We enjoyed a wonderful hot air balloon flight yesterday with friends in Casa Grande, Az. Flying above familiar areas is wonderful thing to enjoy. It provides a new perspective, often in beautiful light.
As we were flying over some fields I saw a strange pattern in the dirt below us. We are figuring that these tracks must have been due to dust devils.
A dust devil is a strong, well-formed, and relatively long-lived whirlwind, ranging from small (half a meter wide and a few meters tall) to large (more than 10 meters wide and more than 1000 meters tall). The primary vertical motion is upward. Dust devils are usually harmless, but can on rare occasions grow large enough to pose a threat to both people and property.
They are comparable to tornadoes in that both are a weather phenomenon of a vertically oriented rotating column of wind. Most tornadoes are associated with a larger parent circulation, the mesocyclone on the back of a supercell thunderstorm. Dust devils form as a swirling updraft under sunny conditions during fair weather, rarely coming close to the intensity of a tornado. (Wikipedia)
I’d like to share one of my monsoon images with you from the same area last summer showing a very powerful dust devil near Picacho Peak. Watching as the rotating winds lift dirt up into the sky is an amazing sight. I never would have thought of looking at the effects of the damage to the farms and earth if I weren’t flying high above in my balloon. A new perspective indeed!
People ask why some of us live in the desert. It is a unique beauty that is remarkably photogenic, even during the heat of summer.
Ken Sklute has been honored as one of Canon’s Explorers of Light, a designation shared by only 60 top photographers worldwide. Ken has enjoyed a diverse career photographing landscapes, professional sports, and people.
Phone: (602) 738-0601