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Lighting at the Painted Desert

Click the pic for a bigger view

The summer monsoon brings lightning at the Painted Desert area of north east Arizona. Earlier this summer I was fortunate enough to storm chase in a new area for me, the Painted Desert. 

Monsoon Brings Lightning at the Painted Desert

Back in July of this year I hopped aboard with fellow storm chasers Bryan Snider and Scott Wood for an all day chase to the high country of northern Arizona. I was skeptic at first about this trip as the forecast models were predicting stormy weather the other direction, south towards Tucson. Nonetheless I was still excited to head north to some new uncharted territory.

One of the landscape features with the high country is its vast wide open spaces. This is quite different than chasing down near the Tucson area with its hills and mountains. Having a 360 degree view of the weather would be a welcomed change. Combine that with radar data and we should be able to get a jump on any storm in the area. Which we did!

Upon arriving in the Painted Desert area we quickly spotted our first storm. It was a pretty large cell that gave us plenty of opportunity for time lapsing and stills. After that cell had passed we moved on to the one you see pictured above. Getting this lightning at the Painted Desert was a goal of mine for the day. I was hoping for at least one shot and managed to get a few good ones along with a nice time lapse.

It turned out to be a great chase day as we had several more storms come our way before heading back to Phoenix. I can’t wait to go back when the conditions are favorable. There is so much more unexplored ground to cover. Being able to photograph storms in the wide open plains of northern Arizona was a real treat. I will go back!

 

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