I have a fascination with storms. Specifically, desert storms – compact but remarkably tall and powerful storms that sweep across the southwest each year during the ‘monsoon’, which I now know (and have known for quite some time) is a season and not an actual type of storm. Yes, I know I referred to it as a storm in the video, no, you shut up.
A few times a year I have the privilege of hauling out to the desert in some easternly direction to try to capture the fast-moving storms, storms that are quick to dissipate and fall apart if conditions aren’t right.
For this How the Shot was Got episode I found some footage from a few years back when I went out to Arizona during the late summer with no top on my Jeep for the week. Relatedly, that was the week I learned that Jeep Wranglers have little plugs in the bottom of the Jeep floor so you can drain water after your Jeep has 100% flooded in the interior.
I was hiking way back in the canyons, and the storm crept up on me from behind as I trekked for miles off a lone and secluded dirt road to try to get to an arch I had heard about. I made it only far enough to see it, but then I turned around after reaching an open area on a rock face and saw that a particularly low and nasty storm was just about right on top of me. It was pretty scary for a bit as the lightning came down all around me and up on the ridges to both sides. Talking to my phone was kind of the thing that kept me from being scared, and now that I’m putting together these little vignettes it makes for pretty entertaining stuff.
It was a good day, even with about 4 inches of water in my Jeep by the time I got back.
The results from going out in the summer storms are super worth it when you get alongside an open plain and can shoot the wall of water making its way across the desert, or when you get up on a ridge just in time to shoot the clouds exploding upward.
It’s just not maybe the safest thing to get caught under them, because the temp drops to about 45 degrees and you get hailed on and possible electrocuted.
The full gallery plus some other good storm shots is below past the timelapses (or similar ones I’ve already uploaded) featured in the video.