Posts

Stormchasing: More stormy skies

This is another photo from the Nebraska plains near the town of Mullen. The shot has an interesting feel to it, partly because of the HDR processing, but also the motion in the tall grasses.

Before this big stormchasing adventure, I hadn’t planned on doing much HDR photography because I figured when you were up close to this stuff, the high winds would really be a disadvantage to taking multiple exposures in rapid succession. Even doing them quickly can’t keep up with 40-50mph winds and clouds that seem to be only hundreds of feet above your head.

Photomatix is pretty good about eliminating ghosting from the movement of objects and stuff across multiple exposures, but I just felt it might be too hard to do here. I think I was wrong about that, hence the reason my series has changed to HDR for my last few posts.

Because of the blur caused by the motion in the grass and the rapidly moving clouds, this picture almost seems like a painting to me. Either way, it’s just another shot from my fun adventure out in Nebraska. Can’t imagine what next year will be like when I chase for 4-5 days.

Stormchasing: Scary clouds over the highway

My intention while I was out stormchasing was to get photographs that weren’t dominated by powerlines and other vehicles like a lot of severe weather photography is like these days. But I couldn’t resist the shot of these insanely crazy clouds over this road and the car of a few other stormchasers I was following along with.

These guys were great…they pulled over alongside me earlier and asked if I was chasing, so we chatted and kind of stuck together for awhile. Good guys and it was amazing to find out how friendly people were. I met another stormchaser while out there and he was just as nice a guy. Must be a fun fraternity to be a part of out there.

Stormchasing: A long fence

Here’s another shot of a cool barbed wire fence in the sandy hills of Nebraska during a severe weather outbreak. The clouds are scary here, in fact, on the horizon just left of the fence, you can see a dark area that almost looks like a funnel dropping behind the hills. In fact, I was standing with a few other guys and we all thought it WAS a funnel, so within a second of taking this shot, I had ran into the truck and headed north.

But the reason I love this photo is more of the fence starting on the left and disappearing into the center of the frame than of the clouds. I do enjoy how HDR can make clouds look almost like a painting when processed a certain way, which I think kind of works here.

Stormchasing: Nebraska Roll Cloud

Up until now, none of the photos I’ve posted from my Nebraska stormchasing trip have been in HDR, but I thought I’d try a few and see what happened. I did three-exposures for every shot I took while out there, and it was impossible to take much more than that without an automatic method. The clouds moved so amazingly fast, doing 7-9 exposures wouldn’t work.

I am loving the way a few of them turned out, so I will be posting a couple here and there. This first one is of a giant roll cloud that came racing across the sky to the right edge of this frame. This cloud was moving so incredibly fast, I stood there with my jaw hanging open. The clouds were rushing up and building in front of the thing like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

Stormchasing: Trees and Fences

Still running through my photos from my stormchasing trip to Nebraska on Saturday (plus photos from things other than storms, can’t wait to post a few of those later on), so wanted to dump a few more on you.

I do so love trees, especially isolated ones in the middle of nowhere. The photo above has a little baby tree, some cattle off on the right side of the frame and a giant cloud crossing the sky. It was an ominous scene.

Read more

Stormchasing: Wall clouds and inflows from Nebraska

A few more shots from my trip to Nebraska. I have to say, without having seen most of the state, the parts I did get to journey through were beautiful. Rolling hills, scattered trees…green farmlands, reservoirs, old towns, old buildings…it was just a perfect place to travel through.

The above photo is of the wall cloud I saw, which is the first in my life. You can see the lowering in the middle of the frame. I was hoping soooo badly it would just drop a tornado, but no such luck.

The one below is of the same storm a little later. I think what I’m seeing in this shot on the right inflow into the supercell. The white, smooth arcing cloud is out in front of the wall cloud on the left…so I’m pretty sure it was the inflow area.

Stormchasing: A couple of more shots from Nebraska

One of my main goals when it comes to stormchasing, whether I take a big trip to Nebraska to do it or drive around finding the monsoons here in Arizona this summer, is to take photos that are as well composed as I can make them in whatever situation I find myself.

I love looking at stormchasers’ photos from the midwest…tornadoes, lightning, wall clouds, scary stuff…but aside from a few guys that take their time when shooting (Dick McGowan, Mike Hollingshead), most of them are hurried shots without much thought of framing a nice scene.

My stormchasing experience is very lacking, so I don’t have a lot of room to talk, but I tried my best to achieve my goal when snapping these shots on Saturday. It’s not always easy I find, because sometimes the monster cloud is hovering over a highway and there is a car in the way and two other guys with cameras taking pictures of it as well!

I was a little disappointed with what I ended up seeing overall…I saw some amazing stuff, captured it as best I could, but I just failed to see that monster supercell isolated by itself with amazing structure going on.  Obviously I only had one day, so I’m not being too hard on myself, PLUS it was a heck of a fun time…I just hope to one day get another crack at shooting this stuff.

Stormchasing: Hail core dump

I had planned a 4-day stormchasing extravaganza this spring, but the way things worked out, it ended up being a one-day blitzkrieg on Saturday up to Nebraska to photograph whatever I could in a short amount of time.

Part of me wishes I lived around this weather so I could photograph it more often…and the other side of me, after seeing the craziness of the clouds and weather…am just fine living in Arizona *grin*

This is one of the shots from the day. A hail core being dumped north of Mullen, Nebraska. It had multiple tornadic signatures on it, but we never saw a funnel.

More to come!

Storms over northern Arizona

Yet another shot from my trip up to Northern Arizona and the Grand Falls. This was along the dirt road leading to the Falls. The skies…such amazing sunlight streaming through the clouds, it was hard not to stop every 100 feet to snap another photo.

Along the the clouds, I liked the bushes in the foreground that had some tall little reed-like brushes at the top. It may be hard to see in the photo, but they were kind of ablaze from the sunlight and a great contrast with the dark skies.

An old water trough

Just another random find along the way to Grand Falls. This appeared to be a makeshift water trough for cattle I believe, but it was awesomely rusted and decorated with some great graffiti. Loved the look of it against the stormy skies.