Weather Wednesday: Arm-Chair Chasing

Amazing storm structure from Craig Hilts

Amazing storm structure from Craig Hilts

I am so excited to be able to start talking about storm season again. We didn’t have a terrible winter but it always feels SO long to someone who is dying for summer storms!

The last few weeks has seen a return to arm-chair chasing for me and many other storm enthusiasts. Looking forward to even more live stream viewing as the season heats up!

Live streams? If you’ve never heard of them, you’re missing out and I’m here to let you in on one of the coolest things I’ve discovered in the last few years. Arm-chair chasing. Love storms but don’t have any in your area? Spend six months without them and almost physically crave a storm? Live streams are the thing for you!

Sometimes when you are watching TV you get the weather guys and gals breaking into your favorite show because of severe weather. They often have footage — someone following the tornado so you get to see it up close and know where the beast is and where it’s headed. This footage often comes from a chaser and a lot of chasers have live streams. Where you can watch, chat with others and with some you actually get to interact with them. The ones you get to interact with are my faves. I love when people can ask questions and get answers. It’s a huge community of storm-enthusiasts, wanna-be chasers (I’m in both of those categories) and chasers. There’s a wealth of knowledge to be had. Even if you are terrified of storms, this can be an amazing place to start losing some of those fears. Knowledge is the first step to dispelling fears. My story started with terror of storms, now I dread the arrival of winter and months of no storms. You can read how it all changed for me HERE.

I thought today I’d post some of my favorite links of live stream chasers to watch! Some are incredible. Some interact, some don’t. Some are pros and some are newer chasers. It’s a great collection of people to watch. The chat rooms are usually a lot of fun and the storms are awesome to watch!

I hope you’ll join us this storm season! Come arm-chair chase with us! Today (April 22, 2015) could be a great day to watch as there’s some expected storm action in Texas!

TORNADO HUNTERS <— I talk about this team a lot because they are awesome to watch.

TVN LIVE <— A pretty big collection of chasers to watch.

There are a bunch more and I’ll be updating this post anytime I find a new one to watch! Arm-chair chasing is great. All of the action, none of the danger. Which is super handy if you find storms pretty terrifying like I used to!  Now I just want to get out there!

If you have a live-stream site you want listed here, let me know and I’ll check it out!

To all you awesome chasers out there who live stream for us, you rock! Thank you for all you do!

~Sarah

Storm barn july 24-13

Awesome shot by Greg Johnson

 

 

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Weather Wednesday

Well now, it’s been a while since I’ve posted a Weather Wednesday.  Who the heck wants to see me whining about winter weather?  Not I.  So, here we are!!  This is NOT about winter weather.

Today sees the first severe weather threat in our province!  If you know my blog, you know I’ve been waiting for storm season to arrive.  Reed Timmer just flew in and he and Sean Schofer will be out chasing in the Dominator 3!  You know when Reed arrives, makes a trip to Canada, that things are going to probably be pretty interesting.

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Reed, Sean and Mike from last summer.

I’m so excited that the chasers are here today!  Can’t wait to watch the live streams and see what’s going to happen today!  Also chasing today are two of my favourite local chase teams!  Craig Hilts and Team Tornado Hunter!  I’ve been waiting eight months for Craig Hilts, Greg Johnson, Ricky Forbes and Chris Chittick to finally start chasing locally!

Craig

Craig Hilts. I want a photo of me in front of a storm like that!

Greg

Greg Johnson ~ Tornado Hunter. Miss the helmet!

RFD Ricky

Ricky Forbes ~ Tornado Hunter Driver. ‘

Chris Chittick

Chris Chittick ~ Tornado Hunter Photographer. 

This is an exciting day, even if I don’t see anything!  Storm season is here and I’m hoping it will be a dynamic one!!  Here’s a few of my favourite photos.  Can’t wait to see some sweet structure this summer! ~Sarah

Beautiful SK storm by Andrea Clarke (https://twitter.com/2CPhotographySK)

Beautiful SK storm by Andrea Clarke (https://twitter.com/2CPhotographySK)

1D3C0996-Edit(final)

Awesome photo by Craig Hilts of Prairie Fire Photography (http://www.prairiefirephoto.com/)

Bolt from the Blue

‘Bolt from the Blue’ by Craig Hilts of Prairie Fire Photography (http://www.prairiefirephoto.com/)

Storm barn july 24-13

Awesome storm shot by Greg Johnson (http://tornadohunter.com/)

storm30

Wicked storm structure by Greg Johnson (http://tornadohunter.com/)

Let’s chat:  I’d love to hear if you’re excited for storm season, or if you would rather storm season stayed away?  Where are you and what kind of storms do you normally see?

Five Minute Friday: Willing

5minutefriday

It’s Five Minute Friday!  Where I (and a large community of bloggers) write for five minutes.  No editing, no overthinking, no backtracking.  Here I…

GO

I’m willing to try to find beauty and joy in winter.  I figure I should at least try… considering we get about six months of it.

To see the beauty in the mountains of snow, bitter cold and endless white.  I’ve been struggling with it.  I know that this season, like all seasons, are a creation of the Creator.  I’m sure that winter is good for many reasons.

Sadly, I have trouble finding those reasons.  Sure the kids can go out and build snowmen and toboggan… but it’s so cold.  The need for 15 layers drives the fun out of that experience for me.

We got (my snow-blowing hubby says ‘a foot’) though I swear it was closer to 3 feet of snow in the last two day.  I was grumbling and whining and maligning the snow and it’s efforts to hamper my journey through the city.

But then, a ray of sunshine.  Well, not actually sunshine… but a Facebook post.  My favourite photographer posted some images that caught my eye and stole my breath.

Craig snowflake 2

Magnificence.  Yes, Craig Hilts is super talented and, I’m sure, could make garbage look beautiful… but these are stunning not only because of the talented photographer but because of their creation.  Look at the image above.  Look at the lines, the craftsmanship that has gone into that one, tiny snowflake.  Not one is the same as it’s cold neighbour.  Each with it’s own intricacies and beauty.  Stunning.

To think that I have billions of these little works of art in my yard -in my city.  It’s like living with an art gallery in my own yard.  Suddenly, I don’t have to work so hard to be willing to see the beauty and joy in winter.  Suddenly, it’s everywhere.

Thanks Craig.

STOP

You can find Craig’s website HERE!  The awesomeness doesn’t just stop with snowflakes.  Oh no.  He’s got some amazing photos.  Go visit his website… you can thank me later!  😉  Here’s a whole series of snowflake shots that Craig took.  They are just too awesome not to share.

Craig snowflake1 Craig snowflake Craig snowflake 7 Craig snowflake 6 Craig snowflake 5 Craig snowflake 4 Craig snowflake 3So beautiful!  (Keep scrolling for some more images that Craig took!)  Thanks for joining me for Five Minute Friday.  It’s been a while since I did one of these.  This is the time of the week where we just write for five minutes without worrying if it’s just right.  🙂  Unedited (YIKES) and unscripted.  Just five minutes to free-write.  Want to join us?  The rules are simple!

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back to Lisa’s website.

3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule.

The heart of this community is amazing!  See more at: http://lisajobaker.com/

Find Craig on Facebook and Twitter!

~Sarah

Craig bubble Craig bubble 2 Craig bubble 1

Weather Wednesday

It’s cold.  Not Antarctic cold, but it’s cold here.  We were sitting at -43*C here on Monday.  It’s cold.  I hate the cold.  I despised the cold before, but now I despise it more.  I can’t wait for winter to be over.  Can’t.  Wait.

Especially as my storm chaser friends start posting storm pictures from previous years.  ARGH!  I just want to get out there and see some amazing storms!

Sure, there are a ton of things that are awesome about summer. (not including the mosquitoes…)  I love the warm breeze, the sound of kids playing outside, the hint of the flowers on the air.  It’s just so much better than all of this ridiculousness that comes along with winter.  Plus….

THE STORMS!!

storm30

Photo by Greg Johnson (http://www.tornadohunter.com/)

Look at that!!  Isn’t it amazing!!

Yes, I know that some storms are so powerful that they devastate communities, cities, crops and people.  This is the one thing that I don’t like about storms.  I don’t like that people and their lives get caught up in these powerful storms.  That’s why I really like so many of these storm chasers out there who are trying to learn more and increase warning chance for you and I.

Anyhow, you’ve already heard me talk about a lot of them.  (And I will continue to!)  Today I just want to post a few of my favourite storm images, because I just really like looking at them.  🙂

Beautiful SK storm by Andrea Clarke (https://www.facebook.com/2CPhotographyandreaclarke)

Beautiful SK storm by Andrea Clarke (https://www.facebook.com/2CPhotographyandreaclarke)

EF-4 at Great Bend, Kansas ~ Photo by Greg Johnson (http://www.tornadohunter.com/)

EF-4 at Great Bend, Kansas ~ Photo by Greg Johnson (http://www.tornadohunter.com/)

Amazing storm structure from Craig Hilts (http://www.prairiefirephoto.com/)

Amazing storm structure from Craig Hilts (http://www.prairiefirephoto.com/)

Storm barn july 24-13

Photo by Greg Johnson (http://www.tornadohunter.com/)

Amazing tornado shot outside of MooseJaw, SK, Canada by Craig Hilts (http://www.prairiefirephoto.com/)

Amazing tornado shot outside of Moose Jaw, SK, Canada by Craig Hilts (http://www.prairiefirephoto.com/)

SK storm Craig Boehm

Awesome photo by Craig Boehm (https://twitter.com/Skstormchaser)

Here are the links to the sites for these awesome photographers!

Greg Johnson

Craig Hilts

Andrea Clarke

Craig Boehm

How about you?  Eager for storm season?  Dreaming of chasing?  Have a favourite storm photo/photographer?  I’d love to see them!!

~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