A Haboob for the Books

When Phoenix-based photographer Mike Olbinski sent me his shots and a video (you’ve probably seen it, as its been making the media rounds) of Tuesday night’s massive haboob, my jaw dropped yet again — not only do I live blocks from where his images were taken, I didn’t realize the enormity of this thing until the next day….. OK, to be fair, I did see the dust and dirt flying by, but I was trying to finish up a story for our upcoming October issue.

Mike has graciously offered to share his some of his dramatic images with us. I also asked him a few questions about how he captured this beast of a haboob. Our mini Q&A is below:

Where were you that you were able to capture this shot?

I was at a parking garage near 7th Street and McDowell — a little place I love to visit from time to time to get shots of downtown Phoenix.

How did you prepare for the shot?

I was actually shooting a timelapse of the sunset in my backyard when I started getting texts from friends about the impending haboob. So I packed up and drove a half-mile to the parking garage to setup. I have a Canon 5D Mark II. I set it to fire off a shot every 5 seconds; then, towards the end, I lowered it to every 2 seconds.

Did you know we were going to have some fierce weather?

I had no idea it would be like that, but I’m a monsoon stormchaser during the summer, so I knew there was going to be some weather that night. The storms coming from Tucson looked pretty amazing, so I was hoping they’d roll into town. Funny thing was, I had been out chasing for the last 3-4 days, so I was taking a break that night. Glad I ended up getting out anyways!

What went through your mind as you snapped away?

I wish I had more cameras. I wish I had a wider lens. I wish I could freeze time so I could look at this giant wall of cloud for a long time. I’m an Arizona native of 35 years and have never seen anything like this.

What made this shot so special?

Well, for me, I love the contrast of the massive wall of clouds against the dwarfed city skyline. It really makes you understand how big nature is and how small we really are.


Filed under In YOUR Words, Inside Scoop, Mother Nature, Photography, Q&A

3 responses to “A Haboob for the Books

  1. Thanks so much for doing this guys, what a thrill!

  2. Cap'n Schwartz

    Mike Olbinski RAWKED the weather scene with this amazing video and ongoing pictures. Great job!

  3. Pingback: PHX Photographer Mike Olbinski Goes to Hollywood | Arizona Highways

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