Monsoon hunter captures the beauty of the southwestern sky | Local News



Storm photographer Lori Grace Bailey pursues a passion for weather observation that began when she was young in El Paso, Texas.

“Back then, my mom would take me to the park just to hang out with me in the summer, and we would just watch the storms go by, and that’s when I fell in love with the weather and the monsoon. particular, ”Bailey said.

The difference today is that Bailey doesn’t wait for the storms to come to her, she goes out and captures them for the world to see.

A photo of a thunderstorm captured on Elephant Head Road near Amado on July 19.

“Once I finally got a DSLR (single lens digital SLR) camera, about five years ago, I realized, ‘Wow, I have this simple equipment, but with this same equipment, I can capture these amazing images that you see other people producing on TV or the internet that can just really capture the color, depth and wonder our skies can produce, ”she said.

Bailey, who lived in Green Valley before moving to Rio Rico in 1998, follows strict safety precautions when chasing storms, but she still had a few close calls.

“There was this one in Nogales two years ago, when I was on a hill about five miles from a thunderstorm and I knew lightning was falling three miles away,” he said. she declared. “When I was capturing footage a long bolt came out – we call them the bolts of the blue – it came out of nowhere and it hit about a hundred yards away from me and it was an instant crash and boom. The dogs and I both ran into the vehicle, put the cameras away and we counted our blessings and got to safety.

One of Bailey’s proudest moments happened two years ago when she captured a beautiful photo of lightning hitting downtown El Paso. He won second place in a photo competition organized by the Royal Meteorological Society and AccuWeather.

“I looked at the radar and saw a storm coming up, I ran up the mountain and captured this storm before sunrise, and you can see it’s time blue (the hour after sunset), ”Bailey said. “This bolt lit up just above the city center and I was very proud that I got there on time, took the picture and not ruined my concentration.”

Thunderstorm before dawn / El Paso

Thunderstorm before dawn over El Paso, Texas.

Bailey’s love for storm photography extends beyond chasing storms and taking photos; she also enjoys sharing her knowledge with like-minded weather enthusiasts. She recently had the opportunity to do this on a large scale as the director of MonsoonCon.

“MonsoonCon was started in Phoenix by a group of weather enthusiasts, photographers and meteorologists, but the conference directors ended up moving on and, in fact, they are now chasing tornadoes and studying meteorology in Oklahoma, so they weren’t able to continue anymore, ”she said. “It was my urge to continue this because these conferences are the place where you can connect with other weather enthusiasts and other photographers … There are conferences for tornado hunters in the plains. , but nobody has anything for Tucson or Phoenix with the southwest or the monsoon, so I just kept going. “

The first annual MonsoonCon was held at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum in 2019, but the last two conventions have not taken place due to the pandemic. More information will be published MonsoonCon 2022 on Facebook.

Make the right choices

If you’re hoping to catch the proverbial lightning in a bottle with a personal camera, Bailey urges you to think safety first.

“First and foremost, I like to tell people that you can capture a storm from the comfort of your home or from the comfort of your car,” she said. “It’s a very safe place, even if you just drive; stop in a park when you watch the storm. “

She said that an expensive camera with a bunch of fancy equipment isn’t necessary to take great storm photos. A smartphone can capture beautiful storm photos if used correctly, she said.

“Even cell phones can take a great photo of the sky, be it the moon, stars or lightning,” she said, adding that there are apps available that help control the camera.

Bailey said a tip for taking great storm photos is to use a tripod, even with a smartphone.

“Once your camera is on the tripod and it does the work for you, you can get back into your car, be safe and shoot from afar and enjoy it, rather than taking unnecessary risks.”

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