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Boy do I already miss the summer monsoon and getting shots like this mountain lightning strike. With actual cold weather coming to the desert right now my desire for the monsoon season to return has only grown.
Arizona Monsoon Storm Brings Mountain Lightning
Since our summers are notoriously hot here in Arizona there is not a lot of weddings or portrait shooting going on that involves being outside. That certainly works to my advantage for summer storm chasing. Having the weekends off from weddings allows me time to chase our monsoon thunderstorms. The image above was captured this past summer while chasing with my buddy Bryan Snider.
For this chase we were northeast of Phoenix on highway 87 going towards Payson. This storm system showed promise early on so we were hopeful that the sky would be lighting up with strikes. We found a place to pull off the highway near the town of Gisela to set up our cameras. One of the enemies of the storm chasing photographer is rain. Nothing ruins a good shot faster than a mighty downpour. Shortly after we got set up the rain came. Ugh! We tried waiting it out hoping it would track below us but that wasn’t the case.
About the only shot I managed is the one you see above. I tried leaving my camera snapping away in the rain with me periodically wiping the lens down but to no avail. It was such a disappointment to be ran off by the rain as the sky was looking quite nice. Mountain lightning strikes were happening quite frequently as we packed up and cursed the rain.
You don’t have to storm chase long to realize you are always at the mercy of rain. Sometimes you are able to avoid it and sometimes you have no chance. Given that we live in the desert I won’t complain too much about getting rain.
Until next time…