This photo is a good example of the reason I get out to chase storms. I don't get out to see devastation or to watch things get obliterated. I drive hundreds of miles for scenes like this. I love the warm colors, the feeling of Heaven on Earth. This photo was taken during one of the most perfect storm chases ever. I had to be patient and wait for it, and when I did it paid off mightily. This was actually the second tornado the storm produced out of a total of four. I wanted to get a non-standard shot where the subject was hiding but easily found, and the colors helped me pull it off. Not long after, it would produce the last two tornadoes of equal beauty and majesty, all the while causing no damage at all.
This photo has been one of my favorites since it was taken in May of 2012. I drove up to Kansas believing I would just be chasing one long line of thunderstorms and there wouldn't be a whole lot to it, but was pleasantly surprised by numerous land spouts that the storm produced in the span of about an hour. This is probably the one that gave the best photo opportunity. A funnel dropping from a sky that appeared to be made of cotton balls, and one of the intriguing parts of the photo is the condensation swirl at the base of the road far to the right of where the funnel appears to be coming down. I believe it was connected to the funnel, but in the beginning I thought there may be two tornadoes at the same time, one just not visible. The scene with the storm chasers with their cameras catching the action wraps it up neatly, and the gray/green contrast really made the photo pop. This was taken north of Kingman, KS and there were several land spouts just minutes before and after this one produced. What an exciting day it was!
2013 is wrapping up and winter here in Oklahoma has been well established since about mid-Fall. After a brutal cold spell last week, this week brings us freezing rain that coated anything that had the nerve to be outside. The cold rain started falling on Friday evening through the overnight, eventually coming to a close mid-Saturday afternoon. What it left behind was a beautiful thick coat of ice that not only caused power outages, but created a beautiful outer shell on everything ready to be photographed. Here are a few scenes from today's winter ice storm.
It was a chase that took me 8 hours away through three states, into the flat plains of Eastern Colorado. The wind was steady at 40 mph all day long, and a slight risk for severe weather had been issued. I sat on the dusty plains watching dust devils spin their way across the dry soil. Storms started to brew, but just as quick as they bubbled up they went away. Finally, just south of Burlington, CO one took hold and developed into a massive supercell, with an anvil that stretched southward with hints of mammatus underneath. Rays of sunlight beamed through shining down upon the land, and just above a deep blue sky that provided the perfect contrast. A base so low it seemed as if you could jump up and touch it. It was the first shot of many on that early April day, but made an impression for all time.
This is one of the first photos I took with a DSLR camera. I had just purchased a Canon Rebel XS and was planning to primarily use it for storm season, but could wait 4 more months before I made use of it. I went out for a walk and went to a nearby pond where geese and ducks make their winter refuge, hoping to capture a few wildlife shots and see how my new camera did. I happened upon this feather hanging by a thread off of a plant, and thought it would make a great photo if I could get it close enough and still capture it clearly. I couldn't be more thrilled with the way it turned out, and to this day is one of my favorite "macro" shots.
A powerful cold front came through a couple of days ago in Oklahoma, parts of Texas and Arkansas. Temps fell to the single digits overnight, and four inches of snow dropped in some areas. I took the opportunity for a trip into Western Oklahoma to capture a few night scenes with the starry skies, hoping the snow would help make for a great photo. So, standing in sub 20 degree temperatures I spent some time on a few test shots and got some cold extremities in the process. I ended up with this shot that really came out pretty well considering there wasn't anything to really help compose the shot other than a barbed wire fence, a field and some trees. The glowing lights in the photo weren't really visible to the naked eye, but here they are really the lights from two distant towns.
I was going through some photos from earlier this year and it took me back to May 19th, 2013 in Southern Kansas when we caught this beautiful rope tornado. We had just entered into Kansas and made our way up to South Haven, and was watching a shelf cloud gather itself and push east. So, we jumped in the car and moved slightly to the south and west, and luckily enough came upon the portion of the storm that had just enough organization that it started rotating and dropping this beauty. I worked it up in black in white in this photo to help translate the dramatic scene.
"Ghost" - May 19th, 2013
Earlier today Storm Assist posted their twelve choices for their 2013 calendar, with one photo to be selected for the DVD cover. One of those photos was one that I took during the May 20th tornado that devastated the Moore, OK community. In the contest, a like of the photo counts as a vote, and the photo with the most votes is the one that will serve as the cover of the DVD. Even if I don't take first prize it is quite an honor to be included with so many talented people and it is such a worthy cause, helping those who have been impacted by storms.
You can vote on my photo here. Here is the photo that will be included in the calendar, and if I'm lucky enough will be on the cover of the 2013 DVD. Please stop by before Friday, December 6th and like my photo for your vote!
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