Storm Clouds Over The Estrella Mountains – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

Earlier in September, the US Desert Southwest was the recipient of the remnants of a hurricane that moved over the Baja and then mainland Mexico and ultimately Arizona and New Mexico. It brought with it tropical moisture in the form of rain and for some parts of Arizona (Tucson area) lots of it. Here in the Phoenix area, we just received a very nice steady rain throughout one particular morning. As the rains subsided, I was headed out on an errand when I noticed the cloud play over our local mountains (the Estrella Mountains run across the southwestern portion of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area). I knew I had a photo opportunity brewing, so I drove towards the base of the mountains as far as I could without getting on dirt (mud) roads. I stopped at a couple of places and the attached five shots are from that morning.

This first shot gives you an idea of the cloud play along the mountain range. I love the look of these clouds of various shapes and sizes as they interact with the mountains at various elevations. The tallest mountain in this range is 4500 ft and is the sharp peak on the right. As I was taking back roads to get closer to the base of the mountains, it takes me into an agricultural area usually growing hay or cotton. This particular field looks like it was kept fallow for this growing season.

Storm Clouds 1

Storm Clouds 1


The second capture is closer to the base across another fallow field. I like the drama the contrast of the white and gray clouds create against the darkness of the actual mountains.

Storm Cloud 2

Storm Clouds 2


The last three attached pictures were taken when I got as close as I could without hiking or off-roading. I refer to these as this photographer’s artistic efforts in framing and composing shots.

Storm Clouds 3

Storm Clouds 3

Storm Clouds 4

Storm Clouds 4

Storm Clouds 5

Storm Clouds 5

Thoughts?

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29 thoughts on “Storm Clouds Over The Estrella Mountains – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

  1. Darlene

    The clouds dancing around the mountains create a whimsical look. I especially like the old wood fence in the foreground of the last two. What kind of trees are these?

    Reply
    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      They are a type of mesquite…They almost look planted, but for miles along the base of these mountains are these mesquite trees….This is an undeveloped area which goes from the mesquite trees along the base of the mountains, to agriculture and then the further out from the mountains, typical desert…interesting to say the least.

      Reply
      1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

        Yes…..you see them throughout this part of the desert typically along the washes (creek and river beds that only flow with water during heavy rains).

    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      I thought I had replied and just discovered that wasn’t the case….I apologize….I even remember what I thought I said: We lived in Denver a number of years ago and I remember seeing this throughout the Rockies….then we lived in San Diego for 24 years and now here…never saw anything like this in Southern California, but when we moved here our first year we had a similar experience….so beautiful…here it only happens when we have a large disturbance of tropical air come up from Mexico…so is a rare treat! You live in a beautiful area…love the Western Slope!!

      Reply
  2. Sue Slaght

    although I am always on the search for bright sunny days, I will say recently in traveling in some of the mountain parks i have come to realize the clouds add so much to an image. The last two are my top picks wit the fence and green in the foreground. Beautifully captured Kirt.

    Reply
  3. reocochran

    The color layers in the first photograph are my favorite, Kirt. The purple (periwinkle) blue point of the mountain’s peak showing through the white fluffy clouds with the thin tree line and wider tannish-brown ground space really emphasized the glory of the mountains.
    The ones with more trees seem to distract my eyes from what I love and long to see: mountains. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Teagan Geneviene

    I never seem to tire of looking at clouds. Kirt, all these are beautiful compositions (and subjects). I like Storm Clouds 4 best of all. Thanks for telling about the mesquite. I took it for some kind of orchard. Happy weekend hugs.

    Reply
    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      Isn’t it interesting how a picture can change just by the composition of it? The shots weren’t taken that far apart, but I framed the last two focusing on the foreground more! Thanks for the feedback and as always thanks for stopping by!!

      Reply

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