September 15th, 2010
Not sure if you could really call this a "chase" since I only drove a mile from my house to see this storm. Never bothered repositioning either since by the time it was over us, it started to really gust out. Still a really fun storm though, and one of the better structures I've shot in good light.
Noticed towers going out west earlier in the evening but never thought much of them. Set up a little timelapse at the kitchen window with my point-and-shoot, hoping it would be interesting to watch them spread in coverage and block out the sun. Didn't think much about the storms until Chris gave me a call about half an hour later saying that the storm out west actually looked like it had a base with structure. I rushed upstairs to get a look from the window and sure enough, there was a (albeit elevated) base which was trying to get a little lowering going. I wanted to run out the door to shoot, but of course, I couldn't drive lol. Had to convince my dad that driving somewhere to watch this storm would be worth it. In about 5-10 minutes we were out the door.
Here's our first view of the storm. Only had to drive a mile up to the high school to get a good view west. Glad we got there when we did because the view with both the anvil AND the base structure didn't last long. This is why I love late-season storms if you've got the right shear in place. Not a ton of moisture fogging up the sky, usually better light to shoot in (storms pop closer to golden hour), and tops low enough that you can shoot both the anvil and the base in the same frame. Excuse the circle vignette, as this was shot with an ultra-wide 10mm lens on a full-frame body.
At this point Chris is calling me sort of freaking out because this thing actually looks decent lol. He had a slightly different perspective on the storm since he was further south. Check out his image account here. It was clearly becoming outflow-dominant, but it still had that beefy inflow tail on the right.
This thing started moving FAST. Let my dad borrow my wide-angle for a bit and took some more zoomed-in shots with my 50mm. Glad I did because the striated textures of the northern leading edge were really cool. Tough to beat that glowing light as well.
Here's a look at the southern end. Sun setting underneath the storm!
Back to the northern end. This thing was changing rapidly now that it was almost overhead.
Put the wide back on now that the base of this thing was flying at us. Picking up some really cool inflow features at this point up in the midlevels. Note the guy still on the football field. Like uhh yeah, probably time to think about leaving now lol.
Had to resort to panoramas now if I wanted to frame the whole thing. The distortion of the stitching makes it look a LOT rounder than it actually was, but I love how this one turned out. Probably one of my favorite storm images of the year.
Dude leisurely walking back to his car with sunset striations above.
Such a cool scene now with the sun underneath it. You can see the whale's mouth textures underneath the storm starting to reveal themselves.
Managed to get one last raindrop-free shot off before the core overtook us. Orange sunset light with blue colors hiding back up in the shelf textures.
Sat in the car and waited for the core to pass over. Really wanted to try and get back ahead of it, but that wasn't gonna happen since I wasn't the one driving lol. Probably would have been tough to do anyway now with the speed it was moving. Once it cleared, we got a view of a couple nice rain shafts on the backside.
Last shot of the night, looking over a soybean field just west of the high school. Something else fired down by Lincoln and produced a nice feathered anvil.
All in all, a really awesome evening of shooting considering I hardly had to leave home!
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