New Mexico Adventure

A Day With Storms in Northern New Mexico

The first day of my trip this weekend was a rainy/wet and grey one. I’m still surprised at how thick and widespread clouds ended up being all day on Saturday once storms got going.

This setup wasn’t particularly robust — weak wind shear was present with moderate instability over the northern parts of New Mexico. Dewpoints were on the low side for robust convection though — which indicated that downdrafts would be particularly cool.

My wife and I closed in on our weekend campsite in Cimarron Canyon State Park west of Ute Park, NM. This is where I shot my first views of storms.

A thunderstorm takes shape over the mountains in Cimarron Canyon State Park in northern New Mexico.

We spent some time dealing with some small hail and heavy rain and then proceeded to set up camp which kept me from photographing for some time. Eventually I checked out radar and decided to take a peak at incoming very weak convection to my west which would be passing very near/over Wheeler Peak (the tallest peak in New Mexico).

A weak shower dumps precipitation on Wheeler peak and the surrounding peaks. There’s still snow at the top of these tall peaks as of Mid-June.
You can see light precip falling in the mountains to my west in this picture. The lighting was drab, dark, and the skies very grey.
Another look at the mountains to my west with the lush green fields around Eagle’s Nest, New Mexico serving as a nice foreground.

Despite the thick clouds, I decided to also try to photograph the sunset in the canyon, hoping for some color to appear in the skies above.

There was no light looking east at Palisades Sill. But the blue hour type of lighting still had me pushing the shutter a couple of times.
To the west there was just the faintest hints of sunlight on the clouds. Not the most epic scene but it was a peaceful one to take in from the road.

By Raychel Sanner

I'm a trans photographer and filmmaker based in New Mexico. I love adventure and travel and exploring my state. I chase down incredible storms and skies. I advocate for good mental health and for my trans siblings.

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