Weather Wednesday: Boredom and Excitement

Ricky Rainbow

Great shot by Ricky Forbes!

Hey Everyone!  I’ve been pretty quiet on the weather posts lately as it’s been SOOO incredibly boring up here.  We’ve had a few cracks of thunder and a bit of lightning but, for a storm-enthusiast, it’s getting pretty frustrating.  I think I’m going through storm withdrawal.  Is that a thing?  Storm depression?  Anyhow, though the storms are non-existent up here there are still some great chasers to watch in parts of Canada and the US.  I’m surviving on live stream footage right now.  Ugh.  I sure hope that with all this heat, we see something!  Okay, there’s the boredom part of this post.  Now… on to the excitement.

You’ve heard me talk about them before (and you’ll hear it again), but one of my favourite local chase teams is doing something really exciting!  No, they aren’t taking me out chasing, this is something for everyone!

Team Tornado Hunter are doing a show on CMT!  I got to preview the trailer yesterday and it looks like it’s going to be awesome!!  Check out the trailer here:

This is my second year watching these guys chase and I love it.  Not only do they keep the hours of driving entertaining with their banter, insults and chatting with those of us watching the live feed, they also deliver quality and exciting chase moments.  We had a stormy day here this summer, sadly not near me, and it looked like the guys were out of position.  They were commenting on how it might be a bust day, but then decided to check out a cell that had just appeared on radar.

The chase was on and those of us who were watching settled in for what we hoped would be an amazing show.  Well, we sure weren’t disappointed!  Soon the lightning began, the rain came and suddenly we were hearing ‘Do you hear that?’ as Greg spoke to the guys.  The pulse-pounding, adrenalin-filled moments came when the live feed became intermittent (storms are really good at killing reception) and we were only able to get glimpses of the action.  Rain pounding horizontally across the road, debris blowing, Ricky taking the truck into a ditch as the storm got really intense.  Nothing like spotty data reception to make your watchers want to pull their hair out.  The night ended in the guys stuck in a farmers field, having gotten off track.  At 2 am, those of us still watching began sending out messages to anyone and everyone who might be in the area to get the guys out.  I debated hopping in our 4×4 Blazer and driving out to see what I could do.  They were about 3 hours away at the time and I figured they’d be well out by the time I got there.  It was an awesome day to watch!

Here’s the video of this chase with a surprise that we didn’t get to see on the live feed:

If they have data reception in the area they are chasing, these are the guys to watch!

I’m so excited to see their new series and I know it will be a blast to watch!  Make sure to mark August 18th on your calender and see these guys in action on CMT!

Greg RFD RickyChris Chittick

Are you looking forward to seeing ‘Tornado Hunters’?  

Here’s the link to ‘Tornado Hunters’ on CMT!

P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Greg Johnson!  Have a great day, Greg.

~Sarah

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Weather Wednesday

Storm july 22-13While this storm didn’t produce much in the way of thunder, lighting or even rain… it sure looked awesome!  I love the structure of this storm.  The bright clouds and the dark horizon.  Gorgeous!  Missing summer storms.  Roll on storm season 2014.  (Summer storms, not winter storms!)

31 Days: Day 12 ~ The Sound of a Scene

music

Hey!  Welcome to day 12 on this 31 day journey.  If you’ve missed the days before this, you can find them all linked HERE!

I wanted to take today and tomorrow to talk about music.  I love music!  I kid you not when I say that I pretty much have music on from the time I wake until the time I go to bed.  It drives my husband crazy but I feel so inspired when I hear a good song.

The same goes for when I am writing.  I am able to write in silence but I am so much more inspired when I have music on.  Not only just on, but streaming through headphones right into my ears.  I am able to tune out all other sounds and distractions.  The scenes that are already alive in my head explode with detail, emotion and color!

Music talking

I’m always amazed at the difference that a song can make in how my scene plays out.  The descriptions are more thorough, the characters much more alive.  I get sucked into the world that I am writing.  I feel like I am walking alongside my characters as they face each trial.

I have a playlist on YouTube for each book.  Most of the songs that I listen to are wordless because I have enough words running through my head without adding lyrics to them.  The Piano Guys are some of my favourites, as well as Lindsey Sterling!  They have amazing songs and are SO talented!  There are songs by them for any, and all, scenes.

It’s easier to write the scenes with the proper emotional music flowing through my head.

Tomorrow I’ll share some of my favourite pieces of music with you.  Hopefully you’ll find a new favourite that you can write to!

Let’s talk:  How about you?  If you write, do you do it in silence or are you like me and love music in your ears? If you write to music, what is your favourite to write to?

~Sarah

31 days redone small

Weather Wednesday

Click the photo to see more awesomeness!

Click to enlarge!  Trust me, you want to!

Photo credit to Greg Johnson (Tornado Hunter).  Look at those amazing clouds!  I could look at this picture all day and still be fascinated by the clouds!  Click here to see more from the awesome Tornado Hunter team: http://www.tornadohunter.ca/tornadohuntermedia/photos

What is your favourite weather phenomenon?  If any of you say snow… I might throw up!  😉

~Sarah

Chat with Craig Hilts of Prairie Fire Photography: Part Two

craig storm2Seriously, isn’t this photo awesome?!  I love how the cloud is lit from above.  Amazing!  I wish I had seen this one in person!  

Let’s get back to my chat with Craig Hilts and I’ll include a bunch of my favourite photos of his for you to look at.  (You can click on any of them to go to his website!)  You can also find part one of this chat here.

What advice do you have for aspiring storm chasers and storm photographers?

Number one piece of advice is to stay safe; this is not something to be taken lightly or just for the fun of it. Storms can kill or seriously injure people. Understand what your getting into, take a course to be able to properly understand storms and to help you accurately report what your seeing, maybe head out on a few chases with a seasoned expert to help you learn the ropes

I’m hoping to get out with a few seasoned experts next year!  Did you take photography classes or are you self-taught?

I’m completely self-taught, Just a lot of reading and a desire to keep getting better.

You have amazing talent!  I hope I can teach myself half as well as you did.  You sell your prints and have stunning metal prints (that can be found on your website), can you tell us a bit about your amazing metal prints?  What makes a metal print so much more vibrant?

About three years ago I was looking for something different to set my work apart, at that time most people were printing canvas prints and I just didn’t like how my work looked on this medium. I read an article about printing on aluminium and thought I would give it a try, as it was different.  I got my first print and instantly new this was the print medium for me. The metal just brings realism to the image that no other medium does. When I see one of my images printed on metal it is like I’m back in that moment experiencing it all over again.

This is the one I have in metal print!

This is the one I have in metal print!

I sure love my metal print!  Besides summer storms, what is your next favourite thing to photograph?

I think my next favourite thing is to photograph space weather. I just love shooting the aurora really anything that showcases our incredible skies.

You have some amazing aurora shots! If you couldn’t do extreme photography/storm chasing, what would be next on the list of hobbies you would love?

Oh that is a tough question I just love storm chasing and couldn’t imagine not being able to do it, I would think maybe astronomy.

This shot is amazing!  The sun is creeping up on the left side, while the moon hangs out on the right side!

This shot is amazing! The sun is creeping up on the left side, while the moon hangs out on the right side!

That would be a very cool job!  A good storm chaser usually has a great group of people supporting him.  Want to send a shout out to those people/businesses that support your photography career?

The number one shout out goes to my wonderful wife Leanne and two incredible kids Chris and Sarah. They are my biggest supporters without them I just wouldn’t be able to do what I do. The next two are my co-workers Sandra Wik and Stacey Grose. They help me out immensely when I’m out chasing holding down the fort at work. Also, this year I got some great help from Wheatland Machine Shop and Vim Parmar in Swift Current who helped me build an incredible hail guard for my Jeep Chase Vehicle. Finally all of my fans and supporters, people who have bought prints or just given me encouragement along the way. Thank you to all of you.

Stunning shot. Love the contrasts of soft and hard, light and dark!

I’m sure grateful for the people who support you so you can go out and photograph!  I love your photos!  So when you aren’t out chasing, what do you and your family like to do?

We love to travel and go to as many new places as we can.  Both my kids are very active and I try and volunteer my time with their activities.  My daughter is a dancer and my son is into robotics and programming. They keep us pretty busy but I love spending as much time as I can with them.

That’s awesome!  Last question, do you like winter?  (random question, but I’m always curious to see if storm chasers like winter storms too!)

I hate it, ok hate is maybe too strong of a word. Winter is the unfortunate time between chase seasons.

Beautiful winter shot.  Even though he hates winter.  :)

Beautiful winter shot. Even though he hates winter. 🙂

Thank you Craig for being willing to answer some questions!  I look forward to next season and seeing the great shots you get between now and then!

You can follow/support Craig on Twitter, Facebook and on his website.

Thank you to everyone who came to read this chat with Craig.  I hope that you’ll come back as I plan to post more of these in the weeks and months ahead!

Also, check out my Chaser Chat’s HERE!

~Sarah

Chat with Craig Hilts of Prairie Fire Photography: Part One

Craig

This week I get to feature one of my favourite storm photographers, Craig Hilts!  I’m so excited!  Last winter I went to a trade show here in the city and happened upon this booth with some of the most amazing storm photos I have ever seen.  Craig was so welcoming and super friendly.  I spent several minutes chatting with him and trying, very hard, to pick A SINGLE photo to take home.  It was a very hard choice.  I could fill my house with his photos and still find more that I love!  On that note, I currently own five of his amazing prints!  The fifth one just arrived last week and I could not be more thrilled to now own one of his beautiful metal prints!!  (Thank you Craig!)  I’ve really enjoyed chatting with Craig and getting to know more about his passion for storm photography and I’m glad I get to introduce you all to this great guy!!

Hey Craig, thanks for being willing to answer these questions for me!  Tell me, what drew you to storm photography?

It was just something I always wanted to do. I have loved storms since I was pretty young and always wanted to get into photography but for some reason it just never happened. I would always head out to watch a storm roll in but never really actively chased them until 2006 when I bought my first really good SLR camera and I caught the storm chasing bug.

I’m so glad that you did!  Do you consider yourself a storm chaser or photographer?

I actually self taught myself both starting at the same time, so really I’m both a storm chaser and photographer. I certainly love taking pictures of some of natures other incredible moments like aurora and space events, the frost of winter etc but no matter what storm chasing and photographing storms is my biggest passion.

That’s awesome!  Maybe you could teach me!  😉  Is there one storm that stands out to you as one you will never forget?  Can you tell me a bit about what made it special?

Really every storm is memorable for me and each one is special in its own way.  I would say Pipestone, Manitoba on June 23, 2007 as my most memorable storm. I had been chasing for just one year and this was my first big long distance chase and I witnessed the Pipestone F4 tornado.

That would be amazing!!  What do you feel is the best and worst thing about chasing?

The best thing about chasing is getting to witness first hand some of natures most incredible inspiring moments. There are so many aspects of storms that just leave me in complete awe. The worst part about storm chasing is unfortunately sometimes these same incredible moments can adversely impact people, destroying property and injuring or killing people. I never want to see anyone get hurt and this is what drives me to not only chase but help warn people or be a spotter for weather professionals.

I’m so grateful for the warnings!  So, what is your goal when you go out chasing?

I have a lot of different goals, certainly to get a great image to share with other people but also to help warn and be a spotter to Environment Canada or the National Weather Service in the US to help get warnings out faster or provide more accurate information.

Those are awesome goals!  When you go out do you have a team of people that you usually chase with or does it vary?

A few years ago a fellow chaser named Gunjan Sinha and I would always end up running into each other on the same storm and we go talking and decided last year to team up and chase together. It is great because working as a team we can share costs, ideas and each of us brings a different perspective. Gunjan and I have the same philosophy when it comes to chasing and not only do we work well as a team but we have a lot of laughs on the road which is important as it is a lot of hours in the car together.

I bet you guys have a lot of fun!  During an average season, how many hours do you log on the road?

I have never really kept track of hours but I would say a lot. I know this year we logged more than 30,000kms chasing storms.

Wow!  That’s a lot of hours!  You often seem to be in the right place at the right time for amazing photos, but I’m sure it’s not always that way.  On average, how many shots will you take of a storm?

I would say on average I come home with about 200 shots all together and from that I have about 10% that are keepers and I will select maybe my favourite 5 to share.

I know you probably hate this question… but what is your favourite photo or photos?

I really love just about all of the pics and sometimes its is hard to narrow down but Here are my top 5 not necessarily my best pics but each one of these is special to me for a particular reason.

Bolt from the Blue 1D3C1006 1D3A9876(final) 1D3C0996-Edit(final) j5 - Danger

Please check out Part Two here!

**Click on any of the photos above to get to Craig’s AMAZING website!

**Also, here’s how you can follow Craig and his amazing talent!
Twitter

Facebook

Instagram @ prariefirephoto

Also, check out my other Chaser Chats HERE!

~Sarah