Andrew Pielage's "Opening Night of the Monsoon Season"

Editor's Note: Last night marked one of the biggest openings of the monsoon season with a storm that was well documented on news outlets and plenty of social media feeds. Jackalope Ranch contributor and local photographer Andrew Pielage snapped the photo above, which he describes below ...

Last monsoon season the storms seemed to come in fast and furious leaving a little rain and a thick layer of dust over the valley and then it was over. But the monsoon storm last night was different. It reminded me of the type of monsoons that I would see growing up in Phoenix. The kind you could watch all night.

The wind started off innocently enough with a slight breeze around 7 p.m.. Then in true monsoon fashion, you can always smell the rain hit the desert floor before it actually starts to rain at your location. You could hear the low rumble of the thunder and flashes of lightening in the distance. Then the wind started to gust and the rain came down lightly, off and on around 9 p.m.. At 10 p.m. the thunder and lighting were cracking and booming in all four directions over my head and over the entire Phoenix area.

In the true and insane " I have to get a shot" kind of way I headed up the exposed rooftop deck of the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale around 11:30 p.m.. There was a break in the rain so I knew I had to get a shot fast. Thirty terrifying minutes later, with the rain starting to come down in full force again, I managed to get the shot I had been waiting for.

As I was driving home, the full force of the monsoon was coming down and I got the all-to-familiar hair raising on my right forearm. I'm no expert but I think that means its going to be a great monsoon season for photographers!

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Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton