Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rainbow Sunflowers, Flagstaff

Sunflowers and double rainbow, Flagstaff, northern Arizona
Monsoon season continues unabated here in northern Arizona. Sun and clouds and rain showers. The wildflowers are loving it. Smokey Bear is loving it (fire danger down to Moderate or less). I'm loving it.

This evening on my way home, a giant double rainbow appeared to the east of Interstate 17. I was able to maneuver myself into a spot on the edge of a convenience store parking lot where I could put some sunflowers in the foreground.

Flagstaff, Arizona.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Arizona Meadow Daisies

Daisies in a mountain meadow, Coconino County, Arizona
August, 2012: Much of the U.S. is suffering from one of the worst droughts in memory.

Meanwhile, it's been wet in northern Arizona, of all places! Our late summertime monsoon season is in full swing, and we have been getting soaked with rain showers almost every day. Our springtime was typically sunny, windy, and dry, and the wildfire danger gradually raised to the Very High rating, prompting a ban on campfires. Even charcoal in grills. We went a near-record 65 straight days without precipitation after the snow melted. 

Finally, the monsoon season began. The moisture arrived from the Pacific Ocean, the clouds started to build each morning, and rain showers began. Blessed rain. Visitors from back East were puzzled to come to Arizona to be dodging rain storms and lightning. Sometimes hail, too. 

In this photo, I was exploring a small mountain meadow near Flagstaff, where I live. The daisies were in bloom, and the rich green grass of the meadow along the fringes of a small pond made for a vibrant background.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Arizona Monsoon Rainbow, Flagstaff

Double rainbow, clearing rain shower, Canyoneers river rafting office, Flagstaff, Arizona
(click on image for larger version)
We are presently in the heart of our late summer "monsoon" thunderstorm season here in northern Arizona. Moisture from the Pacific Ocean comes inland, and our hot weather and ample sunshine combine to form thunderhead clouds, which can cause very localized rain showers. 

Besides being the primary source of the Southwest's summertime precipitation, it's also a gorgeous time for photographers and nature lovers. Arizona blue sky, dramatic cumulus and thunderhead clouds, rain curtains, and sunshine can sometimes be seen all at once. Grass and other ground plants sprout, greening the forests and rangeland. 

And the rain showers usually are brief, though sometimes intense. They are what flash floods can be borne of.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Highway 89 Monsoon Afternoon

Northern Arizona. North of Flagstaff, north of Cameron. Echo Cliffs on the right.

South of the Arizona Strip, still. Not for long, though. We're continuing north.

Monsoon thunderstorm season in Arizona. Moisture from the Pacific Ocean synergizing with the blue Arizona sky.

Desert meets sky in late summer.

You might also be interested in my Grand Canyon Photography blog.