After Shooting Cloud Time Lapses, I’m Forced To Take Cover!

7/27/14 – Today was a day that looked to be a stormy one. A low pressure was moving through the area, which was bringing with it the chance for widespread showers and thunderstorms. Not everywhere would get rain, but many places did. The folks who saw rain, saw a lot of it. Me included.

I was sort of losing faith in storms firing in my immediate area, so I decided to go for a ride on my bicycle to get some photos and time lapses of the developing showers and storms. I was in a hole, vacant of any convective activity. I first observed some nice Mammatus clouds from a storm about 20 miles to my north. Then I began to watch as cumulus towers filled the sky directly over, and around me. Since none of these showed any immediate promise, I decided it was safe enough to go 2 or 3 miles down the road. The scenes I captured were quite lovely. The clouds’ bases were dark, and you could tell that it was only a matter of time before the rain began to fall.

As I made my way to the east, and then to the south, I saw a storm building up directly east of me, and for a while, it exhibited a lowered cloud base. Could not tell if it was rotating (even with the time lapse) but it was a nice sight. Then, directly to my WSW I began to see some storm clouds gathering. A short time later, a rain/hail core developed. I figured it would slide south of me, so I remained stationed near the field as I began to hear the thunder rumble. I was correct about that particular cell remaining south of me, however, a brand new cell decided to pop up right on top of me. Before I knew it, the rain began to fall. Big, fat, fresh convective cloud drops.

I scrambled to get my camera gear back in the bags, and quickly took shelter under some thick brush and trees. Not the best idea with lightning present, but most of it was intra-cloud. Not many CGs with it, at least where I was, under the anvil. Once the rain started, it went through a few breaks, but not long enough to get home without getting wet. I had PYKL3 radar going on my Andorid phone, and could see that one lonely cell had decided to troll me. I figured I’d wait it out under this thick brush I found along the roadside, and then head home. That plan would be foiled by nature as well. An entire training line of cells developed behind it, and the lightning became more frequent. Soon, a big downpour came, and I knew at that point, that I had no choice but to wait this one out.

Once the rain began, it seemed like it would never stop. It would go through lulls of lighter rain, then all of a sudden, a massive downpour would commence again. The thick brush and trees held up well though, until around the 15 minute mark. By then everything was soaked, including me, my bicycle, and my tripod (the tripod bag is a total loss). I crouched down in the ditch for the entire duration of the event, doing my best to keep my camera and shoes dry. The good news is, I succeeded. The lightning struck in the fields nearby, and the storm had nearly constant thunder, so that was cool. No hail was observed, I was a little disappointed in that. All in all, it was an experience I’ve never had before. I have been in plenty of storms, but I’ve never actually been IN one… if ya know what I mean. I would have recorded more footage, but wanted to protect my camera. You’ll get the idea from the video and photos below. Oh, and as an added bonus, I photographed some wildlife, including Turkeys, Sandhill Cranes and Deer. Nice bonuses! Enjoy my videos and photos!

Note To Self: Bring An Umbrella

Chuck Russell

I shoot photos and videos of various different types of events related to weather, nature, motorsports, breaking news, and more and share what I capture with the world at

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