Friday, March 30, 2012

Jenn and the abandoned house

I went out and did another modeling shoot with my friend Jenn last weekend, the target being my favorite old abandoned house in rural Champaign County. I was initially under the impression that it had burned to the ground during a fire mid-last week after I had just made plans to go back and shoot it over the coming weekend. Luckily I was able to determine it was a separate house that had burned down, and that I was still in business. My friend Jenn is also into photography, and is great with the entire modeling/portrait realm so I recruited her to help me out on a Sunday adventure. She's a posing pro and made my job quite easy!

Here's the entire flickr set...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Even more time lapsing

Had another round of thunderstorms move into the area down in Champaign on Saturday evening. I was able to shoot about an hours worth of time lapse of the two intersecting boundaries surging toward me until it finally started raining at my location and I had to pack things up.

Youtube has been acting weird on my end, so I tossed the TL on vimeo.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Time lapse of nocturnal convection

Some little cells began pulsing along an outflow boundary that was surging toward town. Originally I thought about going to the moraine south of town where I'd have a clear view to the west. When I started driving out of town I could see all kinds of cumulus being illuminated by the city lights. I immediately changed my plan and decided that I'd time lapse the convection being brightly illuminated by the light pollution. Eventually lightning began popping off. I was in sky heaven!

Here's a little time lapse snippet.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Nikki and the rogue severe thunderstorm

I went down to visit with an old friend today, and I knew for a fact that she was a girl who loved having her picture taken so she let me use her for another rough go at portrait photography. We tossed around a couple of location ideas, but ultimately just ended up using a couple of old barns near her family's place. I'll have a bigger flickr set in a few days, but for now I'll throw a couple of photos below.

Afterward while having dinner with her family, a couple of rogue thunderstorms erupted to the southwest and went severe warned. I think the closer of the two storms produced 1.50" hail at one point. Anyway, catching wind of this I quickly went outside to take a peak and decided that I would need to intermittently pop out of the house to snap a few photos. It was quite spectacular during the twilight hours as it died, with the Venus and Jupiter conjunction overhead.

One of my best friends is getting married on Friday so I won't have time to think about my camera for a couple of days, but I'm told the weekend into next week look fun storm wise in the middle part of the country.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I-80 Supercell Threat

Somewhat of a surprise event today (surprise, because I haven't been paying attention) in NE Illinois. I just came back down to Champaign yesterday evening, so I'm actually in decent position for this. Current target right now is around the Kankakee area, so I'm perhaps just a jaunt up Interstate 57 away from some fun later this evening.

A compact upper level wave is currently swinging through the region, and has already sparked off a line of elevated thunderstorms in NW Illinois. Surface reflection of this upper level wave is pretty weak, and that is my main concern at the moment.

It feels like a chase day when stepping outside here in Champaign, with temperatures already warming into the lower to middle 60s, and dew points approaching the upper 50s. Low level moisture can be seen screaming northward in the rapidly moving low level clouds racing from south to north overhead. This should continue through the afternoon as the atmosphere slowly begins to prime. 0-3 km cape values of 50-100 k/jg are already in place north of Interstate 74 in northern Illinois, and this should continue to increase toward evening.

It looks like as we may see an increase in surface convergence as evening approaches, and this may be enough to squeeze out an isolated strong storm or two near Interstate 80 in northeast Illinois. Upper level support will be there to support organized severe storms.

These best risk for more widespread storms this evening seems to be in Michigan, but that obviously is not something I'm considering doing. With increasing surface convergence toward sunset, and the potential for a lingering boundary or two, I am hoping for the development of one or two strong to severe storms on the tail end, near Interstate 80. That being said, I'm not sure if this isn't more of a wish-cast than a forecast. Trying to avoid that mindset. There are a lot of things going against me seeing a storm south of Interstate 80 today.

It'll be play it by ear time, so go ahead and just follow the old twitter for my back and forth, hot and cold updates. For now we'll call my target a Dwight to Kankakee line, an hour or two before sunset.!/PStormImagery

Friday, March 9, 2012

Another aurora dud

After an X5 solar flare earlier in the week, hopes were high for an aurora borealis display on Thursday. Unfortunately, the CME from the flare hit the Earth sometime early on Thursday during the daylight hours, and on top of that the magnetic field was aligned in the opposite manner that would be favorable for a lights display in the sky. Even so, there was the chance that the field would reverse and we would be in luck. Heather Brinkmann and I headed out from DeKalb once the data started flipping around weirdly, and had a very faint low green band on the horizon again, similar to what we saw last month.

This didn't last long however, and we spent almost two hours out there waiting in vein for the sky to catch fire. Hoping to time lapse the arrival of the aurora I kept the camera going, and ultimately just ended up with a long star trail sequence.

This would have been a pretty sweet foreground for an aurora display, so I guess I will just have to keep it in mind for later.

March 2nd Indiana Intercept

Only a week to the day late, but here are the two images that sum up my first chase of 2012. I had originally planned on chasing in southern Illinois, intercepting storms shortly after they developed near St. Louis. I left DeKalb in the northern part of the state around 8:30 AM, and this apparently was still too late. By 10 AM there is a healthy supercell approaching my original target, and I was still an hour plus away. With storms moving at 60 mph or faster, there was no getting in front of this stuff before it hit the Wabash River and crossed into Indiana. So, along Interstate 74 I made the decision to carry on eastward into Indiana, and then drop south at some point to get ahead of the storms.

I took I-74 to Crawfordsville, IN before flying south on I believe it was 231. The tail end storm looked like it wanted to take off, and one of my chase partners Mark Sefried even submitted a report that noted some rotation beginning to take shape. I decided that I would pick the storm up around Spencer, IN, southwest of Indianapolis. Out of curiosity I pulled up the Google Maps terrain imagery for this area and just started laughing. I'd be intercepting in the middle of a forest, literally. Not that this wasn't already a good possibility when I left the house in the morning. Much to my disbelief, I suddenly emerged into this incredible clearing a top a hill that overlooked the entire forest. And low and behold, there was my storm base to the southwest, along with a mean bow echo to my west and northwest.

I got out to watch the storm approach me, but it became quickly evident that the bow echo was surging ahead and the associated cold outflow was going to be stealing the show and choking off any hope for tornado time. Outflow winds were not even very intense, and I picked up some pea to dime sized hail before my day was over.