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Shelf near San Manuel

A monster shelf cloud moves towards the small community of San Manuel in southeastern Arizona

A monster shelf cloud moves towards the small community of San Manuel in southeastern Arizona

What a fantastic chase on Monday. I hung around the Marana area for a lot of the afternoon, but when a new cluster of storms blew up southwest of Casa Grande, I raced up there hoping they would do something great.

And wow they did. I’ll post more pictures later, but when I arrived south of Picacho, I time-lapsed a gorgeous storm as it slowly grew in strength and became weakly supercellular. The dusty outflow was intense and I cannot wait to get those time-lapses edited!
I raced back ahead of it and by this time the storm was picking up speed and it was tough to stay in front. As I neared Oracle Junction, a new cell blew up and essentially merged with the old one and now a shelf cloud was rapidly forming.

A slow truck kept me from racing as far ahead as I wanted, but by the time I got to the San Manuel Airport, the shelf cloud had turned into easily one of the top 3 I’ve seen here in Arizona. It was stunning, moving fast and behind it, golf ball sized hail was falling in places.

Such a blast of a day…so rare here to chase a long-track storm. This guy essentially blew up near Chuichu and died east of San Manuel. Almost 80 miles. Wow.

Near Lamesa, Texas

Outflow boundaries collided near Lamesa, Texas and despite it being a marginal day, we ended up with a gorgeous supercell for about 40 minutes.

The third day of my Plains Chase Tour this spring was a marginal one, we woke up in Garden City on May 31st and by mid-afternoon we were in Lubbock chasing storms to our south. We got on one that was okay, but then a storm near Lamesa formed and we noticed an outflow boundary headed for it from the east. We hoped it would give it some extra juice and by the time we got down there, it certainly turned into a full-fledged gorgeous supercell for about an hour.

This was southeast of Lamesa and wow did it look stunning. All the dust churning underneath and the teethy low clouds on the left side. One of my favorite storms from this spring and all on a marginal day!

Near Ackerly, Texas

A gorgeous supercell hovers over the farmlands near Ackerly, Texas

May 31st was one of those days where you would have been happy to see just about anything. Marginal, not much hope…and we had woken up early in Garden City, KS and drove all the way to Lubbock, Texas just for a shot.

We got on one storm early, but as it died out, a southern storm near Lamesa was growing and an outflow boundary was headed right for it. Once they merged, the storm went full-blown supercell and it lasted for around an hour…such a treat on a day when we were worried we wouldn’t see much!

Crashdown

A powerful downburst of rain dumps over the Superstition Mountains in Apache Junction, creating strong outflow winds that kick up tons of dust, lowering visibility to zero at times.

Our first chase of the 2016 summer monsoon here in Arizona paid off huge last night with a crazy lightning storm over the Superstition Mountains! A ton of bolts on camera and time-lapse, but it was once this downburst of rain happened that I was loving it. I stood in the road, getting blasted by dust and sand, praying for a bolt to happen because the downburst looked so sick, the especially with the way the rain foot was bending outwards in both directions…not to mention the dust everywhere adding all kinds of drama to the scene. Shortly after this though I had to run, the tiny pieces of sand were too much to handle and a few bits were still stuck in my hair this morning 🙂

Awesome start to this summer, can’t wait to see what else is yet to come!

Farewell to the plains for 2016!

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This was one of the last images I shot this past Wednesday east of Turkey, TX, my final day chasing the plains this year. Over the span of two months, I chased for 18 total days and if you toss in travel days, I was away from home for more than that. Also put roughly 21,000 miles on Vera II across 9 states, not including Arizona.
It’s sorta hard to see it gone already after waiting so long for spring to get here. My first day out was April 15th and the last was June 15th. And now the monsoon will keep me busy until fall but then it will be waiting for April to return once more.

Highlight of my year was the Wynnewood tornado for sure. Never seen one that close and powerful before, it was astounding to behold. I figured that would be it for me this year, but all told I saw over 12 tornadoes, five of which I actually caught on time-lapse and can’t wait to share soon 🙂

I will forget names, but while I tend to chase solo, I get loads of input from guys like Andy Hoeland, Brandon Sullivan, Jeremy Degenhart, James Langford, Brett Wright, John Sirlin, Max Olson and Mike Mezeul II. Heck, Jenny Brown saved my ass from driving all the way to Montana last week instead of sticking to Texas and getting this final shot 🙂 I appreciate the help and I learned so much this spring but I feel like I still known nothing haha.
Excited to once again have gotten to hang with guys like Willoughby Owen, Marko Korošec, Brad Hannon, Dean Gill, Daniel Shaw, Niccolò Ubalducci, Valentina Abinanti, and others. Finally meeting Dennis Oswald randomly in Stratford, TX. And Justin Terveen wherever we were. I respect you all so much and you are all so inspiring to me!

Of course running into the AZ crew, Tori, Christian, Trey, Corbin, Chris, Jerrod, Kevin, and John was fantastic. So proud of our little group out here and what everyone saw this spring! Tons of others I ran into…Jay, Matt, Blake, James, Jack, David, Wesley, Paul, Paul, Jeremy, Jack, Clyve, Jane, Shane (thanks for meeting us man!) and a bunch of other new faces and names. And I’m horrible with names, sorry about that!

Nick Drieschman and Joseph Barton Comstock…you guys made me laugh every time I ran into you, thank you for that 🙂 Hope you guys are proud of what you are doing, I could tell by the people with you that you were killing it!

Truly appreciate Sarah Al Sayegh, Brad Girard, Mike DeVos and Daniel for coming along for our little private tour! Appreciate your trust and support, I had an amazing time with you all! See you next year 🙂

Apologies for the length and wordiness of this post 🙂 I have tons of photos to work on, but I’ve been so focused on my next time-lapse film that I haven’t done much else. It’s actually nearly complete, but with family in town and the monsoon ramping up soon hopefully, not sure how soon I can finish. Bummed I missed Dodge City and that epic week but I’m pumped for what I captured this year! More tornadoes than I thought and some pretty gorgeous storms and scenery.

Thanks again to everyone for their support and kind words, and to everyone watching the live stream on Youtube this spring! Already looking forward to next year!

The Katie, Oklahoma tornado

A powerful, EF3 tornado spins through the small rural community of Katie, Oklahoma on May 9th, 2016.

I’m still in utter disbelief that I saw what I did two days ago in Oklahoma. What turned out to be a destructive and deadly tornado was at the same time one of the most beautiful and amazing things I’ve ever seen in my life. When I turned down this road and it was right down the center…I almost lost my mind. And it seemed to hang out there as it was obviously moving right towards me. I eventually moved south to time-lapse it from a different spot, but Ruppe Road and Katie, Oklahoma will always be a place I remember. And Chester Barnes, an old man who lost his life somewhere near here.

I have more tornado photos to share as well, of this one, of it roping out, of the wedge later near Sulphur and a third one near Connorville. What a day.

(Technical notes. Wish I had taken the time for a tripod and not f/4, but when a tornado is coming your way…you forget things. You can also compare this to the first shot I posted…taken from the exact same location, that one was a 135mm and this was 16mm)

Road to Hell

A beautiful, sculpted supercell roams the plains of the Oklahoma Panhandle.

(Thanks to Steve Baka for the title!)

I left Phoenix last Thursday at 5:30pm and roughly 24 hours later, I was standing here in the Oklahoma Panhandle utterly in awe of this sculpted supercell crossing the highway.

I had been patient most of the afternoon and when I settled in on this cell southeast of Dalhart, TX…it didn’t look like much. But we knew it was still early and the magic could still happen. Sure enough, as it neared the town of Dalhart, it merged with another cell and suddenly the storm began to rotate more and the structure slowly appeared.

57 miles later, and the thing was a beast. So many great time-lapses from this day and the day after…a great start to filming The Chase II…can’t wait for the next time I head out there!

Colossal

A monster supercell begins to cross highway 385 south of Lamar, Colorado. We had raced north as the rain began to hit us, and we stopped after a few miles to take in the view of this incredible storm and that stunning blue-green hailcore.

This panoramic has been sitting on my computer in seven pieces because up until yesterday, I’ve had zero luck stitching it together. I tried everything…Photoshop, Lightroom, third party pano apps…nothing worked. Not sure why, but major fails on every attempt.

But I updated to the latest Photoshop CC over the weekend and decided to try one more time…and BAM, it worked! Couldn’t believe my eyes.

I’ve been dying to get this thing together, because it’s one of my favorites last year and maybe all-time. Such a beastly supercell south of Lamar, Colorado on May 24th, 2015. Beautiful structure, gorgeous green hail core and toss in the road/cars to give it some scale.

We had been a few miles south watching it approach us, and then we had to race north as the rain/hail began to hit us. We stopped after a few miles to take in this incredible view before continuing on to keep in front of it.

Spring is just around the corner…

Curves

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The Million Dollar Highway in Colorado has some sharp drop-offs and incredible scenery, plus this amazing switchback. I spotted it on Google Maps a few days prior and was hoping it would look amazing from the air…and I think it was better than I imagined.

Photographed with a DJI Phantom 3.

The Crossing

A ragged shelf cloud rolls across western Nebraska on June 2nd, bringing heavy rain behind it.

Those days when you try and try and try to see a supercell but nothing goes up near you and so you try to salvage the day by at least getting a nice shelf cloud in western Nebraska.

June 2nd, 2015…standing here right next to my buddy Matt Grans and his friend Nancee Rostad…this was a perfect moment with zero traffic on the road and a nice little shelf cloud crossing in front of us. Rare to get a time-lapse of something like this from right in the middle of a road and no cars come by…sometimes you risk it and hope for the best!