Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Top Ten Storm Photos of 2009!

After two failed attempts to chase storms that moved through our area, I’ve decided to post the top ten storm photos of 2009. 2009 was a great year for me. I had the opportunity to meet up with an experienced storm chaser and he taught me the basics and let me ride along on many of his chases. A few of the photos taken this season received awards including a Photograph of the Month from The Corner. All in all it was an excellent season and I can’t wait for 2010!

#10: Updraft
Coming in at number ten on the list, is a photo of a supercell updraft taken on 10/27/09. I was in Decatur, TX. I loved the way the lightning backlit the updraft towers, resulting in an almost ghostly appearance.

#9: Lightning, Benjamin, TX.
This photo was one of my first chases. There were some severe thunderstorms around Benjamin, TX just at sunset. We had been chasing all afternoon and caught some photos of close CG lightning strikes. We pulled over on an old farm market road and shot this storm until 10:00 pm. This is probably the most lightning strikes I have caught in a single exposure. There are over 40 individual strikes in this photo. What is even more amazing is that this was a 5 ½ minute exposure. That is 8.25 strikes every minute!

#8: Rotating Wall Cloud
Every time I show this photo to people they always tell me, “Y’know, if I was driving down the road and I saw that I think I’d be moving in the other direction!” Well, that’s not how you storm chase. This is a rotating wall cloud near Hamlin, TX on 6/8/09. The photo doesn’t do the storm justice. This wall cloud was rapidly rotating, and there actually was a brief tornado later (so brief I wasn’t able to photograph it). As the tornado develops the rear-flank-downdraft (RFD) slams into the ground and lifts dirt hundreds of feet in the air. You can check out Jason’s timelapse of the whole thing at

#7: Funnel Cloud
One of the best and worst things about the Texas storm season is the unpredictability. This photo was taken on Easter of this year. We were all sitting around at the dining room table when I heard some thunder. I went outside and saw this massive rain/hail core moving to the NW of our location. I decided to head out and chase this storm. It couldn’t seem to get organized and it eventually died out. About an hour before sunset another storm popped up and I chased that one. While it moved through Iowa Park, I noticed what I thought was a rotating wall cloud; sure enough a few minutes later this funnel cloud was born. I remember calling up my dad and asking him if this storm had a tornado warning on it. He said “yes” and I told him I was looking at a funnel cloud just to my west, his response was “Well, take some pictures!”

#6: Energy (2)
This is my second attempt at this photo. The original was nice, but it had too much motion blur in it. So this year I wanted to redo it and make it better. Well I had the setup, the right lens, and the new camera. All I was waiting on was the storm. This is the result of several failed attempts, dedication, and overall luck. After taking the photo I calculated about 10% technical skill, and 90% luck! This photo received a 3rd place ribbon in the 2009 Texas-Oklahoma Fair.

#5: Gustnado: Memphis, TX
My first official chase of the season, that where this photo comes from. This was taken in Memphis, TX on 6/1/09. I had met up with Jason and he was going to show me the ropes of storm chasing. Although the first few hours were kind of unexciting, it all paid off near sunset when an isolated thunderstorm with some awesome structure popped up on radar. The 6/10/09 chase is probably one of my favorites from this season.

#4: Lightning (2): Benjamin, TX
This is from the same chase as #9 on the list. We were enjoying a lightning display to the east when a very close CG strike hit about five miles away. It was right as the sun was setting and the colors were out of this world. I set my camera up pointed in the direction where the close CG strike hit and I waited. A few moments later another, even closer CG bolt struck only about two miles away. This was taken with my Sigma 10-20 at 10mm, with very little cropping done. This strike was close!

#3: Paducah, TX Supercell
The Paducah, TX chase was an unplanned chase. It was actually my birthday and I was at home celebrating when Jason called me up and asked if I wanted to go out chasing. I told him about my party and said I wouldn’t be able to make it. I really wanted to go, but my whole family was planning to be at the house in just a few hours. I really, really wanted to go! I asked my family what they thought and they said they didn’t mind if I went chasing. I called Jason back up and we drove to a tornado warned supercell near Paducah, TX. This storm was a beast, aside from nearly being struck by lighting (no joke, only about 100ft away) this storm was my catch of the season. It never put down a tornado, but it had the most incredible structure. We chased this storm until dark and we watched it transition from an HP, to a Classic, to and LP supercell.

#2: Storms
This is from the same chase as #7. This was after the funnel cloud dissipated and the sun came out. The beautiful sunset light painted the wall cloud a stunning gold and pink color. This photo received the Photograph of the Month (May 2009) from The Photography Corner

#1: Storm on the Plains
Here it is we’ve come to the end of the list. The #1 storm photo of 2009 is “Storm on the Plains”. This photo is from the same chase as #5. This is my personal favorite of 2009. The photo depicts a rotating thunderstorm a few miles away from our position. You can see the main inflow area (top right) curling into the developing shelf/wall cloud. The freshly plowed field, the grass, and the red clay road all lead the eye into the center of the core where a distant CG strike flashes and grasp the viewer’s attention. The combination of both cool and warm colors creates tension and keeps they eye moving throughout the entire photo. This photo won 1st place in the 2009 Texas-Oklahoma Fair.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Blog Redesign and Some New Bird Photos...

I have redesigned my photo blog. I have added a new banner, some of my links (including: my photography links, fellow photographers, and weather links) and you can now subscibe to this photo blog. So I think its a nice new change.

I am also posting some new photos of some birds that I have taken. I am practicing a manual focus technique, which I hope will improve my wildlife photography. It is not easy, that is for sure! Several times I missed great action shots because of focus, but the shots that I did get look much better (sharpness).

I have also received a new piece of equipment. A new tripod and ball head combo. I purchased the SLIK Pro 813 CF-II carbon fiber tripod and the SLIK Pro SBH-280E ball head. All of these photos were taken with the SLIK 813 with the Manfrotto 3421 gimball head. So far, I really like this tripod. It is half the weight of the 700DX and its easier to assemble. The only draw back is that it is thinner, which means it won't do as well when the storm season comes 'round. I will keep the 700DX for that reason.

Thanks as always for the support!


Thursday, October 8, 2009

10/06 and 10/08 Chase...

Like the past several days there has been an out-of-season storm system moving across the central plains. While for the first few days we missed out on a lot of the action, we were rewarded with some photogenic storms this week. Tuesday I drove down to Throckmorton, TX and watched the squall line form and took some lightning and shelf cloud photos. But today (Thursday) I went towards Crowell where a beautiful supercell was brewing. If I remeber correctly it was moving at about 45mph! So it was very hard to chase, but I still got some good photos. Looks like that's all the chasing I will be doing for a while. Time to start shifting my focus on landscape and wildlife photography. I plan to make a trip up to the Wichita Mountains at the end of October for some foilage photos.

Thanks for viewing!


About Me

My photo
I am 25 years old and I have been a photographer for 11 years now. I love nothing more than taking my camera out on a photo shoot with me. I mainly focus on nature photography.That is where my passion is. I love looking at all of God's wonderful creations and capturing them in the photographic medium. I have won awards and have received special recognition for my photography. It is my calling and my passion!