April 10 2011, Lake Shabonna. On one of the rare beautiful days this past spring I managed to sneak away for an evening walk around the lake. It was early enough in the season that I essentially had the entire place to myself aside from a few fishermen out on the lake. I snapped this photo just as the sun was setting below the horizon behind me along my favorite trail.
April 15 2011, Williamsville IL HP supercell. Witnessed a small funnel cloud and unconfirmed tornado south of Springfield earlier in the afternoon, and then watched this ominous core approach as the day came to a close miles to the north.
February 21 2011, abandoned house south of Champaign. This was another one of the old high school regular spots that I revisited last winter. I was hoping to do a star trail image over the house, but those high level clouds ended that idea. However, the distant glow of Champaign-Urbana and a full moon helped create a surreal scene.
January 4 2011, Block IL revisited. The first stop along my high school favorites list was this railroad crossing down in a valley south of a cluster of houses that go by the name of Block. This place has an erie calm about it that keeps me coming back.
July 26 2011, Sky drama north of Philo, IL. When thunder roars, head outdoors. While sitting inside on a muggy summer afternoon, thunder began to rumble gently outside. I grabbed my camera and hopped in the car and went out to see what all the fuss was about.
August 22 2011, looking the wind farm in the eye. Gilbert Sebenste from NIU gave me a call this afternoon and asked if I wanted to join him and a friend as he did some maintenance on top of the old AT&T microwave tower. The tower was right in the middle of my favorite spot in DeKalb County, so I of course obliged.
August 13 2011, collapsing updraft. I spent the entire afternoon photographing strong to marginally severe thunderstorms with my brother in southern Champaign County. As we photographed each scene thinking that it would be the cherry on top, the sinking sun cast an even more beautiful light on the quickly evolving sky. It was hard to pick just one photo out of this set, but went with this collapsing thunderstorm with an expansive precipitation area gliding across the soy bean field.
August 13 2011, daytime lightning. Okay, well by 'pick just one' photo from the aforementioned date I apparently did not do that and did end up selecting two photos. This is the first time I ever had actually mentioned to capture a day time lightning bolt. The staccato bolts were just so frequent and close, and my brother and I were continually out-foxed by the lightning's sporadic behavior. However, on one bolt we both let out an exclamation as we realized we'd caught the bolt with our cameras.
August 10 2011, Villa Grove fire. A major downtown fire in the town of Villa Grove south of Champaign was probably my favorite event to photograph this entire year. Shooting the sky will never be replaced, but spending hours watching these guys do work, and interacting with them as they fought the blaze was an experience I won't forget.
October 24 2011, aurora over the midwest. This is probably my favorite photo of the year, for several reasons. I was alerted earlier in the evening that there was a marginal chance at the northern lights making an appearance during the night, but to not waste my night on it. I was then given a phone call by fellow photographer / storm chaser just across the border in Wisconsin saying the sky had gone crazy. I scrambled to gather the camera and managed to capture this image just across the street from my house in DeKalb.