Why I Chase | The Arizona Monsoon

Why I Chase | The Arizona Monsoon

A documentary film highlighting my last 5 years of storm chasing in Arizona.  This film takes you on a personal journey of how I went from pilot to storm chaser.  It also highlights the passion I have for Arizona’s landscapes and weather.


I am often asked “Why did you make this film?  What inspired you?”  Truth be told, I needed a goal.  I needed something to work hard towards.  In a way I was raising the bar for myself.  I wanted to take my work from where it was comfortable, to a place I had never gone.

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills

-John F Kennedy | Moon Speech | September 12th, 1962

I chose to do this film, not because it would be easy, but because it would be hard.  In many ways, the film was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  It challenged everything I knew about filmmaking, and required me to learn a lot along the way.

There were many times that I thought this project was simply not meant to be.  At one point, I had lost my entire project (hard drive crash) and wasn’t sure if I had the emotional strength to start the whole thing over.   Thankfully, I was able to salvage some of what I had in the beginning and slowly piece it back together.  By nature I’m not a quitter; instead, I like to think of myself as someone who finds a way to finish.

In the spring of 2015, I officially decided I wanted to do this project.  I told myself, “you are going to make a 22:30 minute film.  I wanted to take everything I had done the last few years and turn them into a captivating story that featured all my work.

I have produced several time-lapse films and mini-documentaries.  While I’m very proud of them, for some reason I was left feeling like I had a lot more potential.  After toying with the idea, I decided that setting this massive goal was the only way I was going to force myself to do it.

Don’t ever count yourself out.  You’ll never known how good you are unless you try. Dream the impossible and go out and make it happen.  I walked on the moon.  What can’t you do?

– Eugene Cernan | Nasa Astronaut | From the film “The Last Man on the Moon”

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Lightning Photography | Skill or Just Plain Luck?

The Raw Story Behind Lightning Photography

By Bryan Snider | Weather Photography | Storm Chaser

Lightning is one the most mysterious gems found in mother nature.  Very little is known about it, and yet many people are naturally fascinated by its beauty and power.  I’m no exception.

As a child, growing up on the edge of tornado alley I saw my fair share of beautiful lightning storms.  It wasn’t until I was just out of high school that I began to try and photograph lightning.  In 2005, armed with my Canon point-and-shoot, (5 megapixel camera), I captured my first lightning strike.  I knew very little about the skill involved and frankly I got pretty lucky to even capture a bolt.  However, that one bolt was life changing! It sparked a passion that pushed me to develop then necessary skills to photograph lightning on completely new level.

Lightning strikes the mountains near Interstate 17 in the Verde Valley of central Arizona

“Verde Valley Lightning” | Purchase Canvas or Print

Just a few days ago, a very popular photographer / travel blogger Trey Ratcliff (from wrote the blog post (“Stormchasing In Guilin, China”) that sent the storm chasing community well into the Stratosphere!

Don’t let the title fool you.  It was the sub heading “Fake Lightning Shots” and the arrogance in the blog that really sent the chasing community into anticyclonic rotation. (pardon the weather humor). But I gave Trey the benefit of doubt.  His title was attention getting, and I didn’t want to jump to conclusions.

So what really broke the cap in the chasing community?

Honestly it was the whole article in general. I read it several times. I seriously tried to give Trey the benefit of the doubt, but his words made it very difficult.  Trey was pretty bold and made several storm photographers (including myself) feel like all our amazing photographs were likely “fake” and required little to no skill to capture them.  Like many chasers, I was blown away by these statements. Personally I have intercepted and photographed some amazing storms (not by luck), and I can assure you my images are not fake.  These images took quite a bit of skill to get them and that isn’t something you can learn, nor did I over night.

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Grand Canyon Lightning

Lightning over the Grand Canyon at Sunset

One of my “bucket list” shots for the 2013 monsoon season was to capture Grand Canyon lightning.  Little did I know, it would only take a few weeks into the season for me do it! Honestly I was going to do whatever it took to capture an image like this, but on the other hand I was realistic with myself and knew it could take some time if not years.

Lightning strikes the center of the Grand Canyon

“Grand Canyon Lightning” Buy Print | Buy Canvas | License this Image | 500px

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