Storm over the Rental Car
If you love an image (whether it's yours or someone else's) and want to make sure others get a chance to see it, you can “feature” it by choosing the “Spotlight” button.
When an image is Spotlighted, it receives enhanced visibility in premium spots throughout the site. Spotlighted images are rotated through these higher-visibility positions to ensure the best opportunity for the images to be seen by JPG users.
If you see a great photo that would make a perfect entry for one of our Shoot Out photo contests but it was uploaded by another user, now you can enter that photo in the contest and, if it wins, you get to share in the contest winnings.
Like a photo editor, if you've got an eye for great work, find it and submit it to a contest. If it wins, since you staked the entry fee, you'll take home part of the prize (the rest, of course, goes to the member who shot the image).
Sign up for JPG+ to start using collections now!
Photo license: © All rights reserved
This shot was taken directly after finding myself inside a tornado, and then escaping it by driving down an old country loose dirt road at 85 mph.
I should have known betterâ€¦ but I saw a wall cloud and thought it would be great to get a little closer. There were tornado tour vans heading towards the more violent looking parts of the storm, so I figured it would be safe to follow them.
The thing is, they stopped a bit further away than I wanted. I decided it wouldnâ€™t hurt to get just a tad closer. That was my mistake.
The sky turned almost black, and so I stopped the car and got out. The effect was immediate. It felt like I stepped into a thick hot sauna turned up to a maximum setting, with large industrial fans going full blast. My glasses fogged up, and so I quickly used my shirt to clear them. After putting them back on I was greeted with a sight Iâ€™ll never forget. Just above me I saw a swirling circular mass of black clouds. There was a transparent section that was emanating from it, that looked like a swirling hose made out of loose dark cloudy matter. I decided to get back into my car at that same moment.
I started to head south eastâ€¦ south because these storms traditionally move north. I chose the eastern direction to avoid the hail core that was producing large 1-1/2â€ sized hail in mass quantities.
The thing is, this storm was moving in the same directionâ€¦ so as I started to head down the road, things started to get more and more violent around me. The winds were to the point of snapping branches off the nearby trees and everything that was getting lifted into the air was spinning in circular patterns. Two car sized gustnados formed in front of me, around three car lengths ahead, picking up the red dirt and then fading away and coming back.
Thatâ€™s when I decided to make my 85mph escape. While traveling at high speed, I saw other chasers scrambling for safety. At one point I got back onto a main highway and saw someone decide to try to stop on the shoulder of the road, and they completely lost control. I decided then, that I was safer to just deal with the tornado and itâ€™s storm than the other crazy drivers.
Every now and then Iâ€™d get ahead of the storm. When I did, I would jump out of the car, and snap a few pictures. Thatâ€™s how this shot came to be.
What you see here is probably the very last shot I took while escaping the storm. The shelf cloud pictured here was actually only traveling somewhere near 35 mph. I took many shots of it and a few turned out.
After escaping the storm, I found myself in two more, as I went south. The thing about these storms is that many times they are multiple storms feeding off each other, drawing energy from the storm north of it. So, I had a busy couple of hours in tight situations this particular day.
I had a great time, and wouldnâ€™t trade this experience for almost anything.
Camera: Nikon D90
Lense: Tokina 12-24mm
Focal Length: 12mm
In the Diary of a Novice Storm Chaser photo essay.
Also by Matt Granz
Please Login or Sign Up
Login or Sign Up
Need contest credits? Get 'em here!
Payments are processed by PayPal and you will be automatically forwarded to PayPal to complete your transaction. It may take a few minutes after you complete your transaction for you contest credits to update. We will send an email to your registered email address once we have received a successful transaction from PayPal and updated you credits.
Select a Shoot Out contest credit package below.