SONORAN SNOW 4K SHORT FILM
Tucson, Arizona | January 7th, 2019
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Last week on New Years day...parts of the Old Pueblo woke up to their first blanket of snow in exactly 4 years. According to the NWS, our airport got about a 1/2 inch while most of the higher deserts received at least an inch! What's even more impressive is that it happened 2 days in a row! Crazy, right? Most people think it doesn't get cold in Arizona (or in the desert for that matter) but it actually gets quite chilly. It takes a special cold front and high pressures to make it snow which is why it only happens once every few years for only a few hours. Conditions have to be just right and the storm actually accumulated quite the show all around AZ.
When I saw this storm in the Tucson forecast I was a bit upset knowing I wouldn't be able to photograph on New Years day. I texted my weather buddy and Tucson famous meteorologist Jeff Beamish @ KVOA asking if I was going to get another chance. He replied "There is a fighting chance..." I crossed my fingers and as new years day developed, so did my chances. I then texted my photography friend Ryan Olinger and asked if he wanted to get up early and shoot a possible snowy sunrise on either Mt Lemmon or Reddington. He of course said yes.
The next morning started at 6 am when I picked Ryan up and we drove out east. We stopped at the Circle K at the end of Speedway and Houghton to put gas in the truck and once I started pumping gas, a little snowflake fell in front of me. I immediately got excited and told Ryan "It's snowing!" It was still too dark out to see how much snow was on the mountain or if any was low enough in the desert. We decided to drive out near Saguaro National Park before going up to Reddington just in case there was any snow at the lower elevation. As we drove up the road and it started getting brighter out, we could see the desert had a fresh layer of snow on it! We both began freaking out and hit the trail as soon as we arrived at our first shooting location. Not even 5 minutes on the trail we could hear coyotes howling as the sun started rising as snow fell on our faces. This was a truly a surreal moment as I've never experienced this before. We were both so excited and overwhelmed we weren't exactly sure how or what to photograph haha. We ended up walking around different trails and hiked a little up the Rincons before heading back to the car a few hours later.
It was about 11am and the clouds weren't breaking and the snow wasn't melted yet so we drove up to Reddington to shoot Tanque Verde Falls. As soon as we got there and hiked to the overlook, the sun came out giving us some interesting light. We even had a nice surprise from the Sheriff department flying their helicopter overhead through the Tanque Verde canyon (see photo below.) After shooting a few timelapses and hiking around, we grabbed some lunch and headed back to our first location to shoot sunset. We hiked a total of 8 miles throughout the day and captured stills, timelapses, and drone shots for 10 hours! It was such a great day.
Video Tech Details
Music by: Rob Simonsen
Intro Title by: Josiah Grennel
Special Thanks: Jesse W, Andrew B, and Josiah G.
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