A Nebraska supercell after dark

Nebraska supercell after dark

(Click to enjoy the storm a little bigger, almost like you were there. Okay, not really)

Whew. It’s around 9am right now and I just landed in Phoenix a bit after 7am after flying out from Oklahoma City this morning. A long trip, I added around 2200 miles to the lovely Hyundai Santa Fe I rented and slept in the car two of the three nights for a total of five hours. I did actually rent a hotel on Tuesday night and it was some of the best sleep I’ve had in awhile.

The bottom line from the trip was that I didn’t really see what I wanted to see. I was hoping for beautiful, isolated supercells with gorgeous cloud structure. Ehhh…not this time. That’s okay though…I had a blast, got to spend a day with an awesome stormchasing photographer named Shane Kirk that I’d never met in person before and I saw so many beautiful places I’d never seen before.

I have a ton of stories, and a video I’ll be putting together of my few adventures…but right now I’ll talk quickly about the photo above.

The photo above was taken in the NW corner of Nebraska on Monday night. The beautiful storm clouds you see in this shot had just passed over this road from the left side. This was a fairly intense supercell that was tornado warned and had a vortex signature on it. The fun part was I had come down this road doing about 95mph so I could not be slaughtered by the thing. Basically it was akin to walking really slow across some railroad tracks as a massive locomotive comes barreling down at you. The train barely misses you, but you get slammed with all the wind anyways.

As I was coming down the road at one point, I thought I saw stuff blowing across the road up ahead and figured it was a funnel and I was screwed. But it was just some nasty RFD (rear flank downdraft) that rocked my car all over the place.

When I finally got to a safe spot, I turned around and aimed my camera at this cell. It was just gorgeous. The photo can’t do it justice. The thing was flashing non-stop and it was something to behold.

I have a few more lightning shots I may post down the road, but this was one of my favs. The first good shot on a crazy stormchasing trip.

(exif: canon eos 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/5.6, iso 200, 8 sec)

  • http://www.denhamphotography.blogspot.com Jerry Denham

    Incredible, Mike. Great shot.

  • http://axphotography.wordpress.com/ Scott Ackerman

    Nice one, bud. Really like the addition of the light trail.

  • http://www.behindmyeyes.me Jim Denham

    Great shot and story Mike! Glad you made it home safely!

  • http://scottwyden.com Scott

    Amazing capture dude!

  • http://lussierphoto.com Bob Lussier

    Good Lord. This is the cover of your next book.

  • http://www.myuglyphotos.com/ Ryan Sexton

    Well it sounds like a fun adventure, even though you didn’t see you super-cells. The light trail in this photo is fantastic.

  • http://www.myblueheaven.com Scott Wood

    Gorgeous image. I am sorry that the trip didn’t quite work out as you had wanted, but it sounds like you still had a great time. I am a bit jealous.

  • http://www.ScottFrederickPhotoBlog.com Scott Frederick

    Incredible capture Mike!

  • http://www.chrisnitz.com Chris Nitz

    Freaking amazing shot man!

  • http://www.doephotog.com A.Barlow

    Regardless man this shot is awesome!!! Lightning too? You know how hard it is to capture that? Very dramatic shot, thanks for sharing!

  • http://cdeangelisphotography.com Chris DeAngelis

    Sick Mike… just a great shot! Love the lightening illuminating the top of the frame… And then the light trails are a great effect! Nice job man and welcome home!

  • chrisdmrf

    Crazy shot. I’m completely in awe of anyone who has the balls to chase a storm like this and still be composed to take such an excellent shot

  • http://ramblings.chriswray.net Chris Wray

    Astonishing image, Mike! Love the leading lines of the light trails into the inky abyss!

  • http://dudewithcamera.com Jesse

    Rocked it. Lightning, light trail, and the exposure is perfect. Cant wait for more.

  • http://www.toadhollowphotography.com Toad Hollow Photography

    I love love love your storm work Mike! Today’s post here is a highlight of my day. Can’t wait to see some more of your captures from this cool trip my friend!!!

  • http://wfrostphoto.wordpress.com Wayne Frost

    Very dramatic image, Mike. It actually reminds me of a painting by Winslow Homer.

  • http://brianmatiash.com/blog Brian Matiash

    This is one of your strongest shots that I’ve seen. Uber dramatic.

  • http://theperfectsunset.net Jason Hines

    Freaking awesome Mike! I look forward to more photos and stories from your trip.

  • http://www.chrisfrailey.com Chris Frailey

    Very nice Mike. The lighting in sky is great.

  • http://photostry.com/ Kristi Hines

    Wow, wow, and wow! Light trails, monster clouds AND lightning in one shot? As they say in the tennis match when someone just hits that shot that no one can get back – too good, too good!

  • http://imagesbyjw.com Jan Winther

    Amazing shot, Mike. I can almost feel the power of the storm.
    It is really cool how the lightning lights the top of the clouds while the bottom parts are black. Very cool…
    I look forward to see more from your trip.

  • http://www.nomadicpursuits.com Jim Nix

    that’s a sweet shot, well done!

  • Eje G

    Mike that is a awesome shoot. Love the dramatic effects, light trail, lightning and ominous looking clouds. WOW =)

  • http://hdrexposed.wordpress.com Dave DiCello

    Dude…….I am stunned….this is awesome….Lightning, light trails, storms, incredible work!!!!!!!!

  • http://chriskenison.com Chris Kenison

    Great shot, Mike!

  • http://www.markblundellphoto.com Mark Blundell

    Great post – sounds like quite a rush dodging the storms. with only the road to travel down its not as if you can go left or right, just forwards and back – great image!