Tucson: The Best Place to Photograph Lightning
Tucson is the best place to photograph lightning. I grew up here in Tucson, Arizona. I moved here when I was 9 months old and lived here until I was nineteen. Huge monsoon storms filled with incredible lightning displays were a common sight during the summer months. I never realized how rare this was outside of Tucson until I moved away. What I thought was no big deal was something that I missed during the years away from my hometown. I moved back in 1999 and have enjoyed these awesome storms ever since.
In the past 6-7 years I have developed a passion for photography. With the amazing storms we have in Tucson I realized I had an opportunity in my own backyard that many people travel great distances to get. Although the hot weather of the day during monsoon season is something to avoid, the storms that begin in the late afternoon and evening are something not to be missed. Awesome displays of rain and lightning mixed with incredible sunsets make for quite a show on almost any monsoon night.
Storms in Tucson are different. When most places have a storm it covers the entire area. This is very difficult for a photographer not knowing which way to point the camera. When storms hit Tucson it's often in just a concentrated area. This works perfectly for viewing and photographing lightning. More than half the time I am photographing lightning I am completely dry. The rain and lightning is at a safe distance.
There are some cities that have more lightning than Tucson. But no city has a better setup to photograph and view lightning. The mountains are the most important part. Tucson is surrounded by mountain ranges. This gives photographers many high viewpoints. More importantly, the mountains are responsible for much of the lightning. As storms roll in they bump into the mountains which in turn causes the clouds to slow down. Following clouds then bump into the first clouds causing lightning. Clouds bump into each other all the time but the many large mountains around Tucson increases that likelihood.
Tucson also has the city lights. The Tucson area now has over a million people. Many large buildings and a large downtown area make for a beautiful foreground to a lightning storm. The surrounding mountains allow the photographer to get a good view of this combination.
The last reason Tucson is the best place to photograph lightning is the saguaros. Trees and electrical towers make really cool foregrounds for taking pictures but every place has those. Saguaros are unique to our region and make for an awesome foreground element. The actual shape of the saguaro mimics lightning in reverse creating a symmetry that trees and electrical towers can not.
If you plan on photographing lightning please keep in mind there is an inherent danger in doing so. Please be careful. Lightning is one of my favorite subjects to photograph but it is never worth putting yourself in harms way. All of my photographs are copyrighted. Please do not use them without my permission. They are available for purchase at www.saguaropictures.com.
If you're looking to buy or sell real estate in Tucson, I would love the opportunity to show what I can do for you. Please call me at 520-907-6760.
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