As the Arizona monsoon sets up each summer, the rising air over the desert feeds vigorous thunderstorms that release dramatic bolts of lightning.
Over the past six weeks, I’ve encountered some absolutely breathtaking, one-of-a-kind images captured by local photographers.
Here are three spectacular lightning photographs, all taken since the beginning of July:
1. Rainbow and lightning, Tucson – August 8, by Greg McCown
“I had been chasing this storm for about 2 hours when I got this shot,” says Greg McCown, who photographed this image in Marana, a Tucson suburb. “And what an amazing feeling it was.”
He adds: “This particular shot has been a goal of mine for over 7 years. I’ve seen similar things happen only a few times in my life while actively looking for it, so to catch it with the camera was nothing short of awesome.”
2. Silo strikes, Gilbert – August 11, by Jon Stolarski
“This is a shot I have tried to get for a few years now that I was finally able to capture,” says photographer Jon Stolarski. “I recently found out that the area is being developed for housing, but even though the silos remain the beautiful landscape it sits on will be gone soon. So this is probably one of the last times I will get to shoot here without houses being in the way. So grabbing this shot last night was a huge success for me as I have been trying to get this shot for the last few years.”
3. Quadruple strike, Superstitions mountains – July 3, by Mike Olbinski
We featured this image after it was first captured in early July, but it deserves an encore.
“It’s the single best capture of my life,” said photographer Mike Olbinski in an email.
Olbinski captured the image facing Arizona’s Superstition mountains.
“At 12:50 a.m…the heavens opened up and four incredible bolts exploded from the sky and rained down like I’ve never seen before,” he wrote.
Honorable mention – Lightning adjacent to massive dust storm
— Matthew Pace (@DrMatt12News) August 11, 2015
This image was captured by Sky 12, the NBC news affiliate in Phoenix. It’s a stunning “two-fer” – displaying a menacing dust storm flanked by a dazzling cloud-to-ground lightning bolt.