Storm Chasing in Arizona

I tell people I went Storm Chasing in Arizona and they’re thinking of the movie Twister where people are tracking tornados and driving crazy to catch them.

In Arizona it’s chasing the monsoonal weather that comes up from Mexico in the summertime. The goal is to catch the lightning without getting wet. Turns out that is not as easy as it sounds. You want to get close enough so the “sparks” are the major part of the image, but not so close that any proceeding rain gets your camera gear wet.

I learned this from Ken Sklute of Serendipity Visuals. He is local to Arizona and besides being a professional photographer he is a professional hot air balloon pilot, so who better to learn weather tracking from?

We spent 5 days, really evenings by the time we got where we wanted to go, from San Carlos/Peridot in the East to Tucson’s Saguaro National Park to the South and a few points in between. We encountered rainbows, rain, hail, wind, lightning and sunsets as only Arizona can provide.

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As noted by the yellow boxes

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Photographing Rattlesnakes at the Living Desert

This spring I hosted a meetup at the Living Desert in Palm Desert. The weather had been mild to that point so wasn’t expecting the 90+ degree temperatures that Palm Desert was offering.

By mid-day we were looking for a cooler location to hang out and decided to tour the Reptile House. Reptile houses are not usually my favorite location for photography due to the low light and subjects behind reflective glass. Not to mention the subjects are usually not moving…so I was a bit surprised to turn the corner and be face to face with a rattlesnake crawling up the glass

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I changed my camera settings due to the low light to the point the area in focus is very small. Actually too small really, but I’ll claim artistic license 😉

The two Southern Pacific and Western Diamondback were very active and on the move. I had fun with the reflections which you view by scrolling through the gallery below

After watching how actives these snakes were and being really glad they were behind glass, it was a bit unnerving to leave the reptile house only to be faced with this sign..

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