Well, you all know I am obsessed, passionate even fanatical about "extreme weather". Sure, I love weather in general, but my heart races, my adrenaline increases and I get really excited when mother nature is at its worst!
Here in southern New England, we have our four seasons and so we get a taste of everything. Most of the time, the weather is pleasant or at least not severe, but, we do get our bouts of severe weather - whether it be hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, blizzards, bomb cyclones, northeasters and occasionally, a twister -- well, this year we saw more frequent tornadoes.
Some of the best photography is captured during extreme weather events in which you find yourself in dramatic events of nature I call "On the Edge." This is what I love to track, record and photograph. Of course, SAFETY IS FIRST!!! During high wind events, be careful driving, if you have to, and watch for any falling trees or tree limbs. If heavy rains and flooding is occurring, watch for flooded roads, especially at night when it is difficult to see, and remember TURN AROUND - DON'T DROWN. In extreme winter weather, be on the alert for extreme cold and wind chills that could cause frost bite and hypothermia. With blizzard-like conditions, watch for the extreme cold, high winds, white-out conditions, and heavy snow that can get you stranded. Watch for falling trees and limbs, bitter-cold temps that can cause frostbite and hypothermia, zero-visibility with white-out conditions.
In severe thunderstorms, watch for extremely dangerous and frequent cloud-to-ground lightning that can heat up the surround atmosphere to 50,000 degrees. Torrential rain, flooding and the treat of tornadoes are also something to be on the lookout for. Supercell thunderstorms are especially dangerous since some of these can produce rotation that can lead to tornadoes. Supercell thunderstorms can also cause straight-line winds and microbursts that can be just as destructive to homes and people with winds that can reach 100mph or more.
Be prepared for each hurricane season staring June 1st and ending November 30th. Have your family emergency disaster kit all set and in place by June 1st. Have reference to the Hurricane Prepardness Checklist so that you would know what to do and when. There are checklists on line (Red Cross) is one of them, that you can search and print out for all extreme weather. Always hope for the best and prepare for the worst!
Now, saying all that, severe weather events are "On the Edge" nature events that can offer you some of the best dramatic photographic compositions. Just before and as the storm is moving in and as the storm departs can often lead to dramatic and wild colors, lighting, cloud structure and what seems like "doomsday" skies. Have a weather radio in your home and in your car so that you are prepared for severe weather alerts and to be in the loop as to when and where severe weather is occurring so that you can get into position (chase) to image these events but, I say again, SAFETY FIRST!!!!
Train yourself to frequently look up at the skies -- this is not only a good habit for weather photography but for all forms of nature and landscape photography, especially astrophotography. So, be SAFE, be PREPARED and let's get ready for future extreme weather events and some "On the Edge" photography!