A word from Beth…

I have been storm chasing since May 1999. Up until 2010, most of my chases involved a lot of messy, high-precipitation storms…and trees and hills and non-gridded road networks. I moved from Athens, Georgia to Liberal, Kansas in January of 2010, and I have not regretted a weather moment since. I often tag along with the Forever Chasing team.

Chasing the Plains is almost cliché at times. You witness beautiful supercell thunderstorms from top to bottom, you see rainbows arching across the sky with smattering of hail shafts beneath them, and every now and again you witness the power of nature in the form of a tornado. The Plains are unparalleled for picturesque scenes and storm viewability. If you need to be awe-inspired, simply look at the sky in Kansas in the spring.

A severe storm with damaging winds near Burlington, Oklahoma.  Photo courtesy of Beth Bowdoin.

Disclaimer: at no time do I ever allege to be a professional photographer! I am simply an enthusiast. Weather is my favorite topic when taking pictures; storm chasing is my forum to take advantage of this addiction…er, hobby. Keep in mind – storm chasing goes well beyond what the movie Twister depicts. Most of the time spent chasing is driving and driving and waiting and driving and waiting and waiting…and then…you have a few hours of excitement. For a photographer, this provides ample opportunities to capture a variety of subjects in your work. My usual subjects? Weeds. Weeds and flowers. My chase partners tease me… “Beth is taking pictures of weeds again.” I love it! It’s an excellent chance to use my macro lens.

My chase partners must watch out, however – they often end up as my subjects, too. For anyone on a storm chase who enjoys taking photos, I recommend embracing all elements of the journey. Use those cameras, use those lenses, and document all parts of your chase. There will be laughs, boredom, and excitement (but hopefully no gastrointestinal distress), and there will be plenty of chances to show your creativity through your photography.