New Mexico Adventure Weather Adventure

A Pretty Start to Monsoon Season (July 5-6, 2019)

I wrote on Twitter earlier this week that I’d just really like to be pinched because the skies of New Mexico during the summer really are unbelievable.

Finally, as we moved into July I got a chance to hit the road and do some photography of monsoon storms around the state. There’s still A LOT of locations to shoot but its a good start to the season to be sure.

But you came here for the pictures so let’s not stand on ceremony…

Ok I know what you are thinking. “RAYCHEL THIS ISNT A STORM” — no it isn’t but these mailboxes are everywhere in New Mexico and I saw maybe one in my whole life before moving here. They’ve got an odd quality to them that I enjoy. And if you are a stickler for storms, there are some building on the horizon in the distance.
This storm was building and beginning to rain on Fort Union National Monument. I need to shoot the actual fort sometime. The benefits and drawbacks of having a complex ancestry is finding horror in colonialism because it victimized your ancestors but also knowing you are here because of it.
The openness of NE New Mexico can’t be overstated. Behind me were 10000’+ peaks. Ahead of me, open grasslands. The storm above was shoving out and away from a core. This complex would sustain itself for several hours, well past the time I stayed with it.
Rain falls behind a storm updraft east of Wagon Mound, New Mexico. You can see the Sanger De Cristo mountains in the distance.
A monsoon storm with a bit of lightning west of Los Lunas, New Mexico.
A monsoon thunderstorm unleashes on the Sandia Mountains south of Placitas, New Mexico. I realized I hadn’t shot enough arid looking scenes early in the season so I really aimed for some on the 6th. New Mexico’s monsoon affects the grasslands and mountains as much as the deserts, but the desert monsoon activity is definitely the most recognized.
A rainbow over Albuquerque, New Mexico with the Sandias in the distance and a volcano in Petroglyph National Monument in the foreground.
My first big regret of monsoon season: not time-lapsing this scene. I was mentally done at this point. It had been a long day and I was disappointed the storm activity wound down right at sunset (I wanted bolts!). In my disappointment I only shot some brief vid clips and a couple of stills. I mean, its beautiful, but this would’ve been amazing in motion. I also realized I need that second camera as the scene to the east was just as good.

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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