At about 6:55pm on July 5th, I got a phone call from my buddy Dano who was panting, trying to find his breath while wind howled across the other line. He was scrambling to a get to a high vantage point on South Mountain to get a shot of the oncoming dust storm, also called a “haboob,” that he had predicted about 2 hours earlier. The excitement and nervousness in his tone made me rush to find my camera and jump into the my truck as fast as humanly possible. Knowing I was short on time before the cell hit the valley, I rushed to the nearest little hill I knew of, Sun Ray park in Ahwatukee. It was only minutes after I began shooting that I was totally engulfed by the monstrous dust cloud and found myself in the middle an apocalyptic whirlwind, the likes of which I have never experienced (even in my 14 years living in Arizona). Here is the timelapse shot I was able to capture along with some pretty intense cell phone footage during the moment of impact. It took me about 15 minutes to carefully walk down the side of the mountain and find my truck (which was only parked a couple hundred yards away) relying on my cell phone as a flashlight.
Here’s a photo of the toll it took on my camera, even though I immediately got it into my camera bag after the shot. After a little bit of cleaning up, it’s still working beautifully.