passed away from ovarian cancer on 8/9/2013. We, her parents Paul and Imogene Strom,
are continuing to maintain this website in her memory.
Susan specialized in photographing the lightning of the Arizona desert,
especially the summer monsoons.
She also photographed severe weather in many other states.
For information on Susan or her photos, please contact us at:
What follows, are Susan’s words:
"I was asked once, 'Why lightning? What is it about lightning?'
I have thought about that question a lot.
To me, a primitive thing like a lightning bolt possesses a kind of purity.
It is as if there are two realms to the world, man's various infrastructures,
and the vast and timeless world of natural things.
When people cross from one to the other, as when chasing a storm
or sailing a ship, we drop the connection to things we call civilized
(which are really not), and reach for something real, untamed,
and so much larger than ourselves.
A brilliant thunderbolt hurling to Earth is a symbol of pure, unfettered
primitive energy. This is one of the main reasons why I do not alter my pictures.
I only want to show the unchanged version of what the sky gave me,
just as it happened. A surge of 30,000 amperes is not only bigger than I am,
but wild, unpredictable, and completely unaffected by humans.
Originally, it was a close encounter with a violent monsoon storm in 1994
that started me on this journey. Getting over a short-lived fear caused
me to want to study how lightning works. Through that, I started to photograph it.
The desire to see and photograph the lightning led me to chase storms
all over the Sonoran Desert and soon thereafter, into the Great Plains
of the United States. My photo lab then gave me the name Lightning Lady.
There is a special place in my heart for Kansas, Nebraska, and the rest of Tornado
Alley, but the Sonoran Desert Monsoon is the highlight of my year. Aside from
June 15-September 30, the official "Monsoon Season", I explore the Sonoran
all throughout the year in utmost appreciation for the wild desert places,
the clever plants and animals, and the mind-boggling terrain.
Whether in the Sonoran or one's own unique environment, I think that all people
are drawn to wild things, universal things like Nature, animals, mountain climbing,
ocean voyages, astronomy or weather. Have you ever wondered why? I believe it is simple.
Deep down, we are wild as well."
Susan Strom's work is published worldwide. Media work included appearances
on The Weather Channel, Fox, NBC, ABC affiliates, Belo, Gannett Media newspapers,
Cities West and more. Publishings include Twin Lights, Arizona Highways,
University of Arizona, NASA, Sierra Club, Smith-Southwestern,
Frazier Racing, Accord Publishing, and Cyberwit of India.
Susan had a BA in Graphic Design from California State University, Sacramento.
Her background by trade was graphic design, photography, and journalism for
print and magazine.