Extreme Weather PhotographyA closer look into the eye of the stormBy Sarah Wade Photo by Ellen Denton – Taken in Springville, AL January 7, 2011
When we think of Photography, the first thing most peopleare reminded of is the most common type of photography we areexposed to; portrait photography. We see the kiosks in malls, ingrocery stores, at high school proms, and theme parks. They areeverywhere! Our children bring us those school picture day packetsand we order wallet size prints and ship them off around the world tofamily and friends. If you look around you are bound to find an OlanMills photography studio in just about every major city and we allknow the Sears, or Wal-Mart family portrait studios. While this is avery valid and popular genre, there are so many other genres ofphotography and many of them go un-noticed by the general public. One of the most eye catching, phenomenal genres ofPhotography is that of Extreme Weather Photography. It takes aspecial breed of person to get right up into the eye of the storm tosnap those pictures that keep us gawking at the size of the tornado,the colors of the lightning or the intensity of the waves as they crashthrough a city. It takes a bit of courage, some skill, and just a touch ofinsanity to be a great Extreme Weather Photographer.
Extreme Weather Photography Extreme Weather Photography is notsomething people generally think about whenthey think of photography, taking pictures orhiring photographers. It fits loosely into thecategory of Editorial Photography. Extreme Weather Photography can provideuseful information about storms, the way theyform, their land tracks, and in the aftermath ofa severe weather event, this type ofphotography can be used to document thedamages caused by the storm.The photo to the right is a photo clipped from avideo that I shot off of my front porch during asevere thunderstorm in April of 2011. It is anamateur example of Weather Photography.
The Nature of the BeastExtreme Weather Photography can capture some of the mosteye catching, phenomenal photographs that can evoke a verystrong emotional response from the viewer.Anyone who lived in Alabama on April 27, 2011 knows what itfeels like to be on the receiving end of a mother nature tempertantrum. There were a confirmed 62 tornadoes that toucheddown that day across the state of Alabama. There were stormspotters from across the nation chasing these storms andgetting warnings out to people. Through the efforts of ExtremeWeather Photographers and storm chasers, we were able towatch the tornadoes as they came, document their tracks, andthe damage they left in their wake.Photographs of storms up close and personal can capture themajesty and the temper of mother nature in ways most people This photo was taken by Martha Tellefsen of tornadoswould otherwise never see. crossing the lake in Guntersville, AL in April of 2009.
Map of the tracksthe tornadoes ofApril 27th, 2011took throughoutthe state ofAlabama.
Extreme Weather Photography whenviewed as an editorial style can help todocument the damages caused bystorms and the recovery efforts ofcommunities to rebuild.It can document the strugglescommunities undergo, the emotionalstruggles and heart warming strengthand compassion of strangers. It canshow how long it can take to recoverand remind people there is still a needfor aid, months and even years afterthe actual weather event.Top Photo was taken in Concord, ALon May 5, 2011.Bottom photo was taken inTuscaloosa, AL in the Alberta City area86 days after the Tornados ripped thecountryside apart.Photos by Scott McClellan, AlabamaStorm Spotters.
Special effectsOne of the greatest things about Extreme Weather Photography is thatnobody can have the same picture twice. Weather is constantlychanging, shifting and moving and never repeats the exact same movementor position twice. Some of the most amazing photos in Extreme WeatherPhotography are completely unaltered, raw images, but sometimes a littleenhancement makes for an astonishingly awe inspiring art piece. Some ofthe most commonly used processes for producing art pieces by ExtremeWeather Photographers are HDR Processing, Infrared and UV lightphotography and extremely long exposure times.
HDR Photography is a processing effect that layers multiple images captured at varying exposures together to create a “High Dynamic Range” photograph that has a sharp, noiseless and vibrant contrast. It can produce fantastic images that show intense detail. It is a difficult process to master as even the slightest slow movement in the picture can cause undesirable variants in the final image. Once mastered, HDR can produce some of the most eye catching, awe inspiring images. The image to the right was taken by Dean Souglass, after being layered with multiple exposures, you can see the detail in the shapes of the clouds, the blades of grass and even the colors emphasized.Image by Dean Souglass – Used under CCLicensehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/deansouglass
IR Photography Normal visual light Infrared spectrum lightIR Photography uses Infrared lights to illuminate details that human eye cannot seewithout assistance. It can provide more detailed information into the structure of astorm as well as producing some eye catching, surreal photographs!Both of these images were found on http://dpfwiw.com/ir.htm#esp
Extreme Weather PhotographersIt takes a special breed of person to chase storms and get right in the path ofdanger to snap photos and videos and to document extreme storms.These are some of the best Extreme Weather Photographers in the world.The King of Extreme: Jim Reedhttp://www.jimreedphoto.com/ExtremeInstability: Mike Hollingsheadhttp://www.extremeinstability.comFine Art and Weather Photographer: Dan Robinsonhttp://stormhighway.com/gallery.shtmlJeff Berkes: Weather Photographerhttp://jeffberkes.wordpress.com/Michael Adam: Weather Photographerhttp://home.fotocommunity.de/gewitterfront