Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Overlooked photos, day 6 - Grainfield, Kansas

At first glance this doesn't appear to be one that I missed, as it's pretty damn close to the timing that another very similar shot was taken of this tornado near Grainfield, Kansas. However, this shot was taken shortly after the other publicly posted photo and shows the vortex snaking around a little more as it begins to rope out. It's also contrasted a little better and gives better detail on the dust plume at the base of the tornado. I actually like this "overlooked" photo better than the image I've had floating around since the day after the chase back in 2008... that first photo was simply the one that caught my eye first in quickly uploading photos at the motel that night after the chase. This is what I'm talking about. I upload the first couple photos that catch my attention the night after the chase when I'm tired as hell and thinking about getting some sleep and chasing the next morning, and then I don't look at the album for 2.5 years and everything gets forgotten. That's how one of my favorite tornado photos ever goes unnoticed for almost three years.

I gave a little write up on the formation of this tornado as it was the first overlooked photo in my series. Sorry to hit the same day twice, but this was a hell of a day and I only actually posted a handful of photos covering a chase that included four separate supercells and four separate tornadoes, spanning five hours. There was a lot missing! The video from this day has been beat to death... if you've not yet seen it then you're certainly a Pritchard-newbie and need to increase your stalking of myself. A lot of video posted, but only 5 or 6 photos. In short, I'm not going to promise you won't see this day return again before the February Overlooked Photos is through.

After being stubborn as hell and refusing to touch down, this tornado refused to give up once actually getting itself going. It remained in this long rope stage and was among the most photogenic tornadoes I have ever seen. I can be heard several times on video saying "Unbelievable" or "I don't believe this." I try not to wear my emotions on my sleeve while I'm chasing, not because I think it's uncool, but for my own good as I simply don't like hearing my own voice getting excited on video. After hearing my reactions on video after my first few tornadoes, I simply learned to shut up. So, "I don't believe this" coming out of my mouth means I'm pretty damned happy.

With quick north storm motions, we were lucky to have a nice north-south highway to keep pace with the tornado while more unfortunately souls were sliding off muddy back roads left and right. We made one final stop as the tornado gracefully slid northward and began to rope out where I shot this photo. You simply can not win them all though, as we decided to bail south for the next storm in the line without being aware that as this rope tornado winded down, and much larger multiple vortex stovepipe was just getting its act together.

Anyway, this is getting a bit "chase log" like, so I'll leave things at the photo:

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