Monday, December 28, 2009

My 2009 Photo Favorites

We've finally reached the end of the year, so it's time for everyone to start compiling their lists of their favorite everythings. I know a few have posted their favorite photos of the year, so I'll be following suit. Personally, I've never been more happy to see a year come to a close. I should be grateful after a successful 2008 season and shut my mouth and take a lemon year but when a season is so bad it's inflicting bodily injuries and taking away beloved vehicles I have to say enough is enough. Some were able to score quite a year, but on my end it's fun to see how many times I said "I'll just wait until tomorrow" and have the previous day go nuts. June 17 2009, for example. I said "this year has been pathetic, and tomorrow looks epic even closer so I'll just sit tight and wait for the bigger closer day". What happened? The Aurora tornado happened the day I sat out, and my car was totaled the next day while chasing the Iowa blue sky bust. Of course that was just one week after getting my car back after the June 1st debacle in southeast Iowa resulting in a $600 car repair. Those who have followed the blog know all the details, so I won't rehash the entire year and will try and focus on a few of the brighter moments in the past year! I've gone through and picked ten of my favorite images, in no particular order.

March 8 2009 - Central Illinois
Following chasing some low topped tornado producers traveling at upwards of 70 mph across central Illinois, a shot of the distant storms and a white barn in rural Champaign County. Note the terrible terrain found in lowly Illinois.

May 25 2009 - Southwest Illinois
In a terrible year, the lesser setups garner more attention. A tropical low ventured it's way slowly northward into the mid-Mississippi Valley region this day, spawning a few minisupercells. Numerous funnel clouds were reported, all of which I managed to avoid. I did score a couple decent structure shots on this storm near Edwardsville. Storm seeding from numerous nearby areas of convection prevented any legitimate tornado attempt.

April 23 2009 - Mc Lean County, Illinois
It's not much of a secret anymore how much I love hanging out at the ever expanding wind farms in the central US. Central Illinois is now home to a few of the largest in the country. On a moisture starved chase day I stopped by at the southwest McLean County wind farm to shoot a few lightning photos with the windmills as a foreground, and captured this shot with a towering cu being lit up slightly by the fading twilight.

May 29 2009 - Southern Champaign County
Another moisture starved setup led to a few isolated mini-supercells. These never posed any severe threat, but were quite photogenic near sunset.

July 5 2009 - Deep Lake, Wisconsin
My favorite place to be in the summer, of course facing away from the lake in this image. Coming home from the July 4th fireworks display in Oxford, I returned to quite a fog show in the valley across from the house.

October 6 2009 - DeKalb County Illinois
On a warm fall day I decided to venture out and check out the new wind farm they were building in southern DeKalb County and snagged this shot near Shabonna Lake State Park.

September 8 2009 - Northern Illinois University campus
Not the best capture of the ISS and Space Shuttle passover, but significant in that it was also my first photographic journey as a student at NIU in DeKalb.

August 19 2009 - Approaching the Rochester, IL tornadic storm.
This might not be much of a significant chasing photo to others, but I've always liked it. I've really enjoyed sharing chases with Tia over the last few years. It started with her simply wanting to spend time with me, but she's admitted to finding things pretty interesting and has learned really fast! She's become quite the navigator and has kept me cool in some insane situations. I've been known to blow a gasket or two, but don't seem to reach that point with her in the passenger seat, even in a year like 2009.

July 25 2009 - Urbana, Illinois
Lightning illuminating the under side of a late night bow echo moving into the Champaign-Urbana metro. The very first "intercept" for the new Mazda6, even though I only drove 1.5 miles!

November 8 2009 - DeKalb County Windfarm
I think we're staring to see a theme here, yeah? Another balmy fall evening, I had to venture out to the wind farm again and snagged this shot at twilight. Probably my favorite shot of the year.


Unknown said...

You are way too hard on yourself. I look at your year and yeah so you didn't bag a bunch of tubes, wooty woot... You did take the top prize for August 19 which is only fitting IMO. In everything else you have pointed a camera at, you have walked away successful. For all the down days, car issues and busts, the one thing we rarely hear you do is make excuses for the quality of your work. You have established yourself as one of the top sky/weather photographers for our state and 2009 is yet another colorful page for your outstanding portfolio. Just sayin'...

Dann Cianca said...

Beautiful work, man. Let me know if you want to catch a Cubs game some time this spring/summer. I need to get to Wrigley.