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on May 24, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Just A Sliver

When the heavens put on a show, it’s one of the great events that can disappear as fast as it appears. Bringing that fleeting moment of majesty to life is the challenge because of in large part of its scale. When the tops of those clouds are 30,000′ or higher, how do you say “freakin huge” in the small medium of our camera? And if you have a storm as part of that story, bringing that power of nature to life just adds to the mix of complexity. There are lots and lots of ways to start to communicate this starting at the bottom and working your way to the top! You gotta have some scale in the photo, something that permits the eye to quickly saw, “dang, that’s big!” Photographers understand this but tend to put too much landscape in the bottom of the frame. At the same time, often the landscape is not as interesting as the heavens themselves. The sliver is even more important in these...

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on May 5, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Caverns of Sonora

One of the great aspects of storm chasing is seeing parts of our amazing country you otherwise wouldn’t see. The Caverns of Sonora is a great example of what I mean. It is the coolest cavern I’ve toured but didn’t know it even existed! The sad thing is that now I know about it, I probably wouldn’t travel just to see it but on a road trip, it’s a must do stop! There are tons of great treasures like this you see while your storm chasing that make the chase just that much sweeter! You go down if I remember correctly nearly 200 vertical feet on the tour. That’s a lot of stairs cause you gotta come back up them to get out. At first, the cavern isn’t all that impressive and then all of a sudden you turn a corner and the magic appears, room after room after room! The natural beauty, the sculptures created by water and minerals is staggering! The lighting is provided by the lights...

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on May 4, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Can’t it Be Alone?

The sun and the moon suck photographers in like moths to a flame. There are lots of reasons for this, all very valid. Often though, that memorizing glowing ball tends to fog the mind and the final image, well, just isn’t as memorizing as the real McCoy. Has that ever happened to you? It happens to many and they wonder why. The answer might be simpler than you might think. It could be simply you included items in the scene that were not needed. Now this might not be the case all the time, but here’s an example from a shoot on top of Mt Scott to illustrate my point. Shooting long (D5 / 300PF) the subject was pretty clear cut, the sun. But often we’re told we need to have something else in the frame. This might be true if the photo of the sun sucks. Why might it suck? Often it’s because the way the light and color are distributed in the frame. When you’re shooting over...

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on Apr 29, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Day 4 Storm Chasin – The Cloud

You’re not looking at a tornado in either photo. Simply put, it was too cold to produce the needed rotation for a funnel to drop down. We went the bed last night full of hope, the models were looking good for at least one tornado in the area. We had spend the day yesterday driving to stage for today and we were in the best spot, mother nature just decided not to play. The top flow certainly looks like it might be a funnel, but it had no rotation. It was moisture simply getting out of Dodge. It was taken about two hours before the bottom photo. The size of this supercell was really pretty staggering! Finding a place where we could get a clean shot was a challenge and when we finally did, there was nothing to include for scale. But it took us nearly 30min of driving to get out to this vantage point, it was that big! The light colored mass in the lower left is...

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on Apr 27, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Day 2 Storm Chasin – The Chase

This is coming to you from the very bumpy back seat of the van as we scream across KS & OK on our way to TX. Day 2 ended with 428 more miles on the speedometer but no twisters in the can. While the day started with the promise of storms, there were no promises of twisters. In storm chasing terms, the storms were messy. That’s to say that while they had energy, they weren’t organized, no rotation to create the twister. We had no problem though finding wx, big wx! While we tried to get out to shoot, we would only have a five minute window before the rain would catch us. Not being a very workable solution, we turned to shooting from the van as we chased cell to sell to sell. Shooting with the D5 / 24-70VR, the trick was to hold it close to the window to avoid reflections, look ahead for subjects / obstacles and then fire off at least five frames to get...

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on Apr 26, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Day 1 Storm Chasing – Ames, OK

It’s been a few years since I was storm chasing but it took very little time for me to remember one of the things I love best about it. That’s seeing parts of our amazing country I didn’t know existed. We stopped in Ames, OK for an hour waiting for the wx to commit. It was right at the Ames War Memorial and Ames Astrobleme. The war memorial was pretty self explanatory and very well done. It represented some of our best young men who gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today. Amazing to me how this very small, rural town can do so much to say thanks when much larger don’t. Well done Ames! The other cool thing was the Astrobleme. What’s that? It a meteor crater found during the exploration of oil that was some 900 feet under ground, covered up my thousands of years of erosion. Never knew there was this meteor crater here and if I hadn’t been storm chasing and stopped here,...

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