Early season 2021 and I found myself in a particularly sloppy storm system. I checked the radar and just 45 miles south of where I was, a storm had started to form. It was separated from the group and I had little time to act. Sunset was only 55 minutes away. With no time to spare, I headed south and happened across this scene. I encountered this beautiful view of a supercell with lightning shooting out from the vault.
With the 2021 storm season in full swing, the panhandle of Texas was the place to be. Large hailers, tornadoes and intense storm structures were all on display. My favorite dust sucking storm, was a supercell outside of Perryton, TX. As the storm ramped up, it continuously sucked dirt off the ground, leading to a murky mesocyclone. This is one of my favorite shots from that chase.
The Long Wait
I started following this storm from 110 miles away. I waited for four hours for an image to appear that I thought would be worthwhile. Most chases, I snap away. For some reason, on this day I couldn't get my camera out of the bag. As the sun finally set, the lightning started to pop, illuminating the structure of the clouds. I finally took my camera out of the bag, setup the tripod and began to snap away. This was the first strike I captured that night.
The Hail Bow
I mean, who doesn't want to stand outside with hail falling out of the sky the size of your fist? After photographing the Gruver tornado, I snagged a few turns down the road to capture the backside of this menacing storm. The light, interacting with the huge amounts of hail and rain, made for an amazing scene.
Anyone that has known me for a while knows two things about me. One; I can be uncomfortable around people. Two; I may, or may not, be slightly accident prone. A storm hits the plains of Colorado and chasers are EVERYWHERE!! I pull up on this scene and hop out to set up. Another chaser is nearby and we exchange an awkward, "hello". While this is going on, a wind gust hits and my poorly setup camera and tripod take a spill. Not smooth. After getting things dusted off, I set up and captured this image. Why snakes? It's all about the sign on that building...
You're not Supposed to be Here
Four days before this event, I started hatching my plan for a target zone. Three days out, things looked promising for the long term forecast. Two days away, the long term radar changed, but none of the forecasting changed. One day away, the forecast predictions had less than a 20% chance of rain for this location. Never mind the potential for severe weather. Day of, nothing. No forecast for rain. It went anyway. I'm not a smart guy, that's why they don't pay me to predict weather, but on this one day I was spot on. I was fortunate enough to follow this beautiful tornado warned storm over the southern plains.
You don't run into a lot of people storm chasing, let alone purposefully take an image of them. But when I saw this fellow chaser admiring the scene, I couldn't resist. I thought it was a moment that sort of summed up the feeling of what was going on that day. So I snapped and then did the same thing for a minute, just admired the incoming storm.
A severe storm with an amazing gust front blowing over the southern plains. This was one of my favorite storms from 2020. Fantastic straight line winds, hail, and just before the gust front hit the wind, would completely die. Which was quite helpful with this windmill.
Two Acre Lake. This might be the luckiest shot I've ever taken. There was only one lightning strike that happened, facing this direction, and I was lucky enough to have set up my camera in time to capture it. So why "The Dancer?" The lightning reminds me of a couple moving around the dance floor.
A Storm Comes
The beginning of an obsession. I have chased for a while, but never considered taking images. I took my camera and hopped on this storm. I took the chase straight through the middle of a linear storm system, which is less of a chase and really more of running into something face first (not sure what that's called). I made my way through high winds and quite a lot of hail. As I popped out on the other side, I saw this old homestead. I slammed on the breaks and set up.
From 2021 there are a handful of storms that really stood out to me. Not for the overwhelming tornados but for the fascination about how all of these large events get started. This inconspicuous storm would go on to produce multiple tornados and stay severe warned for nearly 8 straight hours. I find it amazing that all that power starts from this.