Storm-chasing usually has one of two outcomes: incredible shots or death. It’s important to prepare, prepare, prepare before you decide to go out with a camera and chase mother nature’s frustration. There are so many different forms and categories of storms to consider before you decide to put your life at risk. We care about your safety and you care about the outcome of the photos, so let us lend you some sound advice for you and the photography world’s sake.
Do Your Research – Just having a desire to chase and capture storms is not nearly enough to take it up. You need to be informed on what kind of storm you’re looking at, what it’s capable of, where it’s headed, and when it will strengthen or subside. We know you are familiar with photography, but you may be lacking in knowing the ins and outs of storms. With that in mind, pick up some books on hurricanes, tornados, or other natural disasters. It’s all about getting into the world of storm chasing by jumping in full force, with a want to learn as much as possible, for your safety and work’s end result. Your best bet for a crash course in this field is by attending a storm chasing convention, like ChaserCon, and the upside to that, is being in the presence of many professionals that will answer all your pressing questions.
Weather Check – Before you even flirt with the idea of pursuing a storm, it is an absolute must to be updated through the Weather Channel or Storm Prediction Center. Briefing yourself on the hourly forecast will let you know if the weather permits your shoot or not. Some of the most incredible storm photos are captured before or after a storm, so being up to speed on the storm’s starting point and ending point is key. You can even sign up for training programs online like the, National Weather Services, that are specific to providing severe weather spotting education.Get The Gear – Storms require a little extra weight in the equipment area. We’ll make it simple for you with a list of what’s best to have on hand: A DSLR camera, a wide angle lens (to capture it all), a polarized filter (to capture the true depth of clouds and to help reduce a window’s reflection if the weather is too severe to be outside your car),the NOAA weather radio (for accurate and always evolving updates), and a GPS (obvi). If you have these things, you are sure to have your shot.
Try A Tripod – With high wind gusts your hand is not going to be as steady as usual. It’s crucial to not miss that beyond belief stroke of lighting because of wind, considering it may just be the last one in your view. A tripod will guarantee the stabilized shot with just one click, and you will always be prepared for when lightening strikes the ground. In reality it’s not even necessary to wait for the perfect moment, instead just shoot your photos in succession.Prepare For The Worst– Your equipment is far from cheap, and it can take one false move to lose it all in seconds. There is a high-chance there will be rain, so make sure you pack the proper coverage to make your gear and self water resistant. On stand by, have emergency contacts and ways to reach them without cell service, as well as food and lots of water if you get stranded. Try and modify your car to make it more weather proof, with better tires,and a solid shell. Furthermore, be sure to not act on impatient impulse when you see a picturesque storm coming your way, or you will sincerely regret it.
Have A Side Hustle – Unfortunately, there is a boat load of time and money that goes into storm-chasing. It wouldn’t be the best hobby or career choice for someone who doesn’t have a penny in their savings account. With storm-chasing comes a list of expenses including gas, lots of gas, hotels, equipment, insurance (if your car or gear gets destroyed in the process). Plus, capturing nature’s outburst’s is quite the waiting game. So make sure that you have thought out the financial tolls that photographing storms will bring. We aren’t saying chuck the idea or your passion out the window, but storm chasing is an investment, and it’s best to be practical.
We can only hope this list made you feel more prepared for storm-chasing. Also know that we praise anyone who wants to be in this area of extreme photography, because it takes guts! Furthermore, always remember your safety comes first above all, and if that’s taken care of we encourage you to enjoy the adventure one lighting strike at a time!