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Old 07-16-2013, 3:13 PM
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Default Any AZ storm chasers in here?

Curious what you guys think would be the best spots to go for storm activity. I've been watching radar this year and the hotspots seem to be down south near Tucson and northeast of the valley near Payson or up north in Prescott. Every now and then we'll get a big one through Phoenix (such as last night's Severe T-Storm that ran amok through Ahwatukee) but usually the storms end up way out on the outskirts of the valley and too far away to see from where I live.

Things look to be shaping up pretty good for some action closer to home today, by the way. Seeing lots of clouds forming all over the valley already this afternoon.

-AZ
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Old 07-16-2013, 4:03 PM
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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; U; en-US) Gecko/20081217 Vision-Browser/8.1 301x200 LG VN530)

If the Phoenix metro area sees storms, they're typically over the East Valley, or around the periphery of the South, far West and North Valley. It doesn't seem common, to me at least, for storms to punch through the core the Valley. I live in Peoria.
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Old 07-16-2013, 4:53 PM
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Originally Posted by KB7MIB View Post
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; U; en-US) Gecko/20081217 Vision-Browser/8.1 301x200 LG VN530)

If the Phoenix metro area sees storms, they're typically over the East Valley, or around the periphery of the South, far West and North Valley. It doesn't seem common, to me at least, for storms to punch through the core the Valley. I live in Peoria.
When I first moved here (granted this was about 20 years ago) they used to. We used to get really great monsoons here, lots of lightning, lots of rain - it was awesome. Lately though, not so much. Global Warming or something, I guess.

-AZ
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Old 07-17-2013, 2:03 AM
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Yea, I moved here in Aug '84 with my family. (I was 14.) And the late '80's into the '90's had some great monsoons. IMO, the urban heat island forces a lot of the storms to steer around the edges of the Valley, and prevents most from coming through.
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Old 07-18-2013, 5:49 PM
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Photography is one of my other hobbies. Specifically, chasing lightning and natural light. Tucson has been beaten up pretty good lately. Also, eastwards towards Benson, Safford, and Sierra Vista areas.

That's where you'll likely find your best opportunity. If you want the city lights of Tucson, recommend shooting from the east.

If you want no city lights, then shoot closer towards the Vail area.

My two cents worth.

Here's a teaser for you .... This was taken SE of my home ....
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Old 07-18-2013, 9:04 PM
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Great photo, Flano, I'm jealous! I used to have a pretty good 35mm camera and was pretty good with it, but never did catch any good lightening shots. Now I use a cheapy digital and/or cell phone camera, and well.... I probably don't have to tell you what that's like!
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Old 07-19-2013, 1:21 AM
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Good shot. I would love to be able to chase lightning shots.
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Old 07-19-2013, 11:35 AM
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I moved here in 2006 and I worked up in the fire lookout in cave creek and the lighting that hit around the tower was out of this world. You can listen them when the net is activated on 147.08000 RM 162.2 PL Skywarn TPk "Thompson Peak" Maricopa Co SKYWARN Backup FM Ham
442.80000 RM 100.0 PL Skywarn SMtn "South Mountain" Maricopa Co SKYWARN FM Ham
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Old 07-19-2013, 12:53 PM
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Flano, that's an AWESOME SHOT! WOW! How'd you get it, if you don't mind me asking? I just recently got into lightning photography too, but up here has been pretty much a bust - that and my camera didn't want to cooperate last time I went out and my shots were all a blurry mess. I intend on upgrading my camera gear in time for next year but this year I'm limited to a little Canon Powershot A570. Got a nice little CHDK script that works pretty well for triggering the camera when lightning happens, but it does no good when the shot is blurred. Would love some tips and pointers if you wouldn't mind sharing.

We'll be heading down to Tucson this weekend to see some action since the weather guessers down there are calling for the Monsoonpocalypse to happen... That low making it's way across Mexico this weekend should make things really light up down there. I'm looking forward to it!

-AZ
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Old 07-20-2013, 3:21 AM
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I gotta share this one... got it tonight when a severe storm passed right by the house.

Tomorrow it's on to Tucson to hopefully get some more great shots!

-AZ
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Old 07-21-2013, 9:36 PM
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Please also go over and LIKE WeatherNation TV at www.facebook.com/weathernation the NEW 24/7 Weather channel and share some pics over there. They will share with credit to you
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Old 07-22-2013, 1:50 PM
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Hi Shawn,

I'll do that, thanks for the tip!

Went down to Tucson as planned but the storms happened too early in the day to get any good pics from where we were, and by yesterday evening everything evaporated up here. It's looking decent up here in Phoenix today though, so maybe I'll have more to share after tonight.

-AZ
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Old 07-22-2013, 2:19 PM
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Phil,

It's a little bit of knowing exactly where the storm cells are. I use weather.gov to help me out with that.

It's a little bit of patience, and saying aw crap (edited, supply your own expletive LOL) a lot, after you close the shutter and a beautiful display of bolts come down right in front of the camera

It's a little bit of luck too, having the shutter open at the right time.

I use the bulb setting and can leave me lens open from 30 seconds to 5 minutes or more.

I don't use anything to trigger the camera. It's all me

I'm using a Canon 7D with my favorite lenses being the 100-400mm L-Series and my 10-22mm Wide angle. Depending upon the location of the storm cell, depends upon the lens that I'll use.

Does your camera have the ability to turn off the auto-focus function. You'll need to be able to do that to guarantee your lightning is in focus. Set your focus on the lens to infinity. If you aren't sure about whether it is in focus, point the camera at a distant object. I do mean distant. Let it focus on that point, then try again at your lightning shots. Hopefully that would take care of it.

Be Safe ! As my friend Sparky says, and yep, he got it from being the recipient of 1 direct and 2 indirect hits of lightning, get outta there when you should ! Remember lighting can travel as much as 10 miles from the cell !

I've been shooting lighting since about 1992. I live in an area where I can get on my roof, yep, I don't follow Sparky's rules, and shoot as many as 5 different cells. I have the pick of the litter

Better stop, since this is about scanning ... although I do have the Weather channels in my scanner too in order to know what's happening and where the storms are going.

Have fun !





Quote:
Originally Posted by AZScanner View Post
Flano, that's an AWESOME SHOT! WOW! How'd you get it, if you don't mind me asking? I just recently got into lightning photography too, but up here has been pretty much a bust - that and my camera didn't want to cooperate last time I went out and my shots were all a blurry mess. I intend on upgrading my camera gear in time for next year but this year I'm limited to a little Canon Powershot A570. Got a nice little CHDK script that works pretty well for triggering the camera when lightning happens, but it does no good when the shot is blurred. Would love some tips and pointers if you wouldn't mind sharing.

We'll be heading down to Tucson this weekend to see some action since the weather guessers down there are calling for the Monsoonpocalypse to happen... That low making it's way across Mexico this weekend should make things really light up down there. I'm looking forward to it!

-AZ
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Old 07-22-2013, 2:53 PM
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Originally Posted by FLANO View Post
Photography is one of my other hobbies. Specifically, chasing lightning and natural light. Tucson has been beaten up pretty good lately. Also, eastwards towards Benson, Safford, and Sierra Vista areas.

That's where you'll likely find your best opportunity. If you want the city lights of Tucson, recommend shooting from the east.

If you want no city lights, then shoot closer towards the Vail area.

My two cents worth.

Here's a teaser for you .... This was taken SE of my home ....
I'm curious how you get shots like that as far as timing. Are you using the setting that takes shots rapidly one after the other? I don't know what it is called on most cameras, but on my Canon Rebel it is called the "sports setting." I get some great action shots on it of sports, dancers, dogs jumping around, etc. I've always wondered how people get lightning shots, especially in the pre-digital days. How the heck did they time those shots and if they were using the rapid setting, how much film did they use? I assume that a tripod is a must.

Of course with a digital camera and a big memory card film use is no longer a consideration. I have a 32 MB card so that I can take a lot of video. I can use the rapid shot setting all night long and still have image space left over.

I would like to know how you got that shot so I can try it myself and rely on the experience of others to minimize the trial and error time I spend.

The monsoon has not really arrived in the central/northern Sierra Nevada, at least it has been very weak so far. There was some cloud to cloud lightning last night that dissipated around dusk. There haven't been a lot of ground strikes this year and when they do happen they are scattered and isolated. This in a somewhat isolated region with large areas of unpaved roads. In the right conditions the combination of the stunning scenery of the east side of the Sierra and lightning can be stunning.
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Old 07-22-2013, 3:11 PM
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Originally Posted by FLANO View Post
Phil,

It's a little bit of knowing exactly where the storm cells are. I use weather.gov to help me out with that.
I've got that definitely covered - I have GRLevel3 installed and running pretty much 24/7 right now watching the IWA doppler radar. Great program and well worth every penny the developer charges for it. I see doppler radar and get NWS warnings in near real time - we're talking a couple minutes delay if that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FLANO View Post
It's a little bit of patience, and saying aw crap (edited, supply your own expletive LOL) a lot, after you close the shutter and a beautiful display of bolts come down right in front of the camera

It's a little bit of luck too, having the shutter open at the right time.

I use the bulb setting and can leave me lens open from 30 seconds to 5 minutes or more.

I don't use anything to trigger the camera. It's all me

I'm using a Canon 7D with my favorite lenses being the 100-400mm L-Series and my 10-22mm Wide angle. Depending upon the location of the storm cell, depends upon the lens that I'll use.
I feel like such a complete cheater, using the CHDK script I'm using. I used my share of four letter words figuring out how to use it all, but once I got it dialed in, all I had to do was sit back and watch as the camera caught shot after shot after shot, including the one I shared above. I felt like a kid at Christmas. Between this and GRLevel3, all I really need to do now is keep an eye on the weather and find a good scenic spot to shoot the pictures in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FLANO View Post
Does your camera have the ability to turn off the auto-focus function. You'll need to be able to do that to guarantee your lightning is in focus. Set your focus on the lens to infinity. If you aren't sure about whether it is in focus, point the camera at a distant object. I do mean distant. Let it focus on that point, then try again at your lightning shots. Hopefully that would take care of it.
Again, I'm a total cheater. This CHDK script locks down the focus for me. All I need to do is line up my shot, let the autofocus settle down, then fire up the script and crack open a beer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FLANO View Post
Be Safe ! As my friend Sparky says, and yep, he got it from being the recipient of 1 direct and 2 indirect hits of lightning, get outta there when you should ! Remember lighting can travel as much as 10 miles from the cell !

I've been shooting lighting since about 1992. I live in an area where I can get on my roof, yep, I don't follow Sparky's rules, and shoot as many as 5 different cells. I have the pick of the litter

Better stop, since this is about scanning ... although I do have the Weather channels in my scanner too in order to know what's happening and where the storms are going.

Have fun !
10-4 on the being safe part - I definitely make that the priority, and that includes driving to the storms not just when you're underneath one. It's easy to mash that gas pedal down when you're haulin' *** to a storm before it fizzles out. I'm fortunate to have a nice parking garage to take shelter under when the storms are close or if I'm out in the boonies, I can shelter in the car while the camera does it's thing. Again, I'm a total cheater at this. I've learned a TON over the last couple weeks and all I need now is the right storm.

As for this being a scanner forum, well I say there's nothing wrong with having a lightning pictures thread in here!

-AZ
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Old 07-24-2013, 7:12 PM
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I typically use a manual setting with a wireless remote switch. The controller mounts on the spot where the external flash would go. There is a sync wire from it to the camera. I use a 2.4ghz wireless remote, although not required, but I tend to pull on the wire, causing camera shake. I want the least amount of problems there The radio gets through almost every situation I need, and I've been over 40-50 feet away from the camera and have been able to continue to shoot.

You could go the other route, as you mention, where you take a shot every second. Still no guarantee that you'll catch the lightning, as it likes to do, the flash comes in between the closed and opened shutter ... Plus, you'll have lots of frames to look at, to see if you caught something. On the other hand, that is exactly what I do, when I want to make a Time-Lapse move, but that is another subject ... I digress.

As you mentioned, a tripod is a must !

Since you are using the Rebel, you can buy at least a wired remote for it. You'll want to get a bright lens to use, as close to f1.4 as possible. If not, use the widest f-stop possible to get as much light into the camera as you can. Even though the lightning is bright, if you have it set at let's say, F11 or F14, you might catch little or nothing at all. Even F4 would be better. Change the setting to M for manual. This will allow you to control how long the shutter remains open. As I mentioned, I shoot many times between 30 seconds and 5 Minutes. Keep in mind how bright the sky is. If it is really bright, even just sunset, then you won't be holding the shutter open for more than a few seconds. Dark skies are the key. Experiment.
Get a stop-watch to keep accurate time, so you don't overexpose. Your camera will pickup light you didn't know was there

You'll still have to do some trial and error, but this will cut it down some. Even with that said, I don't always catch the lightning. My lens is not pointed at or in the direction of a bolt that came down. Or, no bolts came down while I had the shutter open, etc. I have plenty of lightning-less frames, probably more than I capture. But, when you get it mastered right, you'll end up with 3 to 6 good photos from a shoot.

Since I love radios, I thought it was a perfect fit to use the 2.4ghz remote. You'd have to see if such an animal exists for the Rebel, as my remote would not work on your camera.

Have fun,

Here's a shot from last night near Willcox, Arizona. It combines the setting sun off to the right, not visible, and an approaching storm over the mountains ... This requires a little more experience to capture, but it is easily done, once you understand the hows and whys





Quote:
Originally Posted by Exsmokey View Post
I'm curious how you get shots like that as far as timing. Are you using the setting that takes shots rapidly one after the other? I don't know what it is called on most cameras, but on my Canon Rebel it is called the "sports setting." I get some great action shots on it of sports, dancers, dogs jumping around, etc. I've always wondered how people get lightning shots, especially in the pre-digital days. How the heck did they time those shots and if they were using the rapid setting, how much film did they use? I assume that a tripod is a must.

Of course with a digital camera and a big memory card film use is no longer a consideration. I have a 32 MB card so that I can take a lot of video. I can use the rapid shot setting all night long and still have image space left over.

I would like to know how you got that shot so I can try it myself and rely on the experience of others to minimize the trial and error time I spend.

The monsoon has not really arrived in the central/northern Sierra Nevada, at least it has been very weak so far. There was some cloud to cloud lightning last night that dissipated around dusk. There haven't been a lot of ground strikes this year and when they do happen they are scattered and isolated. This in a somewhat isolated region with large areas of unpaved roads. In the right conditions the combination of the stunning scenery of the east side of the Sierra and lightning can be stunning.
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Old 07-24-2013, 9:01 PM
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Unhappy Some Hail that sounded like Hell when it was hitting the Roof

Flano that's some neat Shots(( you would've been excited if you could have been in our City Last Night as the Lightning was absolutely Vivid it was some the Wildest I've seen in Years but the Hail is what done the Damage here.. And for the City of Pretty Prairie it Was the Wind up to 100 mph) The Hail in some places reached Grapefruit size but in most area's it was Tennis to Softball and lots of Ping & Golf Ball..


Here is a couple Stones i Got from the Storm the one on the left is from were i Live the one on the Right is were my Brother lives and it was a Small one compared to other big ones that hit his place.. And his Trucks..

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Old 07-24-2013, 11:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FLANO View Post
I typically use a manual setting with a wireless remote switch. The controller mounts on the spot where the external flash would go. There is a sync wire from it to the camera. I use a 2.4ghz wireless remote, although not required, but I tend to pull on the wire, causing camera shake. I want the least amount of problems there The radio gets through almost every situation I need, and I've been over 40-50 feet away from the camera and have been able to continue to shoot.

You could go the other route, as you mention, where you take a shot every second. Still no guarantee that you'll catch the lightning, as it likes to do, the flash comes in between the closed and opened shutter ... Plus, you'll have lots of frames to look at, to see if you caught something. On the other hand, that is exactly what I do, when I want to make a Time-Lapse move, but that is another subject ... I digress.

As you mentioned, a tripod is a must !

Since you are using the Rebel, you can buy at least a wired remote for it. You'll want to get a bright lens to use, as close to f1.4 as possible. If not, use the widest f-stop possible to get as much light into the camera as you can. Even though the lightning is bright, if you have it set at let's say, F11 or F14, you might catch little or nothing at all. Even F4 would be better. Change the setting to M for manual. This will allow you to control how long the shutter remains open. As I mentioned, I shoot many times between 30 seconds and 5 Minutes. Keep in mind how bright the sky is. If it is really bright, even just sunset, then you won't be holding the shutter open for more than a few seconds. Dark skies are the key. Experiment.
Get a stop-watch to keep accurate time, so you don't overexpose. Your camera will pickup light you didn't know was there

You'll still have to do some trial and error, but this will cut it down some. Even with that said, I don't always catch the lightning. My lens is not pointed at or in the direction of a bolt that came down. Or, no bolts came down while I had the shutter open, etc. I have plenty of lightning-less frames, probably more than I capture. But, when you get it mastered right, you'll end up with 3 to 6 good photos from a shoot.

Since I love radios, I thought it was a perfect fit to use the 2.4ghz remote. You'd have to see if such an animal exists for the Rebel, as my remote would not work on your camera.

Have fun,

Here's a shot from last night near Willcox, Arizona. It combines the setting sun off to the right, not visible, and an approaching storm over the mountains ... This requires a little more experience to capture, but it is easily done, once you understand the hows and whys
Thank you for your help. I will try both the bulb setting and the sports action setting. I have a wireless remote. The auto focus function is easy to turn off as it is a big fat switch on the side of the lens where it can't be missed. I haven't tried any shots using the bulb setting on this camera. I had an older Minolta film camera I experimented with taking meteor shower shots, but I couldn't afford the film to improve my technique. Now I have a good place to start and will get out to start experimenting as soon as I can. As for lightning safety I worked for the Forest Service for 24 years, spending a lot of time out in the field during lightning storms. I've also done extensive backpacking and peak bagging, as well as spending some time in lookout towers during lightning storms and understand what to do. I also know there are no guarantees no matter what you do. My wife and I were setting up our tent in the last place to camp prior to hiking to the top of Wheeler Peak in New Mexico and the sky was clear with no thunder heard when lightning came over the ridge to our east and struck a tree about a hundred yards from us. It blew bark off the tree in the usual spiral pattern. About 30 minutes later a cell moved over the ridge and no doubt the lightning bolt that came close to us originated from it.

I know we hijacked the thread here. However, part of storm tracking is photography.
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Old 07-26-2013, 3:29 AM
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Wow ! Mighty impressive. The largest I've encountered is about the size of a golf ball ! That is one of my fears as I chase, the damage that the hail can and will do to the vehicle.

Thanks for sharing


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Flano that's some neat Shots(( you would've been excited if you could have been in our City Last Night as the Lightning was absolutely Vivid it was some the Wildest I've seen in Years but the Hail is what done the Damage here.. And for the City of Pretty Prairie it Was the Wind up to 100 mph) The Hail in some places reached Grapefruit size but in most area's it was Tennis to Softball and lots of Ping & Golf Ball..


Here is a couple Stones i Got from the Storm the one on the left is from were i Live the one on the Right is were my Brother lives and it was a Small one compared to other big ones that hit his place.. And his Trucks..
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Old 07-26-2013, 3:58 AM
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Hey your Welcome John:

It was sure surprising for allot of us around here as well And it got it's place in the News or should I say the Weather Channel Dr Gregg Forbes Talked about it and there is allot of Pictures if you get a chance Visit KWCH's web site in there weather Area they should have Quite a few Pictures on the Storm, i haven't took a look myself as things are keeping us a little busy but i will soon Ra

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