Storm Chasing Near Safford, AZ – June 29th, 2018

The Beginning of Monsoon 2018!

There is something about the beginning of the monsoon.  The smell of rain and the sound of thunder are once again pleasing my senses.  Throw in some sunset lightning, and it’s a heck of a start!

Like 2017, I found myself on Highway 191 (between Safford and Willcox, Arizona) watching a factory of storms move off of Mount Graham into the valley.

For nearly three hours, my buddy Greg McCown and I watched storm after storm coming off of the mountains.  Then at Sunset, we witnessed the most amazing colors on top of the mountain as well as lightning bolts backlit by sunset colors. 

In this photo is a picture of Greg and me shortly after arriving at our spot for the night.  I have a lot of fun chasing with Greg.  He’s a great guy and also shoots Nikon.  Hidden in this picture is one sony video camera…can you spot it?!

Anyways, make sure you check out Greg’s work! His twitter handle is @GregTucson on Twitter.

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Sunset Thunderstorm Time Lapse and Lightning Video

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Chasing Without JJ

Chasing this year is a bit bittersweet for me because it would be the first year I would be chasing without my loyal chasing companion JJ.  He was my 11-year-old Yorkie who loved storm chasing with me but unfortunately passed away this past May.

JJ was a good companion. He went all over with me, including several trips to the Grand Canyon. Was with even with me when I captured the Tucson microburst of August 8th, 2015.  Kept me in check. When I’d have a bust chase, he still found a way to make things feel not nearly as bad.

While I’m going to miss his companionship (especially on the drives), I know that he is still with me.  Call me crazy, but, right before I captured this photo, I grabbed one of JJs scarfs that I tied to one of my camera bags and then reached for a remembrance dog tag my sister-in-law gave me. I gave it a quick kiss and told him how I much I missed and loved him.  Just a few seconds later, I saw a bright flash out of the corner of my eye, and it was one of a dozen bolts I captured yesterday.

I can’t remember which bolt it was, this image seems to be the most fitting from yesterday.  To me, it shows warmth, beauty, and love. These are three words that described JJ.

RIP JJ! I love and still miss you so much!