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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Monday was a day that I knew I wasn't going to get to the best primary target -- northeast Nebraska -- in time.  Having a day job gives targeting a lot of factors that go beyond pure forecasting; i.e., can I get this time off?  Can I repair this Macintosh computer that just came in in time to be out the door to get to the target?

This photo is from around 10 miles east of Burwell, Nebraska.  I followed a dieing storm up north of Kearney and ended up at this secondary target -- which became a beautiful HP supercell.  Beautiful and HP supercell are terms that rarely go together, so this storm made me very happy.  I have time lapse of this storm, too -- which I am glad for, because as ominous as this photo seems, the sense of amazement for nature's power only grows when you realize that this entire storm is spinning like a top.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

4 years ago today, I was documenting Project Vortex 2, a massive science project to study tornadoes, near Deer Trail, Colorado.  I had the fortune of getting to snap this shot of Tim Marshall, one of the best storm chasers I've met.  Besides being one of the original "founding fathers" of storm chasers, he's an engineer who has done scores of damage surveys for the National Weather Service and helped to come up with the Enhanced Fujita scale for tornado strength.

Monday, June 2, 2014

A beautiful funnel cloud comes over the mountains near Chugwater, Wyoming, May 31, 2014.  This was quite a fun chase on a very marginal day.  I was surprised to catch a funnel cloud on a day like this -- there is something magical about upslope terrain near mountains.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

One of the fun little quirks about being a photographer storm chaser instead of just a storm chaser is that you not only have to forecast, hunt down, and position yourself in a good place to capture a storm well on camera, but you have to try to find something to put in front of it that either doesn't distract from the storm or somehow adds visual meaning to the photo.  I love barns, but they seem to always be in short supply when near interesting clouds.  This barn wasn't that bad, but it was impossible to get close to, as the only place to shoot it from was a major highway with no shoulder and steep dropoffs in the medians and roadsides.  Sometimes you have to take the barn you have, not the barn you want.

A timelapse of a storm in central Nebraska, April 23, 2014. It look spooky, but aside from a small amount of nickel hail, it wasn't that strong.

Monday, May 26, 2014

This photo, while scary, is of "outflow" -- the roiling, turbulent clouds that form over the pool of cold air that sometimes rushes out in front of a line of thunderstorms. Outflow clouds pose no threat, though they sometimes pass overhead at nearly the same time as the gust front passes over a location on a ground -- and a gust front is quite windy and can cause some damage.
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