers and would watch myself and countless others as we live-streamed our chases. She was such a blessing to everyone. She would even help us when we weren’t sure of the road network near her house.
But mainly she had sent me countless messages of support, not about only my work, but about me personally as a father and my family. Here’s one of her final messages to me, just a month ago:
“Hey Mike, Just wanted to say, 1st video that I had seen that you posted over on Vimeo back in 2011 or 12, took me by surprise & took my breath away. Had to watch it a couple of times,saved it then sent it off to Jeff Beamish.
My best captures could never compare to (if you ever made one) to your worst.
Can’t express enough to you the appreciation, not just me, but so many others of the stunning gifts you provide re nature via your captures.
Respect yourself, Jina and what you have been gifted with.
Thanks again kid, you’ve got it stay on course, pleased as heck for you.”
I can’t believe she’s gone just like that. I’d like to think that as she left this place, her gift to me at least was a beautiful storm and this lightning strike.
And so I dedicate this image to you Mary…may you rest in peace…with the occasional thunderstorm.
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, rokinon 14mm f/2.8, iso 400, f/5.6, 3.2 sec // buy print)
**You can use coupon codex “chase2015” for 25% off prints all summer long**
One of those times you drive towards a storm base without much hope, and then it explodes to 40k ft right at sunset and you witness an incredible lightning show for 45 minutes. Shot this west of Phoenix near the town of Tonopah a few nights ago.
This is a frame from a 352-image time-lapse…gotta be one of the best lightning time-lapses I’ve shot. So many CG’s for the life of this storm that lasted almost 45 minutes. Plus the colors, a huge dust outflow…was amazing.
Got tons of shots with the 50mm too, can’t wait to share some! Probably will save the time-lapse itself for when Monsoon II comes out
(Please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, rokinon 85mm f/1.4, iso 100, f/5.6, 1/160th // buy print)
Yesterday evening a storm developed right over the Sierra Estrella Mountains northwest of Maricopa, AZ. I started to time-lapse it with a wide angle lens as the rain began to fall…but then it got more intense so I grabbed a second camera to time-lapse and threw on an 85mm to get a tighter crop and it was amazing. Gorgeous colors as the sun went down, lightning striking the mountain and the rain cascading off the hills. This is a frame from that time-lapse. Can’t wait to render the entire thing to check it out.
Getting some cool footage this year for Monsoon II. It’s weird how you never know what you’ll get or where you’ll end up on a given day, but then you just see what you see and capture it the best you can. The last few days have been fun.
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 16mm f/2.8 l, 16mm, iso 100, f/8.0, 8 sec // buy print)
A long, lonely highway of roughly 70 miles separates Merriman and Hyannis in western Nebraska. When you are low on gas, have no internet access and are praying that Hyannis has a working gas station, you don’t really want to stop too much. But when you see something like this, you have to. A huge MCS had come through here, leaving behind it wet roads and a gorgeous sky filled with mammatus clouds. A bit of lightning snakes around on the left side of the storm.
Was a great way to end the day…and yes, some kind strangers stopped by and confirmed a gas station was up ahead!
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 16-35 f/2.8 l, 16mm, iso 100, f/8.0, 1/20th // buy print)
One of my favorite roads in Arizona is this one that leads almost right into the Superstition Mountains. I only visited it ONE time this summer and this is what I saw. A stunning, light-infused scene with two rainbows starting on the left side, and a faint connection to one of them on the right. The rain, the sunlight, the cliffs, the color in the sky…was all amazing.
This is a scene from my time-lapse film that will be released on Monday or Tuesday next week! I didn’t shoot it from the middle of the road of course, but just off to the side!
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 17-40mm f/4 l, 17mm, iso 100, f/10, 1 second // buy print)
I’m a storm chaser through and through…that’s just what I do. I have a hard time going anywhere and just waiting for something good to happen. I’ve wanted to do a few trips this year, one mainly to a spot on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, just to camp for a few days and get some epic shots.
But it’s not in me to do that. I love the chase. The unknown. What will I end up with tonight?
This photo is a prime example of that. It’s nothing earth-shattering, but what it shows you is that beauty can be found anywhere, even though you don’t expect it.
This was from July 6th of this year. I saw a big line of storms moving in off the White Mountains and thought I might get in front of them right when it got dark and could destroy some lightning shots over the hills. But as it neared me, the storms started dying, the lightning wasn’t coming my way.
As I sat there bumming, this glow slowly appeared in the sky…and I wasn’t expecting it. The clouds were so thick everywhere, I had no idea the sun could possibly make it all this way.
But then the clouds ignited and I couldn’t believe the color. It was intense.
Sunsets are weird in a way. It’s like you know a storm is great because there is wind and thunder and rain, and you can “feel” it. A sunset though…it’s like something so amazing and powerful, but it’s utterly silent. You look up and see an explosion of color, but there are no trumpets playing, no orchestra…just quiet.
Makes it all the better.
(click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 16-35mm f/2.8, 16mm, iso 100, f/5, 1/100th, handheld 7-image stitch // buy print)
Wow, yesterday was amazing…with this being the grande finale. An approaching severe thunderstorm with a leading shelf cloud edge. These use to be a rare sight in Arizona it seems like, but this monsoon has been completely insane. Beautiful structure and amazing storms. This looks like a plains-like supercell despite not really having a rotating mesocyclone.
This was south of Glendale road just west of the 101 in the west valley. I time-lapsed this beast from around this point until the blowing dust (you can see some around the base) hit me. You’ll be able to see it at the end of the year unless I get antsy to post it sooner.
(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.