Dust Storm at Sunset
Dust Storm Passes into Phoenix at Sunset
I wasn’t planning on chasing today. However, at around 5:30, I noticed weather developing to the south of my house. I decided that I would go ahead and take a drive to go check things out. By the time I got to the Interstate 10 and Arizona Highway 387 exit, I began to notice what appeared to be a dust storm. I decided to pull off the highway to get a closer look. Indeed it sure was a dust storm.
At first I wasn’t really excited about the dust storm. It was relatively weak and wasn’t that impressive at least at first. However, after being there for a few minutes I began to notice that it was getting more defined and growing. I decided, I would go ahead and start time lapsing the event hoping I might see something unique.
After about 200 frames of time lapse, it had already passed me. I decided to head south and not worry about what I thought was a lame dust storm. However, when I went south, the storms I was hoping to capture were beginning to rapidly dissipate. So, I decided to turn around and head back up I-10 towards Phoenix. By the time I got to Riggs Road I had gotten in front of the storm again. By this point I could see two leading edges. One in the east valley which was much smaller, and another one to my left, that appeared much bigger.
It was at this point that I realized I had an opportunity to film something pretty special. I looked at my clock and noticed we were just minutes from sunset. The problem was where to go. If I was to close I’d miss the magic. If I went to far north I’d be on the other side of south mountain and maybe miss it all together. I decided that just south of Pecos road would be the area where I would intercept this colorful dust storm.
Nikon D600 | Nikon 20mm | Aperture: F8 | Shutter: 1/8th | Buy Print
When I pulled into an area to time lapse, it was quickly beginning to turn a pinkish color. I normally would do an exposure every 3 seconds, but because of how quickly the light was changing, I decided I would do one every 2 seconds. This worked really well, because the color in the sky, dust storm, and surrounding landscape was changing so fast.
By the time the dust storm made its way to me, I began to notice another opportunity. I was in the dust storm, but I was still able to see a bit of the leading edge of the trailing part of the storm. I pointed my camera due west and was able to capture the dust moving across the desert right at sunset. In some ways this may be my favorite part of the time lapse. I guess partly because you don’t always see this angle, but also the bright reds and oranges really appeal to my eye.