It’s storm season in the US and weather photographers are rejoicing. Seasonal weather disruptions offer unique images from lighting and fireworks in Massachusetts, to this shot of a microburst in Phoenix, Arizona.
Photographer Jerry Ferguson and pilot Andrew Park were out in a news helicopter this week covering a dust storm near Phoenix when they spotted the weather event. The phenomenon is akin to a reverse tornado, with strong winds moving downward and out rather than inward and up in a tornado.
Speaking to PetaPixel, Ferguson said “I instantly thought the same thing as everyone else, ‘It looks like an atom-bomb just detonated over Phoenix.’” The wider angle shows what he means. The shape of the cloud surrounding the storm mimics that of a mushroom cloud.
Furguson’s camera of choice is a Canon 5D Mark II with a Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 VR and a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II. Because the helicopter (a Robinson R44 Newscopter aka a ‘flying tripod’) vibrates, he shoots handheld with image stabilised lenses and the camera settings on shutter priority in order to eliminate blur.
The crew at Chopperguy are used to filming all manner of events from movies, television and news coverage. In this case, they were just in the right place at the right time in order to snap the incredible image.
Images by Jerry Ferguson/Andrew Park/ChopperGuy and used with permission