Weather Adventure

My Return to the Plains With Some Spectacular Lightning!

Friday evening was my unofficial (but official) return to the Plains. I’ve been trying to avoid going east so my visual work would have a more distinct feel since moving to New Mexico, but the pining of my old stomping grounds became too much.

I was out of work by 3 and was able to hit the road by 4 due to some unfortunate delays. I immediately latched onto a target storm near Santa Rosa, NM that was obviously growing upscale as it moved southeast.

I filmed a couple of quick time lapses south of time but it was obvious the best was yet to come as the light continued to lower.

Thankfully, I was able to be in great position just east of Taiban, New Mexico as a highly electric storm took shape at sunset.

Scenes like this are my favorite, with the dimming light giving way to an electricity filled atmosphere. They’re also easier to shoot than nighttime bolts because focus and exposure are still relatively straightforward.

A double bolt reaches to the earth out of the strengthening storm near Melrose, NM.
Another double trouble strike as I watched this storm take shape to the south.
A big, lone bolt. This one was almost a little over-exposed. Oops!
A new storm began developing to the south and it let out a couple of big bolts out of the base just a few miles away.
I managed to stay out a bit later than usual and was treated to several fantastic lightning bolts.

Overall, I miss shooting storms over the open plains — so much so that I have fully began preparing for a more regular Plains chase schedule again. It won’t be anything like 2016-2018 and probably more like my chasing pre 2009 before I founded the Titans (when life was busier and the focus was less on the weather).

A great night this past Friday and I can’t wait to shoot more great scenes soon!

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.

3 replies on “My Return to the Plains With Some Spectacular Lightning!”

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