The 2019 Monsoon Storm Chase | In Search of Thunderstorm Electrical Discharges | Part II

The first few weeks of the 2019 monsoon were just a primer for the heart of the season. As my first season of living in the Southwest US continued, I was taking a lot of hard lessons to heart. It seemed that as I learned, the misses on epic lightning continued to mount.

When it comes to monsoon thunderstorms, there are some key differences in chasing them versus storms on the plains. First, they don’t last nearly as long. Targeting where a storm is results in getting blasted by outflow as the storm dies. At that point you typically have to turn around and go back where you came from to wait on storms. Chasing east of storms works sometimes, other times…not so much.

And most of all, when it comes to capturing lightning its all about the instability. In part II of the 2019 monsoon storm chase, we continue to learn lessons in seeking out lightning from thunderstorms of the monsoon in New Mexico.

The 2019 Monsoon Storm Chase | Beautiful Skies, Incredible Scenes | Part I

The monsoon season in the Southwest US is one of our favorite patterns to chase. Its way more relaxed than supercells on the plains but oftentimes just as breathtaking and awe-inspiring. Did we mention the photography is amazing?

These storms are of a different breed. They’re born from moisture residing over a hot desert surface. When the sun heats the surface, especially along/near mountain ranges, storms form. These storms present an incredible photography opportunity in the deserts, especially around sunset.

This was Sanner’s first season in the desert and this is their story about the 2019 monsoon season in New Mexico!

June 22, 2014 Storm Chase | Incredible Supercell in the Texas Panhandle

If you are a storm photographer — June 22, 2014 is the dream scenario. A beautiful, highly electric supercell moving just barely south in an environment which supports isolated storm modes for hours.

There were a couple of brief tornadoes early on with this supercell, but the real show was the electric structure throughout the evening on what is one of the longest days of the year. You can bet we made the absolute most out of every second of daylight with this one.

Enchanted — A Monsoon Season Timelapse Short Film

New Mexico is known as the ‘Land of Enchantment.’ That is a fitting name for this beautiful land, with the Rockies and Great Plains and Southwestern Deserts converging to create a space that’s unique in its beauty and diversity. It’s also a place that completely rekindled my love for weather and my appreciation for the art of chasing down storms.

If you had asked me in July of 2018 if I was ever going to do weather and storms again as a photography subject, I would have probably told you no. A little over a year ago, I was preparing to move to New Mexico to start a new career after transitioning. Seemingly, storms weren’t in my future at that point.

The preceding years were incredibly difficult for me. I was beginning to feel burnt out as my pacing of chasing had gone through the roof starting in 2015 all the way to 2018. Given everything that was going on, I made the decision to publicly announce I wasn’t going to be doing anything else with storms and weather as I was completely out of ideas. That was true.

However, life was difficult a year ago and I definitely wasn’t ready or capable of making a plains season happen in 2019. That was all good for me to heal and rejuvenate. I had been doing chasing as an all consuming passion and eventually job for about a decade and the time away was incredible.

As the summer monsoon season approached, I knew it was time to return to weather. The monsoon season was something new and the exploration of the my new state was exciting. As I jotted down ideas for shoot locations, I began to get really excited about weather again. The love of storms and the weather doesn’t ever truly leave you, but I needed to rediscover that passion.

I joked on my own Twitter account (@RaychelSnr) that I was certainly going to make a lot of mistakes in my first monsoon season and that is for sure the case. However, what I captured represents the diversity of this state and the beauty of the storms that come each and every summer. This also was apparently a more quiet season, which only has me excited about the future. With 29 days of filming the summer monsoon, this is what became of those efforts.

This is Enchanted.