Storm Chasing Chasecation 2016

This entry is overdue, and I am still going through all of the footage from May 23 – May 25, but I will get there, with time. Individual chase logs will be posted at a later date(s)! Well, where do I even start? These were amazing days of chasing the plains. I was out there with my good friend Cort Scholten, who has wanted to chase with me for years, but we never could pull it off before. This year, we made it work, and headed out to the plains in search of severe storms, and tornadoes. The drive was long, and tiring, coming all the way from Michigan, but it was worth it. The first day, we targeted the Texas panhandle region. It was a dryline setup, which meant big, beefy storms that would barely move, and drop lots of rain and hail, perhaps a few tornadoes. Although we missed the tornadoes on this day, we saw some pretty amazing stuff, including some great lightning strikes, heavy rainfall, high … Read More…

High Winds, Big Waves on Lake Michigan!

2/19/16 – This was an unusually warm, very windy, springlike day in Michigan. 60F and sunshine dominated most of the afternoon. The wind gusts were powerful, some of which were very high. Numerous high wind reports reaching into the 50-60mph range were received. One gust of 70mph was reported at Ford Airport in Grand Rapids. Overall, a very warm, and windy day. I planned for this day in advance. The models showed a potent storm system with a warm surge of air, and very strong winds. I wanted to go down to Lake Michigan to shoot the waves crashing over the pier and lighthouse, as well as see what the ice situation looked like down there. After a mild winter overall, most of the Lake Michigan shoreline was free of ice, except for the ice which had been piled up by waves on the beach. Still, there were many ice chunks floating around in the water which created some pretty amazing scenes. I stayed out there for a few hours … Read More…

Convective Snow Showers

2/12/16 – This was a day that really gave me the storm chasing itch, but the thing is, these weren’t thunderstorms. They were heavy snow showers. Steep lapse rates, coupled with other favorable upper level support, sunshine, and lake effect influence created the perfect setup for intense convective snow showers. Some of these looked like pop up thunderstorms almost, taking on anvil shapes, and bubbling updrafts. I started the day near Greenville, MI, snapping off a couple of shots in a field of the snow showers, then headed west toward Rockford, MI on M-57. I staged around M-57 and US 131. I began documenting some of the heavier snow showers as they raced through the area. Some of these created some whiteout conditions in a hurry, and slowed traffic down and caused some backups too on US 131. Below is a video of the snow in the Rockford area, and also photos from Greenville and Rockford. After that batch of snow showers, I drove over to Belding, MI to intercept … Read More…

Snowy Elkland Cemetery – Cass City, MI

2/10/16 – On my way home from the Bad Axe area after documenting the snowstorm, I was cruising west down M-81 (which was basically a sheet of ice and compacted snow) and saw a cemetery full of trees covered in snow. My mouth dropped open and I said to myself “Oh yeah, I gotta go back!!!”. So I turned around and headed back toward the cemetery and turned down one of the many access roads inside it and what I saw blew me away. After pulling in, I stopped to check Google Maps to see where I was. This was Elkland Cemetery in Cass City, MI. It was simply stunning! Every tree was full of fresh snow, and the sun was shining through some thin clouds. It was quite cold, and the wind made it feel even colder, but I stayed awhile, and snapped off a number of photos. It was such a gorgeous sight to behold. I honestly didn’t want to leave. The access roads had been plowed pretty … Read More…

Northern Illinois Tornadoes 4/9/15

**FULL CHASE VIDEO BELOW** – Scroll down below the video to read the story, and see all of the photos from this chase. In this video you will see our chase from start to finish. The first small cells, a wall cloud we got underneath, and then the massive wedge tornado which we chased for miles. At one point we even hydroplaned, but CJ gathered it up like a champion, all the while I never took my focus off the tornado while filming it. Toward the end of the video, you’ll see 2 tornadoes on the ground at once. One was a satellite. Intense chase day!! Enjoy the video. 4/9/15 – Where do I begin? This was such an amazing chase day. So many great times, and so many great sights. Prior to this chase day, there was a whole lot of computer model watching, and trying to decide which model was going to be correct, or at least, close to correct. There were difference among the models all the … Read More…

Battle Creek, MI Snowstorm 2/1/15

2/1/15 – A large and powerful snowstorm affected a large portion of the United States from the Midwest, through the Great Lakes and into the Northeast. Dumping 15-20 inches of snow in a number of areas, packing strong wind gusts, and snowfall at rates of up to 1-2 inches per hour. This was a long duration heavy snow event, which resulted in lots of blowing and drifting, high snowfall accumulations, near blizzard conditions at times, motorists becoming stuck or stranded, a number of accidents and slide offs, and many schools and businesses closing down due to the conditions. One computer model stood out from the rest several days before, showing a snowstorm set to impact northern areas of the US around Feb 1-2. That model, was the GFS. Over time, the model forecasts trended northward with the snow. Many people were skeptical. I was favoring the northward trend. Then suddenly just a couple of days before the storm, the GFS forecast showed it all south of the area. Within a … Read More…

2014 Storm Chasing Highlights

2014 was a really interesting year in regards to storm chasing for me. There were a number of firsts. Initially I wasn’t going to do much chasing, and concentrate on other things such as Fishing Pleasures, and a few other projects. Throughout the year, I did get out to experience a number of great weather events though. The year was off to a slow start, not much happening in March. Just cold and boring. By the time April rolled around though, some truly awesome weather events took place. April 12th was one of the coolest chase days I can ever remember for me here in Michigan. Intercepted 2 very photogenic storm cells, saw accumulating hail, and beautifully structured storms coming over the fields. I was able to get some nice time lapses. This was also the first time I ever saw hail accumulate to such an extent here in Michigan. In late April I went against my initial plans of not leaving my home state, to join some friends on … Read More…

My Equipment – Digital Camera Timeline (Past and Present)

Through the years I have used various film cameras, everything from disc film to disposable 35mm, to 35mm cameras with zoom, but nothing quite compares to the quality, and clarity, and ease of use that I have been able to obtain with a digital camera. Now I’m not knocking the 35mm cameras here, but I personally prefer the digital cameras. Not only are most digital cameras easy to use, there’s also the added benefits of not having to replace film rolls, wait for photos to be developed, etc. You snap images with a digital camera, they show up on the LCD screen, if you dislike what you captured, you delete it, no wasted film, no wasted money, no wasted time. Below is a timeline of digital cameras that I have owned and operated since 2005. They are in order from newest to oldest. Below are the details about each camera, and a little bit of info about my own experiences with each one. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Canon VIXIA HF R500 | Years … Read More…

Exploring A Winter Wonderland

1/4/15 – I had been tracking a strong storm system on the models for about a week, and the potential for rain, mixed precipitation, and also snow that would come with it. The exact track of the system was still a little iffy through the period, which made forecasting where each precipitation type would fall, and how much of an impact it would have, difficult. The storm started out with some light snow, and then that transitioned to mostly sleet and also some freezing rain early in the morning on 1/3/14. Through the day, the precip type would change to primarily rain here in Greenville, and then go back over to snow by late evening before a lull in the precip occurred. Below are a couple of images which show the mixed precip accumulations in 1/3/15. Overnight and into the morning, more snow fell, and it left the entire landscape completely covered in a beautiful blanket of snow. Every tree branch, every piece of grass, everything was covered. It was … Read More…

Fall Color Tour 2014

12/19/14 – This article is dedicated to my best Fall Color photos from this year’s Fall Color Tour. Autumn is one of my favorite seasons, for the changing colors, for the great Bass fishing before winter, and also for the ever changing weather conditions. We could have bright sunny days with warm temperatures, stormy days (including severe weather) or even snowy days. Autumn is a transitional time of year. My favorite things of all though, are the Fall Colors. Click Here to read all about the Fall Color process. It’s fascinating. This year’s foliage display was one to remember. It was one of the best that I have ever witnessed in my whole entire life. Only 2010 and 2008 come close. The best colors lasted for weeks! Great weather for getting out to enjoy them as well. I was able to do a lot of great things with my photography of the colors this season. So here on this last day of Fall, I present to you, Fall Color Tour … Read More…